| Take one Catherine and a magic wand - well almost...make that a bunny suit!
A Night For Magic
Winterfest was long over and the tunnel dwellers were heading toward spring that still thought it was in the throes of mid winter if the temperatures were anything to go by. The wind chill deep in the recesses of the city streets reduced each tunnel member to a shivering mass of flesh bundled in woollens and draped in rugs and blankets in a bid to keep warm. It was awful, the worst Spring anyone could remember.
*** *** ***
“It has to break soon.” Mary kissed each child goodnight as she tucked them into bed beneath warm duvets and blankets that helpers had kindly sent down. “Spring is just around the corner you’ll see.” She smiled at them hoping her smile would reassure them. It had been particularly hard on the children, usually by now they would have been up gallivanting in the park during warm sunny days. This year it seemed that there simply had been nothing to look forward to since Winterfest as the winter trudged on.
“If it doesn’t…” appealed a small voice beneath a mountain of blankets, “do you think Father would let us have a party?” There was a catch to the voice, half anxiety half hope. Mary’s heart went out to the child. She straightened and walked toward the bed from where the child now stared at her with big expression filled eyes. Mary saw herself in those eyes, many years ago, as a child, holding her breath awaiting a positive response to what appeared to be a normal request. Except it wasn’t normal…not here…not down beneath the city streets…not when food was scarce and depended on donations from friends above. William was already the master worker in making what they did have nutritious and tasty for everyone to enjoy. How he managed that often amazed Mary. No doubt he used a lot of seasonings and herbs to disguise the little that was actually available.
It wasn’t always so, but this harder than normal, longer then ever winter had rendered a great deal of people forgetful. Staying in their homes more than usual keeping warm by roaring log fires partaking of their own provisions as their wages allowed it to be. Mary couldn’t blame them, but at such times as these it brought it home to her just how vulnerable they were down beneath the streets and how reliant they were on the handouts of others.
Mouse; bless him, for all his taking and finding did substitute a great deal of their needs when others let them down. Mary couldn’t fault the boy; he was an angel in disguise. A very good disguise, who would know it…eh?
Mary smiled and noticed in so doing that the child waiting patiently for her answer responded in like manner. A light of renewed hope filled the child’s eyes, as did those of the children that were observing.
Sitting at the side of the bed Mary touched the child’s cheek with one hand, and holding it cupped affectionately in her palm she traced her thumb across the child’s lips enhancing the smile that shone for her.
“Maybe.” Oh there was a wealth of joy in that reply! The child gasped, eyes bright, struggling to a sitting position even as Mary draped a rug from the end of the bed with her free hand and placed it around the child’s shoulders while scolding gently, “You’ll get cold, here put this around you.”
The child appeared not to notice such tenderness; “Do you think we might?” Hope flared and Mary noticed out of an eye corner that the other children were beginning to rouse out of their cosy beds to sit up and take note.
‘How can I let them down now?’ thought Mary. A party was really out of the question, but it needn’t be extravagant…maybe they could just have some fun. There was no need to invite anyone from Above unless they were to donate something of course…it could just be a party of sorts to give the children something to look forward to…something to work towards. For in working toward the event they were kept joyful.
“I’ll speak to Father…” Amid the chorus of delight that went up from the children Mary’s words were lost. She tried to check them, just in case, “Don’t get your hopes up. I’ll ask okay?” She smiled, grinning from ear to ear. Father should see the children as she did now. If he did, he would never be able to refuse them. Those bright eyes full of joy and wonder and hope and delight…Mary shook her head, no if he saw what she did now he would never be able to refuse them anything at all.
It was a pity he didn’t see as much as he thought he did.
There had been too many nights when their breath lay suspended on the air as Vincent and Catherine walked arm in arm through the frost shrouded park. This one was no different to the others but Catherine watched in awe as they walked in silence at the long stream that issued forth from Vincent’s mouth and wondered for the umpteenth time about the capacity of his lungs. Not just his lungs really, for when she thought about them she wondered about the muscles in his strong thighs, his running power, the speed with which he could travel the urgency with which he could reach her side whenever the Bond told him that she needed him.
Knowingly, Catherine smiled to herself, if only he really knew how she needed him. Then she would really see his capacity for speed! He would run and not look back… far into the catacombs as if the devil himself were chasing him. A chuckle issued forth causing Vincent to turn his head to her, “What is it?” He whispered in that delicious goosebumpy, velvety gravely voice of his, “What makes you laugh?”
