■ Michelle Stafford’s credentials as a dramatic actress are impeccable, but the commitment and passion she brings to her work as a romantic lead are just as impressive.we were reminded of this when Nina decided to, as she put it, “throw caution to the wind” and reunite with Valentin.
After Nina agreed to dine with her ex at Wyndemere, they settled in for a chat in front of the fire. Stafford kept Nina a notch shy of relaxed, her body language slightly stiff, hesitation peeking through in her voice, not quite pulling off the casual in their casual conversation. Their warm reminiscences gradually melted Nina’s reserve, so much so that she leaned in for a kiss. He pulled back, suggesting they call it a night, and Nina’s expression went from smitten to confused in an instant. The moment broken, she loudly demanded to know why he’d “totally freaked out”.
He explained that he was just respecting her wishes, his chivalry dissolving her remaining resistance. Nina rose to her feet, her eyes darting from left to right as she calculated her next move, then she settled her gaze on him. She sized him up as she voiced her belief that he wouldn’t hurt her again, and the sincerity of his response filled her eyes with tears as she reflected on how happy he had made her. Fixing him with a radiant smile, she gasped, struck by a eureka moment: “I’m hurting myself by keeping us apart.” Exhaling deeply, wrinkling her nose, Stafford released the full bore of Nina’s vulnerability and her strength, her voice breaking as she declared, “I’m happier with you in my life than I am without you in life.” She then grabbed his face with confidence, sweeping him into a kiss.
Stafford delivered a stirring portrait of a woman determined not to let past disappointments stand in her way — a woman in love, but not a fool for it.