Y&R Fanfiction

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#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: Playtime Is Over Pt. 10

Published November 13, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Chapter Twenty-Eight
“As if that weren’t bad enough I can’t stop thinking about that night right before the judge granted Dad custody of Abby.” Still seething, as much because of the memory of that night as because of Gary and Jeff, she thought to herself furious, ‘If he didn’t want children, if he didn’t want me, he had other options. But he chose to walk out on Mom. He makes these big, wonderful speeches about how important she is to him, how important we all are to him and he had the gall to do that to her? He doesn’t know the meaning of the word love! He never did! If he had, he never would’ve walked out on her, telling her he didn’t want a baby. He should’ve thought of that before! He should’ve thought of it long, long before she ended up pregnant with me! Damn him! Damn him for putting her through that! If he didn’t want anything to do with me, he should’ve walked away before it happened! But, no, that didn’t even enter his mind. He never thought that far ahead, it wasn’t about the future for him, it was about the moment and getting what he wanted-damn the consequences-for anyone, especially my mother!’

With her heart pounding against her ribs, she stalked to the window and watched wind and rain pound the ground and slash across leaves and flowers thinking how well it matched her mood. Then, shaking from head to toe and trying to catch her breath, she thought to herself, somewhat ashamed, ‘What’s wrong with me? What the hell’s wrong with me? My father could be dying and here I am letting all this get in the way? My mom needs him, that’s all that should matter. So why can’t I get a grip? Why can’t I calm down enough to just focus on that? Why can’t I get a grip on this anger that keeps bubbling up in me and how much longer can I keep it under control? Where is this resentment coming from? I have no right to feel resentful where my father is concerned, he’s on his deathbed for crying out loud! How much longer can I keep this to myself, how much longer can I keep it from hurting someone else, someone I love?’

Trying to swallow the fear and fury that had lodged in her throat, making it all but impossible to breathe, Victoria walked over to the couch, her hands clenched into tight fists and sat down glaring off into space and trying valiantly though fruitlessly to rid herself of the bitter rage and endless questions that plagued her and had a strangle hold on her and her life.

Throwing her cell phone back in her bag and her bag on the table beside her, Nikki rose to pace Victor’s hospital room, fury rolling off her in waves. 
Catching her eye, Victor motioned for her to come and sit by him. 
Hearing a muffled page from out in the hall, Victor scowled.
“You want to know what the doctors have found out, what happened, am I right.” Nikki asked knowingly.
Tilting his head toward her, he rolled his eyes and thought to himself, ‘No, I want to know what the weather’s like in Arizona. Of course I want to know what the hell’s going on! What have the doctors found out? They must know something by now!’
“You always were impatient!”
At that, his scowl only deepened as he thought to himself, barely keeping his temper in check, ‘Why would that change now? What does she expect, me acting like a choir boy? It ain’t gonna happen!’
“Victor, you have to be patient. The doctors don’t know much yet, but when they do, you’ll be the first to know. For now all they know is that you had a haemorrhagic stroke, you have to be patient and give them time to do the work they need to so they know that the answers they get are the right ones!”Nikki tried her both reassure and reason with him.
‘Sure, while I’m at it, why don’t I fix healthcare and end the war in the Middle East!’ he thought to himself on a huff breath infuriated. 
“I know; I know this is the hardest thing you’ve ever been through, but you can’t give up! You have to keep fighting, for all of us. We need you.”
Reminded once again of his children and just how heartbroken Victoria was when she left, Victor couldn’t help the sombre, heartbroken expression that now shrouded his face, the fury and helplessness that shone, despite his best efforts, in his eyes. ‘Why can’t I remember who she is, why is it so damn hard? If I could just remember who the hell she is, maybe I could fix this somehow, at least I could try! I have to remember, whatever it takes, I have to get my memory back! I can’t stay like this the rest of my life, a vegetable, a noose around my family’s neck; around Nikki’s neck!’ 
Knowing just where his mind was taking him and what that particular train of thought would do to him, Nikki tried once again to reassure him. “This isn’t over, not by a long shot! You’re going to beat this and we’ll all help you, all of us!”
As both the uncertainty plaguing him and the tears he tried so valiantly to hide, to keep at bay shone in his eyes, Victor turned away, his fists clenched by his sides. 
“Darling, I wish I could take the pain away, I wish I could. If I could, I’d do it in a heartbeat.” Nikki whispered running her fingers through his hair, her eyes never leaving his.
‘Damn it! This isn’t what I want! I don’t want her blaming herself! She has no reason to blame herself! This isn’t her fault!’

“Whoa!” Nikki exclaimed as she felt a strong swift kick come on from out of the blue.
Alarmed, Victor studied her intently, his eyes never leaving her face as he waited for her to tell him what was going on.
“Apparently our daughter is not happy with the topic of conversation and she’s not shy about letting me know!”Nikki told him with a bittersweet smile.
Slack jawed; Victor stared at her unable to believe what he’d just heard.
“You heard me right, I’m pregnant.” Nikki said with a smile as she thought to herself, ‘This is just like when we first found out, only I don’t have to worry about him passing out.’ Sensing an opportunity to tease Victor and lighten the mood, and if she were really lucky get his mind off his current situation, Nikki said, “Let me guess, you just thought I was getting fat.”
Caught completely off guard, Victor scowled at her for a moment before shaking his head and laughing until his sides hurt. ‘She doesn’t really think I’ll answer that, does she? Even if I could, there’s no way I would! That’s a trick question, there’s no good way for me to answer! Whatever I tell her I end up in the doghouse!’
“Fine, don’t answer me; I’ll get the truth out of you sooner or later.” Nikki teased enjoying the light-hearted moment among all the chaos.
Restless, Victor shifted in bed desperately trying to sit up. ‘Damn it, with all the rest I’ve had, I should be able to sit up by now, or at least move more than my upper body! How am I supposed to take care of a child, help Nikki take care of one when I can’t even sit up in a damn bed?’
“Victor, listen to me. I understand that you’re frustrated and worried that you’ll be stuck like this forever; you’re frustrated and worried that you won’t be able to help me take care of our children. But you won’t! You won’t be like this forever! You won’t, I swear you won’t!” Nikki told him before kissing him passionately, lingeringly. “Now, I want you to close your eyes and rest.”
‘Close my eyes and rest? I’ve had more rest than anybody needs, I don’t need any more rest! What I need is to get to the bottom of this so I can start fixing whatever happened and get on with my life!’ 
“Victor, please.” Nikki begged, hoping she’d get through to him. 
Grumbling, Victor did his best to get comfortable. ‘I can’t wait to be back home in my own bed, this bed is horrible! How does anybody expect me to get any rest in here?’
After several minutes of frustration Victor finally found a comfortable position and slowly drifted off to sleep.
As she sat there at his bedside watching him sleep, Nikki felt the thick fog of exhaustion begin to wrap around her and slowly made her way over to the couch. Carefully, she took off her heels and lay down, soon she was fast asleep. 

The next day, as warm sunlight shone through the windows of Victor’s hospital room, Nikki slowly awoke and stretched, surprised that she’d slept through the night. 

Taking in Victor’s battered and all but defeated appearance, she quietly walked over to Victor’s bedside table and reached into her purse for her cell phone and, hoping to reach him, dialled Nick’s number.
“Hello.”
“Nicholas, honey, it’s me. I need you and your sister to come to Memorial.”
“Why, what happened? Mom, what’s wrong? What happened to Dad?”
“Nothing, nothing’s wrong. Nothing happened to your father. Sweetheart, he’s okay. He’s alright,” Nikki murmured trying to soothe and comfort her son. “I just think it would do you and your sister good, and it would do your father a lot of good, to see you and your sister.”
“Mom, come on, he doesn’t recognize us. Or at least he doesn’t recognize Vicki, which means he won’t recognize me. What would be the point? Besides, I’ve got other things to take care of.”
“Things to take care of? What things?” Nikki asked suspicious. Then thinking better of it, she replied with a shake of her head, “They can wait, Nicholas! Your father is more important! You and your sister get here; if you’re not here in an hour I’m coming to look for you. If that happens, it won’t be pretty.”
“Mom, it’s important, I need to-”
“Nicholas Newman, I can’t believe I’m hearing this! This is your father, not some stranger who’s just come in off the street!” 

Chapter Twenty-Nine
“Fine, we’ll be there in an hour.” Nicholas replied frustrated before slamming his cell phone shut. “Great, now I’ve got this to take care of! I don’t have time for this; I need to figure out what Gary and Jeff are up to!” 

With a tired sigh, Nicholas dialled his sister’s number. “Hi, Vick, it’s me. Yeah, Dad’s okay but Mom wants us to come visit him; she thinks it’ll lift his spirits. Yeah, I’m alright, just a little worn out. Okay, I’ll meet you there. Yeah, bye.”
Running his fingers through his hair, Nick swore pungently and thought to himself, ‘I hate lying to her, but what choice do I have really? She’s got enough going on without worrying about those two are cooking up-and she’s already worrying about it as it is!’

An hour later, Victoria, Nicholas and Nikki all stood in Victor’s hospital room. Each felt a strong sense of unease at the sight in front of them; the sight of a pale, increasingly frail looking man they could scarcely believe was their husband and father. 
“Thank you both for coming.”
“Mom, you’d tell us if there were something wrong, right, you’d tell us if there’d been a change, right?”Victoria asked worriedly, fearfully.
“Yes, angel, there’s been no change, your father is doing alright, he’s holding his own.”Nikki whispered tiredly, trying to offer comfort she knew her daughter desperately needed.

“Victor, Victor darling,” Nikki whispered as she slowly walked up to him and sat down.
Slowly, groggily, Victor awoke and looked up at her, clearly trying with everything in him to focus on her and what she had to say.
“Darling, Victoria and Nicholas are here to see you.” 
Turning to his children, Victor gave a weary smile as he struggled to focus on them.
“Hey Dad.” Victoria spoke first, her voice trembling.
“How are you feeling?” Nicholas asked, his voice matching his sister’s.
Still unable to say anything, Victor offered a feeble smile and thought to himself ‘I wish I could do something for them. They seem so lost, so heartbroken and afraid. Why can’t I do anything but lie in this damn bed!’

“Dad, I know that you’re tired, I know that you’re tired and scared. But you have to hold on. You have to hold on and fight, you have to fight to stay with us.” Victoria told him tearfully.
“Vicki’s right. This family needs you. Besides,” Nicholas tried to smile despite the despair that was slowly enveloping him with each passing day, “Mom needs you and you’ve got two children on the way. They need you.”
Slack jawed, Victor turned towards Nikki and thought to himself, ‘Two? Twins? We’re having twins? My God…I…I never dreamed of this! Nikki should be planning for their arrival we should be planning for their arrival. Instead she’s stuck here fussing over me!’

“So you see, Dad, you have to fight, I know it’s hard and part of you probably feels like giving up, but you have to fight, for all of us, but especially Mom and the twins. They need you.” Victoria told him, trying to force a note of determination, of confidence into her voice, though it was getting harder to ignore the chilling terror that closed in around her more and more with each passing moment; terror that she’d lose the one man she’d come to count on more than any other.

As tears welled up in his eyes, Victor’s heart broke a little more.
“Promise us something. Promise us that you’ll fight to stay with us. We need you.”Victoria whispered before kissing him on the cheek and whispering “I love you Daddy,” in his ear.
With his solemn eyes never leaving hers, Victor nodded.

With tears rushing down her cheeks, Vitoria ran out of the room and into the waiting room.
“I’d better go catch up with her and make sure she’s okay. Hang in there Dad.” Nick whispered before leaning down to hug him and leaving.

Knowing just where his mind was taking him, Nikki whispered, “This isn’t your fault. You can’t blame yourself.”
‘The hell I can’t. My family is in turmoil and I can’t do a damn thing about it!’ Victor thought to himself as he let tears he’d stubbornly held inside fall.
“We will get through this. You have to believe that! You just have to trust me. I’m not going giving up on you. I’m not giving up on you so don’t you go giving up on me!”
“One day soon we’ll look back on this with our children and know we got through it together. You’ll see, one day soon we’ll have the life we’ve always wanted, a life full of laughter and love; a life we can be proud of, surrounded by everyone who cares about us. We’ll make all our dreams come true. You’ll see.”
Victor studied her sceptically and slowly, weakly reached up to cup her cheek in his hand.
With a tremulous smile, one that she hoped with everything in her hid her uncertainty and the fear tearing at her soul, Nikki kissed him softly, sweetly, her lips lingering on his before she whispered, “I love you! I love you so much, my darling.”
With a tearful smile, Victor fell back to sleep, exhausted by the emotional exchange.

As Jeff paced his apartment, his madness growing stronger and more grotesque and uncontrolled with each passing moment, he thought to himself, ‘I need to make a few phone calls. I can’t afford any screw ups.’
“Hello.”
“Is everything ready?” Jeff asked cryptically. “You have the piece?”
“Yeah.”
“And it can’t be traced back to me?” Jeff asked, completely unwilling to take any chances.
“Yeah, it can’t be traced back to anyone. What are you so worried about? Everything’s under control. You sure you want to go through with this? Going after Victor Newman’s daughter could come back to haunt you, big time!”
“Just do what I tell you, let me worry about that little tease. She’ll get what’s coming to her and dear old daddy won’t be able to do a damn thing about it.” Jeff told him before hanging up.
“Yes, she’ll pay dearly for what she’s done to me! She’ll regret turning me down! Nobody, nobody turns me down and gets away with it! This isn’t finished! Not until I say so!
Victoria Newman will be begging for a second chance before I’m done with her! All she needs is a little encouragement. She’ll get that and more!” The predatory gleam in his eyes matched the twisted smirk spreading across his lips as his mind conjured up all kinds of twisted revenge scenarios for him to turn into reality. 

Gary paced his apartment as he waited for his delivery. “Where is he? He should’ve been here an hour ago! He’s late!” Furious, he snatched up a bottle of tequila from his bar and poured himself a glass and downing it in one gulp.
He relished the burn of it as he thought about his plans for Victoria. The knock on his door brought him back to reality.

“What took you so long?” he snapped as he let the man in.
“I’m busy, alright? I’ve got other customers to take care of. Besides, I haven’t seen or heard from you in years. You’ve been clean a long, long time. So what do you want with these?” the man asked as he handed a plastic bag filled with small bottles of pills.
“That’s for me to know and you to spend your time speculating about, if you choose to. Otherwise, don’t ask any questions and forget we ever saw each other, forget you even know me, got it?” Gary told him as he gave him a small pile of hundred dollar bills.
“Fine with me. Just one more thing, what you do with those is your business. Just don’t let me hear about you using them on any women.” The man told him as he walked to the door.
“That’s right. What I do with these is my business. So back off and go back to whatever it is you’ve been doing.” Gary told him, his voice holding a sinister edge that would’ve scared most people, but for some reason had no effect on this man.
“I will as long as you don’t mess up.”
“You’re not in a position to be making threats, Mark.” Gary warned, beginning to lose patience.
“It’s not a threat. It’s a warning, a little friendly advice.”
“Whatever; just beat it.” Gary told him, slamming the door in his face.

“If these are as effective as I think they are; Victoria won’t know what hit her. She won’t know until it’s too late.” A sick, twisted smile spread across his face as demented glee shone in his eyes.
“Only one way to find out.” He said to himself as he left the apartment. 

Chapter Thirty
“Damn it! Why can’t I sleep! It’s after midnight and I’m still wide awake!” Victoria snapped as she threw the covers off of her, got out of bed and began to pace around her bedroom, frustration and fury pumping off of her.
“I wonder if Mom’s got anything in the medicine cabinet to help me sleep. What am I saying, of course she doesn’t! She won’t even take something for headaches! I need something though! I can’t take much more of this! Between Jeff and Gary and now everything that’s going on with Dad, I’m lucky if I can sleep in snatches during the night, and I’m really lucky if I can sleep for more than twenty minutes at a time!” 

“Maybe Olivia can give me something. It shouldn’t be that hard, really, I’ll just explain the situation and get her to write me a prescription.” 
Shaking her head, as if to rid herself of the idea she knew would only get her into more trouble, on so many levels, Victoria told herself firmly, chastising herself for even considering it, “No! I can’t do that! I can’t do that, it would never work, and even if by some miracle it did, Mom and Dad would eventually find out. I can’t take that chance! I have to find another way to deal with this! But how? Whatever I do, I have to do it fast; I don’t know how much more I can take, how much longer I can take this.”

At Memorial, as Victor slept soundly, Nikki’s mind took her back in time. She saw herself and Victor in many different situations, many different places over the years, but one thing remained the same even after all these years, one thing remains the same; their love for each other. She smiled sweetly as she saw them horseback riding, having picnics at the ranch and spending lazy mornings in bed with the warm sunlight streaming through the bedroom windows as the warm summer wind teased her senses and played with the curtains. Although the same sweet smile stayed on her lips, it was touched by passion, the same passion that glinted in her eyes as she sat by Victor’s bedside. It was then that Victor unexpectedly awoke. Lost in thought, Nikki didn’t realize he was awake until she felt him take her hand. “Oh! You’re up, finally.” She told him, trying her best to sound normal and not preoccupied, trying with everything in her to give away nothing of what she was thinking. “How are you? I think you’re feeling better.”
Smiling, Victor nodded and gave a small shrug of his shoulders.
“Good. You’ve been through enough; it’s about time you start feeling better.”
Seeing she was still preoccupied, but not unpleasantly so, Victor studied her intently, intensely for a few moments before figuring out what was going on. 

Knowing he’d figured out precisely what was going on, Nikki looked away and tried to hide her smile. 
Chuckling half to himself, Victor took her chin in his hand and turned her around to face him.
Reading his mind, and the puzzled, mischievous expression on his face, Nikki told him firmly, “Forget it, mister; we’re not going down that road, not now. We both have enough to deal with without getting into more trouble.”
‘Who says it would be trouble?’ Victor thought to himself with an unapologetic smirk. ‘Besides, this could be fun, very fun.’
“Not a chance, Victor; not a single chance, so don’t even think about it!” 
‘Kill joy!’ Victor thought to himself petulantly. ‘You never had a problem with me having fun before; you never had a problem with us having fun before. In fact, most of the time, you’re the one instigating it!’

“Don’t push it Victor, we need to be careful. I’m not taking chances with your health” she told him, her tone brooking no argument although she couldn’t hide the smirk that spread across her lips, even if she’d wanted to.
‘At least I got a smile out of her. I can’t remember the last time she really smiled.’ Victor thought to himself with a smile of his own.

“Some things never change” she told him with a chuckle and a shake of her head before saying, “And yet, there are times when everything does.” At his puzzled expression she continued, almost wistfully “Who would’ve thought, all those years ago, when you were still posing as a butler and interior designer and trying to find out if you could trust me, showering me with gifts, that we’d be married now, that we’d have the incredible life we do?”
‘Looking back now, I wasted so much time doing that. Why? I wasted so much time, time I could’ve spent building a life, an incredible life with you.’ Victor thought to himself regretfully, almost bitterly.
“Mr. Victor.” Nikki murmured without bothering to cover her burst of laughter. “You couldn’t come up with a better name?” she asked shaking her head.
Scowling, Victor thought to himself ‘What do you want, I’m a business man remember?’

“Then there were all the romantic candlelit dinners we’ve had over the years. I felt like a queen from the beginning.” She smiled softly as the memories washed over her. “I felt like I was living in a dream, a fairytale. In a way, I guess it was, it is, it’s a fairytale come true.” 
“How many nights did we spend blocking out the world, blocking out all the naysayers and the negativity that surrounded us? How many nights did we spend wrapped in each other’s arms, wrapped so tightly nothing could ever separate us? How many nights did we spend letting each other know exactly what we thought, how we felt without a single word. We never really needed words, did we? When it came right down to it, all we ever needed was each other. We’d spend all night, right up until the wee hours of the morning wrapped up in each other, blissfully wrapped in each other. Time flew by, hours felt like minutes. But, no matter how much time we spent together, it was never enough. It’s never been enough. We’ve never been able to get enough of each other. It’s kind of amazing, when you think about it.”
‘Amazing maybe. But it’s not surprising.’ Victor thought to himself half agreeing. 
“You’re still the only one, the only man who’s ever been able to make me feel that way. The only one who can leave me breathless, speechless with just one kiss, just one touch. The passion between us, the passion that’s been there from that first night, the first kiss, first touch, it’s only grown over the years.” Leaning towards him, her voice dropping to the barest whisper, she told him, “Most people would say it’s an addiction, a sickness. But that doesn’t matter. They don’t know, they’ll never know. What we have comes once in a lifetime, if you’re lucky.” Blowing out a slow breath between her lips, Nikki reminded herself she needed to be careful and keep in mind exactly what was at stake. With a gentle hand on his cheek, she whispered, her voice hoarse and full of passion as her eyes never left his, almost burning into his, “I still can’t get enough of you.” Unlike the kisses she’d given him before, this one held no demure, no restraint, on the contrary, this one was all scorching passion. All too quickly, it ended and she pulled back leaving him scowling.