‘Oh if only you knew my love’ Catherine hugged the words to her heart, looking up at him instead through her lashes a smile playing around her mouth, cheeks flushed. Vincent did not need to see that her eyes shone with delight at something so obviously mischievous that she had thought of but didn’t dare tell him. Oh but she looked so beautiful like that. Whatever she was hiding from him transformed her before his eyes. She shone she physically shone. It was worth not knowing what secrets she harboured just for the memory of her stance at that moment. It would be with him always.
“Nothing” Catherine finally replied causing Vincent to chuckle and respond, “I wish you could teach the children how to laugh at nothing in such a delightful way. It would cheer all our lives.”
Catherine stopped walking and turned to face him, her eyes appealing to know what he meant. “Vincent?”
He sighed, “Its nothing really…don’t worry.”
“Oh but I do…Vincent you know me…if there is something I can help with please don’t hesitate to ask.” She looked up at him her eyes pleading; “Please won’t you tell me? Is something wrong with the children?”
A deep sigh issued forth from the man that she loved above all else, and Catherine grasped his arm tightly, he was beginning to worry her. “What? What’s wrong. Tell me Vincent?”
“It really is nothing.” Lord did he know what his voice did to her? Even now when her attention was diverted to what he was saying, even in that moment the sound of his voice turned her blood to fire. It was difficult to listen though the joy of fastening her gaze upon his mouth in a bid to lip-read what her ears had blotted out by the pounding of her heart was an added delight in itself.
Boredom? Was that all it was? Then why the desperation? For it wasn’t so much what he said as what he didn’t that concerned Catherine right now. “Surely there is always plenty to do?”
“This is true Catherine.” She shuddered… his utterance of her name always left her as jelly.
He smiled and through his nose the night air heralded a chuckle of breath as he realised he could not hide anything from her.
Catherine’s eyes were mischievous, “Come give?” She shook his arm, “Tell me. There must be something I can do. For there is a problem isn’t there?”
“Not so much as a problem…” His voice trailed away as Catherine blew an exasperated draft of air upward thus ruffling her hair in its wake. She looked so cute when she did that; Vincent’s eyes were full of love and tenderness as he waited for the reply he expected.
“Vincent!” Like an impatient thoroughbred Catherine stamped her foot, “Tell me!”
An eruption of laughter filled the air, “there is no keeping anything from you is there?” He took her arm and turned her toward the nearest drainage culvert.
“No not if you want to stay happy.” Catherine retorted, her heart bursting with joy and satisfaction that he would at last tell her, and because he was so obviously leading her toward his home rather than hers of moments ago. She never wanted the night, any night, with him to end.
“Oh I do, I do.” Vincent replied, “And warm also. If this conversation is to continue, we had best get out of the cold night air or you will be spending the rest of the week in bed.”
“Mmm.” Catherine was non-committal; what she was thinking right at that moment was anyone’s guess.
*** *** ***
“Five down one to go.” Mary straightened herself to her highest height and headed toward Father’s chamber. ‘Huh who are you kidding Mary old girl, that one is more than the five put together. I’ve got to use diplomacy…no…’ she giggled ‘I’ve got to use cunning…deception…make it appear good…for him…something he could do with…then we will all benefit.” Smiling she continued on her way, her heart lifted now that she knew the way forth.
*** *** ***
“Do you think she’ll pull it off?” Kipper sat around the chamber with his friends knowing that precisely at that moment Mary should be reaching Father’s quarters.
“Oh I do hope so. What harm can a party do?” Geoffrey replied. He could see no reason why Father would refuse such a simple plea.
“None, but you know Father. He’ll find a reason you’ll see.” The children fell silent; glum at heart each wishing with all their might that Mary might make miracles happen.
*** *** ***
Mary walked into Father’s chamber shield and sword in hand, prepared to fight the dragon and he melted right there before she had even time to open her mouth, really she was sure she could hear him purring. Surprised she said nothing, let him do all the speaking…”Arh Mary dear, come in, you are the very person I hoped to see right now. Take a seat will you?” He dragged a chair from the table to her side, begging her to sit. She did wordlessly…he seemed happy…Father happy? What had brought this on?
Her eyes quickly gazed around the chamber. What did she expect to see? A bottle of alcohol perhaps? For it wasn’t so much as the minimal he had said as to his countenance that intrigued her. He shone he positively shone.
