When a threat is made to Catherine's life Devin unwittingly saves her
With his usual awareness of her every movement Father knew at once that his son’s preoccupation was very much with his ladylove right at that moment. The chessboard lay before them, it was Vincent’s move – had been Vincent’s move for the last five minutes but Father was loath to interrupt his son’s meditation. Catherine, Father knew, was in the park right at this very moment no doubt with Joe, some of the police department and a host of other officials in the hope of being in the right place at the right time to capture the latest criminal on their list.
*** *** ***
This one was being pretty evasive. Not only did they only have a vague idea of what he looked like but they neither knew his name, his real name that was.
This character was most wanted. Father well knew that to bring the entire police force to the ground on many occasions he was most certainly a dangerous man. Had the danger not have existed, Father might have met Vincent’s concentration on anything but the chessboard with much amusement, but not today. Father reached for the chess pieces with the intention of putting them away, when a large furry hand covered his to still his movements.
“Father don’t.” Father looked up at his son, and the words on his lips died as he met those kindly blue eyes. Vincent continued, “I was just about to beat you.” The laughter in his tone pleased Father, obviously though Catherine faced danger in her duties above, she was in no immediate danger at that moment or Vincent would have acted differently.
“No you were not!” Father retorted ready to begin their usual banter over the game of chess.
Vincent smiled. He didn’t need to reply. The answer lay in those eyes. Father looked away mumbling “Well maybe you might have.” The words so quiet that no ordinary person could have heard. But Vincent wasn’t ordinary much to his dismay in every occasion of his life except for maybe one, the ability to sense where Catherine was and to know if she was troubled or unhappy. That one gift alone for being different brought Vincent a sense of ease at being who he was although sometimes he thought he would gladly trade that gift for the chance of being a normal man.
“I thought perhaps you wanted to concentrate on Catherine’s whereabouts that’s all.” Father added by way of explanation. Vincent grinned, “And make use of the situation to finish the game that I was so obviously winning.” He didn’t say it didn’t need to do but Father could almost here that added word ‘again’ on the end of the statement. He didn’t know why he played chess with his son really. Nine times out of ten Vincent would win. But then the strategy that Vincent applied was always so intriguing, so entertaining and Father hoped that he could store away some of those famous moves in his memory so that he might beat him next time.
“Its all right Father, Catherine is well. Agitated but well.” Vincent grinned again imagining Catherine right at that moment. Obviously their culprit had escaped them yet again.
Father caught his drift, “Another night when women walk the streets in fear.” His voice was flat, “And it’ll be dark again in a couple of hours.”
“Yes. Although women should always walk in fear, to become complacent is the greater danger, but I do know what you mean Father. This particular man is indeed most wicked.”
“One of the reasons you fear for Catherine the most, I know. But she isn’t alone Vincent and she has stopped coming here via the park while that man has been stalking women at night. Its not just Catherine’s problem or the women above though, it has also stopped those from our world from venturing out after dark. Though perhaps that is a good thing.” Father scratched the stubble on his chin. He liked the tunnel dwellers where he could keep an eye on them, even if he would not admit to it.
Drawing up to straighten his back Vincent expelled a heavy sigh, “Will there be no end to it?” It was a question without answers, but Father responded anyway, “The violence?”
Vincent nodded, “Yes. Not just in the city above but in the world over. If only man could learn to see every other man as a brother and not encroach upon another man’s rights. Money might be a fine thing Father, but it is the root of all evil. Be it that we could trade and barter for everything we needed, just as people once did maybe the world would be a far better place for it.”
Father nodded reminiscing of the books he had read on such a subject, but appreciating that even during those times there was still violence. As if reading his mind Vincent went on, “I know, I know greed existed even then and perhaps it always will. But oh for a government that made everyone equal, what paradise that would be.”
Father nodded, “You speak like a prophet, the scriptures declare such a possibility, but the government will be of God’s making not mans.”
“Then I wish it would hurry along.”