With a half-smile she continued, “Some of my favourite memories aren’t the ones of the most elaborate surprises or the most exotic trips. The ones that stand out, the ones that really make me smile are the simple ones, the ones nobody but us knows about. Like all the mornings we spent in bed, the rest of the house completely silent and ate strawberries and whipped cream for breakfast or a midnight snack.”
‘She wants me to behave and she pulls this? How much willpower does she think I’ve got?’ Victor thought to himself with a chuckle and a shake of his head. ‘Tease.’ He called her silently.
“You were so confused at first. When all your strawberries started disappearing from the fridge after I first moved in.” Nikki recalled giggling. “It didn’t take too long for you to figure out what was going on though. Once you did, you always made sure there was a bowl waiting for me. You can be very sweet when you want to be.”

“I remember the first time you took me horseback riding and how amazing it felt. It was like flying, so completely exhilarating and freeing. It still is. Let’s make a deal. As soon as you’re well and back to normal, we’ll go horseback riding.”
Victor’s eyes lit up as he smiled in agreement.

“Then there was our first Christmas together when you gave me that beautiful white fur coat and told me I looked like a Christmas angel when I tried it on.” A soft smile bloomed on her lips once again as she thought back to that night. “That was when you first started to let me in, it was the first time you told me about how you grew up and what it did to you to be in that orphanage. I know how hard that was for you and I’m glad you took the chance. I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like for you, how scared and nervous you must’ve been. But, I want to thank you for doing it. It made me see you in a different light, helped me understand.”

At the unimpressed expression on Victor’s face, the furrowed brow and intense eyes, Nikki decided it was best to change the subject. “Then of course came our first New Years Eve together. It was amazing, the dress you got me, the dinner we had, everything. And when you gave me that diamond bracelet, my God, nobody had ever given me anything so beautiful before, I could hardly believe it.”
Victor smiled softly as the memory came back to him easily, as if it were yesterday. ‘Your jaw dropped. I still remember how surprised you were, you were delighted.’ 

“My poor piano teacher. How I tested Maestro Fauch’s patience.” Nikki said laughing. “There were so many times I wasn’t concentrating and he knew it. I remember one day when he was over giving me a lesson. It was when I’d hired Paul and Andy to find your mother. I kept messing up and he got so frustrated with me. I kept trying to convince him to give me another chance and trying not to mess up but all I could concentrate on was the phone and waiting for one of them to call.”

#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: Playtime Is Over Pt. 9

Published November 13, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Chapter Twenty-Five 
“Dad doesn’t remember me, Nick, he doesn’t even recognize me! Dad doesn’t even recognize me, his own daughter!” Vicki told him, her voice breaking as, once again, the pain tearing through her, overtook her.
“Vicki-”
“Nick, please don’t patronize me. Don’t tell me everything will be okay, don’t do that, because, you and I both know what we’re up against here, we both know how this might end, so don’t sugar coat this!”
“I’m not trying to sugar coat anything, Vick, but it won’t do you or Dad any good fearing the worst, envisioning it as reality, all it’s doing is scaring you half to death!”
“I’m not fooling myself! I’m not mistaking my fears for reality, Nick, I’m being realistic!” Vicki shot out seething.
“No, you’re being pessimistic!” Nicholas tried, unsuccessfully to reason with her.
“Nick, you don’t know what’s going on, you think you do but you don’t! You don’t have a clue, so just back off!”
“Vicki, come on. Vicki, I’m sorry, come on, let me in a little, talk to me please.” He begged, hoping he’d be able to break through the barriers she’d built around herself for reasons only she knew.
“Nick, it’s okay, really, I’m fine. I just need to be by myself, please, just go,” Victoria whispered, a clear note of defeat ringing out in her voice.
Wordlessly, Nicholas wrapped his arms around her and held her tight before kissing her on the cheek and walking out the front door, closing it firmly but silently behind him.
As her legs finally gave way, Victoria collapsed on the couch and, laying down with the picture of her and her father clutched tight to her chest, cried herself to sleep.

Meanwhile at Memorial, Nikki tried her best to soothe Victor. “Victoria’s alright, she just needs time. She’ll be okay.”
With tears streaming down his cheeks and an indescribable pain tearing at his soul, Victor thought to himself ‘I wish I could believe that. She’s devastated and it’s all my fault. If I could just remember, if I could just remember who she is, I could fix this damn mess!’
“Victor, you can’t blame yourself, you’re doing the best you can.” Nikki tried to reassure him.
‘Easier said than done,’ Victor thought to himself ruefully. Scowling, he continued, ‘this is one time my best may not be good enough.’
“Victor Newman, you listen to me. You can’t give up, you can’t blame yourself either! All you can do is deal with this the best you can and let your family take care of the rest! Let us take care of everything else.” She tried to reason with him, tried to, on some level make him feel better. 

As outraged tears spilled from his eyes, Victor turned away from her, letting them fall, powerless to stop the torrent of fury raging within him, and too weary to search for the strength to fight it.
“Victor, look at me,” Nikki pleaded heartbrokenly.
Saying nothing, he swallowed hard and tried to blink back the river of tears he’d give anything to stop.
“Victor, look at me,” Nikki told him a little more forcefully as she cupped his cheek in her hand and turned him around to face her.
Fighting back her own tears, she told him, her voice choked by her own bitter tears, “I know you’re worried and angry, and you have every right to be. I also know you’re frightened and that you would do anything not to be, but you have to remember one thing. This isn’t your fault; it’s not your fault that you can’t remember who Victoria is. Besides, this is only temporary, darling. It’s only temporary; you’re going to be just fine; you have to believe that, you need to hold onto that, can you do that for me, for us?”
As uncertainty shone in his eyes and more tears fell, Victor nodded weakly before Nikki kissed him softly, lingeringly, offering whatever comfort she could. 
Exhausted, Victor let the thick fog of sleep wrap around him and prayed he’d fall into a dreamless sleep, yet fearful he’d be haunted by his fears even in his dreams.

Digging through her purse, trying to find a tissue, Nikki came across a picture. She smiled as she gazed at the last ultrasound picture she had of her children. “How do I do this? How do I just sit here and wait while Victor could be…while he could be…” Nikki couldn’t finish, she couldn’t bring herself to think it, let alone put it into words. The idea that she might lose the love of her life, now; at a time when they finally had everything they ever wanted, everything they’d ever dreamed of was more frightening than she could ever put into words. “Whatever happens, whatever I have to do, I will not lose you!” Nikki promised him before turning her attention to her children and, with a gentle yet strong, capable hand on her stomach, vowed, “Whatever happens, you’re not going to lose your daddy. I promise you will not lose your father; never!”

With her energy drained, Nikki returned to the cafeteria for a quick snack and took it back to Victor’s room. As she ate, she calmed down enough to return to the reading. ‘It’s the best thing I can do for Victor right now, the only thing I can do for him,’ she told herself sadly.
“Most of the sensory signals, auditory (sound), visual, somatosensory (from the skin and internal organs), pass through the thalamus on their way to other parts of the brain for processing. In addition, it plays a role in motor control. So, could damage to this part of the brain be enough to cause the paralysis?” Nikki wondered aloud wishing she had something more concrete, and that she knew exactly what was going on with her husband.
“For hospital food, this is actually isn’t too bad.” Nikki murmured as she continued scanning the research in front of her. Smirking, she chuckled and said, “Hey, I’m eating, I’m eating, alright? You’re getting it just as fast as I can get it in me!” 

In a slightly better mood, Nikki continued. “The neocortex is where the brain gets its power to develop language, abstract thought and imagination.-Damage to it might account for the speech problems. So, was that the area of the brain that was damaged, causing the speech problems or was it Broca’s area?
“The amygdala is part of the telencephalon and is located in the temporal lobe. It’s involved in memory, emotion and fear, essentially acting as the brain’s warning centre. The body’s fight-or-flight response stems from the amygdale. It’s just under the surface of the front, medial portion of the temporal lobe where it causes the bulge on the surface referred to as the uncus. This is part of the limbic system. And this isn’t helping at all! It’s not helping me one bit!”

“The midbrain or mesencephalon-This part of the brain includes the tectum and tegmentum; which are involved in functions like vision, hearing, eye movement, and body movement.-So could that part of the brain have been damaged, causing the paralysis?”Nikki wondered aloud before continuing. “The motor cortex is part of the cerebral cortex which sends impulses to motor neurons; involved in coordinating movement and is found in the frontal lobe.” 
“The primary motor cortex is a region in the brain for initiation of voluntary movement.-Could that have been damaged causing the paralysis?-The putamen is another part of the limbic system and is responsible for familiar motor skills.-So maybe that’s what was damaged causing the paralysis?”
With a frustrated shake of her head, Nikki read on. “The tegmentum controls motor function and regulates other autonomic functions. 
The basal ganglia is involved in movement control. –Could damage to that part of the brain cause paralysis?” Nikki wondered before continuing.
The forebrain-the cerebrum contains the information that essentially makes us who we are: our intelligence, memory, personality, speech, and ability to feel and move.-So, maybe that part of the brain was damaged causing the paralysis and memory loss. Particular areas of the cerebrum are in charge of processing these different kinds of information. …”
The hidbrain-The cerebellum, also referred to as “the little brain because it looks like a small version of the cerebrum—is responsible for balance, movement and coordination.”
As her eyelids began to droop, Nikki closed the binder and curled up for the night on the couch not far from Victor’s bedside.

Blissfully unaware of the media frenzy that was about to break, Nikki slept soundly as the bright morning sun cast its warm glow in the hospital room.

At Gina’s, Bradley and Jack sat at the bar, completely ignoring one another’s presence when the football game they’d been watching was interrupted.
“This just in, Victor Newman, multibillionaire and business mogul was rushed to Memorial hospital and is in critical condition after having suffered a heart attack followed by a stroke. It’s not yet clear what brought either the heart attack or stroke on. Speculation has already begun as to whether Nicholas and Victoria Newman, Newman’s two oldest children are ready to assume control of their father’s vast empire if in fact their father does succumb to his injuries, which sources say are severe and life threatening. WBC tv will continue to update you as more information becomes available. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.”
“Oh my God, Nikki must be going through hell!” Jack exclaimed from his barstool not far from where Brad sat at the bar. 

Chapter Twenty-Six
Gulping down the last sip of his brandy, Brad jumped out of his seat and quickly headed out of the restaurant.
“Bradley!” Jack called after him grabbing him by the arm. 
“What?” Brad rasped as he glared at Jack, his eyes ice-cold, as was his voice.
“Don’t you go down there stirring up trouble,” Jack warned wisely.
“What are you blabbing about now? Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t head over there, Nikki needs me.” Bradley barked incensed.
“For starters, you have no place being there, you don’t belong there, Bradley.” Jack told him, his tone of voice making it clear that fact should be obvious.
“The hell I don’t! Nikki needs me; she needs a friend right now!”
“She needs you like she needs a root canal without anaesthetic!” Jack told him quickly becoming exasperated. “Listen golden boy, you go there right now and you’ll only be stirring up trouble, which is exactly what Nikki doesn’t need!”
“What are you talking about?” Brad barked, his eyes burning into Jack’s.
“Think about it for a second, will you? Her entire family is there with her, or at least Victoria and Nicholas are. You really think barging in there will earn you any brownie points with anybody in that family, especially Nikki? Think again!”
“I’m not going to just stand here and do nothing!” Brad exclaimed pulling out his cell phone.
“Who are you calling?” Jack asked beginning to get a bad feeling.
“Who do you think? I’m calling Nikki, genius.” Bradley rasped as he waited for Nikki to answer.

“Hello,” Nikki answered wearily.
“Hi Nikki, it’s me Brad.”
“What the hell are you doing calling me? What do you want? You’ve got a hell of a lot of nerve, you know that?” Nikki exclaimed fuming, the adrenaline now coursing through her jolting her awake and revving her for the battle that was to come.
“I heard about Victor, how are you holding up?”
“I’m fine; I have my family’s support, that’s all I need.” Nikki bit out making it crystal clear his presence, even by phone, was not only unwarranted, but completely unwanted!
“Nikki, come on, tell me the truth, this has to be rough on you. I wish you’d let me help you somehow.”
“Rough? Rough? You think this is rough on me? You don’t have clue, you really don’t! You are the last, the absolute last person who could ever help me, so don’t even try.”
“Why not, why won’t you let me do what I can to try and help you?” Brad asked confused and hurt.
“You’ve got so much nerve it’s unbelievable, you’re the reason my husband’s here in the first place! What makes you think you can do anything to help me? What makes you think I’d even let you try after the stunt you pulled?”
“Nikki what are you talking about I-”
“Don’t play innocent with me, don’t you dare play innocent with me Bradley. I know about your little visit.”
“What visit?” Brad asked, continuing to play dumb.
“The visit you paid my husband the night he had his heart attack, you didn’t think I’d find out did you? Did you?” Nikki all but screamed accusingly.
“Nikki, please let me explain.”
“Save it, just save it. Do yourself a favour, Bradley; don’t let me catch you anywhere near my family, because if I do, you’ll regret it, I guarantee you’ll regret it!” With that, Nikki slammed her phone shut and, just barely resisting the urge to hurl it against the wall, shoved it back in her bag.

As he watched his granddaughter play in his living room, John couldn’t help but worry about how Victor’s situation was affecting her. ‘I just hope he’ll be alright, God knows Abby’s been through enough. She doesn’t need any more heartache.’
He was so lost in his thoughts he almost didn’t hear the doorbell ring. Still preoccupied, he rose to answer the door. “Victoria, come in.”
“Thank you Mr. Abbott.”
“Victoria!” Abby squealed, delighted to see her sister.
“Hi, sweetie pie,” Vicki said wrapping her arms around her and holding her tight.
“What are you doing here?”
“I came to talk to your grandpa and then I thought we could spend some time together.”
“Doing what?” Abby asked excited and curious.
“I don’t know; we’ll talk about that later, okay? Right now I really need to talk to Grandpa.”
“Okay, Grandpa, can I get a snack?” Abby asked completely oblivious to the tension that hung in the room.
“Sure, go and ask Mrs. Martinez to make you something. I’ll be there in a minute.”
“Okay,” Abby replied before scampering off in search of her snack.

Following John into the living room, Victoria let out an exhausted sigh and sat on the couch across from him. 
“Can I get you anything?”
“No thank you, I just ate a little something before coming here. I want to thank you for taking care of Abby, for all your support, it really means a lot to me and my family, and especially for taking care of Abby.”
“You’re welcome; I want to do anything I can to help, especially for Abby’s sake, after all, she is my granddaughter.”
“Thank you. The doctors still don’t know what’s going on with my father or how the stroke affected him, they don’t even know if…” Victoria’s voice trailed off, unable to let her mind venture to that dark place, to even consider the idea that she’d lose her father.
“Victoria, I’m so sorry, I wish there was something I could do. Your father’s a strong man. He’ll get through this.”John offered what little encouragement he could.
“I know and I keep telling myself that but…”
“You can’t help the doubts, can you?” John asked wisely.
“No.” Victoria answered her voice the barest whisper.

“No, no!” Abby exclaimed; her eyes wide with fear as tears ran down her cheeks.
“Daddy’s dead, isn’t he? He’s dead.”
“No, sweetheart, Daddy’s okay, he’s alright!” Victoria tried her best to calm her sister down.
“Then why can’t I see him, why won’t you let me see him? Why won’t you tell me what’s going on?” Abby persisted, unwilling to be kept in the dark any longer.
“We don’t know what’s going on, sweetheart, the doctors have done a lot of tests but they’re still not sure what’s going on.”
“Why can’t I see him? He’s my daddy too!”
“Of course, of course he is. You can see him when he gets stronger, I promise. Listen, Daddy needs all of us to be strong for him; he needs all of us to be strong for him and think good thoughts. Can you do that for him?” Victoria asked, her heart breaking for her little sister who had already been through so much.
“I’ll try.” Abby whispered, still heartbroken and letting her tears flow freely.
“That’s all I can ask for.” Victoria replied as she wrapped her arms around her and held tight for a few moments, wishing she could somehow shield her from all the chaos that surrounded her. 
Trying desperately to distract Abby from the nightmare that had befallen the entire family, Victoria suggested, “Hey, how about we go out for some ice cream? How does that sound?”
Abby just shrugged and asked, “Then can we go see Daddy?”
“I talked to Mommy and she wants us to wait until he’s stronger, but we can bring Mommy some ice cream, that would really make her happy, especially since she hasn’t seen you in awhile.” Victoria told her, hoping she’d understand and wouldn’t argue.
“Okay.” Abby replied before walking to the entrance to get her coat.

“Ready to go?”
Abby silently nodded and said “Bye Grandpa.”
“By sweetheart, see you later.”
“Thank you again.” Victoria told him before turning to leave.
“If there’s anything I can do, just let me know.” John said as he took in the fatigue scrawled on Victoria’s face.
“I will; thank you.” Victoria told him wearily before leaving.

With Nicholas having headed home after checking in at the office, Gary was free to walk right into Crimson Lights to find out what he could about what was going on with Victoria and her family.
“Where is she?” He snapped as he sat at a table waiting impatiently. “She’s jerked me around long enough!”

“Hi, can I get a large black coffee.” A man with dark brown hair, brown eyes and dressed in a business suit complete with a tie said.
“Here you go.” Cody replied.
“Thanks,” Jeff replied, putting on his most charming smile. “I’m looking for Victoria Newman; you haven’t seen her by any chance, have you?” 

Chapter Twenty-Seven
“No sorry, I haven’t seen her in quite awhile.” Cody replied becoming very suspicious and studying the man in front of him very carefully, trying to memorize as much as he could about the stranger who, for reasons that escaped him was intent on finding out where Victoria was. 

“Vicki’s certainly popular.”
“You know Victoria Newman?” Jeff asked surprised.
“Yeah I know her very well. You?”
“A little,” Jeff answered cryptically, suspicious.
“You’re looking for her too.”
“Yeah. You?”
“Yeah, we have a few things to settle.”
“Same here. We’ve got a score to settle. She owes me.” The chill that rang out in his voice would’ve chilled anyone to his soul; anyone but Gary.
“Oh?” Gary asked as he thought to himself, ‘So she made another enemy. Interesting; very interesting.’ “She crossed you too, huh?”
“Yeah, she’ll pay for it too!”Jeff declared before asking, “What’s it to you?”
“Let’s just say she’s not my favourite person either!”
“I get the feeling that’s an understatement for both of us.” 
“Yeah, but understatements still get the point across, sometimes better than laying it all out on the table.” Gary said cryptically, giving away nothing of his plans.
“You’re right. The little ***** is going to pay for what she did to me. She’ll pay dearly. One way or another I get what I want. Nobody does what she did and gets away with it; no one. She tried to make a fool of me thinking she’d get away with it! She’s wrong! She’s going to find out just how wrong she is, no matter what I have to do to make it happen! No matter what I have to do-even if it has to get messy, I’ll get what I want.”
“Messy?” Gary asked, thinking to himself, ‘It sounds like Victoria got herself into one hell of a mess! What does this guy have planned for her? And how can I get him to tell me about it?’
“She really got on your bad side, didn’t she? Come on, man, you don’t have to worry, you already know I like her just about as much as you do. Come on, you can trust me. What are you going to do to her? What have you got cooked up for her to teach her a lesson?”
Jeff looked him up and down and studied him intently, obviously assessing whether or not he was trustworthy. “Not here, let’s go outside.” He said as he left the table with Gary following close behind. 

Cody had been watching them intently, not even taking his eyes off them for a moment, from his spot behind the bar. As he finished with his last customer, he picked up the phone and called Nick.
“Hello.”
“Hi, Nick, it’s Cody. I know it’s probably a bad time, but we’ve got a problem here. We’ve got a big-time problem.”
“What is it Cody? My Dad’s-”
“I know, but Jeff and Gary are here.”
“What? What are those two slimy bastards doing there?” Nick rasped incensed.
“I don’t know. But I don’t like it, not one bit. They’re out on the patio right now. I’ve been watching them since they struck up their conversation. I don’t like what I’m seeing Nick, not one bit.”
“I’ll be right there. Don’t take your eyes off them, not even for a moment!” Nick ordered as he hung up and bolted out the door.
Peeling out of his driveway, he swore “Neither of you two bastards knows who you’re dealing with, but when I’m finished with you will, you’ll never forget! You’ll rue the day you ever crossed me or my sister!”