“I received this letter this morning.” He waved it under her nose whipping it away to read it out loud. Spectacles pushed firmly in place he began in that clear resonant voice of his to tell of its contents.
“Dear Dad… hear that Mary? My son actually called me dad.” Now Mary knew the reason behind such joy. That Devin had accepted his parent at long last in the capacity he was pleased her also. It was bad enough that Jacob Wells had taken so long to tell his son that he was truly his father, his biological father that was. But then not to have his son stay or visit frequently when he knew where his roots lay had hurt Father more than he would ever admit.
“Go on.” Mary encouraged gently as Father’s countenance took on a far away look.
“What? Oh yes, sorry my dear, where was I?”
“Not very far.” Mary smiled “but then far enough. I should think those first two words contained all the joy you needed. Oh Jacob I’m so happy for you.”
Father beamed, “Yes well…” He fumbled with the letter, his face full of delight, joy and something else. Mary put a finger on it. It was pride. Yes truly whatever Devin had accomplished at last had filled his father with pride.
Father cleared his throat, starting again from the beginning, stopping only briefly to take a deep steadying breath. Mary could see how emotional the letter was to him and her heart ached with unexpressed love.
You’d better sit down before you read much further."
Father chuckled remembering now how he had fumbled for his cane and then his chair as he had dreaded the very worse on reading that warning. His son was capable of almost anything. He knew not what to expect.
He smiled now, expecting Mary to have had much the same reaction but only paying her a courteous glance as he continued reading itching to get to the best part.
“I’m coming home dad. Home to stay. Home to roost if you like. But I won’t be alone. There are two people in my life that I would love for you to meet…my wife and my son.
Now I know that you will be jumping up like a lunatic right now shouting obscenities about bringing strangers into the tunnels, but you see dad that’s the beauty of it, Sari is not a stranger. She has been to the tunnels before. A long time ago, true, but she remembers everything, every candle, every lamp, every tunnel like the back of her hand, and she remembers you dad, and Vincent most of all does she remember Vincent. And she has never told a soul though all her life she has wished she could if only to tell of the jewel she found beneath the city streets.
Sari wants to come home, dad and I want to be wherever she is. Besides you have a grandson to meet… someone else to teach the better ways of life. His name is Ricky and he’s seven years old.
Hopefully we will arrive on the 4th…can we have a chamber ready for us…if not maybe we could bunk in with someone until one can be made ready.
See you dad give Vin my love,
Mary sighed… there were no words. Her heart was full to bursting…words didn’t even come close.
Father remained silently clutching the letter in one hand, wiping errant tears away with the other, “He’s coming home Mary.” He whispered at last, his voice filled with awe and jubilation. “Devin’s coming back home.”
*** *** ***
Of course had the idea of a party been anyone else’s Father still might have refused it, but somehow, no doubt through wishful meditation by a few dozen children, Father seemed to create the idea himself.
Vincent had explained the problem to Catherine on that night four days ago and she had been trying to think ever since of a way a party could be arranged. So now as she joined Father and Vincent in the kitchen for supper she was stunned to hear him announce, “I think we should throw a party!”
In stunned surprise Father’s mouth gaped as everyone in the dining room leapt to their feet and cheered, each believing the other had talked the patriarch of the tunnels into it.
At once everyone started speaking, ideas poured out. Father was amazed. How did people catch on so quickly, how could they think of this, and this and that in so short a space of time? It was almost as if they had pre-arranged it…but that was impossible…he had mentioned the idea to no one.
“Tell you what…” One voice was suddenly heard above all the others and each turned to see Mouse, of all people, standing on a table! “We’ll dress up!” His delighted voice caused much laughter. Father waved them down. “No Mouse though the idea is a good one, on such occasions we all derive great pleasure from donning our best clothes. I don’t think many of us would wish to dress in costumes for an occasion, besides we want Devin’s family to meet us as we are.”
‘Devin’s family’, Father mused, it had such a nice ring to it.
“We don’t have to clown around Father in fancy dress, but we could make it a party to remember in more ways than one.” Jamie spoke up thoughtfully.
“What do you have in mind?” Father encouraged her to speak.
“Well we could put on some form of entertainment. Not the norm, I don’t think Devin much cares for classical music or play recitals…” Her voice trailed away as everyone laughed nodding knowingly Vincent forcibly so, “Maybe we can think of something funny, something that will break the ice and make his family laugh and feel accepted.”