“So do I Vincent, so do I.” Father sighed, “Tea?”
“Aren’t we going to complete this game?” There was a knowing twinkle in Vincent’s eye. Father shook his head, “I’ve lost heart in it now, and I truly could do with a drink.” Vincent nodded and began gathering the chess pieces while Father used his cane to pull himself up onto his feet, “I wish we knew when Devin was going to arrive.” He mumbled as he crossed the chamber to the kettle.
“His letter made no mention of dates Father. You know Devin, that he said he would come is gospel, but whether he will come this year or next is another thing entirely.” Vincent laughed as did Father adding, “but I understand your concern and I too miss him.”
A couple of hours later in the airport lounge minutes after collecting his baggage, Devin was sitting drinking coffee with a man who had boarded with him on the flight from Mexico. They knew each other little, but had appreciated each other’s company during the flight though both had dozed most of the way.
“So you will be, what? Going to visit your family as soon as you finish your coffee?” The other fellow questioned a sleepy eyed Devin.
Replacing his mug to the table Devin replied, “Yes, Ben, I haven’t been home in a long time, I’ve missed the old place.”
The fellow nodded, “It’s a lifetime since I last saw my folks. I doubt I will ever see them again.”
“Why is that?”
“Oh this and that my lifestyle and theirs. We never seem to coincide that’s all.” Devin didn’t think it much of an answer. If one was determined one could make certain that families came first. He knew that. For too many years he had shunned his own, telling himself he had no time to visit but it was all a farce really. When he found out where his roots lay, that Father was actually his biological father also, he had made certain that he visited home at least once a year if not twice. Besides he missed Vincent, his brother, so much.
It never failed to grieve him that he and Vincent could not go South of Oz and North of Shangri-La as they had so often dreamed of doing together. Vincent missed so much, but if his infrequent visits bringing tales of his wanderings pleased his brother, then a wandering Devin would continue to do.
Besides having someone to relate his trips to, made Devin take notice of everything in much more detail. Colours, shapes, scents, he noticed them all in order to relate every aspect to his brother on his visits home or through his letters.
“So where is your first port of call?” Devin asked the other fellow not really interested as it happened. Now that the time for parting was upon them and Devin doubted he would ever see the fellow again. What Ben did from this moment forth really didn’t concern him at all.
“Central Park.” Ben’s answer surprised Devin.
“That’s what I said. I have a rendezvous with someone there.”
“Oh I see.” Devin wondered if the basement in Catherine’s apartment building was still accessible. Obviously he couldn’t go home via the park now.
“Is there somewhere I could contact you while you are in town?” Ben’s question startled Devin.
“You look like the sort of fellow I could use.” Devin noticed that Ben did not meet his eyes when he spoke. It unnerved him, made him feel uncomfortable. He replied honestly, “It could be difficult. There are no telephones where I am headed.”
“No…telephones…you kidding?” Ben could see Devin was not, but he couldn’t believe what he had heard all the same. He fished inside his jacket pocket, “Here, call me. The city has telephone’s all over the place, if you ever step back into the real world, give me a call will you?”
Taking the card, Devin merely scanned it before placing it into his pocket. “Okay.”
Standing Ben downed the dregs of his coffee, “Must go. I don’t want to be late. Call me okay?” He stared at Devin willing a favourable reply from him.
Devin nodded, “Yeah” he replied even knowing that he would not. He really knew nothing about Ben Dover and something rankled at the back of his mind that was the way he should let it stay.
*** *** ***
Checking his watch for the umpteenth time, Joe swore turning Catherine’s gaze toward him and forcing a question from her. “He’s not coming is he? Are you sure you got the date right?” Through the question flowed humour, and despite the accusation to his good sense Joe grinned.
“Sure Radcliffe, that is if this is the 19th.”
Catherine smiled her teasing reply humouring him further, “Sure is Joe. Assuming it is October?”
