“Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that, no. but, you need to remain focussed, and remember one thing.” Victor tried to remain calm. ‘Under the circumstances, I’m not sure how much longer I can keep this up. Nikki knows something’s up, no matter what I say, she’s not going to give up until she gets to the bottom of whatever’s going on with Victoria. I can’t really blame her, but I’m not sure she can afford to do that, under the circumstances.’ Victor thought to himself, worried about not only his daughter, but his wife, and his unborn child. Nikki asked, as she looked up at him tiredly, “What’s that?” Trying to sound reassuring, “Victor replied, “Victoria needs you. She needs her mother, now more than ever! That much is clear.”
Nikki tiredly, and more than a little defeatedly replied, “I know, I know, but, how do I accomplish anything when she won’t give me the time of day? How do I do that?” Victor sympathetically replied, “I don’t know, but, we need to try.”
Extremely frustrated, Nikki replied, “okay, any ideas where we start? How do we do that hen she stonewalls and argues with us every time we try and get through to her? Every time we try to break through the walls and barriers she’s put up around herself, she either puts on a show and tries to make us think nothing’s wrong, that she’s fine, or, in my case, she just ends up arguing with me because she knows full well I don’t believe that for one second!“
Victor could do nothing but stand there, while his wife continued bitterly. “How do we do that, Victor?”
Extremely frustrated, with her arms folded across her chest defiantly, Nikki waked to the couch and sat down, looking up at him challengingly, yet her eyes begged him to tell her she was wrong, begged him to tell her that things weren’t the way the seemed, and they weren’t on the verge of losing their daughter.
Victor’s expression told her all she needed to know-she was right. He unwittingly confirmed her worst fears, and palpable silence like that of beating heart filled the room, sickening Nikki. No sooner did Victor sit on the couch beside Nikki and try to calm her down, when Victoria walked through the door.
Naturally, both Nikki and Victor eyed her worriedly, wondering what she was doing home. Finally, Nikki greeted her tentatively. “Hey, what’s up?” Victoria tried to play dumb. “What do you mean?” “You’re home early, that’s all.” Victor replied, after glancing at his watch and realizing it was only two-thirty in the afternoon.
Victor asked suspicious, “Is something wrong? Is that why you’re here? Did that creep from Satin pay you another visit?”
Not making any eye contact, Victoria replied, “No.” Nikki jumped in. “Does this have anything to do with Gary Dawson?”
Again, Victoria didn’t make eye contact, as she whispered faintly, “No, Mom.” “Then what is it?” Nikki asked softly. “My sweetheart, what is it that has you so upset?” Victor asked, wanting to know what was going on, and what he could do to help.
Pasting on a smile and trying to act normal, Victoria replied, “What makes you say I’m upset? What makes you think that? I’m fine, really.”
Turning his attention from Victoria to Nikki, he sent his wife a knowing glance, and looked at his daughter disbelievingly.
Treading lightly, Nikki replied, “Well, you’re home early.”
Slumping down onto the chair beside her parents, Victoria confessed, “I can’t concentrate on work.” Refusing to look at them, she fidgeted and stared at the floor insted. “Victoria, look at me.” Nikki whispered. Complying, Vicki slowly raised her head to meet her mother’s gaze. Nikki’s alarm increased ten fold when she sw Victoria’s bright red, bloodshot eyes, which looked like a prize fighter’s, minus the bruising.
Tears welled up in Victoria’s eyes, as she took a deep breath and swallowed the lump of bitter terror that had risen in her throat and whispered, “I couldn’t concentrate on anything.” Feebly trying to lighten the mood, Victoria continued. “I’ll pay for it tomorrow though.”
Nikki and Victor sat where they were, patiently waiting for Vicki to let them in on whatever’s going on.
Finally, Vicki gave a heavyhearted sigh, as she continued. “I can’t stop thinking about all the useless arguments I’ve started. I’ve replayed them over and over in my head so many times!” Continuing to tread lightly, while Victor sat beside her, listening and trying to make sense of what he’s hearing, Nikki asked, “And?” Meanwhile, Victor’s anxiety grew with each passing moment. “Try.” Victor gently implored.
“I…I don’t know it’s like something’s haunting me. It’s been that way ever since you dealt with that dirt bag from Satin. I’m sure you already know, but haven’t been sleeping very well.” With a snort and a half smile, Nikki replied, “That’s an understatement, you get what, three hours of sleep a night?” Lying through her teeth, badly, Victoria said, “no, Mother, you’re exaggerating.” Meanwhile, she thought to herself ruefully, ‘I’m lucky if I get one to two hours of sleep a night, max!’ Nikki and Victor looked at each other in disbelief.
“Tell me something, do you like having your lives turned upside down?” Victoria asked suddenly.
Puzzled, Nikki and Victor wanted to know what she meant. “What?” “Where did that come from?” “Ever since the Satin debacle, you’ve had no peace, and now, with Dawson out, things can only go from bad to worse!” Victoria exclaimed emotionally, frightfully. Nikki pointed out, as calmly as possible, under the circumstances, “You don’t know that for sure.”
“Surely Dawson wouldn’t be stupid enough to come dear you, or any of us! He couldn’t possibly be that stupid!” Victor emphatically agreed.
“No, he’s just crazy enough to do it though,” Vicki countered wisely. “That may be, but, he wouldn’t succeed.” Nikki tried her best to reassure her daughter.
In a small voice, Vicki whispered, “You don’t know that. You can’t guarantee that.”