Father nodded, “Good idea. Let’s discuss it in my chamber after supper shall we. Anyone who might have some ideas can air them then.”
They all agreed and supper was concluded in great haste.
*** *** ***
“Oh Vincent…” Catherine laughed heartily as they reached the park finally, “I can’t somehow imagine you as a magician.”
Vincent grimaced, “Me neither. The only thing going for me is the cloak.” He did a quick twirl making Catherine laugh harder.
“Trust you to draw the short straw Vincent!”
Impishly Catherine smiled. “That would be telling.” She had drawn a straw too but she wasn’t letting on who she was to be or what she was to do. He would have to wait and find out, especially as there seemed to have been some conspiracy on the children’s part in the first place to have made her draw that straw!
Vincent let it go. He was not going to get it out of her; the lawyer in her made her so stubborn at times. Instead he asked, “Can you think up some tricks for me?”
“Pardon?” Catherine who was caught on the wings of his velvety voice again blinked rapidly trying to decide if he meant what she hoped he meant. He didn’t. “Tricks Catherine, magic tricks. I don’t know anything than making things disappear, and I don’t even know how to do that!”
‘Oh yes you do my love…’ Catherine thought, ‘you are a master at disappearing especially when something or someone, namely me, ruffles your feathers.’ But she refrained from speaking out loud. Instead she replied, “I’ll see what I can come up with. Did you want to practice at the apartment?” She grinned coyly. Fortunately it seemed that Vincent was too caught up in the problem at hand to notice the shift in her emotions, the barbed twist to her question, the hope that he might get up to other sorts of tricks in her apartment… with her.
‘Yep that’ll be the day Chandler.’ Catherine scolded herself, and as he hadn’t answered, prompted, “Vincent?”
Unbeknown to her Vincent had indeed sensed something. Some impish thought underlying the seemingly innocent question and he had grown decidedly hot and panicky, “no Catherine… in my chamber I think. We’ve only got five days to do it in, can you come every night after work?”
“I wish…” Catherine whispered beneath her breath and louder went on, “Yes Vincent I’ll be there. Don’t worry by the time Devin arrives on Saturday we’ll have this all wrapped up.”
Vincent looked relieved, he knew he could count on Catherine, but before they parted he thought he would have one last dig at uncovering her piece in the event. “Will that leave you enough time to work on your own part?”
“More than enough.” Catherine grinned; he wasn’t getting anything out of her that easily. “See you tomorrow Vincent…” Reluctantly as always Catherine pulled out of his embrace and couldn’t resist a parting shot, “And don’t get up to too many tricks in the meantime.”
His chuckle warmed her through and through and she ached to be back in his arms.
*** *** ***
Same old Devin, never seemed to change. Same hair style same build, same everything. Vincent would know him anywhere, besides his image was imprinted in his brain. But Catherine who hadn’t seen her fraudulent colleague for a couple of years was surprised that indeed he did look every bit the same as before except for one thing…he seemed alive…if you could call it that…truly he had come to life.
And Catherine, everyone, could see why. Sari was beautiful, and Father not quite remembering her by name remembered her by sight. Of course! The young Indian girl brought to the tunnels by a concerned American relative who did not think it right that she should go through with an arranged marriage to a man she had never met. A story not unlike Lin and Henry’s really. Life in the tunnels had given her a new lease of life, an independence to stand up for her rights, and even though her parents were broken hearted Sari had led her life the way that she chose from that day on. Everybody had that right. Father didn’t quite hold with arranged marriages. Even those brought together in love didn’t always hold together, so how much more then could being married to someone you didn’t even know let alone love?
Their son, Sari and Devin’s resembled them both. Father had said nothing before but he had harboured doubts that the child was biologically Devin’s. He was just a bit peeved on recognising that he was that Devin had kept him a secret for so long. But all that was resolved as the four of them spoke together.
It appeared that Sari’s proposed husband Dandy had eventually found her and once found he was not about to let her go a second time. Her bride price was too good to miss as her parents were very wealthy and influential people and so he had watched her every movement as the date for their wedding drew closer. And then Sari’s own miracle had materialised, her knight in shining armour, her friendship with a boy from the tunnels had come home to roost. She met Devin again, and he freed her from the arranged marriage by providing her with escapism and they had remained in touch, seeing one another whenever they could, eventually falling in love and marrying each other.
