“Some of my favourite memories are of when Victoria was just a little girl. After she’d gone to bed, on those hot summer nights, all the moonlight swims we took. They were heavenly, weren’t they?” Nikki asked with a mischievous smile.
When Victor set his jaw and glared at her, Nikki chuckled and, smirking, told him, “Alright, alright, I’ll be nice, I promise. Anyway, despite all the manoeuvres you tried, despite how much you fought me and how hard, and you fought me pretty hard, I wore you down eventually. But, you didn’t make it easy for me; you certainly didn’t make it easy for me. You fought us both, for so long, you were so stubborn, it was unbelievable! Despite knowing why you did it and understanding it, you frustrated me to no end! As a matter of fact, you still do!”
‘Consider it payback,’ Victor thought to himself with a smirk.
“Payback, huh?” Nikki said with a smile reading his mind. “Just remember that goes both ways.”
“No matter what I did, you just wouldn’t make a move, you refused to. Even when I did my best to make it happen, you wouldn’t do anything.” She couldn’t help but laugh as one memory in particular, one vivid and colourful example in particular leapt to mind. “God, even when I walked around in nothing but lingerie you didn’t do anything! I wanted to shake you! My God, you were so damn stubborn-you still are! I could tell you wanted me but you dug in your heels!”Catching her breath before starting to laugh again, Nikki told him “You got so frustrated you threw me over your knee and spanked me. You know, if you hadn’t been so damn stubborn we could’ve come up with much more fun ways of dealing with all that frustration.” She teased with a seductive smile.
At first, Victor could do nothing but lay there slack jawed, then he couldn’t help but burst out laughing as he thought to himself, ‘You’re bad, so bad.’ ‘She’s hell on my willpower and she’s not even sorry!’
“On that note, we’d better call it a night. Sweet dreams, darling.”Nikki told him kissing him on the cheek before walking over to the couch and lying down.
‘She pulls that? She takes me on a trip down memory lane that’s designed to get me more than wound up and then she expects me to just fall asleep? What’s she thinking? She’s got to be kidding me!’ Victor thought to himself frustrated.
“Victor, you need your rest. I’ll see you in the morning.”Nikki told him firmly before closing her eyes and beginning to drift off to sleep.
Victor wasn’t the only one who was worked up over their little trip down memory lane. Long after he’d fallen asleep, she tossed and turned on the little couch caught up in the dark, sensual visions their trip down memory lane had elicited.
In her mind’s eye a myriad of images, dark, secret and sensual memories flooded over her making it impossible to sleep. She saw them taking moonlight swims at home, blissful silence surrounding them and the smell of sweet flowers from her flower garden teasing her senses. She saw them in front of a roaring fire in the winter, their arms wrapped around each other. His hands, so gentle and almost reverent, held such passion, such restrained urgency it took her breath away and made her smile at the same time. The touch of his fingertips gliding over her skin, the taste of his kiss, the feel of his skin against hers all twined together to create an experience, a memory that had stayed with her, stayed locked on her memory and etched on her heart and soul ever since.
It was her sighs and murmuring that woke Victor. He lay perfectly still and silent trying to listen very carefully, trying to find out what was going on, if there was anything going on. When Nikki fell silent again, he said to himself silently, ‘Must have been my imagination.’ Shaking his head, he closed his eyes and prepared to fall back to sleep.
It was then that he heard “Victor.”
He opened his eyes and looked at her, his brow furrowed, wondering if his imagination was playing tricks on him.
“Victor,” he heard it again. The passion in her voice was unmistakable.
Smirking, he thought to himself, ‘Gotcha!’ before falling asleep again and having his own imagination take him down the same road his wife’s imagination had taken her.
It was early morning with the sun just beginning to peek out of its hiding place on the horizon when Nikki awoke to find Victor wide awake and studying her with a very wicked grin.
“Not one word, Victor, not a word, don’t even think about it!” she told him as she rose from the couch and stretched smiling as she felt one of the twins kick. “We’re not the only ones who woke up early today; at least one of the twins is awake.” Seeing he hadn’t paid any attention to what she’d told him, knowing he was lost in his own wicked thoughts, she walked into the washroom to change and get ready for the day before walking over to him and telling him, “I’m going for a walk, I’ll be back in a little while. Behave!”
With a lopsided grin, Victor watched her leave and lay back, content and almost jovial in the knowledge that their little conversation the night before had gotten her as worked up as it had gotten him.
