Now&Forever: Dangerous Denial
“Help Wanted Marsinos’ looking for exotic dancers, some experience needed, good pay.” Victoria considered what she’d just read and then decided, ” I need a change, I’ll check it out.” The next morning, before her parents were up, Victoria got dressed and headed into town. It was a bright sunny day, the sky was clear and there was a light breeze carrying the scent of springtime flowers. She got into her car and headed into town.
After a little while, she pulled into the parking lot of Marsino’s. “Hello, I’m here about the ad in the paper.” she said as she walked into the club. Walking out of his office, “the club owner, Bobby Marsino slowly, intently regarded the beautiful, obviously well-to-do young lady standing in front of him and thought to himself, ‘What’s she doing here? A girl like that has no business bein’ in a joint like this!’ “This way, Miss?”
“Newman, Victoria Newman.” Bobby’s eyes widened in disbelief, as he led her into his office.
“Well, that was a waste of time! Vicki mumbled to herself, as she walked out of the club and headed for her car. She was almost there when she heard someone call her name. Turning around to see who it was, she could scarcely believe her eyes, as Gary Dawson walked up to her.
“Fancy meeting you here.” His tone was light and conversational, but Vicki wasn’t fooled for a minute.
“What do you want, Dawson?” Vicki asked hostilely. “I only want to talk, Vicki. So, how about it?” He replied, seeming honest.
“Yeah right. Drop dead.” Vicki replied angrily, before turning around and starting to walk back to her car.
“Didn’t your mother teach you any manners?” He asked, beginning to show signs of temper.
“No when it comes to scum bags like you, no.” Vicki replied hotly, as her eyes turned ice cold.
“Now, why are you being this way? All I want to do is talk, why is that so hard, Vicki?” Gary asked, trying to play innocent.
“Because I have nothing to say to you. And, I sure as hell don’t want to listen to whatever garbage you have to say to me.”
“I’m done here.” Victoria said coldly, as she turned away.
Grabbing her arm, his voice dangerously low, Gary said, “We’re not finished.”
“The hell we aren’t. I’m out of here!”
“Victoria, wait a minute.”Gary said levelly, yet a cold undertone could be heard in his voice. Not caring what he wanted, much less what he had to say, Victoria continued to struggle, while he held her in a vicelike grip by the shoulders. Finally, he snapped. Victoria winced and covered her cheek, as it stung from the backhanded slap he’d given her, bruising her cheek in the process. “I told you we’re not finished and to stop crying.” Gary rasped dangerously.
“The hell we aren’t.” Victoria replied, as she tried to remain calm.
Realizing what he’s done and that the repercussions are serious, Gary stuttered, “I’m sorry, I…I didn’t mean to do that.”
“Right, drop dead!” Victoria exclaimed, not trusting him in the least, as she ran to her car and peeled out of the parking lot.
Meanwhile, at the ranch, Nikki has been pacing the living room for hours, wondering where her daughter is. “This isn’t like her, what in the world is going on here?!” She exclaimed to herself frustrated. She paced to the front window for the fifth time in as many minutes to see if Victoria’s car was in the driveway yet. “Damn!” She exclaimed when she saw it wasn’t there.
She decided to try and take her mind off the situation by reading a book she was in the middle of. It wasn’t even ten minutes later when she slammed the book shut and threw it on the coffee table in front of the couch. She looked at her watch yet again and wondered “Where in God’s name is she?! This is getting ridiculous!” Frustrated, Nikki sighed and walked into the kitchen to get a drink.
A few minutes later, she was sitting on the couch, trying to concentrate on the book she’d been half reading earlier, when Victoria finally came home.
Slowly, silently closing the door behind her, Vicki staggered into the house, still in shock. “I hope nobody’s home. The last thing I need is Mom and Dad playing detective. What I need is to get some ice and get to my room. I put concealer on, but I’m not sure how long it’ll hold out. I can’t let mom see me like this!” She whispered to herself as she tiptoed into the living room. Her hopes for a swift getaway were swiftly dashed, as she entered the living room, and saw her mom sitting there, reading.
The minute Nikki heard the sound of her high heels on the floor, her head snapped up, anxious to see who it was, hoping it was Victoria.
“Victoria, where have you been?”Nikki asked, perturbed. “I went for a drive.” Victoria thought it best to keep the events of the last hour or so from her mother, for various reasons. ‘Mom doesn’t need to be worrying about me right now. In fact, that’s the last thing she needs!’ She thought to herself.
“I was at a club.” Realizing what it would mean to evade her mother’s questions, Victoria kept mum about things, but settled for a half truth.
“What kind of club?” Nikki asked, sensing something major was being kept from her.
Sitting on the couch beside her mother, Vicki tried to reassure her. “Mom, I’m fine, so you don’t need to worry about me, okay?”
“I’ll decide when I need to be worried.”
“Seriously, I’m home safe, so, I really don’t get what the big deal is. Why are you so worried?”