“But you see dad, Dandy won’t let the matter drop. He’ll stop at nothing till he finds Sari. Even married to me he could snatch her away, take her to India - anywhere. I can’t take that risk dad I love her so much and Ricky…please can we all live here with you?”
A trifle disappointed Father nodded albeit reluctantly. His son hadn’t come home because he had wanted to do, he hadn’t brought his own family to live beneath the city streets because he missed his old home, but rather he had returned because it was a sanctuary. And probably the only place where Dandy wouldn’t find them.
“I know what you’re thinking dad.” Devin surprised him out of his reverie, “You think I’m only here because I have to be, that because sari is running from someone she needs this place to hide. Well that’s true I won’t deny it, but it’s a partial truth. In effect it was the excuse I needed, the one I had searched for, a convenient excuse to bring me home. Why in the world I should wish to live here beats me…its cold…often miserable…but hell, wherever I went in the world whatever I did I could never forget that home was a hole in the ground that I wanted to return to some day. I would have come back dad eventually, I would have.” Devin’s eyes appealed to his father’s begging him to believe. Father nodded, “That may as be Devin. I’m not going to judge anymore. You are home and that’s all that matters. You and Sari and Ricky are welcome to stay here for as long as you wish. This is your home and personally I don’t think you could ever wish for another better than this.”
Brushing away his tears Devin nodded. He was speechless…probably the first time he’d ever been so, except perhaps, just perhaps for the day he had witnessed his son being born into the world. For that there had been no words, and yet so many words though none of which seemed to express the joy he had felt at that time. This occasion was similar to that one. His throat was tight with unexpressed emotion, and all he could do was hug his father. But it was enough. And to Jacob Wells it was everything.
*** *** ***
Where on earth was Catherine? The party had started and Vincent was just about to start his act as the magician when he saw that Catherine was nowhere to be seen. Funny though… the Bond told him that she was close… but Vincent could see her nowhere.
“You’ll just have to get on with it Vincent. Catherine will be along any minute you’ll see.”
Vincent frowned, ‘why did Father wink at Mary when he told him that? Something was going on he was sure of it. But what?’
For the past five evenings leading up to Devin’s arrival he and Catherine had practised every trick in the book to coin a phrase, until he thought he would be able to carry off his part as a magician near perfectly. But Catherine wasn’t here. True she had seen him play the part many times over the last five evenings, but many was the time she had reminded him with a subtle look or the raise of a hand to avoid a mistake that could have cost him the whole production. He was no magician and making things disappear and reappear was nigh impossible to his mind.
Still everyone was waiting, and he had no choice but to start.
*** *** ***
Catherine was waiting too. It was difficult to hold back her laughter. She positively smirked behind a hand stifling her giggles so that Vincent would not detect where she was. The children had thought it would be a surprise for Vincent if she should appear just like that, as if he had whisked her there by a wave of his wand but what no one knew and least of all Vincent was how much of a SURPRISE it would be!
*** *** ***
To say it was disastrous would be to put it mildly Vincent did everything wrong! Without Catherine there to guide him he felt both at a loss and out of depth. Not to mention worried that he could feel her close by but not see her thus concluding only that she must be behind the wings so to speak getting ready for whatever her act consisted of.
That should have calmed him but it did not. The fact that she might possibly be watching did not help, he needed her there to guide him to prevent him from becoming a laughing stock before his whole family…and his brother! That Devin hadn’t stopped laughing was no consolation Vincent felt so embarrassed.
The mouse he had so carefully trained over five days had suddenly decided that titbits in pockets were unpalatable. For five days…no five nights… that rodent had allowed Vincent to disappear him into one of his voluminous pockets within his cloak and had stayed there pleasantly munching on the biscuits Catherine had left in wait for him without ever peeping back out again. But would he do it? Not tonight. Oh no not tonight.
Tonight that pesky white furred rodent had wanted to play peek a boo. Every time that Vincent waved a square of silken cloth and lay it over his hand to disguise a flick of the wrist to deposit the mouse inside his cloak, the little fellow had decided that the audience were more interesting than biscuits and had popped back out again the moment Vincent removed the silk.
There was uproar…”You should have been a comedian Vincent” that quip was heard several times by several different people. Vincent didn’t dare look up to see whom it was bad enough that he heard it.