“So, come on, what have you got planned for the little-”
“I have a few connections. That and I called in a favour. I’ve got some hardware that I haven’t used in awhile, but as it turns out it’ll come in handy.”
“Hardware?” Gary asked playing dumb.
“Yeah, a nice little piece, easy to use and small enough that she won’t know it’s there until it’s too late.”

Unbeknownst to either of them, Cody had been listening just inside the patio doors. Playing it cool and acting like he hadn’t heard anything, he walked out and, as if they were any other customers asked, “More coffee, guys?”
Having stopped their conversation when they got a glimpse of him heading outside toward them, Gary smiled and shook his head while Jeff said, “Sure that would be great, thanks.”
“Anything else I can get for you?” Cody asked forcing a friendly note into his voice as he thought to himself, ‘I hope Nick gets here soon! We need to stop these guys before it’s too late!’
“No thanks.” Jeff replied while Gary just shook his head and watched Cody walk back inside.
“Listen, I’ve got to go. See you around.” Jeff said shaking Gary’s hand with Cody watching very, very closely from inside.
“Same here. See you around and good luck with your project.” Gary told him as they went their separate ways.

As Jeff got into his car and peeled out of the parking lot, he rasped “You can run, Victoria, but you can’t hide! I’ll find you and when I do, you’ll pay; you’ll pay dearly!”

As he drove down the main road leading away from the coffee house, Gary thought to himself, his eyes gleaming with a twisted, sick glee and a demented smirk twisting his lips, ‘She’s made another enemy, this will be easier than I thought. And who knows, it may turn out to be much, much more fun than I imagined.’

Meanwhile, at Memorial Victoria paced the tiny waiting room, frustration and uncertainty quickly getting the best of her. “I don’t know how much more I can take. Between what’s going on with Dad, what’s happening with Gary and Jeff, I’m going crazy.”

#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: Playtime Is Over Pt. 8

Published November 13, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Chapter Twenty-Two
“Wernicke’s area is responsible for language comprehension-obviously not Victor’s problem- and Broca’s area is responsible for producing speech and articulation, which, more and more, is beginning to sound like Victor’s problem.”
“The left side of the brain is responsible for language, math and logic while the right side is responsible for spatial abilities, face recognition, visual imagery and music. So, damage to the right side of the brain has to be affecting Victor since he can’t recognize anybody but me.” Frustrated by having to draw her own conclusions when she depended on doctors to help her and draw the conclusions for her, so she could focus on what really mattered to her-Victor-and helping him heal, helping him get his life back, Nikki wrote a note and left it beside Victor in bed before quickly walking out of his room and to the cafeteria.

“Nikki, what’s wrong?”
“Casey, what are you doing here?” Nikki asked wearily.
“I’m on a break; I was coming to check on you. What happened? Is something wrong? Did something happen with Victor?”
“No, he was sleeping when I left.” She didn’t bother looking up at her sister as Casey sat in front of her.
“So, tell me what happened? You look like you’re about to fall apart.”
“Gee, thanks, I really needed to hear that.”
“I’m sorry; I’m just worried about you, that’s all.”
“I know. I just had to get out of there, that’s all. I couldn’t stand being in that damn hospital room another minute! Casey, all I can do is read the research you gave me and wait and wait and wait! I can’t do a damn thing but wait and try to draw my own conclusions about something I have absolutely no experience with and wish I never had to deal with!”
Watching as Nikki’s fists clenched and unclenched, Casey’s heart broke for her sister as she moved around the table to sit beside her and wrap her arms around her.
“Thanks, I needed that.” Nikki said through her tears as she offered a tremulous smile and took a deep breath before releasing it slowly. 
“Hey, why don’t we have some lunch before you head back into the trenches?” Casey offered helpfully.
“Okay, although I still don’t have much of an appetite.”
“Nikki, I know it’s hard, probably the hardest thing you’ve ever had to deal with, but you need to be patient. The doctors will come and see you as soon as they have something definitive. You need to eat; you need to keep your strength up, for lots of reasons.”

“I know. You and I both know how good I am at waiting.” Nikki quietly replied.
“Yeah, that’s something you can’t blame on Victor either! You’ve never been good at waiting, never been patient, ever since Mom brought you home from the hospital! You’re such a prima donna!”Casey teased her lightly.
At Nikki’s strained smile, Casey quickly said, “I’m sorry, bad joke.”
“No, it’s not that. It’s not your fault. I’ve just been thinking about the pregnancy and what’s going on with my baby girl and I can’t talk to anybody about it, well, I can’t talk to Victor. There’s just so much going on I feel like I’m on a roller-coaster with some madman at the switch and I can’t even anticipate what’s coming, much less figure out how to deal with it.”
With another sigh, Nikki rose and said, “I’d better get back. Victor will wonder where I am.”
“Okay, but call me if you need me.”
“I will. Don’t worry.”
“Yeah right, how many times have I heard that before?”
“Well then…”
“Not going to happen, little sister, get used to it.”
Feeling a little better, Nikki walked out of the cafeteria and headed back to Victor’s room, grateful that, because of her sister, she had found the strength to deal with whatever would come next. 
On the way back, Nikki decided to make a quick stop. As she entered the chapel, Nikki couldn’t help but notice how quiet it was since nobody else was there. Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, she walked up to the front where candles were set on a table and lit one. As she sat in one of the pews, she thought to herself, ‘I don’t even really know what I’m doing here except trying to find some way to hold on for my family’s sake.’ 
Trying to ignore the chills sliding along her skin and slipping into her bones little by little, she took a moment to collect her thoughts before beginning. “Thank you for sparing Victor. You know he means the world to me. Lord, I know I ask for a lot sometimes. But, you know what’s going on with my family right now. You know how much of a mess everything is. More and more, I’m afraid I’m losing my family. The tension between Nicholas and Victoria is reaching its breaking point, the situation with Victor’s plaguing me day and night, I’m terrified I’ll lose my husband and my daughter and I can’t do a thing about either! Not to mention what the situation with Gary and Jeff is doing to me! I don’t know how much more I can take.”

In his room, Victor lay in bed, still incredibly frustrated by what he saw as a total lack of progress in his current situation. Tormented by it, he could do nothing but toss and turn as he was thrust into another nightmare. He saw himself at home at the ranch. But it was different, much different. He was paralyzed, totally dependent on others for almost everything. Not even Nikki cared for him any longer.

In the chapel, Nikki sat and searched for the answers that still eluded her, praying for the strength to get through it all. “Victor’s terrified of what may happen, of not knowing what’s going on and not being able to control the situation, let alone the outcome. I’m trying to stay strong, for his sake as well as my children’s” she stopped a moment as she considered her unborn twins. “And I know he’s trying to stay strong for mine. But I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up. I don’t know how much longer I can stay strong for everyone when I feel like my world’s crumbling down around me. How do I do it? I know I should be able to do it by now, I should know exactly what to do to make sure my family pulls through this, but I don’t, I just don’t.”

Still trapped in the confusing nightmare, Victor was helpless to do anything but toss and turn and hope that it would end soon. He saw himself in the wheelchair as Nikki hurriedly walked into and out of the living room carrying luggage. The more he tried to talk to her, to try and get some answers, make some sense of what was going on, the more she ignored him; it was as if she couldn’t hear him, as if he were invisible; a ghost in his own home. He froze, speechless as his heart stopped at the sight in front of him. There before him stood a tableau he never expected to see, never wanted to see. 

In the chapel, Nikki wearily turned her attention to her daughter and her strange behaviour, trying valiantly to make some sense of it, trying with everything in her to find a way to help her. Tirelessly, she sought the answers that, as much as she didn’t want to admit it, eluded her. “Victoria’s trying to stay strong for me, she’s trying so hard to take care of me and not let me see how this is affecting her, but I can see it in her eyes, I can see it in her face. I just wish I knew how to get her to open up to me. It’s obvious from our last conversation that she’s angry with Victor over something, painfully obvious. It’s more than just the situation with Jeff and Gary, but I can’t figure out what. I just wish I knew; I wish I had a clue about what was going on. Then maybe I could stop all this craziness once and for all, or at least some of it.” Nikki amended, knowing she couldn’t fix everything, at least not right away.

In Victor’s room, his mind’s eye continued to torment him with an outrageous and terrifying scene. Wordlessly, he saw her put their two youngest in car seats before turning around and walking back upstairs, then returning with more bags. Chilling helplessness settled in him as he watched her prepare their two youngest children to leave and watched his life pass him by, watched it slip through his fingers.

“Nikki.” 
Nikki said nothing as she walked upstairs and returned moments later with the last of the luggage.
Unable to take in what he was seeing, Victor finally snapped. “Nikki, what the hell is going on here? What do you think you’re doing? Where do you think you’re going with my children?”
“Your children?” Nikki repeated mockingly with a cold smirk.
“Yes my children! Where the hell do you think you’re going with them?”
“Wherever I damn well please!”
“What in God’s name are you talking about? Answer me damn it!” Victor bellowed.
“I’m leaving town.” She replied shortly, not bothering to look him in the eye.
“Leaving town?” Victor asked confused and hurt.
“That’s right! I’m leaving town today!”
“But why? Why now?” he asked, his voice barely audible as he fought the excruciating pain wrenching his heart, tearing through it until he thought he’d collapse where he sat. 
“You really have to ask me that?” Nikki replied incredulously. 
“Yes and I damn well want an answer!” 

Chapter Twenty-Three 
“Fine with me, darling!”
Unable to explain it, Victor fought against the sense of foreboding and naked fear that washed over him at that moment.
“I’m sick and tired of this!” Nikki began, making it clear she had no intension of sugar coating any of what she would say, no intention of sparing him the pain she knew she’d heap on him before walking out on him for the last time and destroying his life forever.
“Sick of what?” Victor asked confused.
“Sick of this whole thing! I’m sick of this life! Damn it Victor, all I do is play nursemaid to you and I’ve had it!”
“What are you talking about?”
“Three kids, I’m raising three kids and trying to take care of you, and I don’t get a damn thing from you, nothing! I don’t even get a thank you; I’m not the one who put you in that damn chair, Victor! You did it to yourself! You did it by not taking care of yourself, so don’t you dare take it out on me! I’ve had it! Find another simpering jelly fish to use as your whipping boy, I’m out of here! It really shouldn’t be too hard, just call up one of your other ex-wives, I’m sure one’s bound to be free!”
“Nikki please—” he tried in vain to get her to calm down, to get her to listen to him, but it was clear, painfully clear, she’d already left. She’d left a long time ago.

“I’ve spent the best years of my life-no, I’ve thrown away the best years of my life-all for you, a man who just takes and takes until I have nothing left! I won’t let it go on, Victor, I won’t let it go on any more, for my children’s sake and my own, I’m leaving and I’m not coming back! Too many years I’ve stayed here playing the dutiful wife while you did what you wanted, followed your every whim, turned your every dream into reality while my dreams, my needs went unmet, while what I wanted and needed was deemed insignificant-by one person; you! Those days are long gone, darling, and they’re not coming back. Finally, finally I’m standing on my own two feet, starting a new life with a man who can give me what I need, everything I need, and does!” Although she was still too much of a lady to come right out and say it, it was painfully clear what she meant.
“How long has this been going on? How long have you been having an affair with that scum?” Victor roared.
“Did I say I was? Did I say I was doing that?” Nikki hedged hurtfully.
“Damn it Nikki! How long?”
“Whatever I have or haven’t been doing is no longer any of your concern. You lost the right-no; the privilege-of knowing what goes on in my life long ago, Victor!” Although her voice was ice-cold and detachment rang out in it, her eyes burned with a fire, a resentment and fury he’d never seen before.
“Nikki, wait!” he called after her as she turned her back on him once again and fussed with a blanket that covered their youngest son.
“No, I’ve wasted enough time-too much in fact-waiting around for you, waiting for you to say or do something, to pay some kind of attention to me, waiting for whatever meagre crumbs you’d deign to offer me, like I was some love sick puppy! As much as it pains me to admit it, I’m the one who wasted years of my life doing that, but not anymore!”

Ready to hurl insults and argue, fight for her, to fight as long as it took for her to finally see she was where she belonged, that no matter what he said or did he needed her and loved her more than anything or anyone ever could, Victor swore ripely as the doorbell rang.
Without so much as a glance at Victor, despite the heart wrenching pain etched on his face, Nikki turned her back on him and went to answer the door.
“Ready to go?”
Victor’s heart stopped, only to be squeezed in a vice like grip when he saw Bradley enter his home.
“Almost, I’ve just got a few things to finish up here and I’ll be right out.” Nikki told him as she smiled sweetly, her eyes shining with love, love she once swore was only for Victor.
Returning her smile, Brad kissed her with a passion that, once upon a time, she’d shared with him, the injustice of it, the betrayal tore at his soul, leaving it bloody and beaten. Smiling as he recognized his triumph, Brad replied, “I’ll wait in the car.” With only a smug smirk for Victor, he left. 
“What the hell do you think you’re doing? You are not taking my children to live with that slime ball! You are not taking my children to live with that scumbag, you hear me? Whatever you do with your life is your business, but I’ll be damned if you’ll ruin their lives too!”
“You don’t think I’m taking my children with me? Watch me!” Picking up her son and daughter, Nikki began walking out of the house.
“Nikki, get back here! Nikki!” he roared after her.
It was then that his son awoke and began to cry, for what, it wasn’t clear, didn’t matter. The sound wrenched Victor’s heart and echoed in the room long after Nikki had swept him up and slammed the door, never to return again.
Shooting awake, Victor tried to control his racing heart as his eyes darted around the room searching for Nikki, praying that wherever she was she’d be back soon. 

In the chapel, Nikki was caught up in her own waking nightmare, her own personal hell. “More and more, I feel like I’m losing my daughter, I wish I could shake the feeling but I can’t. I can’t shake the feeling and it scares me to death! I already lost one child, I can’t lose another. Please Lord, I can’t lose another, don’t let me lose Victoria. Please, keep all my children safe.”

With a deep breath, Nikki turned her attention to Victor. “Then there’s Victor. As if the situation weren’t bad enough, the doctors still don’t know how what parts of Victor’s brain were damaged in the stroke or how bad the damage was. Despite all the tests they’ve done they still haven’t got a single clue so I’m left waiting, sitting on my hands and waiting for answers that they should have by now! I’ve read I don’t know how much medical research on heart attacks and strokes, I’ve lost track, and I still don’t have any answers, just more questions.”
“It’s not that I’m not grateful that Victor’s still alive, it’s just that I feel so helpless. My family’s in crisis and I don’t have a clue how to help them! Please, help me find the answers I’m searching for, help me keep my family together, please Lord, don’t take away what means the most to me!”

Despite the valiant struggle he’d fought to stay awake, Victor slipped back into a restless and fearful sleep, terrified that the haunting and heart-wrenching images that his mind’s eye had conjured up would continue to haunt him and may even become reality.

Silently, she walked back into Victor’s room to find him still sleeping and lunch waiting for her along with a note from Vicki.
Mom,
I see breakfast wasn’t to your liking, hopefully lunch is. Even if it isn’t, eat it, please. You’ve got to eat something. You need to take care of yourself. If you don’t you won’t be able to do anything for Dad or anybody else.
I’ll talk to you later.

Love,
Victoria
“She’s trying to take care of me,” Nikki reminded herself before sitting down to eat and continue with her research.
“Since the frontal lobe is concerned with reasoning, planning, parts of speech and movement, emotions, and problem-solving, could that have been damaged, causing the speech problems and paralysis?
Could damage to the parietal lobe be what’s causing the paralysis; it is concerned with perception of stimuli related to touch, pressure, temperature and pain.
Considering the temporal lobe is concerned with perception and recognition of auditory stimuli and memory. And the hippocampus plays an important role in forming memories; could that have been damaged causing the memory problems?”

“Because the cerebellum functions for muscle coordination and maintains normal muscle tone and posture, along with coordinating balance, could it have been damaged, causing the paralysis? Or, does damage to that part of the brain only mean trouble with balance and not movement? That’s what it sounds like, it sounds like damage to that part of the brain would mean it would be easier for someone to lose their balance, but there wouldn’t necessarily be any trouble with movement.
It says that the cerebrum governs intelligence and reasoning, learning and memory, so would damage to that be what’s causing the memory loss?”Nikki wondered aloud before closing her eyes and taking a steadying breath as she reminded herself why she was doing this. “Victor can’t help himself right now, so it’s up to me. It’s up to me to find the answers he needs so he can come home.”
“The frontal lobe is in charge of three things: motor activity and integration of muscle activity; speech; and thought processes. So, something in that part of the brain might have been damaged causing Victor’s speech problems and paralysis. It’s also associated with parts of speech, emotions and problem solving.”

“Since the hypothalamus plays a role in emotions, autonomic functions and motor functions, along with controlling the body’s daily sleep wake cycle, homeostasis (making sure the body’s running smoothly), appetite, thirst, other bodily urges, maybe that part of the brain was damaged causing the paralysis? Who knows? I’m guessing here! I’m working on damn suppositions, nothing more! Damn it! Why hasn’t anybody told me anything yet? How hard can it be to look at some damn tests and tell me what’s going on with my husband?” Nikki exclaimed slamming the binder shut. 

Chapter Twenty-Four
“I need to remember why I’m doing this. I need to get to the bottom of this, for Victor’s sake.” As her hand shook, she opened the binder and began to read. “Functions of the thalamus include both sensory and motor behaviors. -Could damage to that part of the brain cause the paralysis?-The thalamus, however, is a major sensory relay centre, regulating higher brain centres, and the peripheral nervous system.-Or could the paralysis have been caused by damage to the thalamus? Damn it, why can’t I figure this out? Why can’t I find any answers? The more I read this research, the more questions keep coming up, the more questions I have, but still no answers!” 

As the questions that she’d been able to push to the back of her mind thrust themselves to the forefront of her thinking, Nikki thought to herself, ‘How is it that I’m still no closer to finding out what’s going on with Victor or Victoria? That conversation last night was the strangest I’ve ever had with her! Where did it all come from? She hasn’t been acting right for months and now this? This attitude of hers doesn’t make any sense! It’s like she hates her father! They’ve had some arguments, but nothing too extreme, certainly nothing that would account for her behaviour, at least not that I know of. ’ It was Victor stirring in bed beside her that brought her back to reality. “Well good morning,” she said to him cheerfully. “How are you feeling?”
Giving her a small, weak smile, Victor shrugged.
“I’ll take that to mean you’re feeling better.”
Victor nodded with another smile. 

Carefully, almost hesitantly, Victoria entered her father’s hospital room closing the door silently behind her. “Mom,” she said quietly as she walked over to where her mother sat at her father’s bedside.
“Hi honey, I didn’t hear you come in.”
“If this is a bad time, I can come back later.”
“No, nonsense, come, sit down. You can spend some time with your father.”Nikki told her with a smile, not noticing the puzzled expression on Victor’s face.

Moving carefully, slowly, Victoria entered her father’s hospital room and, standing at his bedside and hesitantly asked, “Hi Dad, how…how are you feeling?”
With the same puzzled expression on his face, Victor stared at her and shrugged. ‘I know I should know her for some reason, but I don’t. What is it about her? Why is she looking at me that way and why did she call me dad? Why can’t I remember her? Something tells me I should, something about the look in her eyes tells me I should remember her but I don’t.’
“Dad, what’s wrong? Are you in some kind of pain?” Victoria asked, becoming fearful and concerned as the expression on her father’s face began to register.
Still unable to figure out who the young woman in front of him was or why he should recognize her, Victor silently shook his head and tried in vain to remember her. Frustrated and becoming angry, fearful that something else, something the doctors had yet to discover, was seriously wrong Victor searched his mind for some clue, some shred or shadow of a memory as to who the beautiful young woman who looked so much like Nikki was.
“Victor, what’s wrong? What’s going on?” Nikki asked as tiny pinpricks of apprehension slid along her skin and down her spine chilling her from the inside out. “Darling; it’s Victoria, remember?”
In a shaky voice as her chin quivered and she began to tremble, “It’s me, Dad, don’t you remember me? You do recognize me don’t you?” She couldn’t have helped the plea that rang in her voice if she’d tried.
With a furrowed brow and his jaw set, deep pain in his eyes, pain that no one would ever be able to erase, he shook his head. 
“No, this isn’t happening; it can’t be happening!”Victoria all but screamed as tears welled up in; then fell from her eyes. “Dad, it’s me, Victoria, remember? I’m your daughter, remember? Please, Dad, you have to remember.” Her voice broke, as did her heart as the cold harsh reality of Victor’s condition set in. “Dad, just think, take a good look at me and think, you must remember something, you have to! You just have to!”