With his hand, Joe swatted Catherine catching her on one shoulder, his eyes filled with amusement at her witty reply. They needed this, this light-hearted banter. The last couple of stress filled hours melted away.
“Could do with a coffee. Fancy taking a break?” Joe looked around at a few of the men scattered round about, “They would cover for a few minutes I’m sure.”
“Better not Joe.” Catherine drew a deep breath letting it out resignedly “I mean there’s nothing I would like more, but if they said October 19th, then October 19th it is. We’d best stay.”
Joe nodded, blowing into his hands to warm them, but even his breath felt cold. “Just wish they’d get a move on then. My stomach feels as if my throat’s been cut.” And then he groaned realising the implications of his words, “Oh Jeez Radcliffe I never thought…” The sorrow in his eyes pained Catherine deeply and she hastened to reassure him.
“It’s okay Joe. It’s just an expression. I understand.”
“But those women Cathy. Those poor woman. How can a guy do that to a woman?”
Though his reply posed a question Catherine did not answer, instead her mind conjured up the recent newspaper reports she had read, the recent cases she had been assigned to. The stories of victims left dying in the park with their throats cut to ribbons.
This man, this whatever his name was, was a danger to humanity. They had to wait here out in the cold. Their informant had been adamant that he would show. This guy BD or whatever his real name was, they knew, had a rendezvous with some woman in the park that night and they didn’t know who she was.
*** *** ***
Sipping his tea, Vincent had lapsed into silence again. Ever since his parent had passed the mug of steaming brew across to his son, Vincent had sat mug in hands, absorbing the warmth into his restless body.
Father knew well not to interrupt his son’s thoughts. Instead he watched him, over the rim of his own mug, his concern apparent but unnoticed by the leonine features of the man sitting opposite of him.
Vincent’s thoughts were cast inward concentrating fully on his true love’s anxiety and her whereabouts in the park above. She was distressed half for the length of time they had waited above and half for the length of time she was missing spending the evening with him.
Usually they would have met by now. She coming to him through the park, fresh with the scent of New York City night air clinging to her hair her eyes dancing beacons of joy, her upturned mouth ready with a smile that she reserved only for him. And the invitation of a kiss always applied but never accepted.
For some reason Vincent thought about that now. His mind filling with images of Catherine, her eyes of love shining upon him her lips moist and lush beckoning him to kiss her yet he had always vied away from that offer.
Now suddenly he wanted to accept that blatant invitation so much, so very much.
For what if on one such night as this she didn’t come back to him? What if on one such night when she was in police care, with Joe and the rest of their department she didn’t return with her eyes full of satisfaction that they had caught their man?
What if on one such night when it would be inadvisable for him to run to her in the midst of so many chaperons someone should take her from him? What if on one such night he should lose her forever?
Vincent’s heart seem to leave his chest as the implication of this fact shot through him, of the fact that for all the times he had told her he loved her. For all the times he had vowed to protect her, he should leave this world never knowing what it felt like to press his lips to hers. That fact he knew would grieve him the most, would torment and haunt him to his dying day. That for all her love he had denied her the most simplest of acts just because he was…he was what? Scared?
How could he ever justify that he was scared?
His gaze still resting upon his son, Father was startled when Vincent suddenly spoke sharply, and yet those deep resonate sounds were filled with such torment that Father could feel the pain inside that forced his son to utter them.
“I’ve never kissed her!”
Startled, for some moments Father just stared. Vincent didn’t appear to have noticed that he had spoken. His gaze was still inward, but those eyes were troubled, that much Father could see.
Almost timidly Father responded, “Who?” And then chided himself for his stupidity.
Blue eyes drifted out of their reverie and rested upon Father, seemingly at a loss to the question uttered by him.
“You spoke.” Father felt prompted to say.
“I spoke?” Vincent shook his head an act that Father well knew signified that his son didn’t know what he was talking about.
“Yes.” For a moment Father didn’t quite know what to say, but as his son’s gaze continued vague, Father added softly, “ You said you had never kissed her.”