Looking around the room and debating whether to watch television or find something else to do, Victor stopped when the journal caught his eye. ‘What’s this doing here?’ he thought to himself intrigued as he opened it and began reading. Sitting here in this hospital room day after day, watching Victor slip away, I can’t help but think this isn’t him. This isn’t my husband. The longer we wait, the worse it gets. He’s slipping away more and more every hour, every minute, he’s slipping away and I can’t stop it! There’s nothing I can do to stop it. Why is this happening? Why now? Why now when we finally have everything we’ve ever wanted, everything we’ve waited so long for? ‘I wish I had the answers, my darling.’ Victor thought to himself as his heart began to break a little. What did we do to deserve this? ‘If I had a reason, if I had an answer, any answer, I’d give it to you.’ he thought to himself sombrely before reading on. Why is it happening when all we want, all we’ve ever wanted is just to be together? And why do I still feel so damn helpless? ‘Because you’re human,’ he answered silently with a heavy heart. Why can’t I get past this? Victor needs me to be strong. He needs me to stay strong, so why can’t I do that? Why can’t I do it? This should be simple, so why do I feel like I’m in a maze with no way out? ‘None of this is simple, Nikki, we both know that. I wish I could do something for her. Damn it, why can’t I do anything for her! More and more she’s blaming herself and I can’t do a damn thing about it!’ Victor thought to himself as tears welled up in his eyes. Determined to read the rest and find out exactly what was going on with his wife, he read on. Why do I feel like I’m all alone in this maze and I’ll never get out? With every moment that slips past I can’t shake the feeling that I’m going to lose him, no matter what I’m going to lose him. Nobody seems to understand that, I don’t know why, but nobody seems to understand. I’m not trying to be pessimistic. Letting out a heavyhearted sigh, Victor said to himself, ‘My darling Nikki, why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you tell me you were feeling this way? Why? You aren’t alone, my darling Nikki. You are not alone and you never will be.’ He silently vowed, trying on some level to communicate with her though some would’ve said there was no use trying. I’m really not, I just can’t help it. I can’t shake the feeling that I’m losing my husband. It’s not what I want. It’s the last thing I want but I can’t shake this terrible feeling that I’m losing my husband. I’m losing the only man I’ve ever loved, losing the love of my life. ‘I have to fight this; I have to fight this, for Nikki’s sake. I have to fight to get back the life we had, the life she wants for us, the life I want for us.’
As the tears that had welled in his eyes began to fall down his face, his heart shattered as he read on. Victor’s always been the one constant in my life. He’s always been there for me, always been there whenever I needed him. So why do I want to run? Why do I want to run away like some coward and never come back? Why am I being so damn selfish? I should be thinking of him now, instead I can’t help but think of how much this is killing me. It’s killing me to sit here watching the man I love, the only man I’ve ever really loved slip away while I ‘m just supposed to sit here like a good little woman and bear it! Damn it, this isn’t fair! It’s not fair to either of us! It’s not fair to him or me; it’s not fair to our family, to our children! ‘My sweetheart, my darling Nikki, if I could take your pain away, if I could change this, I would. I’d do anything to take this pain away from you.’
Swallowing against the lump of bitter regret that had lodged in his throat, he continued reading. He’s always been able to see the best in me, even when it was almost impossible to see because it was buried. Even when I didn’t think there was anything there, Victor saw something good in me and he fought for it, he fought for me even when he didn’t have to. Even when I thought there wasn’t anything there, anything worth fighting for, he fought for it, for me, for us. So, why can’t I do that now? Why can’t I find something to help him, some way to save him? Why? Victor’s always been able to bring out the best in me, no matter how bad things were, no matter how bad they got. I just wish I could do that for him now, instead of feeling totally useless, being totally useless. I wish I could help him somehow. I’d do anything to help him, anything to take away the pain I see in his eyes every time he looks at me, the pain he tries so hard to hide. Why didn’t I go looking for him sooner? Why didn’t I go with him to work? Why didn’t I just go with him that night? If I had, maybe none of this would’ve happened. If I had, none of this would’ve happened! It’s my fault! Why didn’t I go with him? ‘It works both ways, my sweet love. It works both ways. Without you, I’d be lost.’ Victor thought to himself with a heartbroken sigh.