Tears welled in his own eyes as Victor did as she’d asked. ‘Why the hell can’t I remember her? Why the hell can’t I remember my own daughter?! What the hell is wrong with me and why can’t I do a damn thing about it?’ he thought to himself furious and, though he tried to deny it, terrified. As his heart shattered at the sight of the pain raging in his daughter’s eyes, etched on every corner of her face, he shook his head once again and let his own anguished tears fall.
“No! No, this isn’t happening; this isn’t happening!” Victoria murmured over and over as her world shattered before her as if it had all been an illusion. Slowly, wide eyed as the anguish tearing at her soul shone in her eyes, she backed away from the bedside before running from the room, tears streaming down her cheeks, heartbroken, anguished sobs tearing out of her, making it almost impossible to breathe. Blinded by them, she tore down the hall and, by some miracle, finally made it to the elevator. Furious and unable to control the anguish rising up in her, choking all else, coldly murdering what little hope she had left, Victoria she slammed her fist against the elevator panel as it traveled down to the main floor. 

Heedless of the danger she was putting herself in and still blinded by bitter, terrified and hopeless tears, Victoria tore across the parking lot and toward her car. Wrenching the door open, and then slamming it behind her, she gunned the engine and peeled out of the parking lot, barrelling toward home. 

Fighting back her own tears, Nikki dug out her cell phone and dialled Nicholas’ number. 
“Hello.”
“Hi Sharon, is Nicholas there?”
“Yes; just a minute Nikki.”
“Thanks.”
“Mom, what is it? What happened, is Dad-”
“Your father’s fine, it’s your sister I’m worried about.”
“Why? What happened?” Nick asked, trying his best to ignore the sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.
“She was just here. Nicholas, your father doesn’t remember her; he doesn’t even recognize her at all!” Nikki told him almost frantically.
“What? Mom, that doesn’t make any sense! What do you mean Dad doesn’t remember Vick? What do you mean he doesn’t even recognize her?” Nick asked in disbelief, the sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach growing.
“I don’t know; I don’t know what’s going on. But I need you to do something for me.” Nikki told him willing herself to stay calm as she saw the tears streaming down her husband’s face. 
“What? Anything,” he replied feeling like he was caught up in some surreal nightmare.
“Go up to the main house and wait for your sister. She was almost frantic, Nicholas, she’s terrified. I can’t be there, so I need you to be.”
“Okay, I’m on my way.” Nicholas replied before hanging up and tearing out the front door.
“Nicholas wait!” 
“Sharon, I don’t have time! Vicki just found out Dad doesn’t even recognize her, God only knows the state she’s in!”
“Oh my God, no,” Sharon murmured with her hand covering her mouth as she watched her husband drive off.

Up at the main house, it was pitch black, save one lone light left on in the living room. Vicki sat curled up on the couch clutching an old photo of her and her father. It had been taken when she was just a teenager. She remembered it like it was just yesterday. She smiled bitter sweetly as she gazed wistfully at the photo in her hands. Looking back now, it seemed like that was another lifetime ago. Both she and her father looked so young and carefree, she in her pale yellow floral dress with her chestnut hair hanging loosely past her shoulders and he with his dress-causal outfit; a white dress shirt open at the neck paired with a black sport jacket and black dress pants. “What happened to us?” she whispered as anguished tears flowed freely from her eyes and burning her already raw skin. As she gazed wistfully at the picture, her mind took her back in time and she remembered all too well how she felt when it was taken. “We were so carefree, what happened?” The pain raging within her threatened to drive her mad as she recalled just how different life had been back then. “I felt so safe there in your arms, like nothing could hurt me. Those days are gone now, they’re gone forever.”

“Vicki?” Nick called as he cautiously entered the living room. “Vicki,” he repeated as he walked up to her, carefully, gently putting a hand on her shoulder. 
“Nicholas!” Victoria exclaimed, jumping out of her skin. Pasting on an extremely strained smile as she scrubbed the tears away from her eyes, she whispered, “I didn’t hear you come in.”
“How are you holding up?” He asked gently, cautiously.
“How much do you know?” she asked wearily.
“Mom told me everything, how are you holding up?” Nick told her, his heart sinking at the sight of her in so much pain and the knowledge that he was powerless to do anything about it.

#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: Playtime Is Over Pt. 6

Published November 13, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Chapter Sixteen
“Victoria, I know you’re worried but-”
“Don’t! Don’t tell me I have no reason to be worried!” Victoria snapped as she bit down hard on her bottom lip to try and stop her chin from quivering, trying to stave off the flood of tears that threatened to break free.
“Okay, I won’t.”
“Mom, you don’t have to be so damn strong all the time! You don’t, I wish you’d realize that! I wish you’d lean on me for a change! It may sound selfish but it’s the only thing I can do at this point so I wish you’d let me do it. I wish you’d let me take care of you for a change.”
“Okay, I’ll try.”
“Good. Can I get you something to drink, how about something to eat?” Vicki asked softly, hoping her mother would at least have some juice or something.
“No thanks, I don’t think I could keep anything down.”
“Okay, fine. Let’s talk.”
“About what?”
“Whatever gets your mind off of this.”
“Victoria, please.”
“Mom, come on, humour me.”
“Fine. What do you want to talk about?”
“You and Dad.” Vicki replied with a cheeky smile.

“Still, that’s a pretty broad subject.” Nikki replied, trying to keep from smiling.
“I know, but it’s all good.” Victoria told her, again not bothering to hide her cheeky smile.
Nikki gave up trying to hide her smile and with a small chuckle and a shake of her head asked, “Okay, where do you want me to start, what do you want to talk about?”
“I don’t know; you pick.”
“Okay, sit down and get comfortable.”
Smirking and quite pleased with her win, Victoria sat on the couch beside her mother.
“Did I ever tell you about your father posing as an interior designer and a butler while we were, well; we weren’t even dating at the time. He was still being so damn careful!”
“Dad posing as an interior decorator and a butler? You’re kidding right? No way!”
“It’s true.”
“Okay, spill it!”

“You’ve heard this all before Victoria.”
“No, I haven’t. I’d remember Dad posing as a butler! That’s not something you forget! Dad despises taking orders! He’s quite adept at giving them, but he absolutely doesn’t take them; he doesn’t even listen to them!”
“Okay, fine.” Nikki relented with a small smile.

Victoria smirked as she sat back and listened to her mother.
“When he first saw me at the club, I was just up there, doing my act and I didn’t even know he was there.”
“That changed pretty quickly.” Victoria said with a smirk.
“Hush.”
“What? What did I say?” Victoria tried to play innocent. 
“Any way, your father found out I wasn’t on contract, and he wasn’t happy about it. Not only that, he bought the club and demanded the owner put me on contract!”Nikki smiled softly, sweetly as she always did when she thought back to that time.

“And?” Victoria prompted impatiently, with a smile, although it was shadowed by disgust and anger as questions reverberated in her mind and made the doubts she’d been fighting for months fester within her. “What happened next, how’d he make up for that? Obviously it was good, or you never would’ve given him a second look.”
“Some things never change.” Nikki replied with a shake of her head.
“What?”Vicki tried once again to play innocent.
“You never could wait and let me tell a story in my own time. You always wanted me to get to what you wanted to know.”
“No, I always wanted you to get to the good part; I still do, so spill it!” Victoria told her cheekily.
“I’m not even touching that one.” Nikki told her before continuing. “Any way, he got Douglas to pose as Victor Newman and shower me with gifts. All while he was posing as Victor Newman’s butler.”
“Not too bad.” 
“To see if I had a price, Victoria.”
“What, was he stupid?”
“No, he had just come out of a divorce that hurt him a lot, coupled with his past and his childhood, both of which you already know about.”Nikki reminded her puzzled.
“Yeah, that still doesn’t excuse what he did!” Vicki exclaimed outraged.
‘The way she says that something’s definitely going on here. And, it’s a lot more than just the situation with Victor and the one with Jeff and Gary. She’s angry at him for something. But; what?’ Pulling herself back to reality, Nikki went on. “It was a long time ago. Anyway, when he realized he had nothing to worry about, he bought The Bayou redecorated my dressing room, asked me to move into the ranch and the rest is history.”
“No way, there’s more than that, and we both know it!”
“You always were impatient and sceptical.”
“In this family, that’s par for the course, you should know that by now.”
“Yes, of course, I don’t know what I was thinking.”Nikki replied dryly trying to hide the smirk.
“So, come on, I want to hear the rest.”
“Don’t be so impatient.”
“I wouldn’t be if you’d just tell me.”
“Hush!”
Dutifully, Victoria did as she’d been told and waited for her mother to continue.
“That’s better. Anyway, where were we?”
“Dad getting Uncle Douglas to shower you with presents to see if you had a price. Still say he needed his head read,” Victoria replied unimpressed.
“Thank you so much for the commentary. Anyway, while this was going on, he was the perfect gentleman. He wouldn’t even kiss me; not really, all I got was the kind of kiss you’d give your sister.”
“And you want to argue with me that he needed his head read?”
This time Nikki couldn’t help but chuckle as she continued with the story. “Be that as it may, eventually he asked me to move in with him.”Thinking better of it, Nikki quickly amended, “Actually, that’s not quite accurate. The invitation to move in came from your Uncle Douglas.”
“What? Why didn’t he just come out and ask you? Why use Uncle Douglas to do it? Why involve a middleman?”
“He had his reasons, I suppose.” Nikki replied vaguely, cryptically. “And, I doubt your Uncle Douglas would appreciate being called a middle man.” She told her with a smile.
“Like what? He obviously didn’t realize what he had when it counted-no news there, I don’t know why I expected anything else, anything more or better.”Victoria replied, her voice dripping with derision.“In the meantime, he was still being the gentleman, nothing ‘improper’ right?”Victoria continued to pepper her mother with questions, oblivious to her attempt to get her to relax.
“Frustratingly so, yeah.”Nikki replied as she thought to herself, ‘Something’s not right, I’ve never heard Victoria talk this way about her father, never heard her be this hostile toward him.’
Victoria took a minute to glare at her father as she fought the fury rising within her, the origin of which nobody, least of all Victoria herself, had expected, or indeed ever dreamed of. “Normally I’d admire his stubborn streak, but that’s just not right! He must’ve been crazy, or temporarily blind, one of the two. Then again, maybe it was a combination of the two, who knows.”

“Moving on,” Nikki began again, wondering if she’d ever finish her story and unable to hide her amused smile.
“I don’t know if you remember this, but I used to play the piano.”
“Of course I remember; you were good at it. Why did you stop?”
“I don’t know, life just got in the way, I guess. There came a point when I just never made time for it.”
“You might not know this, but your father is the one who made sure I learned to play. It was part of turning me into a lady.”
“What? You don’t need him to do that, you never did. You’re more lady than any of the other ladies I know. Tied with Katherine, since you’re also one of the strongest women I know.”
“You always were good for my ego.”
“At least I’m good for something.” Victoria whispered as reality set in once again as she looked around the room.
“Victoria, you’re doing more than you realize. If it weren’t for you and Nicholas, I’d have gone crazy by now.” 
At her daughter’s heartbroken silence, Nikki realized it was best to continue. “He even tried to teach me French.”
“That didn’t last.” Victoria said, not bothering to try and hide her smirk or muffle her laughter.
“No.”
“Not interested I guess?”
“Not in the least. The only thing I was interested in was your father and getting him to quit being such a gentleman! God, I wanted to shake him sometimes!” 

Chapter Seventeen
“He’s said the same thing about you, on several occasions.” Victoria told her helpfully with a smirk.
“Trouble maker.”Nikki said smirking and shaking her head.
“Hey, you know me; I like to spice things up a bit. You know about that. In fact, you know a lot about that.”
“Victoria.” Nikki’s voice held a note of warning as she tried to hide the smirk that mirrored her daughter’s. “He taught me horseback riding too.”
“Another thing you don’t do any more.”
“I know, it’s pretty hard to do, and dangerous, when you’re pregnant.”
“You’ve got a point.”

“Your father even got Miguel to teach me Spanish.” Nikki said with a soft smile as the memories washed over her, so crystal clear it felt like it was just yesterday that they’d made them.
“This is how frustratingly proper your father was when we first got together, when I moved in, he insisted on separate rooms for heaven’s sake! To top it all off, he made a point of telling me my room had a lock on the door.”
“Are you kidding me? What was wrong with him?”
“You got me. Only one of the many times I’ve wanted to shake him over the years!”
“Join the club.”
“Your father was so intent on being a gentleman in the beginning that I didn’t even get a proposal until three years after we’d met. The first real kiss he gave me,” Nikki stopped a moment to smile as she savoured the memory, cherished it, “the first real one, wasn’t until New Years Eve the year we met.”
‘Too bad it was just in the beginning. Too bad it was just an act, that he was fooling us, fooling us the whole time.’ Victoria thought to herself ruefully as she tried to keep the anger surging through her under wraps as it shone in her eyes, tongues of bright red fire. “New Years Eve nineteen eighty-one? More and more I’m wondering why you didn’t just shake him and get it over with!” Shaking her head in disbelief, Victoria said, “Three years? You mean to tell me he made you wait three years for a proposal? You should’ve shaken him-hard!”
“You’re usually the non-violent type.”
“Sometimes it’s the only way to get results!”
The tone of voice, the steely look in her daughter’s eyes set off alarm bells for Nikki. ‘Something’s definitely going on. I’ve never heard her talk like this. The question is, how much of it has to do with Jeff and Gary and how much of it has to do with Victor?’

“Thank God he gave up on feeding me oysters!” Nikki said with a chuckle.
“What?” Vicki asked with a bemused smile.
“When we first got together, your father would have all these romantic candle lit dinners prepared for us.”
“Nothing new there.”
“No, but he had a habit of getting me to try food I didn’t like, including oysters. In fact, especially oysters!”
“And the problem with this would be…?” Victoria asked still confused.
“I hate them! I’ve always hated them!”
“Again, no news there.” Victoria replied with a chuckle and a cheeky smirk.
Chuckling as she shook her head and thought back to that time, Nikki told her, “He had a habit of hiding jewellery in them.”
“What?”
“I remember one night in particular. He insisted I try the oysters, raw ones at that. Anyway, I was just about fed up by the time we got to the last one. I told him I’d settle for a hamburger and fries, but as usual, he didn’t listen and when I lifted the oyster out of the shell there was a pearl ring in it.”
“Score one for Dad-finally!” Vicki said with a bright smile.
“That was when he told me about how pearls are formed. I never knew that.”
Victoria smiled sweetly and tried to cover her huge yawn, but wasn’t fast enough.
“Okay, enough stories for now, you need a nap.”
“No I don’t. I’m not tired.” Victoria argued.
“Yes you do, you’re completely exhausted.”
“No, I want to hear more. I want to hear more stories.” Victoria replied a little petulantly.
“Victoria, you need rest!” Nikki tried to reason with her.
“No I don’t, I need more coffee. I’ll get some and be right back.”
“Victoria, sleep first; then coffee.” Nikki told her adamantly.
“Fine, but while I’m at it, I’m getting you something.”Victoria agreed, a little too easily for Nikki’s taste. 

A few minutes later, Victoria walked back into the room, much to Nikki’s dismay. “What are you doing here? I thought you were going home.”
“Yeah,” Victoria replied simply before sitting beside her mother at her father’s bedside. 
“What happened?” Nikki asked impatiently. 
“Nick’s gone home to grab something to eat and take a quick shower. And, there’s a huge line-up at the cafeteria, so that’s out too. Besides, I’m not leaving you alone here, so you can just forget it.”Victoria told her firmly, the determination shining in her eyes speaking volumes.
“Fine, curl up on the couch and get some rest.” Nikki told her just as firmly.
“Did you?” Victoria countered wisely, knowingly.
“I’m not even tired, Victoria.”
Taking in the dark circles under her mother’s eyes, Victoria scowled at her and said, “You’re just as bad as Dad sometimes, you know that? How do you expect to help him if you’re a zombie, completely exhausted?”
“Victoria, don’t push me!” Nikki snapped as she got up and began to pace the room.

Considering her next move carefully, Victoria sat on the couch and told her mother, “Look, I’m sorry, I don’t want to fight; I really don’t.”
“I know, neither do I,” Nikki told her wearily.
“I’ve been thinking about our talk earlier and there’s something I don’t get.” 
“What’s that?” Nikki asked intrigued.
“Why you’re completely forgetting what you did for Dad! It’s no secret that he helped you with your life, but you did the same for him. In fact, when it comes right down to it, you did more for him than he ever did for you and I don’t understand why you’re selling yourself short!”
“Where is this coming from? Victoria, this isn’t like you!”
“What? You can’t tell me it’s not true.”
“We helped each other, Victoria.”
“That’s my point!” Victoria snapped as she rose and began to pace the small hospital room, fury pumping off her. 
‘Something isn’t right. Why is she acting this way? It’s like she hates her father, I’ve never seen her this way.’ Nikki thought to herself as she watched her daughter pace the room, taking special note that her fists remained clenched the entire time.
“Mom, I’ve been right here the past thirty-some years. I’ve been here, I know what’s happened, how he’s completely disregarded the impact you’ve had on his life, I saw how he took you for granted. Don’t try and brush it off, he’s never forgotten what he’s done for you, and yet when it comes to what you’ve done for him, he’s got complete amnesia! Convenient, isn’t it?”
“Victoria, what are you talking about? Where is this coming from?” Nikki tried once again to get the answers she knew were just below the surface; answers that for one reason or another, Victoria was intent on keeping to herself!
“I’m seeing things in a new light.” She replied cryptically as she sat beside Nikki on the couch, not bothering to look at her or Victor.
“What things?” Nikki pushed.
“Many things, but primarily Dad and his relationship with you.” Victoria hedged; still not looking at either of her parents. ‘It’s all been a joke, from the very beginning, it’s just been a joke, a sick, twisted game he’s played, the worst part is, he doesn’t see anything wrong with it. He doesn’t see a damn thing wrong with the twisted games he plays with people’s lives, especially my mother’s!’ Victoria thought to herself ruefully as the fury burning inside her began once again to bubble up to the surface, straining her tenuous hold on it, threatening to break free in a torrent, a maelstrom, the likes of which would surely tear her family apart.
“I don’t understand this. Your father and I have had problems before, that’s no surprise, I’ve never denied it, neither has your father.”
“He’s never accepted responsibility for the problems either, not really. He’s never really accepted responsibility for his actions and the effect they had, the effect they still have on you. He’s mentioned them from time to time, but, instead of really admitting he’s messed up, that he’s made mistakes, he brushes it off, he acts like what he’s done, the mistakes he’s made aren’t important, like they don’t matter. He acts like hurting you the way he has over the years isn’t important, like it should all be forgotten, like some bad dream or misunderstanding, he just doesn’t get it, or he doesn’t want to, I don’t know. Maybe he just doesn’t give a damn.” 

Chapter Eighteen
“Where is this coming from? I’ve never heard you talk like this, ever.” Nikki asked shocked and thoroughly confused.
“I’m seeing things more clearly than I ever have.” Victoria told her before heading for the door.
“Freeze, you’re not going anywhere until we straighten this out! For God’s sake, Victoria, your father might be on his deathbed and all I’ve heard from you is attitude, attitude that’s coming from out of the ball park!”
Still fuming, Victoria walked back to the couch where her mother sat, her eyes blazing into her daughter’s, making it painfully clear she demanded answers!

“Victoria, you’ve got some serious explaining to do! Where is this attitude coming from? You’ve always adored your father, you idolize him!”
“Not anymore.” She replied cryptically.
“Why? What happened?” Nikki prodded.
“Looking back, I realize he never gave you the credit you deserved, the credit you deserve. Your contribution to this family went unnoticed, he never gave you a damn bit of credit for anything you did, nothing! Everything you did, everything you had was because of him, or so he thought!”
“He did open a lot of doors for me.”
“And I’m not denying that. I’m just saying he never showed any true gratitude for what you did for him! Would that have been so terrible, why was it so hard? Why is it still so damn hard?”
“Your father’s never been good with words, Victoria. He’s never been good at putting into words what he feels, you know that.”
“On the contrary, words are what he excels at, pretty words; it’s the actions that he needs to back them up that he never follows through with!”
“What?” Nikki asked getting more and more confused.
“You’ve done just as much for him as he has for you and yet he’s never acknowledged that, not once.”Noticing the confused expression on her mother’s face, Victoria went on. “I know he had a hard life when he was growing up.”
“Hard life doesn’t even begin to describe it, Victoria; your father went through hell!”
“I know, but that still doesn’t give him the right to do what he’s done over and over again.”
“Which is?”
“Blame everyone else, especially you for his mistakes, his shortcomings and failures! How many times, Mother, how many times has he admitted he messed up only to blame it on something someone else did? He’s never just stood up and said ‘I messed up, I didn’t do what I should’ve done and someone got hurt, I’m sorry.’ He messes up, blames someone else for it and just when something happens, just when he does something to make us think that maybe by some miracle he’ll change, he does the same damn thing over and over again! He’s never shown any true remorse for treating you like he has the past thirty-some years! He’s waltzed in and out of your life like it was his right! He acts like he didn’t do anything wrong!”