Immediately Vincent’s pallor paled and he hid his face beneath a curtain of tawny hair, shamefully aware that he had said those words, and shamefully aware that he hadn’t meant to say them aloud.
“Its all right Vincent.” Father hastened to reassure his son, “Be it that you spoke your thoughts aloud, it doesn’t matter.” He paused letting those words sink in, before adding, “But if you would like to talk about it…” His words trailed away, their implication obvious.
For some time Vincent hid beneath his curtain of hair and fought the feelings within him. He wanted to speak, oh how he wanted to say something. How he wanted to confine in someone and let someone know how he felt, but telling all of what he thought wasn’t right. Really none of it was meant for any ears but Catherine’s. Everything that he wanted to say everything that he needed to do belonged only to Catherine. And so he shook his head mumbling his thanks and made it known that he could not speak on this subject at all.
However, Father well knew his son, and well appreciated the hidden word, the secret heart entwined with true love. Father knew because he had experienced these things with Margaret, his dear wife. He knew what it was to love so deeply, and he knew what it meant to keep those things treasured and safe until only the ears of his beloved could hear them said. Whispered one moonlit night, or over a candlelit dinner for two.
And because he knew and he understood, he left his seat and came to stand alongside his son, draping one arm around those great shoulders and hugging them tightly while bestowing a kiss upon the tawny head. “I understand Vincent. I do.”
In grateful thanks Vincent placed one large furry hand over one of Father’s that lay almost upon his chest and squeezed with just enough pressure to signify his appreciation for Father’s loving care. Had anybody else had said those words Vincent might have concluded that they were just words of consolation brought about by sorrow for his feelings. But coming from Father, Vincent knew that his parent truly understood his feelings and emotions and at that moment Vincent felt indebted to Father for his tenderness toward him.
As if by way of changing the subject subtly Father questioned, “Where is Catherine now? Do you know?”
“Above, in the park. She is agitated. They are still waiting. Catherine is apprehensive and I believe cold.” A slight chuckle left Vincent’s lips and Father caught the wry humour with some of his own.
It had become a standing joke between them, that Catherine would rush not only to Vincent’s waiting arms for his love but for his warmth, just as the children did after a winter’s day spent playing up in the park.
“Then she should be down here soon.” Father quipped thus bringing forth-another chuckle from his son and delighted to hear the sound.
“Yes perhaps you should boil the kettle again.” Vincent’s blue eyes twinkled knowing that would be the second port of call Catherine would head for. A warming mug of hot tea between the palms of her frozen hands. He could hear her now, “Oooh Father this feels sooo good.”
“If it wasn’t for the danger that man presented I would have William send up trays of steaming brew for all of Catherine’s team.” Father told his son much to Vincent’s surprise. There were many crimes in the city above, but this latest one had really got to Father. That he would risk the security of their world by taking a tray full of tea Above showed him how deeply his parent felt about that particular murderer.
“There was a man once…” Father began, “I know you know the story…Jack the Ripper they called him. Haunted the streets of London…” Vincent shuddered, yes he knew that story. He was surprised that Father had brought it up, what comparison was there? Was there something he didn’t know? Had the papers omitted some detail that Father knew of - something that caused his parent such obvious distress?
As if to answer the unspoken questions, Father eyed Vincent carefully, ascertaining how much he should reveal of his knowledge, finally conceding with the words, “Catherine told me.”
“She told you!” Vincent seemed at a loss. Catherine usually told him everything. Why would she omit this? Why would she not tell him the real danger that existed Above?
“She was afraid for you.” Father offered by way of explanation. “She knew if you knew then you could become a victim of his perverted ways. That he would see you as some freak of nature that he needed to track down more than any woman. She hid it from you for that fact alone. That is why she has blatantly ignored the warnings to keep off the streets at night. That is why she has visited here so often of late, to save you from having to go above.”
