Now&Forever: A Port In The Storm
Sitting quietly, sadly on the bench in front of the atrium window in the solarium, in the main house, Vicki sadly watched the rain pound the ground, wrapped up in her own excruciating pain.
Walking out of the kitchen where she’d just had breakfast, Nikki headed towards Victoria, then she stopped studying her for a few minutes and asked herself, frustrated and discouraged, ‘What is going on with her and why can’t I get to the bottom of it?!’
Walking up to Victoria, Nikki gently, hesitantly laid a hand on her shoulder, startling her.
“Mom, I didn’t hear you come in.” Victoria offered her a strained, exhausted smile.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to startle you.” Nikki eyed her intently, honing in on the almost ghostly pallor her skin had taken on and the dark circles under her eyes. Trying not to let her worry show, she asked “How long have you been up?”
“Oh, not long.” Victoria’s answer was deliberately vague. ‘If she finds out I’m not sleeping, I’ll never hear the end of it. She’ll hound me to no end, I know she wants answers, she’s entitled to them, the truth is, so do I. But, I don’t know what’s going on, I wish I did, but I don’t. What I do know is, she can’t afford to worry about me, not now. The baby has to be her number one priority!’
Far from satisfied, but unwilling to push the issue, for fear of starting an argument, Nikki decided to let the subject drop. Instead, she asked, “Let’s talk about something else. what do you have planned for Gary Dawson?”
“Mom, you don’t need to know. What I’ve got planned for him is my business, I’ll handle it. The only thing you have to worry about is that baby you’re carrying. I’ll handle Dawson, trust me he won’t get away with anything.”
“Wrong, Victoria, I do need to worry about you. You’re dealing wit ha psychopath, remember? I’ll be damned if I’ll sit back and watch you get yourself killed trying to play hero!”
“What? Is that what you think; that I’m treating this like some stupid game, that I’m trying to play a part? I’m not!”
“Victoria, that’s not what I’m saying.” Nikki tried to explain, but Victoria didn’t want to hear it.
“Let’s just drop it, okay?”
“Alright, I’ll let it go, for now.” Nikki hesitantly relented.
“Thank you.” Victoria replied, relieved.
“Victoria, where did you go after that argument we had yesterday?” Nikki asked carefully, eyeing her intently.
“It’s just part of my plan for Gary, Mother, don’t worry.” Vicki hoped her mother wouldn’t ask any more questions.
“What do you mean, it was just part of your plan for Gary, how do you expect me not to worry, under the circumstances I think I have every right to be worried, Victoria!”
“It’s nothing for you to worry about, alright? I know what I’m doing! Would you please just trust me!”
“Okay, okay, I’ll let it go, for now. I don’t want to fight with you.” Nikki looked at her daughter sadly, wishing she could get through to Victoria.
“Thanks.” Victoria tried for what she hoped was a genuine smile. ‘I wish I could get her to stop worrying. It’s the last thing she needs.’ Victoria thought to herself heartbroken.
Taking the plunge, Nikki thought to herself, ‘Here goes nothing, let’s hope I’ll get a straight answer out of her this time.’ “I had a n interesting phone call from Paul Williams.” “Oh yeah, what did he have to say?” Victoria asked innocently.
“He saw you at Marsino’s, you know, the old Bayou?” Nikki replied a little tightly, closely watching her daughter’s reaction.
“What? What are you talking about?” Victoria asked, trying to play dumb.
“Victoria, come on! Cut the act!” Nikki lost her patience.
“What act?” Victoria insisted on pretending she didn’t know what her mother was talking about.
“Victoria…” Nikki’s voice held a note of warning.
“What’s going on, Mother, am I being spied on here?’ Vicki asked defensively. “No, you’re not being spied on, Victoria.” Nikki found it increasingly difficult to keep her emotions in check! ‘Why is she playing dumb? She knows damn well what I’m talking about!’
“Yeah right!” Vicki shot back hotly.
“Victoria, why would I hire somebody to spy on you?” Nikki asked confused. ‘Where is this attitude coming from?’
“I don’t know, you tell me!” Victoria exclaimed hostilely, irrationally.
“Nothing like that is going on.” Nikki replied, starting to get defensive. “He was following someone for another investigation she’s doing.”
“Yes, really. Victoria, this isn’t getting us anywhere! I want to know why you were at that club, and I want to know now!”
“Mom, it’s nothing, really!” Victoria tried unsuccessfully to brush the incident off.
“Sorry, honey, I’m not buying.” Nikki replied, letting her daughter know her tactics weren’t working.
Heaving a frustrated, defensive sigh and rolling Victoria replied, “I needed a change, okay? I need a change, alright?”
“What do you mean, you needed a change? Victoria, what are you talking about?”
“It’s hard to explain, but I’ll try.” Vicki took a deep breath and prepared to try and explain her reasons for going there. ‘I’m not even sure I really understand why I went there, so, how can I make her understand?’