Cutting someone in half perhaps would have been the most intense part of his act but no one would volunteer, he’d told Catherine two days ago that they may have problems with that one. That no one would raise a hand to be placed in the box wasted several uncomfortable minutes as Vincent wondered what he could do instead and for the thousandth time he wished he knew where Catherine was.
The pack of cards trick should have been a roaring success if he hadn’t of been so stunned by the applause that he dropped the pack only for everyone to discover that the entire pack consisted of the eight of diamonds that Father had drawn from the pack earlier. Then the booing was enough to shatter the very rocks themselves, and Vincent wanted to crawl away and slip down a crack somewhere, and fast!
There was only one trick left. Vincent prepared for it with half a mind. He felt both silly and ashamed. Though everyone seemed to have enjoyed the show he was dismayed that he hadn’t so far got a single trick right.
“Ooh goodie” Devin exclaimed, “A Mouse with a rabbit. Hate to tell you bro, but you’ve never worn a hat so where are you going to put that little critter!” screams of laughter followed Devin’s quip as Mouse stepped up with a small grey and white rabbit in his arms.
“Not using a hat.” Mouse informed them, “A box see?”
They had seen. The cloth-draped box was huge.
“You’re putting him in there! Way to go Vinnie. You’re first correct trick.” Devin cried laughing hysterically.
Vincent didn’t want to ask, but felt compelled to, “Why should it work?” He had to know.
“Get real bro! Look at the size of the box, why you’ll be lucky if you ever see him again after putting him in there!” More laughter erupted. Vincent’s face turned a decidedly deeper shade of red.
Deftly, for some reason unknown to Vincent, Mouse lifted a small lid on top of the box in which Vincent gratefully placed the rabbit. “Thank you Mouse, you should have been my helper all through.”
Mouse beamed, and then beamed some more, he liked rabbits.
“Better still…” Father shouted, “you should have seen if you could have made THAT Mouse disappear!” The expected bellow of laughter did not erupt causing Father to feel foolish and uncomfortable and Mouse looked at him daggers… If looks could kill…
Still Vincent persevered aching now to complete his act and be gone. Gone anywhere - anywhere where he could drown his sorrows, perhaps drown his whole self… He felt so ridiculous!
“I’m going to wave my wand and the rabbit will turn into a beautiful bird.” Vincent told the audience.
At first he couldn’t understand why Catherine had insisted that he said bird and not dove, but she had explained that when the day came she couldn’t be certain that she would be able to bring a dove down there. It might have to be some other bird, like a budgerigar or even a canary, so if he said bird it would cover a multitude and Vincent had accepted that explanation without further question.
He tapped the box several times praying with all his might that Catherine had remembered to bring down something feathery even if it was a duster, so that he might not have to pull the rabbit out again. Then closing his eyes and with one final wave of his wand over the box he slid open the flap and put in his hand.
Those eyes flew open!
What on earth!
Out from the box flew not a bird, at least not the feathered variety but Catherine herself, and what a Catherine!
The applause was deafening, until Father coughed and squeaked, “Catherine my dear what is that you are wearing?”
“More like not wearing…way to go Chandler!” Devin shouted.
Vincent was speechless!
Catherine had donned a bunny suit and a very revealing one at that.
“Now…” said Devin as the applause trailed away, “…that’s what I call magic!”
*** *** ***
They walked in silence…hadn’t spoken for the rest of the evening, in fact Devin’s next quip of ‘Where’d they go’ was so correct, for simply Vincent and Catherine had vanished into thin air. Or so it had seemed. In actual fact Vincent had wrapped Catherine’s near naked body into his voluminous cloak and had whisked her away before anyone could blink.
He did not stop until they reached his chamber where he literally dumped her down upon his bed. Catherine’s earlier joy evaporated by the look on his face. He was furious!
She lay there watching him, shrouded by his cloak, with the scents that she so loved pervading her nostrils. Him. Candlewax, old books, tunnels and him. Mmm him. She cuddled into the folds imagining his arms around her – his body wrapped around her, as was the cloak. Her eyes were dreamy far away as he stopped his relentless pacing and turned to face her.
“Why Catherine?” His hands spread out in expression on either side of him, “Why?” He implored her again falling to his knees.
“I’m sorry Vincent. We thought it would be funny.”
“The children, Mary and I.” Catherine’s tone was flat, expressionless though her chin trembled oh so slightly.