“You didn’t just ask me that.” Nikki replied in disbelief.
“Yeah, I did. I really don’t get what you’re so upset about.” Although Vicki hadn’t noticed that she hadn’t made eye contact with her mother since the conversation began, Nikki certainly had. “Victoria, look at me, I want to know what’s going on. I can see you’ve been crying.” Nikki gently coaxed.
“Mom, like I said, I’m fine.” Victoria still wouldn’t make eye contact.
Turning around on the couch to face her daughter, Nikki gently touched Victoria’s cheek and was alarmed to see her flinch, as more tears started to fall.
“Victoria, what’s wrong? What happened?” Nikki asked, alarmed. Although Vic remained sitting on the couch, she turned her back on her mother, and began to gingerly wipe the tears away, fighting back more.
Nikki sat there, petrified, as wave after wave of helplessness washed over her, then, trying to calm herself down, she bludgeoned it, until it finally subsided.
Softly calling her name, Nikki gingerly touched her cheek, and, again, Victoria flinched noticeably. Nonetheless, she prepared to smile bravely, and face her mother. Victoria flinched, and asked, her voice a mere whisper, as se forced a smile, “don’t do that, okay? I’m a little sore.”
Seeing the small bruise on her cheek, now that the concealer had been rubbed off, Nikki went ballistic! “What the hell’s going on here? Who did this to you, Victoria, look at me! Who did this to you?” “Mom, it’s okay, really, I just had a little run-in with somebody, that’s all.” Victoria tired to placate her mother by conveniently leaving out who the run-in was with.
“Who was it, Victoria, who did this to you? How did you get that bruise?” Nikki persisted, enraged!
“Mom, I’m fine, please, just let it go.” The desperation in her daughter’s voice was heartbreaking for Nikki.
“I can’t,” Nikki whispered softly, yet firmly.
Taking a deep, fearful breath, Victoria slowly raised her head to meet her mother’s gaze and whispered, “I ran into Gary Dawson.”
Horror clouded Nikki’s features, as she fearfully asked, barely audible, “What happened? What did he do to you?”
“Nothing. Geese, Mom, take it easy, I’m fine. I had a little run-in, but I’m fine now.” Victoria tried her best to minimize the situation.
“What do you mean you’re fine? You were a wreck when you came home. You were hoping nobody was home, that I wouldn’t notice you were gone, or what that scum did to you!” Nikki hollered, incensed!
“Can you blame me?! Look at what your reaction was when you found out. This just proves my point!” Victoria exclaimed emotionally, the fear in her eyes crystal clear. Exasperated and confused, Nikki asked, “What point? What are you talking about?!”
“You’re better off without me.” The pain wrenching her heart, bringing more tears to her yes now became evident in her voice, as she could barely say what she thought needed to be said.
Amazed at what she was hearing, Nikki countered adamantly, “No! That’s not true!“
“Oh really? Look at what’s happening to your life and your marriage and then tell me you don’t think you’re better off without me.” Victoria wouldn’t be deterred.
“What are you talking about? Nikki asked, still completely confused. “You and Dad are so stressed out worrying about me, you hardly spend any time together. You know I’m right!” Victoria stubbornly went on. “That’s why I didn’t want to tell you. I’ve put enough strain on your marriage. It has to stop! I knew this would stress you out even more, that’s why I didn’t want to say anything. Because, I’ve put enough stress on you and Dad both.”
Swallowing hard, trying to ignore the excruciating pain wrenching her heart, Victoria continued, in a small voice, filled with regret. “Me being here isn’t good, or healthy. It’s not, not for you, or Dad, or Abby, and it’s not good for the baby, either!“
“Where did that come from?” Nikki asked, her intuition telling her she had just gotten a clue to whatever was bothering her daughter.
“What?” Victoria tried to play innocent.
“That part about the baby.” Nikki strived for a calm she certainly didn’t feel!
“Forget it, forget I said anything.” Victoria ws becoming more emotional with each passing moment.
“I can’t do that.” Nikki was beginning to think there was much more going on than she’d even imagined!
“Mom, you lost one baby because of me I’m not going to let you lose another. I won’t let it happen, not again!” Victoria was adamant, though Nikki had no idea why. “Victoria, talk to me!” Nikki pleaded, as her heart broke to see her daughter in so much pain.
“I’m done talking.” Victoria’s emotions got the better of her, and she ran upstairs, stubbornly refusing to let her mother in on her problems. She ran straight to her room slamming the door behind her. ‘No matter what it takes, no matter what it costs me, I have to do this on my own. I can’t risk Mom and Dad getting involved. I can’t risk them getting hurt.’ This was her last thought before she cried herself to sleep.
Meanwhile, Nikki paced the living room and thought to herself, beyond frustrated and terrified, ‘ What in God’s name is going on with Victoria, and what could it possibly have to do with this baby?!’