“Victoria, you don’t know everything, so I’m going to give you a crash course in what it was like for your father growing up and what it was like when we first met.”
On a huff of breath, Victoria folded her arms stubbornly and fell silent.
“You know your father did a lot for me, he’s the first person to really give me the incentive, the drive, to make me want to better myself. Before I met him, I had no direction, I was living my life day to day, with no plans for my future, not even a thought of what I wanted my life to be.” 
“So, he opened a few doors, you walked through them. That took courage.”
“Maybe so,” Nikki agreed thoughtfully, “but he had to open the doors for me to walk through them.”
Barely resisting the urge to roll her eyes, Victoria stayed silent while her mother continued. “Your father had nobody to count on, nobody he could turn to when he needed it. Nobody was there to make him feel safe; he only had himself to rely on.”
“I understand that, mother.” Victoria told her impatiently.
“Do you really?”Nikki asked before continuing. “Your father had been betrayed so many times over, most notably and painfully by his parents. Even though his mother certainly didn’t want to give him up, didn’t want to leave him at that orphanage, she did. Whether or not you realize it, Victoria, that one moment changed the course of his life forever, it left lasting scars; scars that, to this day still aren’t completely healed. I’m not sure they’ll ever heal.”

“It still doesn’t give him the right to disregard what you’ve done for him!”
“He’s never disregarded it, not really.”
“He did and we both know it. He did it every time he turned to another woman, every time he cheated on you. He did it every time he walked out on you, left you to pick up the pieces like nothing happened, like it didn’t matter. He did it when he walked out on this family time and time again without a single thought to what it would do to you or us!”

“Victoria, listen and listen well. Before you were born, long before you were born, your father had closed himself off to everything and everyone, he was determined not to let anything or anyone hurt him. The scars he had to carry and still carries with him, the life that he had growing up, growing up on the streets made him tough and bitter, made him cold and guarded. He used that as a kind of self-defence mechanism, I guess.”
“Is there a point to this?” Victoria bit out impatiently, angrily.
“Simply this, because of everything he went through as a child, things no child should ever have to go through; your father couldn’t trust or love anybody completely, not at first. It takes a long time for him to open up that way. It takes so much, much more than I can put into words for your father to open his heart to those odds, the odds that, although he may get more than he ever dreamed, there’s an equal chance he’ll end up heartbroken. A lot of what motivated your father in how he dealt, and to some extent still deals with relationships, is fear and the need to protect himself from getting hurt, the need to protect himself from that fear of being hurt by someone he loves, because he knows just how much the ones he loves can hurt him if he lets them, if he lets them in, lets them get close enough to do it. He knows that because he learned it at a very tender age, Victoria.” 

“It took a long time, years in fact to get your father to realize that he didn’t have to do that with me.”
“I get what you’re saying, I guess.”
“You guess?” Nikki echoed intrigued. 
“What I don’t understand is this; once in awhile, when he doesn’t think I’ll really notice it or that I’ll remember or whatever, he-I don’t know how to explain it-it’s like he has this moment of clarity or whatever you want to call it and finally realizes what you’ve done for him, what your presence in his life has done and still does for him, you fix all of that, you’re the one who brings out the good-the best-in him, you bring out his humility, his sensitivity and his tenderness, things few others are capable of doing. You make him a better man; I’m not just saying that, Dad’s said it too, just not in those words and I’ve never remembered to write it down or grab a tape recorder when he does come out and say that.” Victoria ended on a cheeky note with a smile to match before continuing. “Why does he keep things like that to himself anyway? Why is it so hard for him to tell you that?”
“It probably stems from that fear I told you about earlier. Anyway, your father doesn’t need to come out and say that, he doesn’t need to say anything. It’s in the way he looks at me, it’s in the way he’ll touch me or take my hand, the way he’ll wrap his arms around me late at night. It’s those things, Victoria; that let me know without a single word exactly how he feels. When we got together, when we became a couple, we helped each other change for the better and I think our love is stronger for it. That’s the magic of your father and me, the magic of our history and who we are as a couple, what we did for each other and how it’s made our love stronger, made us stronger as a couple and as people.”
“Why does it always have to be about what Dad did for you? You did just as much for him as he did for you, so why does it always get overlooked? What, does he think it’s your job to make his life better? It’s a two-way street, or it should be! Your role in his life is just as important as his in yours, why can’t he remember that?”
“Victoria, right now he can’t remember much of anything.”Nikki gently reminded her.
“You know what I mean; it’s always been about what Dad did for his diamond in the rough. He forgets, completely overlooks, what you did for him! All that’s overshadowed somehow, he allows it to be overshadowed, why, I’ll never know, never understand!”
“Your father’s never been the type to…he’s never been compelled to write poetry or give me pretty speeches, that’s just not who he is, that’s not your father Victoria.”
“On the contrary, that’s all he’s ever done, he tells us, all of us what we want to hear and then does what he damn well pleases. All he’s ever given us is pretty words, darling speeches, words and speeches with no substance!”
“Victoria, where is this coming from? I’ve never seen you like this, never heard you talk like this, especially about your father!”
“For the first time ever I’m seeing things the way they really are, I’m seeing him the way he really is!” Victoria rose to stalk the little hospital room, heat and temper pumping off her.
“What in God’s name are you talking about? What are you talking about?”
“Nothing, let’s just forget it, okay? You were going to tell me some more things about Dad.” ‘Why doesn’t she see it, why doesn’t she see what he’s done to her over the years? Then again, maybe she does, maybe she does and she’s just too damn stubborn to call him on it, either that or she doesn’t want to face it, call him on it because it hurts too much. That I can understand, that kind of pain, that kind of fear I understand all too well.’ Victoria thought to herself as her temper hit a fever pitch and she had to clench her fists to stop herself from throwing something.

#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: Playtime Is Over Pt. 7

Published November 13, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Chapter Nineteen
“Mom, it’s true you didn’t do any one thing for Dad, but-”

“I know what you’re saying, believe me, I do. It’s funny we’re talking like this. Just a few days before this all happened, your father and I were talking about how much things have changed, how much he’s changed and what he was like, who he was before he met me.”
Intrigued, Victoria sat straight up in the chair across from her mother and listened intently. “He was in a very strange mood. He said he realized that he doesn’t often say it, that he doesn’t say it enough, not nearly enough but he realizes how much of an impact I’ve had on his life.”

Still sceptical, Victoria said nothing as she waited for her mother to continue.
“He said, looking back, it wasn’t about any single thing I’d done for him, it was, it is, about what I’ve done for him, how I’ve changed his life in general. He talked about how angry and miserable he was all the time and how he always tried to make other people miserable, I think a big part of the reason he was that way was because of his need for self-preservation. The need to protect himself, to ensure he wasn’t the one getting hurt, the one who would end up vulnerable, overshadowed everything for him.”
“That still doesn’t make it right.”
“No, it doesn’t, I’m not giving him a pass on his mistakes or sweeping them under the rug, just trying to put things in context for you, trying to help put things in perspective.”
‘Perspective? She’s still got those rose-coloured glasses on when it comes to him! She’s still only seeing what she wants to see!’ Vicki thought to herself bitterly.

“Gradually, I started to see a softer side of your father, it wasn’t an automatic change in him, Victoria, too much had already happened for it to be a sweeping change, an overnight success, but it was there.”Satisfied her daughter was, perhaps listening, perhaps beginning to see things a bit more clearly, Nikki continued. “When I came into your father’s life, it took a lot of hard work, a lot of patience, but the more time we spent together, the more human he became, the more compassionate he became. He opened his heart to me, trusted me, for the first time in his life, for the first time since he’d been abandoned at that damn orphanage, your father trusted someone, he trusted me, Victoria, I’m not sure you understand just what that means to me, or that I can put it into words.” Nikki took a moment to study Victor as he lay there, so still, so serene, fighting for his life, fighting for their life together. 
With a quiet sigh, she turned back to her daughter and continued. “It took a lot of courage, a lot of courage, Victoria, for your father to open his heart up to me out of love, to trust me totally and unconditionally, and probably for the first time in his life after being hurt so badly, so brutally as a child, simply because he loved me and was willing to, trusted me enough and had enough faith in me, to let me love him. He took a big chance on me, Victoria, a big chance.”
“So did you;” Victoria told her pointedly, wisely.
Nikki nodded thoughtfully and agreed “And it worked out, for both of us. It’s the smartest thing we ever did.”
At her daughter’s silence, the deepening scowl etched on her face, Nikki asked carefully, “Something I said?”
“No.” Victoria lied as she tried to sit still but couldn’t help clenching and unclenching her fists.

Silently, Nikki took her daughter’s hands in her own and gently, slowly uncurled her fists, taking special note of the nail marks on her palms. Saying nothing, she began to massage her hands, concerned by the tension she felt there. ‘What is going on with her? It’s more than Victor’s heart attack and the stroke. This isn’t making any sense, she’s acting stranger and stranger, what could be going on?’ Nikki thought to herself as she studied her daughter intently.
Still fidgeting and unable to stop, no matter how much she wanted to, Victoria let out a tired sigh and said, “You know what I think?”
“No, what?”
“There’s a reason for the huge change in Dad when you guys aren’t together.”
“And that would be?” Nikki asked intrigued.
“When you aren’t together, when he doesn’t have your influence around, and you know you have a lot of influence over him, he reverts to how he was, what he was when you weren’t in his life, when he didn’t have anybody he felt he could trust. Without you, he becomes that cold, bitter and frightened man who only knows how to lash out in fear of someone lashing out at him first. Without you, he’s lost and can’t find his humanity. You bring that out of him, you bring out the best in him, his humanity, his humility, his ability to love and trust, as much as he can considering how he grew up. Without you, Mom, he’s lost, he just spirals out of control and gets lost; he can’t find his way, his humanity without you. You humanize him, you get through to him when no one else can.”
“Without you, Dad allows all that rage and hate, all that hurt and pain to overtake him, he becomes inhumane and, at times, hateful, but with you, he’s whole and loving and human. You made him human again, made him whole and changed his life for the better. I just hope he realizes that.”
“He does, Victoria, he does.” Nikki tried to reassure her as she stroked her daughter’s hair and kissed the top of her head as Victoria rested her head on her mother’s shoulder.

“Does he? Does he really Mom? Sometimes I wonder. I can’t remember him showing any true remorse for what he’s done over the years, any true remorse or regret for how he’s hurt you.” 
Shaking her head; as if to change her train of thought; Victoria continued. “All the years you’ve been together he’s never really crossed the line, never purposely been cruel to you, for once simple reason; you’ve always been in his life and he’s always known he had you close by. He loves you so much that, even when you’re apart, he knows you’re still there for him, there’s not a doubt in his mind. When you left him, I don’t know, he lost control, lost his way somehow, somehow he lost his humanity. When you’re not together, when you’re not even speaking, I barely recognize him, he’s a completely different person, someone I don’t even want to know or be around. When you’re not there to guide him, to help him put things in perspective, he doesn’t know what else to do, so he turns his anger and fear on you.”
“Maybe, one thing’s for sure though.” Nikki told her thoughtfully.
“What’s that?” Vicki asked rubbing her eyes and trying to fight the thick fog of sleep quickly overtaking her.
“Deep down, in some ways, I think he’s still the same scared little boy he was all those years ago trapped in that hateful orphanage, unable to trust or love anybody completely, not the same way he would if he’d had two parents who loved him and gave him a safe, stable home to grow up in.”
“I think that might have been the case before, but not now.”
“Oh really?” Nikki asked surprised.
“Yeah, that might have been the case when you first met Dad, but you loved, you love him enough show him he could do it. You loved him enough to show him he could open his heart, trust and love people without fearing he’d get hurt. You still do, after everything that’s happened, everything he’s done to you over the years, you still love him like you did all those years ago. If Dad ever lost you, he’d be lost, we all would.”Victoria finished as she gave up the fight and let sleep overtake her.
“Victoria” Nikki whispered. “Victoria.”
Seeing her daughter had drifted off to sleep and feeling exhaustion start to overwhelm her, Nikki pulled her close and held her tight and whispered, “I’ve got a lot to think about.” With that, she fell asleep.

As the sun slowly peeked through the curtains of Victor’s hospital room, Nikki awoke from the best night’s sleep she’d had in a very long time. After briefly glancing at the binders of research she’d spent countless hours poring over, she decided to forgo it and picked up her notebook once again. Despite everything we’ve been through, all the ups and downs, one thing remains constant in both our lives. Neither of us would ever give up the time we’ve spent raising Nicholas and Victoria, watching them grow into the strong, confident and self-assured adults they’ve become. I was so scared when I found out I was pregnant with Victoria, I knew Victor didn’t want children and I knew he probably wouldn’t take it well, but I wasn’t at all prepared for his reaction. He went ballistic and demanded I have an abortion. That reaction was so far removed from the kind; sweet man I knew and loved. I couldn’t believe I was talking to the same person. Just thinking about it now, remembering that time sends chills down my spine. The cold, cold air of detachment I saw in his eyes…I’m not sure I can put into words what it was like to see that in his eyes. It terrified me. Just thinking back to that day makes my blood run cold. Just thinking back to that day makes my blood run cold. I’ve never seen him so angry. To this day I don’t really know what happened, why he was so angry. All I know is the only way he could see the pregnancies were as mistakes. Mistakes! I still can’t believe it! He had the nerve , the gall to demand I have an abortion-both times! I still can’t believe it, where did he get off demanding I have an abortion? There was no way in hell I was about to do it, not even for him! Victoria and Nicholas didn’t deserve it, they didn’t do anything wrong! But, of course Victor couldn’t see that, or didn’t want to, I don’t know which. Nikki had to stop as bitter tears began to fall, unwanted and despised, down her cheeks. Letting out a shaky breath, she looked up toward heaven praying for guidance and searching for the strength that was becoming harder and harder to find. Part of me thinks, or thought anyway, that if he really loved me, he would’ve never even suggested it, let alone demanded it! Only a cold-hearted monster does what he did! How could he have demanded I get rid of the most important, most precious gifts anybody’s ever given me? How did he expect me to do it? Why should I have done it? They were his children, damn it! They weren’t playthings he could just toss away at a moment’s notice, on a whim! They were our children and even if he didn’t want them, I did! I wanted them because they were part of him; part of us! Why couldn’t he understand that? ‘Why am I doing this now? Why am I thinking about this now? For God’s sake, Victor’s on his deathbed and here I am reliving the worst moments of my life and berating him? Why am I doing this?’ Nikki thought to herself completely confused as she stopped for a minute to consider what she was doing. 

Chapter Twenty 
I’ll never forget the day Victoria was born. Nikki stopped and smiled at the memory. She was beautiful, absolutely beautiful. And there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that she was Victor’s. I always knew, deep down inside that she was Victor’s. So why did I let that farce of a marriage I had to Kevin Bancroft take place? ‘ ‘Because you thought you had no other choice, your daughter needed a father.’ A little voice from somewhere inside her whispered. If I hadn’t, if I had stood up to Victor, maybe Alison Bancroft wouldn’t have kidnapped Victoria. That was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. God only knows what would’ve happened if we hadn’t found her, if Paul hadn’t found her. 

Nicholas was just as beautiful as Victoria when he was born, although much quieter. Nikki smiled and shook her head as she thought back to that day and realized just how different her children were; and still are. I couldn’t have been happier than I was when he and Victoria were born. “One thing’s for sure, they’re the same when it comes to protecting me! Both stubborn and completely unwilling to let me handle things, they both insist on standing as my guards” Nikki whispered to herself as she chuckled and shook her head knowing she should be annoyed but finding it endearing somehow.

Regardless of all of that and despite what Victor thought, I’m glad I did it. I’m glad I defied the great Victor Newman and had my children; our children! If I hadn’t, I would’ve missed out on so, so much. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t look at Nicholas and Victoria and know I did the right thing, I know I did the right thing! Besides, I knew that he would be a wonderful father, although he couldn’t see it. I don’t know, maybe he was too scared to see it, too afraid he’d turn out like his father and repeat his mistakes, that the cycle that started with him and his father would continue? Who knows? 

I do know this, I wouldn’t trade the time I spent with them, the time I spent raising them and the opportunity I’ve been lucky enough to have, to watch them grow into the amazing people they are, for anything. Nothing in the world is worth that. Nothing is worth sacrificing my children and the relationship I have with them. They’ve given me so much, much more than I can put into words. As difficult as it’s been sometimes, I don’t regret a moment that I’ve spent with them. I couldn’t be happier, prouder or more grateful for everything they’ve brought to my life. Victoria’s become such a strong, capable woman, both personally and professionally. I had such hopes and dreams for her when she was born and she’s surpassed every one of them. I don’t care what anyone says or thinks; they don’t know her like I do. She’s her father’s daughter, that’s for sure! She’s determined to make her mark in the business world and the world in general. What she doesn’t realize though is she’s already done that and more. I don’t understand why, but she doesn’t see it, or she doesn’t seem to. She doesn’t recognize what she’s accomplished, I don’t understand why. It’s almost as if she’s still searching for something, desperately searching for something. I wish I knew what, I wish I could help her, but more and more, I can’t. She’s cut herself off, completely blocked out anyone who’s tried to help her. But I can’t give up; I can’t give up on my daughter when she needs me the most! I have to keep trying. I’ve already lost one child; I will not stand by while I lose another! I will not stand by complacently watching while my daughter slips further and further away! I’ll do whatever I have to do to make sure that doesn’t happen; whatever it takes I will not lose my daughter! It’s not an option! She needs me now more than ever and I won’t let her down; I won’t!

Feeling drained and uneasy with her current train of thought, Nikki turned her attention to past relationships-Victor’s and hers-and why they hadn’t worked out. None of our relationships with other people have ever worked out. Looking back now; we’ve always avoided answering one central but critical question- even if it was coming from our children-why. Why didn’t any of those relationships work? Looking back now, the answer is simple; we were looking, searching for what we already had and lost what we threw away. We were trying desperately to replace what we’d already thrown away. We wasted so much time searching for what we already had. We wasted so much time trying to fool ourselves into thinking we had what we needed with other people when we really had nothing but beautiful illusions; illusions we’d created for ourselves and clung to as if there were nothing else to hang on to. How could we have been so wrong? How could we have wasted so much time and been so wrong? Why didn’t we see what was right in front of us? Why did we ignore what we had? How could we have been so naïve to think we could, that we would be better off without each other? What were we thinking? Were we even thinking or were we just too wrapped up in pain and outrage, too immersed in wounded pride and wanting to lash out, needing revenge, needing to hurt each other the way we’d been hurt? Why couldn’t we see that wasn’t the way? Why couldn’t we see that wasn’t the way to fix what was wrong, to fix what was broken? Why couldn’t we see that the only thing it did was completely devastate each other and our relationship, blind us to what was real and really important-us? 

What took us so long to realize that the reason it never worked with anyone else is because we were still in love? We knew what we had and we still threw it away! How is that possible? How is it possible? Why didn’t we fight harder? Why didn’t I fight harder? Why did I give up so easily? Why didn’t Victor fight harder? Was it because he didn’t love me? What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently? I wish I knew, God how I wish I knew! If I knew maybe I could understand. Even if I can’t go back and change it, maybe I could understand it if I knew what happened? What did I do, what did I do wrong? 

Was it me, was I the problem or was it something else, something I missed, something I should’ve seen, something I should’ve done and didn’t? Or was it him, did he just fall out of love with me somehow? Or was it the mistakes we both made that tore us apart? The stupid games we played, all they did was make things worse. All the time we wasted trying to get each other’s attention, make each other jealous; and for what? We were miserable and no matter how much we tried to fool ourselves into thinking we weren’t, we were lonely, so, so lonely. If I knew then what I knew now, I would’ve never ever let him go! Never! I would’ve done everything I could to keep him, everything I could to save our marriage. 

It wasn’t the money or the prestige I wanted when I married Victor, that’s not what I was after. All I wanted, all I’ve ever wanted is Victor; only Victor. We wasted so much time trying to fill the void we’d left in each other’s lives with things and people that would never even come close to replacing what we’d lost. What we’d lost was more precious than anything else we could’ve ever found, anything else we could’ve hoped to find. Worst of all was that we let our pride get in the way of the things that meant the most to us-each other and our children; being a real family like we knew we’ve always wanted. They say love is blind, that it blinds people to the truth, so is pride. It gives you a false sense of strength, like you’re indestructible but that’s only an illusion-a painful and costly one. Punishing ourselves was one thing, punishing each other was another. And, sometimes, were too wrapped up in our own pain to realize the people we were punishing most were our children. Whatever was going on between us, they didn’t deserve that, they never did. We could’ve been better role models for them, we should’ve been but, somehow…somehow we failed. 