Wiping away the tears that were blurring his vision, he stubbornly continued reading. Everyone keeps telling me to rest, that that’s the only way I’ll be able to help Victor, but every time I close my eyes, all I see, all I ever see is him lying there almost lifeless. For a moment, just for a moment I think it’s a dream, only a dream. Then I wake up and realize it’s not a dream but a waking, living nightmare; one that will only get worse if I lose him! How am I supposed to do this? How do I just go on with my life like nothing happened? How do I just pretend that it’s just another day when, with each passing moment, Victor’s slipping further and further away? God, what do I do? What do I do? How do I handle this? Why him? Why him? Why not me? If it had to be someone, why couldn’t it be me? Not him! It didn’t have to be him! I’d switch places with him if I could, I’d do anything to save him from this. But I can’t and it’s killing me. It’s killing me. ‘It’s killing me too, my darling Nikki, more than you’ll ever know, more than I can put into words. All I want is to just hold you in my arms and tell you everything will be okay, make all of this go away somehow but I can’t. Damn it!’ Victor swore pungently as he slammed his fist on the night table beside him.
Looking back, Victor’s been my rock. Whether it was when Nicholas was in jail, Victoria was being held hostage by Gary Dawson or whether it was when I was drinking after the horseback riding accident and too afraid to have the surgery, he’s always been there, always been by my side when I needed him. So, now, when he needs me most, when he needs me more than ever, why can’t I do anything more than sit and wait? ‘Because you’re human and you’re doing the best you can, you’re doing everything you can to try and help me. Can’t you see that?’ he asked silently, his heart breaking a little more with each passing moment. He’s always been able to count on me, no matter what, just like I’ve always been able to count on him. So why can’t I do anything for him? Why can’t I truly help him? ‘You’re helping me more than you know, more than you’ll ever know.’ He thought to himself with a sad smile. Why am I at such a loss? Why can’t I do anything for him just when he needs me the most? ‘As much as I’ve done that, I’ve run from problems, run from pain and fear, I’ve deserted you just when you needed me most, deserted you so many times. I’ll regret that for the rest of my life, Nikki. If I could go back and change it, go back and fix the many mistakes I made, I would; I’d do it in a heartbeat. My sweet love, as much as you say I’ve been your rock, you’ve been mine. I don’t know what I’d do without you.’
He was the first person I really trusted, the first one I let in, let get close enough to see who I really was, who I really am. Before Victor, I couldn’t do it. I could never let anybody get close enough to see who I really was, I could never do it; I was too scared to. I was too scared of getting hurt. Even though we’ve hurt each other a lot over the years, I wouldn’t trade the time I’ve spent with Victor for anything. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world. He’s given me so much, more than I’ve ever dreamed of, more than I dared to hope for. I wasn’t looking for love that day at the Bayou, truth be told, I had given up hope that the man I was searching for would ever come, that he even existed. But, I was wrong, I was so wrong. ‘I know, and I’m grateful, you’ll never know just how grateful I am, my darling. You’d been hurt so much and so deeply that it would’ve been easy to close yourself off, to close yourself completely and never trust anybody again but you didn’t. Instead you gave me a chance; you changed my life forever. I never dreamed that I’d find someone like you, never even allowed myself to. I was so closed off. I would never allow anyone into my heart; I protected myself at all costs. I used the money and the prestige as a kind of shield, I thought if I could do that, I’d be okay, I’d be safe. I never realized, never understood that by doing that I closed myself off to so much. That is until you came along. Without realizing it, you showed me so much, you showed me what I was missing and what I could have if I just let someone in, if I could just let my guard down enough to let someone into my life, into my heart. Best of all, whenever anybody tried to tell you not to, that you were wasting your time, you never listened. You simply did what you thought was right, everyone else be damned.’ He smiled and chuckled at the memories. ‘Whatever obstacles, trials and tribulations life pub in your way, you got through them with strength, poise and determination. You made it look easy.’
Victor somehow saw what nobody else did. Underneath all the hurt and pain, underneath the wall I’d built around my heart, behind all the barriers I’d built to keep everyone out, he saw the good in me. He’s the only man who saw me for who I was and loved me in spite of it. ‘Not in spite of it, my darling Nikki, because of it,’ Victor thought to himself with a tremulous, bittersweet smile. He loved me in spite of everything; the bad attitude, the stubborn streak-which, come to think of it, isn’t nearly as bad as his -‘According to you’ Victor argued silently before reading on- in spite of being the poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks, he took a chance on me. He took the biggest chance he could on me. He loved me. He loved me. Before Victor, I never allowed myself to think I’d ever have the life I do, I never allowed myself to dream of anything like this. It was almost as if I didn’t believe it was possible. It was almost as if I didn’t, couldn’t let myself believe I even deserved it, much less that it was possible; that all my dreams would someday come true. I’ll never be able to put into words just what that means to me. ‘What you’ve been through,’ Victor thought to himself with a shudder and a sombre sigh, ‘What I’ve put you through. You deserve all of that and more-you should know that.’ He stopped and chastised himself angrily, his hand balling into a fist, ‘Why should she know that? How could she know that? She’s had everyone she’s ever cared about treat her like she was worthless! Everyone including me, so how the hell would she know it? Damn it, why didn’t I see it? How could I have been so careless? How could I have been so damn stupid?’