“I’m listening.” Nikki replied, a little impatiently.
“I don’t know… More and more, it feels like my life’s spinning out of control; like I don’t have any control over anything anymore.” Slowly, she walked into the living room, followed by Nikki.
As they sat on the couch, Nikki carefully replied, “That’s normal, after everything you’ve been through.”
“Really, because, it doesn’t feel that way to me.”
“How does it feel?”
“I don’t know. I jsut want to feel like another face in the crowd, blend in somewhere, you know?”
“I don’t want to be ‘Victoria Newman, head of Brash&Sassy,’ or “Victoria Newman, daughter of multimillionaire and world famous business mogul, Victor Newman.’ And, I sure as hell don’t want to be ‘Victoria Newman-victim!’” She finished adamantly.
“Please don’t misunderstand me, it’s not about dad, or working at Newman, or what you and he have done for me, it’s not. It’s just…” Victoria’s voice trailed off, at a loss to find the words to explain what she was going on, she looked up at her mother helplessly.
“Okay, if it’s not about any of those things, what is it about?” Nikki asked, gently probing for answers.
“I don’t know, I wish I did. I guess I just want to be able to blend in somewhere, I want to know what it feels like to be just another pretty face; one with no past, no present, and no future. I just want to take life as it comes, not think about what I have to face now that Gary Dawson’s out. I don’t want to have to think about how I might not be able to stop him.”
“Okay, I understand that, but, why go to the old Bayou? That’s what I don’t understand, what’s the connection?” Nikki asked, trying to make sense of what she was hearing.
“Well, you had fun there, didn’t you?” Victoria asked, not wanting to give her mother any more clues just yet.
“Yeah, I had a lot of fun, I’ve never denied that,” Nikki replied confused.
“I don’t know, I guess I thought I could do the same.” Vicki’s voice was a mere whisper, as she waited for her mother to explode when she realized what she meant. “What are you talking about, I don’t understand any of this.”
“I thought it could be my escape from everything that’s going on.” Victoria replied, sheepishly turning away from her mother, unable to control the tears that stung her eyes and slowly began to fall.
“Victoria, look at me.”
Slowly turning back to her mother, and tentatively meeting her concerned gaze, Vicki swallowed and continued. “I know it sounds ridiculous, but I needed to find a place to escape to, some place to go to escape this mess that’s become my life, this mess with Gary Dawson has completely taken over my life!” She sarcastically continued, with a rueful smile. “The best part of this is, I don’t see it ending any time soon!”
“Victoria, that only happens if you give him the power to make it happen. Don’t let him do that, don’t let him do that to you!”
“I know, I know, and I keep telling myself that, it’s just…” Her voice trailed off, as she sighed defeatedly.
“Forget it, it’s nothing.”
“Victoria, I want to know what you were going to say, and I won’t stop until I find out, so, you might as well just tell me.“
“It doesn’t even make any sense.”
“I don’t care. I want to know what you were going to say.” Nikki’s tone brooked no argument.
“I..I guess I just need a port in the storm; somewhere I can go to get away from everything, away from this mess!”
“I understand that, and it makes perfect sense. But, I won’t let you work there!”
“What? Why not? Vicki asked confused, unable to understand why her mother had a problem with her most recent hasty decision. “I mean, you did the same thing, and you met Dad because of it.” “That was different,” Nikki pointed out insistently.
“How?” Victoria insisted on making things difficult.
“Victoria, I had nothing when I started dancing at The Bayou. I had no college education, no job prospects. The only thing I had going for me was my body and my looks. I didn’t have half of what you have going for you! I certainly didn’t have the potential, or the opportunities you have!” Nikki replied, trying her best to reason with her daughter. “I did that because I had to to make a living. I had no other choice!”
“Yeah, I know all that, Mom. But, you’ve never regretted it, you’ve never been ashamed of it.”
“That’s true, but that’s completely different.”
“I don’t think it is.”
“Victoria, of course it is! I told you I did what I did out of necessity, nothing more, nothing less.” Nikki’s exasperation was beginning to show.
“I know, I know.” It was crystal clear from Vicki’s tone of voice, she was only placating her mother.
“Then, why on earth are you doing this? It makes no sense.”
“So far, I haven’t heard any reason why I shouldn’t do this.”
“Victoria, that industry was filled with sharks when I was at The Bayou, and that was years ago.”
“So?” Victoria asked naively.
“So, it’s gotten so much worse over the years. I don’t want you working in an industry like that!” Nikki replied adamantly.
“How do you know? Have you talked to anybody working at Marsino’s?” Vicki clung to her stubbornness as though it were all she had left.
“No, and I don’t need to!”
“Why not?” Vicki shot back defiantly.
“Two words, experience and instinct, honey. And, the way you;re acting I’m starting to wonder if you have either of those things!”