If we’d been able to get over our own pain and wounded pride, we might have seen it and done what we needed to fix what we broke, but it was easier somehow to walk away and try to convince ourselves that it was for the best. What fools we were, what fools we’ve been! So much time wasted, time we can never get back. We wasted so much fighting pointless, useless battles, with each other and with ourselves. So much time wasted on petty, pointless arguments that lead nowhere, brought us nothing but more heartache and tears. And yet we kept going, kept up the front, held on to the façade for all it was worth, all we were worth; afraid to let it slip. We were so, so afraid to be the first one to let down our guard and get our heart broken. Foolishly, so foolishly, we believed that it was better that way, that we were better off that way. We somehow convinced ourselves that we could live our lives, that we could truly be happy without each other! What a joke, what a farce! We were miserable and we both knew it! We knew it and yet we clung to the painful illusions we’d created for ourselves as if there were nothing else to cling to; as if there were nothing left. 

Even after we realized just how empty our lives were without each other, just how hollow whatever victory we’d fooled ourselves into thinking we had garnered, we clung to the stupid illusions rather than tossing it all aside, opening all the locks we’d kept on our love and taking a chance on each other, on love once again. We somehow, for some reason I can’t even begin to imagine were content to live in the house of cards we’d built for ourselves, maybe on some level we even preferred it. I don’t know. One thing’s for sure it was such a mistake. One I wish I could take back. But, I can’t, as much as I wish I could, I can’t take it back. Why did it take us so long to realize what we threw away? Why were we so stubborn, so intent on continuing the charade? Why couldn’t we see what we were doing to ourselves; to each other? If I had it to do all over again, I’d do so much differently. I’d pay more attention to Victor and my children; I’d give them what they needed, whatever they needed. I wouldn’t take them or the time I spent with them for granted. I would make sure they knew they come first; that they knew nothing and no one is more important to me than they are. There were times, far too many times when they didn’t. There were far too many times when our children and doing what was best for them took a backseat to me and my problems, my needs and what I wanted. I know that, even though they haven’t said anything about those times, never would say anything about them, they still left its mark on Nicholas and Victoria. They still left wounds that still haven’t healed; not completely.

Why does it always take a crisis, a major crisis for us to wake up and realize how much we love each other? Why does it take something like Victor getting shot by someone like Mary Jo Mason to remind me, to remind us just what we mean to each other? What was I thinking, marrying Bradley? Thank God I came to my senses soon enough. I could’ve lost Victor. Although, I do regret hurting him. He’s a good man, deep down, he’s a good man. If he could just get past his hatred for Victor, he could have such a full life. 

He was furious with me for staying with Victor and our children after Victor was shot. What did he expect me to do? Did he really expect me to pack a bag and jet off to Italy with him? I couldn’t do that, they needed me! Shaking her head, Nikki let out a sigh as she walked over to Victor’ s bedside and continued to write. Victor was so damn stubborn! Showing that he needs help, that he needs his family is not showing weakness! It’s showing he’s human! It’s admitting that he’s strong but wise enough to let the people who love him in when he needs to lean on us. Why can’t he understand that? I’ve spent so many years trying to teach him that, so why doesn’t he get it? Why doesn’t he want to accept it? He’s still too damn stubborn for his own good! He still thinks being a man means putting on a show, holding on to a façade no matter how much pain he’s in!

I was so scared he’d die, that the doctors would do everything they could for him and it still wouldn’t be enough. With a smile, she said half to herself, “I should’ve known better.” There are a few, very few circumstances where Victor’s stubborn streak has been his most valuable tool, his greatest weapon. That was definitely one of them. 

I still can’t believe the lengths that woman was willing to go to just to keep that fax Keemo sent Victor from seeing the light of day. God knows what else she would’ve done if she hadn’t been caught. She brought so much turmoil to so many people’s lives; Jill almost took the fall for her, almost had to spend the rest of her life in jail. She hurt Jack more deeply than I ever thought possible. He was devastated.

It didn’t take Victor long to get back to his old self though. In fact, he was back to normal in record time. She smiled and chuckled a bit as she looked at Victor remembering. “Shouldn’t you be getting some rest? I could help tuck you in.”
“Only if you join me.”
“Ooh, you are feeling better.” 

Chapter Twenty-One
“Isn’t it amazing, to have been that close to death and have these wonderful feelings? I was close to death though wasn’t I?”
“Yes, but that’s all behind us now. Pretty soon you’ll be recovered and you’ll be back in our lives the way it’s meant to be.” He never could behave for very long, let alone follow doctors’ orders. 

Even when he was almost fully recovered and well enough to go home, he still insisted on going back to the penthouse and having a nurse take care of him while he recovered. I was furious with him! He absolutely wouldn’t let anybody let alone his family take care of him! He’d rather have had a complete stranger around than his family! God, I just wanted to shake him! He refused to listen to reason, why I’ll never understand! He dug in his heels for all he was worth! Well, despite his stubborn streak, we both got what we wanted in the end, what we’d spent so much time fighting and searching for-each other. And this time I’m not giving him up!

With her mood much improved and the sun shining through the window in Victor’s hospital room, Nikki slowly awoke a few hours later and went back to reading. “Don’t leave a stroke survivor out of social gatherings or conversations. Try and help him/her so he/she doesn’t start feeling lonely and cut off from people. Word questions so they can be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or a nod or shake of the head. Remember that, at times, stroke survivors may get these answers confused. Try using pieces of paper with ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ and ‘I don’t know’ written on them. Ask the survivor to point to the right answer. Speak in a natural voice. Don’t shout or talk too fast. Pauses and speaking at a moderate pace may help the survivor understand you. When talking with a stroke survivor, turn off distractions like the tv or radio. Keep conversations clear and direct. Speak one at a time. During the early stages of recovery, when giving the stroke survivor choices, limit the number of choices to two. For example, ask the stroke survivor ‘Would you like coffee or tea?’ Try writing down the choices. If the person with aphasia is having problems reading, use a drawing beside the written word. In time, as the person recovers, you can try adding more choices. Short, concrete, common words can be easier to understand. For example, say ‘leg’ instead of ‘limb,’ ‘bread’ instead of ‘nutrition’ or ‘house’ instead of ‘residence.’ Don’t rush someone with aphasia.—Rushing Victor’s a cardinal sin when he’s healthy, who’s stupid enough to do it now?—” Nikki said half to herself with a chuckle.
‘Hey, she finally gets it!’ Victor thought to himself with a smirk.
Sobering, Nikki continued. “Be patient and give him/her time to think of the right word. The one most important thing a survivor’s caregiver and family can do is to remember that aphasia means that the survivor has difficulty with language, not with thinking. In various respects, the survivor is still the same person inside. Having aphasia doesn’t mean he/she is stupid or doesn’t understand things. …Another problem connected with aphasia that stroke survivors may have is dysarthria or slurred speech. Something else that would drive Victor crazy, God, I hope that doesn’t happen!” Reconsidering it, Nikki said half to herself, determined to keep her family together and do whatever she needed to do to keep her husband safe, make him healthy and keep him alive, “Even if he is diagnosed with it, it won’t matter. I won’t let it!”
She stopped for a few moments to consider. “I hope Victoria’s okay, she left without a word and she was in a strange mood earlier.” Shaking her head, as if she could shake away the doubts, Nikki told herself “I’m sure she’s fine.”

Refocusing, she went back to her research. “…Some stroke survivors may have both expressive and receptive aphasia. When people have expressive aphasia they may know what they want to say but can’t make the words come out right. Individuals with receptive apahsia might not understand what’s being said to them, but they might seem to understand. Aphasia can also make it challenging to read, write or do math. It can be frustrating for caregivers to communicate with someone with aphasia. Survivors haven’t lost intelligence or common sense. Instead they have trouble saying what they’re thinking. It’s just as frustrating for them not to be able to communicate effectively. Some people with aphasia may improve their use of language within a few months. Others will have permanent language problems. Even if people don’t recover full use of language, they may be able to learn to communicate effectively in spite of their apahsia.”As tiny pinpricks of fear worked their way along her skin, Nikki whispered “Please God, don’t let that be the case for Victor, don’t let him be bedridden and unable to communicate, unable to talk to the people he loves. Let him be alright, please God let him be alright.”

As he drifted in a haze of medication and memories, ones that were so fragmented and disjointed; he couldn’t make sense of them, Victor was thrust into a nightmare. He saw himself in the same room he’d been in for days, his family gathered around his hospital bed saying their goodbyes. No matter how he tried, how much he wanted to, he was powerless to fight, powerless and completely unable to offer any words of comfort to those he loved most. He tossed and turned in bed, as much as his body would let him, trying to block out the horrifying scenes that played in his mind’s eye. Nikki and his children stood there doing their best to be brave, their best to remain strong for him, when all they wanted, all they needed was reassurance that he’d be okay, that he’d somehow, some way be able to come home. Worst of all was seeing the face of his youngest daughter, her confusion, fear and sorrow shining in her eyes and tearing at his soul. As he scanned the room, the pain and sorrow etched on his family’s faces broke his heart, tore at his soul so much, so deeply that he wanted to cry out, to rage and scream at the injustice of it, to somehow fight against the cruelty that fate was now forcing upon his family, yet he could do nothing but lie there and silently, slowly and helplessly slip away.

Hearing him murmuring and moving around in bed, trying to rid himself of the heart wrenching images racing through his mind, Nikki slammed the binder shut and quickly walked over to him. Gently laying a hand on his arm and sending the other to run through his hair, Nikki murmured softly, “Victor. Victor it’s me. Wake up, darling, it’s me. You’re safe. It’s just a dream; it’s a dream, wake up Victor. Victor, you’re safe, you’re safe and you’re going to stay that way, I promise. I promise I won’t let anything happen to you. I promise.” With tears welling up in her eyes and falling silently, helplessly down her cheeks, Nikki kissed him softly, still murmuring to him, doing her best, doing everything she could to try and calm him and knowing that, if she couldn’t, she risked losing him.

Finally, after several minutes, Victor calmed down. Although he hadn’t woken up, he now slept soundly, his breathing returning to normal, or what passed for normal under the circumstances. Breathing a sigh of relief, Nikki kissed him softly once again before going back to her reading.

“Since the cerebellum seems to be a center for learning motor skills (implicit memory), could damage to that part of the brain cause paralysis? What about the memory loss; is that because of damage to the hippocampus; it says that part is critical for forming long-term memories.” 
“It says the motor association cortex is responsible for coordination of complex movement, so could that have been damaged, causing the paralysis? Since the primary somatosensory cortex gets tactile information from the body, could that be part of the problem, could that have been damaged? Should I be watching for lack of feeling and keep an eye on Victor to see if he’s able to move his legs at all in the next few days or months?”

#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: Playtime Is Over Pt. 7

Published November 9, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Chapter Nineteen
“Mom, it’s true you didn’t do any one thing for Dad, but-”
“I know what you’re saying, believe me, I do. It’s funny we’re talking like this. Just a few days before this all happened, your father and I were talking about how much things have changed, how much he’s changed and what he was like, who he was before he met me.”
Intrigued, Victoria sat straight up in the chair across from her mother and listened intently. “He was in a very strange mood. He said he realized that he doesn’t often say it, that he doesn’t say it enough, not nearly enough but he realizes how much of an impact I’ve had on his life.”

Still sceptical, Victoria said nothing as she waited for her mother to continue.
“He said, looking back, it wasn’t about any single thing I’d done for him, it was, it is, about what I’ve done for him, how I’ve changed his life in general. He talked about how angry and miserable he was all the time and how he always tried to make other people miserable, I think a big part of the reason he was that way was because of his need for self-preservation. The need to protect himself, to ensure he wasn’t the one getting hurt, the one who would end up vulnerable, overshadowed everything for him.”
“That still doesn’t make it right.”
“No, it doesn’t, I’m not giving him a pass on his mistakes or sweeping them under the rug, just trying to put things in context for you, trying to help put things in perspective.”
‘Perspective? She’s still got those rose-coloured glasses on when it comes to him! She’s still only seeing what she wants to see!’ Vicki thought to herself bitterly.

“Gradually, I started to see a softer side of your father, it wasn’t an automatic change in him, Victoria, too much had already happened for it to be a sweeping change, an overnight success, but it was there.”Satisfied her daughter was, perhaps listening, perhaps beginning to see things a bit more clearly, Nikki continued. “When I came into your father’s life, it took a lot of hard work, a lot of patience, but the more time we spent together, the more human he became, the more compassionate he became. He opened his heart to me, trusted me, for the first time in his life, for the first time since he’d been abandoned at that damn orphanage, your father trusted someone, he trusted me, Victoria, I’m not sure you understand just what that means to me, or that I can put it into words.” Nikki took a moment to study Victor as he lay there, so still, so serene, fighting for his life, fighting for their life together. 
With a quiet sigh, she turned back to her daughter and continued. “It took a lot of courage, a lot of courage, Victoria, for your father to open his heart up to me out of love, to trust me totally and unconditionally, and probably for the first time in his life after being hurt so badly, so brutally as a child, simply because he loved me and was willing to, trusted me enough and had enough faith in me, to let me love him. He took a big chance on me, Victoria, a big chance.”
“So did you;” Victoria told her pointedly, wisely.
Nikki nodded thoughtfully and agreed “And it worked out, for both of us. It’s the smartest thing we ever did.”
At her daughter’s silence, the deepening scowl etched on her face, Nikki asked carefully, “Something I said?”
“No.” Victoria lied as she tried to sit still but couldn’t help clenching and unclenching her fists.

Silently, Nikki took her daughter’s hands in her own and gently, slowly uncurled her fists, taking special note of the nail marks on her palms. Saying nothing, she began to massage her hands, concerned by the tension she felt there. ‘What is going on with her? It’s more than Victor’s heart attack and the stroke. This isn’t making any sense, she’s acting stranger and stranger, what could be going on?’ Nikki thought to herself as she studied her daughter intently.
Still fidgeting and unable to stop, no matter how much she wanted to, Victoria let out a tired sigh and said, “You know what I think?”
“No, what?”
“There’s a reason for the huge change in Dad when you guys aren’t together.”
“And that would be?” Nikki asked intrigued.
“When you aren’t together, when he doesn’t have your influence around, and you know you have a lot of influence over him, he reverts to how he was, what he was when you weren’t in his life, when he didn’t have anybody he felt he could trust. Without you, he becomes that cold, bitter and frightened man who only knows how to lash out in fear of someone lashing out at him first. Without you, he’s lost and can’t find his humanity. You bring that out of him, you bring out the best in him, his humanity, his humility, his ability to love and trust, as much as he can considering how he grew up. Without you, Mom, he’s lost, he just spirals out of control and gets lost; he can’t find his way, his humanity without you. You humanize him, you get through to him when no one else can.”
“Without you, Dad allows all that rage and hate, all that hurt and pain to overtake him, he becomes inhumane and, at times, hateful, but with you, he’s whole and loving and human. You made him human again, made him whole and changed his life for the better. I just hope he realizes that.”
“He does, Victoria, he does.” Nikki tried to reassure her as she stroked her daughter’s hair and kissed the top of her head as Victoria rested her head on her mother’s shoulder.

“Does he? Does he really Mom? Sometimes I wonder. I can’t remember him showing any true remorse for what he’s done over the years, any true remorse or regret for how he’s hurt you.” 
Shaking her head; as if to change her train of thought; Victoria continued. “All the years you’ve been together he’s never really crossed the line, never purposely been cruel to you, for once simple reason; you’ve always been in his life and he’s always known he had you close by. He loves you so much that, even when you’re apart, he knows you’re still there for him, there’s not a doubt in his mind. When you left him, I don’t know, he lost control, lost his way somehow, somehow he lost his humanity. When you’re not together, when you’re not even speaking, I barely recognize him, he’s a completely different person, someone I don’t even want to know or be around. When you’re not there to guide him, to help him put things in perspective, he doesn’t know what else to do, so he turns his anger and fear on you.”
“Maybe, one thing’s for sure though.” Nikki told her thoughtfully.
“What’s that?” Vicki asked rubbing her eyes and trying to fight the thick fog of sleep quickly overtaking her.
“Deep down, in some ways, I think he’s still the same scared little boy he was all those years ago trapped in that hateful orphanage, unable to trust or love anybody completely, not the same way he would if he’d had two parents who loved him and gave him a safe, stable home to grow up in.”
“I think that might have been the case before, but not now.”
“Oh really?” Nikki asked surprised.
“Yeah, that might have been the case when you first met Dad, but you loved, you love him enough show him he could do it. You loved him enough to show him he could open his heart, trust and love people without fearing he’d get hurt. You still do, after everything that’s happened, everything he’s done to you over the years, you still love him like you did all those years ago. If Dad ever lost you, he’d be lost, we all would.”Victoria finished as she gave up the fight and let sleep overtake her.
“Victoria” Nikki whispered. “Victoria.”
Seeing her daughter had drifted off to sleep and feeling exhaustion start to overwhelm her, Nikki pulled her close and held her tight and whispered, “I’ve got a lot to think about.” With that, she fell asleep.

As the sun slowly peeked through the curtains of Victor’s hospital room, Nikki awoke from the best night’s sleep she’d had in a very long time. After briefly glancing at the binders of research she’d spent countless hours poring over, she decided to forgo it and picked up her notebook once again. Despite everything we’ve been through, all the ups and downs, one thing remains constant in both our lives. Neither of us would ever give up the time we’ve spent raising Nicholas and Victoria, watching them grow into the strong, confident and self-assured adults they’ve become. I was so scared when I found out I was pregnant with Victoria, I knew Victor didn’t want children and I knew he probably wouldn’t take it well, but I wasn’t at all prepared for his reaction. He went ballistic and demanded I have an abortion. That reaction was so far removed from the kind; sweet man I knew and loved. I couldn’t believe I was talking to the same person. Just thinking about it now, remembering that time sends chills down my spine. The cold, cold air of detachment I saw in his eyes…I’m not sure I can put into words what it was like to see that in his eyes. It terrified me. Just thinking back to that day makes my blood run cold. Just thinking back to that day makes my blood run cold. I’ve never seen him so angry. To this day I don’t really know what happened, why he was so angry. All I know is the only way he could see the pregnancies were as mistakes. Mistakes! I still can’t believe it! He had the nerve , the gall to demand I have an abortion-both times! I still can’t believe it, where did he get off demanding I have an abortion? There was no way in hell I was about to do it, not even for him! Victoria and Nicholas didn’t deserve it, they didn’t do anything wrong! But, of course Victor couldn’t see that, or didn’t want to, I don’t know which. Nikki had to stop as bitter tears began to fall, unwanted and despised, down her cheeks. Letting out a shaky breath, she looked up toward heaven praying for guidance and searching for the strength that was becoming harder and harder to find. Part of me thinks, or thought anyway, that if he really loved me, he would’ve never even suggested it, let alone demanded it! Only a cold-hearted monster does what he did! How could he have demanded I get rid of the most important, most precious gifts anybody’s ever given me? How did he expect me to do it? Why should I have done it? They were his children, damn it! They weren’t playthings he could just toss away at a moment’s notice, on a whim! They were our children and even if he didn’t want them, I did! I wanted them because they were part of him; part of us! Why couldn’t he understand that? ‘Why am I doing this now? Why am I thinking about this now? For God’s sake, Victor’s on his deathbed and here I am reliving the worst moments of my life and berating him? Why am I doing this?’ Nikki thought to herself completely confused as she stopped for a minute to consider what she was doing. 

Chapter Twenty 
I’ll never forget the day Victoria was born. Nikki stopped and smiled at the memory. She was beautiful, absolutely beautiful. And there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that she was Victor’s. I always knew, deep down inside that she was Victor’s. So why did I let that farce of a marriage I had to Kevin Bancroft take place? ‘ ‘Because you thought you had no other choice, your daughter needed a father.’ A little voice from somewhere inside her whispered. If I hadn’t, if I had stood up to Victor, maybe Alison Bancroft wouldn’t have kidnapped Victoria. That was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. God only knows what would’ve happened if we hadn’t found her, if Paul hadn’t found her. 

Nicholas was just as beautiful as Victoria when he was born, although much quieter. Nikki smiled and shook her head as she thought back to that day and realized just how different her children were; and still are. I couldn’t have been happier than I was when he and Victoria were born. “One thing’s for sure, they’re the same when it comes to protecting me! Both stubborn and completely unwilling to let me handle things, they both insist on standing as my guards” Nikki whispered to herself as she chuckled and shook her head knowing she should be annoyed but finding it endearing somehow.