If it weren’t for him, I’d probably still be at that club without any direction in my life, alone and still fooling myself into thinking I was happy, still settling for so much less than I want, so much less than I need and so much less than I deserve. ‘You’re wrong. You would’ve done what you had to do to get through whatever life threw at you, you’re stronger than you realize.’ Victor thought to himself solemnly. With Victor and our children, I finally have all of that and more. I finally have everything I’ve ever wanted, everything I’ve ever needed and so, so much more. ‘So do I, my darling Nikki, and I owe it all to you.’ Tears welled up in his eyes as he looked back on all they’d accomplished together, all they’d built.
But, sitting here, I can’t help but wonder; is this wonderful fairytale about to end?
‘Please, darling, don’t give up, please. I promise you, I won’t give up on you, on us, so please, don’t give up on me; not now, not when I need you most. Please don’t give up on me.’ Victor silently prayed as he let the journal drop from his hands and let the tears he’d been holding back flow freely from his eyes as he slumped back in the bed and tried to ignore the raging pain searing his soul and tearing him apart. Silently he sobbed as he thought of all he was on the verge of losing.
Trapped in his own personal hell, he didn’t hear the door open until Nikki spoke.
“Victor.” She murmured softly, her voice hardly more than a whisper as she approached him slowly, cautiously.
Taking in the sight of the anguish, the rage etched on his face, straining every muscle in his body, she felt a shiver around her heart.
Glancing down, she spotted the journal in his lap.
As tears spilled from her own eyes, Nikki looked up towards heaven and thought to herself, ‘Damn it, why didn’t I hide that? Why did I leave it out in the open? This is the last thing he needs, the last thing!’ Then, her eyes never leaving Victor’s, she slowly walked over to him, her legs feeling like dead weights.
Pulling the stool as close as she could to his bedside, she sat down and took his hand in both of hers. “Oh Victor,” Nikki whispered as, with tears streaming down her cheeks she kissed him softly, sweetly, her lips lingering in his before resting her forehead against his and looking deep into his eyes. Wiping his tears with her thumb, she murmured this promise, “I’m not going anywhere and I’m not giving up on you.” After another kiss, she silently rested her forehead against his fore a few moments before laying it carefully, softly, on his shoulder.
Unaware of the turmoil and heart wrenching pain his parents were in, Nick stood in Crimson Lights addressing his employees. “Cody is passing out pictures of two men, both of whom have been causing problems for my sister.”
“What kind of problems?” one employee asked.
“They’ve both issued threats and have my sister afraid for her life. They’re both dangerous and one may be armed. If any of you see anyone who looks like either one of them call the police right away and call me. Don’t take any chances and don’t try to do anything on your own. There’s no telling what they’re capable of and I don’t want anybody hurt. They may change their appearance, if they haven’t done so already. They could’ve grown a beard, dyed their hair or be wearing coloured contacts. Whatever you do don’t let your guard down for a moment. If you see anything suspicious and I’m not here tell Cody or whoever’s on shift with you. Stay alert and don’t discount anything you see or hear, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Most of all stay safe. Thanks everybody.”
One by one all the employees filed out of the building. Only Cody stayed behind.
“Nick, is there anything I can do?” he asked carefully
“Not right now, but thanks for putting together the flyers. We need to catch these scumbags Cody, before they get anywhere near my sister.”
“We will, Nick, we will.”Cody tried to reassure him.
“I swear, if either of those two sick bastards does anything to Vicki, I’ll kill them, I swear I’ll kill them.”
Not knowing what to say or how to react, Cody merely replied “We will Nick, we’ll get them; I promise you.” With that, he left trying his best to ignore the chills running through him and the sense of foreboding that was beginning to wash over him, knotting his stomach.