“Gee thanks, I feel so much better! I’ve got good instincts, you and Dad have always said I did, so what changed? I know I haven’t got a lot of experience, but, isn’t that what life’s about, gaining experience as you go?” She continued defiantly.
“Yes, we’ve always said you have good instincts, but, right now, I don’t know where they are, you’re not acting right. It’s like you’re trying to get Dawson’s attention, taunting him so he’ll come after you.” Nikki explained, getting more exasperated.
“Who knows, maybe I am, maybe I want to get his attention. Maybe that’s the only way this thing can finally end!”
“What are you talking about?!” Nikki asked, shocked.
“Never mind, forget it. You’ll be happy to know you don’t have anything to worry about where Marsino’s is concerned anyway, since the owner turned me down.”
“Well, I’m glad he did. That’s no place for a young woman like you.” Nikk ireplied, somewhat relieved.
“You don’t need to work there, you’ve got other options.”
“Yeah, that’s one way of looking at it.” Vicki remained unconvinced.
“What do you mean, ‘that’s one way of looking at it’?” Nikki asked suspicious.
“Mom, like I said, I need a change.” “Then take up painting, or sculpting, or something else; anything else! Don’t work there! It’s not worth it, trust me.”
“What could possibly happen?” Vicki asked, insisting she was perfectly capable of handling whatever could come up while working at the club.
“What, you need me to draw you a picture?”
Victoria merely shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly.
“Victoria, the clientele there is worlds apart from the people you deal with on a daily basis at Newman Enterprises.”
“So, that could be a good thing.”
“Okay, let me see if I have this straight. Having hoards of drunk, disgusting men gawk at you while you’re up there could be a good thing? You want to explain that one to me, because, frankly, I’m not seeing it.”
Victoria just sat there unconvinced. Undeterred, Nikki continued. “Alright, let’s try this, the men you’d be dealing with working there aren’t the GQ type, trust me on that!”
“The guys you’d be dealing with there are after one thing, and it isn’t good conversation!”
“I didn’t think so. Victoria’s lopsided, cheeky smile told Nikki her daughter wasn’t taking this nearly as seriously as she should have been.
“Victoria, this is no joke! I won’t let you even entertain an idea like this, I won’t let you go off and get yourself killed!“
Victoria’s jaw dropped, and her eyes grew wide with shock, as she asked, “What? What ae you talking about?”
“I know what I’m talking about, trust me, that business can easily get you killed. I know that, because I’ve experienced it first hand. And, I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit back and watch that happen to you! Do you hear me? Am I getting through to you?”
“Come on, you’re kidding me, right? It can’t be that bad, you’re overreacting, you’re just trying to scare me so I’ll stay at Newman.” Vicki replied disbelievingly.
“Do I look like I’m kidding?!” Nikki asked, losing her cool.
Wide-eyed, Vicki shook her head.
“I’m trying to save you from making a huge mistake-one that may very well cost you your life! You have enough to worry about with Dawson on the loose, you don’t need to go looking for more problems. Come on, Victoria, this isn’t news to you, sureley you’ve thought about all this!”
“Mother, I can handle it!”
“That’s what I thought too, but I was wrong!”
“Okay, fine, I won’t go there again, satisfied?” Vicki replied reluctantly, hostilely.
“What choice do I have?” Vicki asked sullenly.
“You’ll see I’m right. One day, you’ll see this was for the best.”
When Victoria didn’t give her any indication she’d heard her, only staring down at the carpet, Nikki gently touched her cheek and whispered, “Victoria, look at me.”
Slowly, with tears glistening in her eyes, Victoria lifted her head to meet her mother’s gaze.
Letting out a sad sigh, Nikki whispered emphatically, “Trust me, you have other options.”
“I do, Mom, I do trust you. I’m just not sure how much more of this I can take.” Vicki replied honestly, in a small voice. “you don’t have to worry about me, I know you’ve got a lot to do today.”
Hesitantly, Nikki got up and started to leave, then, thinking better of it, she turned to Victoria and said, “Whatever happens, I’m not leaving you. I’m not going anywhere1 I’ll always be here for you. Do you hear me? I’m not going anywhere!”
“You’ve got enough on your plate, Mother, you don’t need any more stress. I don’t want you worrying about me. What’s going on is my problem, I’ll take care of it. I don’t want you involved, I don’t want you hurt.”
“That’s not your decision is it? I’m not leaving you! I’ll always be here for you, do you hear me? I’m not going anywhere! Victoria, I won’t let you go through this alone, that’s final! I won’t change my mind, either. Clear?”
With a tired, worried smile, Victoria whispered, “Thanks.”
Returning her daughter’s smile before kissing her cheek, Nikki left the room.
Once her mother had left the room, Victoria slowly walked back to the window. Staring out it sadly, she whispered to herself, “I hope Mom’s right.”
Half way to the kitchen, Nikki stopped and turned back to look at her daughter, silently praying that she’d gotten through to Victoria somehow, and that everything would turn out alright.