Regardless of all of that and despite what Victor thought, I’m glad I did it. I’m glad I defied the great Victor Newman and had my children; our children! If I hadn’t, I would’ve missed out on so, so much. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t look at Nicholas and Victoria and know I did the right thing, I know I did the right thing! Besides, I knew that he would be a wonderful father, although he couldn’t see it. I don’t know, maybe he was too scared to see it, too afraid he’d turn out like his father and repeat his mistakes, that the cycle that started with him and his father would continue? Who knows? 

I do know this, I wouldn’t trade the time I spent with them, the time I spent raising them and the opportunity I’ve been lucky enough to have, to watch them grow into the amazing people they are, for anything. Nothing in the world is worth that. Nothing is worth sacrificing my children and the relationship I have with them. They’ve given me so much, much more than I can put into words. As difficult as it’s been sometimes, I don’t regret a moment that I’ve spent with them. I couldn’t be happier, prouder or more grateful for everything they’ve brought to my life. Victoria’s become such a strong, capable woman, both personally and professionally. I had such hopes and dreams for her when she was born and she’s surpassed every one of them. I don’t care what anyone says or thinks; they don’t know her like I do. She’s her father’s daughter, that’s for sure! She’s determined to make her mark in the business world and the world in general. What she doesn’t realize though is she’s already done that and more. I don’t understand why, but she doesn’t see it, or she doesn’t seem to. She doesn’t recognize what she’s accomplished, I don’t understand why. It’s almost as if she’s still searching for something, desperately searching for something. I wish I knew what, I wish I could help her, but more and more, I can’t. She’s cut herself off, completely blocked out anyone who’s tried to help her. But I can’t give up; I can’t give up on my daughter when she needs me the most! I have to keep trying. I’ve already lost one child; I will not stand by while I lose another! I will not stand by complacently watching while my daughter slips further and further away! I’ll do whatever I have to do to make sure that doesn’t happen; whatever it takes I will not lose my daughter! It’s not an option! She needs me now more than ever and I won’t let her down; I won’t!

Feeling drained and uneasy with her current train of thought, Nikki turned her attention to past relationships-Victor’s and hers-and why they hadn’t worked out. None of our relationships with other people have ever worked out. Looking back now; we’ve always avoided answering one central but critical question- even if it was coming from our children-why. Why didn’t any of those relationships work? Looking back now, the answer is simple; we were looking, searching for what we already had and lost what we threw away. We were trying desperately to replace what we’d already thrown away. We wasted so much time searching for what we already had. We wasted so much time trying to fool ourselves into thinking we had what we needed with other people when we really had nothing but beautiful illusions; illusions we’d created for ourselves and clung to as if there were nothing else to hang on to. How could we have been so wrong? How could we have wasted so much time and been so wrong? Why didn’t we see what was right in front of us? Why did we ignore what we had? How could we have been so naïve to think we could, that we would be better off without each other? What were we thinking? Were we even thinking or were we just too wrapped up in pain and outrage, too immersed in wounded pride and wanting to lash out, needing revenge, needing to hurt each other the way we’d been hurt? Why couldn’t we see that wasn’t the way? Why couldn’t we see that wasn’t the way to fix what was wrong, to fix what was broken? Why couldn’t we see that the only thing it did was completely devastate each other and our relationship, blind us to what was real and really important-us? 

What took us so long to realize that the reason it never worked with anyone else is because we were still in love? We knew what we had and we still threw it away! How is that possible? How is it possible? Why didn’t we fight harder? Why didn’t I fight harder? Why did I give up so easily? Why didn’t Victor fight harder? Was it because he didn’t love me? What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently? I wish I knew, God how I wish I knew! If I knew maybe I could understand. Even if I can’t go back and change it, maybe I could understand it if I knew what happened? What did I do, what did I do wrong? 

Was it me, was I the problem or was it something else, something I missed, something I should’ve seen, something I should’ve done and didn’t? Or was it him, did he just fall out of love with me somehow? Or was it the mistakes we both made that tore us apart? The stupid games we played, all they did was make things worse. All the time we wasted trying to get each other’s attention, make each other jealous; and for what? We were miserable and no matter how much we tried to fool ourselves into thinking we weren’t, we were lonely, so, so lonely. If I knew then what I knew now, I would’ve never ever let him go! Never! I would’ve done everything I could to keep him, everything I could to save our marriage. 

It wasn’t the money or the prestige I wanted when I married Victor, that’s not what I was after. All I wanted, all I’ve ever wanted is Victor; only Victor. We wasted so much time trying to fill the void we’d left in each other’s lives with things and people that would never even come close to replacing what we’d lost. What we’d lost was more precious than anything else we could’ve ever found, anything else we could’ve hoped to find. Worst of all was that we let our pride get in the way of the things that meant the most to us-each other and our children; being a real family like we knew we’ve always wanted. They say love is blind, that it blinds people to the truth, so is pride. It gives you a false sense of strength, like you’re indestructible but that’s only an illusion-a painful and costly one. Punishing ourselves was one thing, punishing each other was another. And, sometimes, were too wrapped up in our own pain to realize the people we were punishing most were our children. Whatever was going on between us, they didn’t deserve that, they never did. We could’ve been better role models for them, we should’ve been but, somehow…somehow we failed. 

If we’d been able to get over our own pain and wounded pride, we might have seen it and done what we needed to fix what we broke, but it was easier somehow to walk away and try to convince ourselves that it was for the best. What fools we were, what fools we’ve been! So much time wasted, time we can never get back. We wasted so much fighting pointless, useless battles, with each other and with ourselves. So much time wasted on petty, pointless arguments that lead nowhere, brought us nothing but more heartache and tears. And yet we kept going, kept up the front, held on to the façade for all it was worth, all we were worth; afraid to let it slip. We were so, so afraid to be the first one to let down our guard and get our heart broken. Foolishly, so foolishly, we believed that it was better that way, that we were better off that way. We somehow convinced ourselves that we could live our lives, that we could truly be happy without each other! What a joke, what a farce! We were miserable and we both knew it! We knew it and yet we clung to the painful illusions we’d created for ourselves as if there were nothing else to cling to; as if there were nothing left. 

Even after we realized just how empty our lives were without each other, just how hollow whatever victory we’d fooled ourselves into thinking we had garnered, we clung to the stupid illusions rather than tossing it all aside, opening all the locks we’d kept on our love and taking a chance on each other, on love once again. We somehow, for some reason I can’t even begin to imagine were content to live in the house of cards we’d built for ourselves, maybe on some level we even preferred it. I don’t know. One thing’s for sure it was such a mistake. One I wish I could take back. But, I can’t, as much as I wish I could, I can’t take it back. Why did it take us so long to realize what we threw away? Why were we so stubborn, so intent on continuing the charade? Why couldn’t we see what we were doing to ourselves; to each other? If I had it to do all over again, I’d do so much differently. I’d pay more attention to Victor and my children; I’d give them what they needed, whatever they needed. I wouldn’t take them or the time I spent with them for granted. I would make sure they knew they come first; that they knew nothing and no one is more important to me than they are. There were times, far too many times when they didn’t. There were far too many times when our children and doing what was best for them took a backseat to me and my problems, my needs and what I wanted. I know that, even though they haven’t said anything about those times, never would say anything about them, they still left its mark on Nicholas and Victoria. They still left wounds that still haven’t healed; not completely.

Why does it always take a crisis, a major crisis for us to wake up and realize how much we love each other? Why does it take something like Victor getting shot by someone like Mary Jo Mason to remind me, to remind us just what we mean to each other? What was I thinking, marrying Bradley? Thank God I came to my senses soon enough. I could’ve lost Victor. Although, I do regret hurting him. He’s a good man, deep down, he’s a good man. If he could just get past his hatred for Victor, he could have such a full life. 

He was furious with me for staying with Victor and our children after Victor was shot. What did he expect me to do? Did he really expect me to pack a bag and jet off to Italy with him? I couldn’t do that, they needed me! Shaking her head, Nikki let out a sigh as she walked over to Victor’ s bedside and continued to write. Victor was so damn stubborn! Showing that he needs help, that he needs his family is not showing weakness! It’s showing he’s human! It’s admitting that he’s strong but wise enough to let the people who love him in when he needs to lean on us. Why can’t he understand that? I’ve spent so many years trying to teach him that, so why doesn’t he get it? Why doesn’t he want to accept it? He’s still too damn stubborn for his own good! He still thinks being a man means putting on a show, holding on to a façade no matter how much pain he’s in!

I was so scared he’d die, that the doctors would do everything they could for him and it still wouldn’t be enough. With a smile, she said half to herself, “I should’ve known better.” There are a few, very few circumstances where Victor’s stubborn streak has been his most valuable tool, his greatest weapon. That was definitely one of them. 

I still can’t believe the lengths that woman was willing to go to just to keep that fax Keemo sent Victor from seeing the light of day. God knows what else she would’ve done if she hadn’t been caught. She brought so much turmoil to so many people’s lives; Jill almost took the fall for her, almost had to spend the rest of her life in jail. She hurt Jack more deeply than I ever thought possible. He was devastated.

It didn’t take Victor long to get back to his old self though. In fact, he was back to normal in record time. She smiled and chuckled a bit as she looked at Victor remembering. “Shouldn’t you be getting some rest? I could help tuck you in.”
“Only if you join me.”
“Ooh, you are feeling better.” 

Chapter Twenty-One
“Isn’t it amazing, to have been that close to death and have these wonderful feelings? I was close to death though wasn’t I?”
“Yes, but that’s all behind us now. Pretty soon you’ll be recovered and you’ll be back in our lives the way it’s meant to be.” He never could behave for very long, let alone follow doctors’ orders. 

Even when he was almost fully recovered and well enough to go home, he still insisted on going back to the penthouse and having a nurse take care of him while he recovered. I was furious with him! He absolutely wouldn’t let anybody let alone his family take care of him! He’d rather have had a complete stranger around than his family! God, I just wanted to shake him! He refused to listen to reason, why I’ll never understand! He dug in his heels for all he was worth! Well, despite his stubborn streak, we both got what we wanted in the end, what we’d spent so much time fighting and searching for-each other. And this time I’m not giving him up!

With her mood much improved and the sun shining through the window in Victor’s hospital room, Nikki slowly awoke a few hours later and went back to reading. “Don’t leave a stroke survivor out of social gatherings or conversations. Try and help him/her so he/she doesn’t start feeling lonely and cut off from people. Word questions so they can be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or a nod or shake of the head. Remember that, at times, stroke survivors may get these answers confused. Try using pieces of paper with ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ and ‘I don’t know’ written on them. Ask the survivor to point to the right answer. Speak in a natural voice. Don’t shout or talk too fast. Pauses and speaking at a moderate pace may help the survivor understand you. When talking with a stroke survivor, turn off distractions like the tv or radio. Keep conversations clear and direct. Speak one at a time. During the early stages of recovery, when giving the stroke survivor choices, limit the number of choices to two. For example, ask the stroke survivor ‘Would you like coffee or tea?’ Try writing down the choices. If the person with aphasia is having problems reading, use a drawing beside the written word. In time, as the person recovers, you can try adding more choices. Short, concrete, common words can be easier to understand. For example, say ‘leg’ instead of ‘limb,’ ‘bread’ instead of ‘nutrition’ or ‘house’ instead of ‘residence.’ Don’t rush someone with aphasia.—Rushing Victor’s a cardinal sin when he’s healthy, who’s stupid enough to do it now?—” Nikki said half to herself with a chuckle.
‘Hey, she finally gets it!’ Victor thought to himself with a smirk.
Sobering, Nikki continued. “Be patient and give him/her time to think of the right word. The one most important thing a survivor’s caregiver and family can do is to remember that aphasia means that the survivor has difficulty with language, not with thinking. In various respects, the survivor is still the same person inside. Having aphasia doesn’t mean he/she is stupid or doesn’t understand things. …Another problem connected with aphasia that stroke survivors may have is dysarthria or slurred speech. Something else that would drive Victor crazy, God, I hope that doesn’t happen!” Reconsidering it, Nikki said half to herself, determined to keep her family together and do whatever she needed to do to keep her husband safe, make him healthy and keep him alive, “Even if he is diagnosed with it, it won’t matter. I won’t let it!”
She stopped for a few moments to consider. “I hope Victoria’s okay, she left without a word and she was in a strange mood earlier.” Shaking her head, as if she could shake away the doubts, Nikki told herself “I’m sure she’s fine.”

Refocusing, she went back to her research. “…Some stroke survivors may have both expressive and receptive aphasia. When people have expressive aphasia they may know what they want to say but can’t make the words come out right. Individuals with receptive apahsia might not understand what’s being said to them, but they might seem to understand. Aphasia can also make it challenging to read, write or do math. It can be frustrating for caregivers to communicate with someone with aphasia. Survivors haven’t lost intelligence or common sense. Instead they have trouble saying what they’re thinking. It’s just as frustrating for them not to be able to communicate effectively. Some people with aphasia may improve their use of language within a few months. Others will have permanent language problems. Even if people don’t recover full use of language, they may be able to learn to communicate effectively in spite of their apahsia.”As tiny pinpricks of fear worked their way along her skin, Nikki whispered “Please God, don’t let that be the case for Victor, don’t let him be bedridden and unable to communicate, unable to talk to the people he loves. Let him be alright, please God let him be alright.”

As he drifted in a haze of medication and memories, ones that were so fragmented and disjointed; he couldn’t make sense of them, Victor was thrust into a nightmare. He saw himself in the same room he’d been in for days, his family gathered around his hospital bed saying their goodbyes. No matter how he tried, how much he wanted to, he was powerless to fight, powerless and completely unable to offer any words of comfort to those he loved most. He tossed and turned in bed, as much as his body would let him, trying to block out the horrifying scenes that played in his mind’s eye. Nikki and his children stood there doing their best to be brave, their best to remain strong for him, when all they wanted, all they needed was reassurance that he’d be okay, that he’d somehow, some way be able to come home. Worst of all was seeing the face of his youngest daughter, her confusion, fear and sorrow shining in her eyes and tearing at his soul. As he scanned the room, the pain and sorrow etched on his family’s faces broke his heart, tore at his soul so much, so deeply that he wanted to cry out, to rage and scream at the injustice of it, to somehow fight against the cruelty that fate was now forcing upon his family, yet he could do nothing but lie there and silently, slowly and helplessly slip away.

Hearing him murmuring and moving around in bed, trying to rid himself of the heart wrenching images racing through his mind, Nikki slammed the binder shut and quickly walked over to him. Gently laying a hand on his arm and sending the other to run through his hair, Nikki murmured softly, “Victor. Victor it’s me. Wake up, darling, it’s me. You’re safe. It’s just a dream; it’s a dream, wake up Victor. Victor, you’re safe, you’re safe and you’re going to stay that way, I promise. I promise I won’t let anything happen to you. I promise.” With tears welling up in her eyes and falling silently, helplessly down her cheeks, Nikki kissed him softly, still murmuring to him, doing her best, doing everything she could to try and calm him and knowing that, if she couldn’t, she risked losing him.

Finally, after several minutes, Victor calmed down. Although he hadn’t woken up, he now slept soundly, his breathing returning to normal, or what passed for normal under the circumstances. Breathing a sigh of relief, Nikki kissed him softly once again before going back to her reading.

“Since the cerebellum seems to be a center for learning motor skills (implicit memory), could damage to that part of the brain cause paralysis? What about the memory loss; is that because of damage to the hippocampus; it says that part is critical for forming long-term memories.” 
“It says the motor association cortex is responsible for coordination of complex movement, so could that have been damaged, causing the paralysis? Since the primary somatosensory cortex gets tactile information from the body, could that be part of the problem, could that have been damaged? Should I be watching for lack of feeling and keep an eye on Victor to see if he’s able to move his legs at all in the next few days or months?”

#YRfanfiction #Newmans #Niktor Now&Forever: Playtime Is Over Pt. 3

Published November 5, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Chapter Seven
“What is it? I’ve got patience to see!” Dr. Hoffman all but yelled after closing the door to Dr. Cornwell’s office.
“Your skills as a surgeon are second to none.”
“Thank you.” He said with a satisfied smirk.
“But your bedside manner is worse than the interns’! The way you spoke to Mrs. Newman was cold and completely detached! It was completely unacceptable and unprofessional.”
“You’re the one who told me she doesn’t like to have things sugar coated or be placated or pacified. You and Dr. Thorton both told me that, so what’s the big deal?” 
“The big deal, Dr. Hoffman, is that Mrs. Newman is going through hell right now and what you did just made things worse when you should’ve been focused on making them better!”
“My job is to help people when they’re out of options, my job, Dr. Cornwell, is to fix things when other doctors can’t! I did that!”
“Yes, then you took away, completely shattered, what little hope Mrs. Newman still had left by talking like she should start planning her husband’s funeral! What in God’s name were you thinking?” Dr. Cornwell asked incensed!
“I did what I came here to do. You brought me here to do what you and your staff couldn’t. I did it, what else do you want from me?”
“From now on, Dr. Thorton and I will be updating Mrs. Newman on her husband’s condition.”Dr. Cornwell’s tone brooked no argument.
“What? What the hell is this? You brought me in to consult on this case and now you’re cutting me off at the knees! You’re yanking me off this case because Mrs. Newman’s nose is out of joint? Because I ruffled her feathers?” Dr. Hoffman accused outraged.
“No, I’m pulling you off this case because you just tore that woman’s world apart without a second thought!”
“Fine, she’s all yours! Good luck!”
“I don’t need it; I know how to handle my patients and their families.”Dr. Cornwell told him pointedly.
“What is that supposed to mean? It’s obvious you’ve got something to say to me, so just say it!”
“Fine. You may be a brilliant surgeon, but you’ve got a hell of a lot to learn about how to treat your patients. You’re not dealing with diseases, you’re dealing with people! The sooner you get that through your head, the better!”
With his fists clenched at his sides and his eyes blazing with a contempt that would’ve had most doctors shaking where they sat, Dr. Hoffman turned on his heels and stormed out of the office slamming the door.
Dr. Cornwell on the other hand picked up a file and began reviewing it.

After having called both Nicholas and Victoria and told them to meet her in Victor’s room, she sat at Victor’s bedside and tried to figure out how she’d tell her children about her and Victor’s decision.
“Mom, you said Dad made some kind of decision.”
“We both did, Victoria.”
“Well, what is it?” she demanded impatiently.
“There’s a clinical trial your father wants to enrol in.”
“What kind of clinical trial?” Nicholas asked carefully, not at all sure he liked the sound of this.
“It’s a clinical trial for a medication that might help your father heal from the stroke. It’s being done out of John’s Hopkins and is geared specifically toward people who’ve had massive heart attacks and strokes.”
“What aren’t you telling us Mother?” Victoria asked, sensing the undercurrent of emotions flooding through her mother.
“There’s a chance it may cause another heart attack or stroke.” Nikki told them honestly.
“What?” Nick asked in disbelief.
“What the hell are you thinking? This could kill Dad and you’re willing to go along with it?” Victoria accused.
“No! Listen! Your father’s in a crisis, this could help. It could buy him the time he needs until we find a heart for him!”
“Or it could kill him! It could kill him! No way, no way am I going to agree to this!”
“You don’t have to. Your father already has.” Nikki told them.

Nick and Victoria both stood there in stunned silence slack jawed.
“You can’t possibly serious!”
“I am.”
“I’m not sticking around! I’m not sticking around while you agree to something that could very well kill him! I’m not standing by while you do that to my father!”
“Victoria, do you honestly think I’d do anything if I thought there was even a chance that he’d die? Do you?”
Silence hung in the room.
“This could very well be your father’s only chance, his last hope!”
“Or it could kill him.” Nick whispered before walking out, followed close behind by Victoria. 
As tears welled in her eyes and spilled down her cheeks, Nikki sank into the chair at Victor’s bedside and wept.

Fidgeting with her jewellery, particularly her rings; Nikki looked down at her engagement ring and was taken back in time, back to when Victor proposed and she’d told him she needed time to think, time to herself before giving him her answer. With a soft smile, she walked over to his bedside and sat down. “You’d been waiting so long to propose, you made sure everything was perfect, that everything was just right. I wasn’t sure how you’d react to that; to me telling you I needed time before giving you my answer. I didn’t know if you’d just let me go, or if you’d be furious with me. I’m never quite sure how you’ll react to what I do or say. It’s funny, even after all these years, I really don’t know what to expect from you, not always.”
“One thing’s for sure, I really wasn’t expecting you to let me go without at least trying to make me stay or give you some kind of answer. Then again, you know how that would’ve ended; you know where it would’ve gotten you.”
‘Yeah, I would’ve gotten a swift kick and ended up out in the cold. Seriously, what choice did I have? I didn’t have a choice and you damn well know it! You didn’t give me one, I know you, and if I’d pushed you would’ve been out the door and out of my life-for good!’ Victor thought to himself as he opened his eyes and scowled. 
“You don’t like the thinking back to that time, being reminded of it, do you?” Nikki asked with a knowing smile.
‘Hell no! Why would I? I don’t remember it, but I know I hated it! I can’t stand waiting, you know that!’