Vincent expelled a heavy sigh. He supposed it was funny. To onlookers it was probably hilarious, tomorrow he too might see the funny side of it, but now…no definitely not now…
He swallowed hard with great difficulty… I should take you home."
“I’ll get dressed.” Catherine made to leave the bed.
“Where are you going?”
“My clothes are in the guest chamber.”
“Stay here, I’ll collect them for you.” In truth he needed to escape as thoughts of a near naked Catherine beneath the folds of his cloak became almost too much for him to bear.
Quickly he strode not daring to hesitate to think or to feel until he reached the inside of the guest chamber where he leaned against the wall all energy suddenly drained from him. ‘Why had she done it?’ Fun maybe, but her dress, or rather her lack of dress had ruined that illusion and to top it all had altered the sight of her in his mind forever. It was bad enough before, but now, whenever he thought of her, would he ever think of her any other way but half naked?
Sinking to the floor he lay his head on his folded arms propped up by his knees and despite his exasperation he started to cry.
*** *** ***
Catherine found him there. When he did not return she went in search of him trailing his long black cloak on the dusty tunnel floor behind her.
“Vincent?” Catherine touched his shoulder lightly startling him and he hurriedly wiped away his tears, but Catherine had noticed and could not pretend she hadn’t and falling to her knees in front of him her arms went around him, “I’m so sorry Vincent. I ruined everything didn’t I?”
“Yes.” There was no denying it. “But what I don’t understand…is why?”
Catherine took a deep breath; this might be her only chance, “Because I wanted you to notice me. To really notice me. I love you Vincent…so very, very much.”
“Catherine…” There it was again, velvet over gravel. Catherine shuddered as he spoke her name. If only he would speak her name for the rest of her life in that same manner then she would be grateful; she would ask no more of him. For his voice alone did things to her that no intimate touch ever could.
“I do notice you Catherine…you know that I do.” His voice seemed pained.
“Yes. Yes Vincent I know that you notice me. I know that you know who I am, what I do, how I fit into your life, but I want to be more Vincent. I want to be more…to you.”
“Catherine… we’ve been through this…before…I can’t…” His eyes filled with fresh tears as he spoke his heart breaking afresh.
“I believe that you can. I believe that we can. Please Vincent let us try.” Her eyes pleaded with his grey green on blue, sadly Vincent looked away shaking his head.
“We can!” Catherine caught his face, turned it back to her, holding him firmly in both hands, and before he could reply brought her lips to his and kissed him deeply.
Stunned Vincent found he could not move…did not want to move…Catherine’s lips on his was more than he had imagined was better than he had ever imagined, was hungrier than he had ever dreamed possible. Of their own accord his arms went around her even as he felt her moulding herself tightly against him. She moaned. Or was it him, maybe they both moaned he wasn’t sure, neither did he care. This was bliss, sheer, sheer bliss, and he never wanted her to stop kissing him.
In time he indulged in his own exploration. His lips moving across hers with total abandon, somewhere in the back of his mind he wondered how he dared, he wondered how he could keep kissing her. The answer yelled back at him, it was simple, ‘you need this…you need this so much.’
‘Oh yes oh yes I need this’ his heart pounded in melody as all the barriers he had ever erected between them simply fell away. Happiness seared his soul, his heart his mind, his body…
Her mind reeling along the same lines Catherine shuddered as his kisses met hers pace for pace, and she cuddled closer to him oblivious to the hard stone floor biting into the calves of her legs and knees…
Kissing Vincent was everything…there was nothing but the two of them...suspended there for all time…just kissing together forever…
Catherine smiled deep in her heart, as Vincent gathered her up in his arms and followed her down upon the bed as he lay her there. Their lips never lost contact, and Catherine thought she might never breathe again as she caught sight of the blaze of desire in Vincent’s stunning blue eyes. And as she gave herself up willingly to the man that she loved beyond all else, Catherine grasped hold of one word that flitted through her mind and held it close to her heart where it would remain cherished forever….
Catherine and Vincent together as one…
Yes, truly it had been a night for magic…
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The stories found within this website have been written by and for lovers of the American television series Beauty and the Beast and no infringement upon the rights held by Ron Koslow, CBS, Republic Entertainment, Witt-Thomas Productions or any other Copyright holder to Beauty and the Beast is intended.
Furthermore all the stories found on this website belong to Wendy Tunnard de-Veryard, are protected by copyright and none should be copied, added to or subtracted from or altered in any way, without the prior authorisation of the author.