Victoria sat on the living room couch relaxing after having gotten Abby to bed. Unimpressed with what was on television, she quickly turned it off and turned her attention to the mail that lay on the coffee table in front of her. Thinking nothing of it, she began to thumb through the envelopes barely paying attention to what was written on them. “Bill. Bill. Bill. Junk mail. Junk mail. More junk mail….” She rolled her eyes and slumped back on the couch quickly becoming tired of the monotony until something caught her eye. “That’s weird. This one doesn’t have a return address.” Curious and beginning to get a little nervous, she tore open the envelope while her hand trembled just slightly. Her throat went dry and her face drained of all colour as she read what had been neatly typed on the small blank index card. “We’ll be together soon.” As her stomach lurched she tried in vain to rid herself of the doubts, the paralyzing fear that she had, until now, been able to control. “I thought this was over. I thought they’d given up, moved on. I should’ve known I couldn’t be that lucky. Who sent this and why? Which sick bastard is it and what’s it going to take to get them to leave me alone?”
It was then that her cell phone rang. “Hello.” Her voice cracked, sounding more like a croak than anything else and the pinpricks of fear spread from her spine, fanning out until she could feel them all over her body. She could hear nothing but the song See the pyramids along the Nile in the background. “Hello.” She said again, her voice still sounding nothing like her own. As she listened to the lyrics, her stomach began to churn violently. See the pyramids along the Nile Watch the sunrise from a tropic isle Just remember darling all the while you belong to me See the market place in old Angiers Send me photographs and souvenirs Just remember when your dream appears You belong to me I’ll be so alone without you Maybe you’ll be lonesome too “Hello! Hello, who is this? Who is this and what do you want? What kind of sick game are you playing? What do you want from me?”She asked hysterically. “Only what’s mine.” A voice she didn’t recognize replied in an unusually low whisper.
“What does that mean?” Victoria asked angrily.
“You’ll see soon enough. I always get what I want and this time won’t be any different, Victoria. I will get what I want from you, one way or another.” The voice rasped, so cold, so calm and detached the sound of it drained all of the colour from her face.
“Damn you, don’t play games with me! I’m warning you, you don’t know who you’re dealing with! You don’t have a clue!”
“No, it’s you who doesn’t have a clue who you’re dealing with, but you’ll find out soon enough.” The madness in the man’s voice, the maniacal glee that rang in it made Victoria’s heart pound as he hung up and left the dial tone to taunt her, to haunt her while her mind conjured up a thousand terrifying sickening possibilities of who was on the other line and exactly what they had planned for her.
Author’s Note: All medical information paraphrased and otherwise was taken from the websites below.
Post-Stroke Rehabilitation Fact Sheet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/stroke/…strokerehab.htm
Let’s Talk About Stroke: http://ww2.heartandstroke.ca/Images/English/LTAS EN 2006.pdf
Central Nervous System Functions: http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/…/CNS.html#brain
Central Nervous System Functions Functional Divisions: http?//faculty.washington.edu/chudler/functional.html
Central Nervous System Brain Major Parts: http://healthweb.org/browse.cfm?categoryid=649 http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/split.html
Info On The Brain: Brain Structures&Functions http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/kinser/Structure1.html
Brain Parts & Functions: http://www.brainhealthandpuzzles.com/brain…s_function.html
Brain Map: http://www.neuroskills.com/brain.shtml
The Human Brain: http://www.allabouttbi.com/partsofthebrain/ Glossary Of Terms: http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/kinser/Glossary.html
Brain Anatomy & Parts Of The Brain: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/brain-anato…-the-brain.html By Ningthoujam Sandhyarani Published: 12/20/2008 Brain Map:http://www.headinjury.com/brainmap.htm
Brain Explorer-Brain Atlas: http://www.brainexplorer.org/brain_atlas/B…las_index.shtml
Parts Of The Brain & Their Functions:http://cwx.prenhall.com/bookbind/pubbooks/…ages/t02_02.pdf
Brain & Nervous System: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/body_…ous_system.html
Stroke Everything You want to Know: http://ww2.heartandstroke.bc.ca/images/eng…boutStrokeE.pdf
Central Nervous System Brain Major Parts: http://healthweb.org/browse.cfm?categoryid=649 http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/split.html
Frontal Lobe, Parietal Lobe, Temporal Lobe Info: http://www.faculty.washington.edu/chulder/lobe.html
Central Nervous System: http://www.emc.maricopa.edu/faculty/farabe…ervous%20System
Central Nervous System Functions: http://www.users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma/ultra…/CNS/html#brain
Brain Functions: http://library.thinkquest.org/J002391/functions.html
N&V History Information: Various YouTube videos&Or’s N&V page-Scenes Transcripts section, History Pages : http://web.archive.org/web/20060510234921/http://www.victor-nikki.com/history.htm ; http://web.archive.org/web/20060510234828/http://www.victor-nikki.com/scenes.htm