“How many people did I have telling me to turn you down? How many people did we have telling us it would never work; that we were dreaming, fooling ourselves?”
‘That’s a rhetorical question, right? How many people have we always had sticking their noses into our business? How many people are always shooting their mouths off about what they think is going on in our relationship?’
“We beat the odds, didn’t we? We beat the odds and we’re stronger than ever! We will get through this, we’ll get through this the same way we’ve gotten through everything else life’s thrown at us; together!”
‘Nikki, you’ve got to face facts, what you want and what may very well happen are two totally different things; we don’t always get what we want. We don’t always get it, but we have to accept what we do get, whatever that may be. God knows what it’s costing me to admit that, but it’s true. I may not come home, I may not survive. You have to prepare yourself for that, because, at this point it’s not just a possibility, more and more, it’s becoming a probability.’
The sombre, weary and all but defeated expression on his face, in his eyes, made Nikki’s heart sink, made her steel her determination and gather her strength for what was to come, for both their sakes. “Darling, I know it’s hard, probably the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do, but I need you to trust me. I need you to trust me to do what’s best for you, for both of us; I need you to trust me to take care of things, to take care of you. I need you to trust that, whatever happens, everything will be alright; I promise; everything will be fine if you just trust me. Can you do that? Will you do that for me?”
With tears rising in his eyes, Victor nodded and closed his eyes trying to block out the searing pain raging through him, pain that had nothing to do with the stroke or the heart attack.
As tears rose in, then fell from her own eyes, Nikki silently took his hand in hers and kissed it. As she looked into his eyes, she promised, “I am not going to lose you, do you hear me; I will not lose you! Not after everything we’ve been through, I’m not giving up on you!” 
Weary and frustrated that he could neither offer words of comfort, nor reason with her, Victor drifted off to sleep.
After tenderly, lovingly kissing his cheek, Nikki went right back to her research.

Chapter Eight
It didn’t take long for her concentration to wane. With a wary glance at Victor, Nikki picked up her cell phone once again and dialled. “Come on, come on, pick up, pick up!”
“Hello.”
“Matthew, it’s Nikki.”
“Nikki, it’s good to hear your voice, what’s up?” Matt said pleased by the unexpected phone call.
“I’m at Memorial. You need to get here as soon as you can.”
“Why, what’s wrong? Are you okay?” he asked alarmed.
“I’m fine, Victor’s had a heart attack and a stroke, the doctors are saying…they’re saying that…” her voice trailed off, unable to form the words she wished with everything in her she could banish from her mind, from her life.
“It’s that bad?” Matt asked in disbelief.
“Yes.”At the silence from Matt, Nikki pressed on. “Matt, he needs you, he needs his family now more than ever he needs all of us.”
“He’s got you, that’s all that’s ever mattered to him.” Matt replied bitterly.
“That may be, but he needs you. He needs all of us, Matt.”

“We barely talk. If he wanted me there he would’ve picked up the phone before now.”
“Damn it, Matthew, your brother is on his deathbed and you’re digging in your heels when you have the chance to set things right with him!” Nikki snapped, fed up with what she was hearing.
“It’s too little, too late, Nikki,” Matt told him stubbornly as the thought of returning to Genoa City began to open up an old, excruciating wound.
“If you wait much longer, it may very well be too late, for you and Victor.” Nikki told him angrily.
“Listen, I’ve got to go, I’ve got to get to work.” Matt told her feebly, hurriedly, his conscience beginning to get the better of him.
“Matthew, wait! Do it for me, please. Do it for me.” Nikki begged, hoping she’d somehow gotten through to him, somehow been able to break through the wall of ice Matt had built around his heart.
“I’ll think about it. I need to go. Bye Nikki.” Trying to bury the guilt that had surged up in him, he grabbed his coat and tore out the door.
With frightened tears falling from her eyes, Nikki whispered “Goodbye Matthew.” Only the heart wrenching dial tone answered her in the deathly quiet room. 

At a loss and completely exhausted, Nikki turned to what seemed to be one of her only refuges-her research. “Each hemisphere contains four lobes (frontal, temporal, occipital, and parietal) that are responsible for many functions, including memory, vision, hearing and speaking. Injury to these areas often results in vision impairment, temporary or permanent memory loss (amnesia), an inability to speak and other problems.-So, some part of the cerebrum is probably damaged, causing the speech and memory problems.” Silently, she said a prayer that neither the speech problems nor the amnesia was permanent, before continuing. “Its functions include thinking, reasoning and remembering. The frontal lobe is responsible for personality characteristics while the parietal lobe controls interpretation of pain and the occipital lobe is involved with vision. The temporal lobe is responsible for memory, smell and speech.”

Nikki ignored the thick fog of sleep that was slowly wrapping itself around her and continued valiantly. “Temporal lobe functions—The temporal lobes are associated with intellect, auditory perception (hearing), long-term memory, some visual perception and object categorization. Impairments caused by head injury include difficulty remembering names and faces (prosopagnosia); difficulty understanding spoken words (Wernicke’s Aphasia); difficulty with identification of, and verbalization about objects; as well as, difficulty with concentration, short term memory loss; interference with long-term memory; aggressive behaviour, and disturbance with selective attention to what we see and hear. Other impairments are change in sexual interest; persistent talking (resulting from damage to the right lobe); challenges locating objects in the environment; inability to categorize objects; …seizure disorders; auras; interference with long-term memory; increased or decreased interest in sexual behaviour and strange reveries. In addition, challenges such as an inability to recognize faces, communication and comprehension challenges, an inability to identify objects can occur. They also play a part in balance and equilibrium, as well as playing a part in language comprehension.” 

As the self-doubt and questions she’d been able to hide, the ones she was so desperate to escape rushed back to her with a vengeance, Nikki looked around the room and whispered, her voice so small and filled with fear and fury, it was barely audible, “Damn it, why am I doing this? He needs action, not reading, not research, he needs me to do something! So, why am I doing this for? Why do I keep pouring over these printouts?” ‘Because, it’s the only thing you can do at this point.’ she thought to herself bitterly. “Besides, I found something to help him before; maybe I can find something else. I can’t just give up on him, not now when he needs me more than ever. No matter what anybody says, I’m not giving up on you!” She whispered to Victor, though she knew full well he was still asleep and couldn’t possibly hear her. No matter, the vow was as much to herself as it was to Victor. “I’m not going to just fold my hands and concede defeat; not when we’re this close to having everything we’ve ever dreamed of!” The tears that burned in her eyes did nothing to extinguish the fire and fury burning in them, fire and fury that she would use to get herself and her family through this latest crisis, this latest cruel twist of fate.
Casey sat in her office wondering how Nick and Vicki were doing. “Why haven’t I been able to get a hold of them?” she wondered concerned about Nikki and their seemingly glaring lack of support for her. “Then again, I’m sure they need some time to themselves, this must feel like this is some waking nightmare they’re in. I just wish they’d let me help them, especially Nikki! She’s so damn stubborn!”

“Then again, I guess I can understand why she is the way she is; after what our father did to her, who can really blame her for not letting people in, even the ones she knows really care about her.”

Shaking her head, she went back to reading the patient file she’d been studying before she’d gotten side-tracked.

Just as Nikki was about to return to her research, the phone at Victor’s bedside rang. “Who could that be? Hardly anybody knows Victor’s here.” Nikki murmured to herself as she walked over and answered it. 
“Nikki, it’s Neil. Any word on Victor’s condition?” Neil asked preferring to cut straight to the point.
“Not much. The doctors are doing what they can but he needs a heart transplant and he needs one soon; Neil, very, very soon!”
“God, I…I’m sorry. I had no idea it was that bad.” Neil whispered as he sank into his chair and ran a hand over his face. “Is…is there anything I can do? Anything at all Nikki?”
Letting out a shuddering breath, Nikki replied, “Pray. Pray Neil, that’s all we can do at this point. I know the company is in the best hands possible, so that helps too.”
“Well, thank you, Nikki. Listen, I don’t want you to worry about any of that right now. Just focus on Victor and your twins. Your family needs you.”
“My twins? How do you know I’m having twins?” Nikki asked confused and more than a bit surprised.
“Victor talked to me quite a few times about it. He’s so excited about becoming a father again. He’s really looking forward to it! It’s like he’s experiencing this for the first time.”
“I guess, in a way he is. Listen I’ve got to go. I’ll talk to you later, okay. And I’ll let you know exactly what’s going on when we have something more to report.”
“Thanks. Nikki, I know it’s hard but keep the faith, alright.”
“I’ll try.” Nikki whispered, her voice choked by tears before she hung up.

Though her vision was clouded by tears and her heart was heavier than it had ever been, Nikki was once again back at his bedside studying the research.
“Since the temporal lobe controls memory, could that be the reason he’s having memory problems? It also says that part of the brain’s involved in emotion and speech. It also says the temporal lobes are responsible for hearing, memory, meaning, and language, along with playing a part in emotion and learning and that they’re concerned with interpreting and processing auditory stimuli. Could that be why he’s having speech problems? According to this, observed problems include: Is there damage to that area? And what’s the difference between Wernicke’s aphasia and some other kind of aphasia? What kind of memories are stored in the temporal lobe? Are they short-term or long term memories? At least I know that there’s a good chance that the memory loss isn’t permanent, unless both the left and right lobes have been damaged.”She shivered at the thought. “The left temporal lobe facilitates verbal and language memory and helps with organization and event sequencing. The rear of the temporal lobes makes emotional interpretation possible, along with playing a part in language and communication. Consequences of temporal lobe injury include” Nikki started as she felt a small but swift, strong kick. “Hey, what was that for?” 

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they want you to take a break.” Dr. Simpson stood in the doorway studying Nikki.
“Dr. Simpson, I didn’t hear you come in.”
“I noticed. Tell me something; how long have you been studying that research?”
“I don’t know.”
“That’s what I thought. Nikki you need to take a break; take care of yourself for a change. If you don’t you can’t take care of anybody else!”
“I know. I know that!”
“Then why-”
“I’ve tried. You don’t know how hard I’ve tried; you don’t know how often I’ve tried to just close my eyes and sleep. But I can’t. I can’t. Every time I try, all I can see is Victor lying there in his office barely breathing! At first I think it’s just a nightmare; then I wake up and I realize it’s not; I realize it’s true, that it’s reality.”
“Nikki, I know it’s hard, but you’ve got to do it; do it for Victor and your family if not for yourself.”

“Fine, I’ll start taking better care of myself.”Nikki told her as she thought to herself bitterly, furious with everyone, ‘Do I have a choice? No; not with everybody hounding me! Why can’t they just leave me alone? I’m doing this for a reason-I’m doing it to hold on to my husband!’
“Good, listen, I want to schedule another check-up in the next few weeks. We need to make sure things are on track with the pregnancy and that both fetuses are developing normally.”
“Developing normally? We already know that didn’t happen; we already know that isn’t happening!”Nikki snapped, reminded once again of her daughter’s situation and all that could mean for her and her family.
“I’m sorry, that probably wasn’t the best way to word it. I just meant that we need to make sure nothing else pops up, that there aren’t any more surprises.” Dr. Simpson explained sympathetically.
“I…I understand. I’m sorry for snapping on you like I did. I shouldn’t have, you’re only trying to help. I’m sorry.” Tears welled in her eyes as she thought of her baby girl, whose life, whether she liked it or not, was up for grabs, just as her husband’s was. 

Chapter Nine 
“Nikki, to say that this is a very stressful time for you is a humongous understatement, I know that, and because I do, I understand your need to lash out. A little bit of friendly advice, do what you need to take care of you. Without that, your family doesn’t stand a chance of getting through this. You are your family’s rock, especially your children’s.” Dr. Cornwell told her wisely and sympathetically.
“What?” Nikki couldn’t believe what she was hearing, especially considering everything that was going on with Victoria.
“Surely that doesn’t surprise you.”Dr. Cornwell replied surprised that it might.
“Actually it does. I-I really wasn’t expecting to hear that.” Nikki told her sheepishly
“Why not, it’s true.” Dr. Cornwell replied intrigued and somewhat confused.
“I’m not sure. It just does.” Nikki told her somewhat cryptically. ‘I know it shouldn’t surprise me, but it does. Victoria hasn’t really been talking to anybody, including me, until last night. It’s pretty much the same with Nicholas. So, what gives? What’s going on?’
“Well, it shouldn’t.”Dr. Cornwell told her firmly.
“Tell me something, what brought this on?”Nikki asked intrigued.
“I was talking to your daughter earlier. As much as she tries to pretend that she’s tough, that she doesn’t need anyone for anything, she needs you; Victoria needs her mother; now more than ever she needs you. And that, more than she realizes.” Dr. Cornwell told her wisely. 

“Victoria?” Nikki asked surprised.
“Yeah, she’s worried about you.”Dr. Cornwell told her softly.
“Figures.” Nikki replied with a half-smile.
“But, beyond that, she realizes the only reason any of you is handling this situation this well is because of you. It’s because you’re here and she knows she can lean on you.”
“She said that?” Nikki asked in disbelief, a small, soft smile slowly spreading across her lips. 
“Yeah. She talked a bit about how any time she’s had a problem she’s always been able to go to you, always known that you’d make it okay for her and give her the strength she needed to get through whatever was going on. She said that, regardless of what was going on in your own life, you always made time for her, regardless of the mistakes she made, she always knew exactly how much you loved her and precisely where she stood with you. One last thing before I go. She’s worried about you, I mean really worried. Nikki, I’ve never seen her like this. She didn’t come right out and say it, but I could tell she’s scared to death that what’s going on with Victor and whatever else you’ve got going on-and I know it’s a lot-is going to end up putting you right here in the hospital right alongside Victor.” 
As Nikki sat there trying to take in all she’d just heard, Dr. Simpson rose and walked to the door, just before walking out, she said simply, “Some food for thought.”
“It certainly is.” Nikki agreed thoughtfully as she watched her walk out.

“That’s weird. If Victoria feels that way, why won’t she tell me what’s been bothering her? Why won’t she open up to me about it? It doesn’t make any sense. If she realizes that she can come to me with whatever’s going on, whatever trouble she’s having, why isn’t she doing that now? What’s different?” Shaking her head, Nikki made a mental note to talk to Victoria as soon as she had the chance. “Enough is enough! It’s time I get to the bottom of this! Whatever’s going on, I’m not going to just sit on my hands and watch the situation deteriorate!” She vowed; steely determination edging her voice, shining in her eyes.

Realizing she was letting stress get the best of her again, she reached into her bag and took out the baby name book.
Victor slowly awoke and studied her quietly for a few moments wondering what the book she held was.
“The baby name book you gave me,” Nikki told him reading his mind. “Feel up to picking out names?” 
When Victor nodded in agreement, Nikki told him, “I found a few I like for both boys and girls. Let’s start with boys’ names, there’s Joseph, Alex, Michael or Jonathan. For girls’ names, I like Anna, Clara, Cora, Mia, Melissa, Adrianna…” Having studied his face as she said the names, Nikki told him, “And from the expression on your face, you don’t like any of them! Even Cora got a lukewarm response, at best.”
Victor scowled and shrugged his shoulders thinking to himself, ‘Damn it! I wish I had a pen! How am I supposed to talk, to pick out baby names with my wife when I can’t say a damn thing; not one damn word?! Why would she even think of Cora? I definitely don’t want that name for our daughter! I don’t want her connected to my past, that’s certainly one ball and chain she doesn’t need to be shackled to! I won’t let that touch her, no matter what I have to do, I won’t let my past and my mistakes, my failings touch her!’
“Victor, what’s wrong? What is it? Why is it you won’t consider Cora for our daughter’s name?” Nikki asked puzzled and concerned.

He tried to tell her, tried to explain, but nothing came out. Furious and quickly getting fed up, he slammed his fist down on the bed and scowled. 
“Victor, you have to be patient. The stroke did a number on you, not to mention what the heart attack that came before it did! You’re not going to be able to recover overnight! It’s going to take time!”She tried to comfort him and reason with him.
With a glare and a growl, Victor motioned toward the book once again.
“Alright, what about Lucy? Trevor? Henry-no, what am I thinking, we’re not naming him Henry! Emily, Anna?” As Victor continued to scowl at the sound of each name, Nikki said, “It’s obvious you don’t like any of those names, so why don’t we just focus on coming up with our own?”
Victor tilted his head thoughtfully and, satisfied, nodded in agreement.

As fatigue overtook him once again, he quietly drifted off to sleep.
As she watched him sleep, Nikki thought to herself puzzled and more than a little intrigued, ‘What could be going on with him? For some reason, he doesn’t want to hear anything that reminds him of his past. I thought he’d gotten past whatever this is a long time ago. Obviously I was wrong.’ “Whatever it is, I’ll get to the bottom of it, just like I’ll get to the bottom of whatever’s going on with Victoria! I will not let anything tear my family apart, not now, not ever! Nothing will tear us apart, my darling, nothing.” Nikki vowed emotionally as she kissed Victor’s cheek sweetly before letting her other hand slip slowly down his cheek and returning to her reading.
“Mom,” Victoria whispered quietly as she slowly, hesitantly walked into her father’s hospital room.
“Victoria, I didn’t hear you come in.” Nikki replied softly, trying her best to smile.
“I know. How are you holding up, really?” Victoria asked, hoping she’d get the truth, for once.
“I’m fine; I wish everybody would stop fussing over me.” Nikki told her as she let out a pent-up breath and rolled her shoulders backwards.
“Sure, when you stop fussing over us.” Victoria replied easily, with just a hint of a tired smile.
“Tell me the truth. How are you holding up?”Nikki countered wisely.

“I’m fine.” Victoria lied easily before adding, “Listen, we need to talk. Abby needs to know what’s going on.”
“Victoria.”
“Mom, she needs to know.”Vicki reasoned
“Not yet.” Nikki answered her firmly, hoping there’d be no argument.
“What? Why not? Mother, she needs to know what’s going on!”Vicki told her one again.
“I know that, Victoria! She needs to know what’s going on, but we don’t really know yet, so what’s the rush?”Nikki reasoned.
“What’s the rush? Come on, Mother, you can’t be serious! She needs to know!” Vicki told her firmly.
“And she will know; she’ll know when we have something to tell her!”Nikki argued, not willing to take any chances.
“We already do!” Victoria told her, getting as frustrated as, it appeared, Nikki already was.
“Victoria.”
“Mother, listen to me! For once, listen to me!”Victoria all but begged.
“Victoria, I don’t want to discuss this!” Nikki snapped.
“Why am I not surprised?” Victoria snapped back
“What’s that supposed to mean?”Nikki asked defensively.
“Mom, look. I get that you’re worried and you want to wait until you have something more concrete, more positive to tell her, but she needs to know what’s going on. She has a right to know!” Victoria answered defensively.
“And I’m not denying that!” Nikki told her trying to keep the fury bubbling inside her from exploding.
“I know! Mom, I don’t want to fight with you, I don’t. That’s the last thing I want but…”Victoria began carefully before her voice trailed off
“But what?” Nikki asked carefully.

“If it were me, I’d want to know. I keep going back to when Dad was in the hospital after he had the first heart attack.” Victoria began slowly, trying to ignore the pain that surged up to the surface as the memories came back to her.
“What about it?” Nikki asked confused and a bit intrigued.
“This is going to sound really weird considering the way things have been the past few months, but, if it were me, I’d want to know. When Dad had the heart attack, you could’ve kept me and Nick in the dark, not told us anything and waited until Dad was better, but you didn’t. You told us what was going on, you had enough trust in us to know that we’d be strong enough to deal with it. You knew that…” Vicki took a deep breath as her eyes filled with tears, tears she did everything she could to keep at bay as her voice shook as she continued. “You knew that we needed to know, that we had a right to know, because we were family and you knew that, whatever happened, as long as we had you, we’d be okay.”
Emotion smothering her voice, Nikki rose from her seat at Victor’s bedside and walked over to her daughter. 
Wordlessly, Nikki gently held her face in her hands before pulling her into a sombre, emotional, and she hoped comforting embrace. “You’ll always have me, angel, you’ll always have me; always.” Nikki whispered with tears glistening in her eyes.
Pulling back a little so they stood eye to eye, Vicki told her with a hint of a cheeky smile, “I don’t think he likes me.”