“Catherine is a remarkable woman. She shows great courage but this man is dangerous, she should have told me.”
“Courage be damned! Vincent she loves you. Are you too blind to know how deeply she loves you?”
Stunned by his parent’s outburst, Vincent could only sit and stare for long moments, watching Father’s chest rising and falling with suppressed anger. He knew that his parent longed to say more, but felt he had in all honesty, probably said more than enough as it was.
Still Father attempted one last overture, “And you have never even kissed her?” The tenderness of the question brought tears to Vincent’s eyes. He shook his head, letting the tears fall, “No.” He choked the word caught on a sob, “Never.”
“Then you should. And before this night is out too. Catherine loves you Vincent. She sees not the beast, she sees the man, and it is that man that she loves. It is, I believe, that man she would die for. Love like that doesn’t come twice my boy. Don’t let embarrassment, cowardice or pride stand between you and what is offered. Let her love you, and more importantly let yourself love her.”
Surprised at his parent’s omission Vincent stared for long moments, seeing everything laid before him in a nutshell. Put like that it was so easy. Yet seeing Father there telling him these things, and seeing Catherine stood there asking it of him was two very different things. As much as he wanted to, he didn’t know if he could. And Father knew that.
“Vincent, tonight Catherine may come face to face with one of the most dangerous men she has had the misfortune to meet. If only for that reason alone, when she arrives, let your thankfulness at having her home safe and sound drive you to push aside all your misgivings and take her into your arms and kiss her for goodness sake. Believe me once you have attempted it you will wonder what took you so long.” Father chuckled picturing this, hoping that it might take place before his very eyes. Now that would be a sight worth seeing - it surely would.
Vincent said nothing, but Father was pleased to notice that a twinkle now shone in his son’s blue eyes. That to Father said everything. Vincent was pondering his words.
*** *** ***
To gain access into the tunnels Devin had only ever used the threshold beneath Catherine’s apartment building on few occasions most of which he had not liked doing and doing so now was no different. Perhaps for someone of Catherine’s build being able to skirt the boxes stored in the basement was a task undertaken without forethought but for Devin it was not so easy. For one thing he was taller and for another he just wasn’t so well practised at hiding in small corners. Bending down to move boxes, his elbows caught smaller packages, sending them scattering. It was enough! The sound of the parcels hitting the floor in several directions, unnerved Devin enough to forget the whole silly notion and to believe that in four hundred acres of park the chances of stumbling into Ben Dover would be a remote one. And to believe that he could easily manoeuvre himself through the shadows without being seen to enter the tunnels soon had Devin striding out of Catherine’s apartment building and heading toward the park.
Funnily enough the park was unusually deserted that night. Few people frequented the area after a certain time of night these days Devin well knew, but he had always encountered someone. Still without too much thought as to why, Devin made the ever familiar journey toward his home beneath the city streets.
It was as he neared the drainage entrance that two movements drew his attention, one on either side of him in fact. He hesitated looking first one way and then the next trying to ascertain what it was that moved. Was it the wind in a bush, was it a flock of pigeons taking to the treetops, was it someone laid in wait for someone else? The last made him shudder, if that were so then from his vantage point he could well see that each would be unaware that the other could see them.
For a few seconds more Devin pondered. Whether to walk on, mind his own business or to duck out of sight sensing a possible danger to being caught in the middle of something in a literal sense.
Even though there was several places to hide, Devin ducked, crouching low to the earth, hoping that if he kept still enough he too would be mistaken for a bush or a rock or something that bore no threat to whatever was about to take place.
Watching, holding his breath Devin listened intently to the sound of muffled footsteps to his right. Heart in his mouth he knew they were coming his way. Sweat broke out on his skin, anticipating any moment the cold touch of a gun barrel upon the back of his head. When it did not come, when the person went on by Devin almost wet himself with relief.
The person on his left he could see had not seen the approach of the other. The person on his right had in fact skirted the area in such a way that he was in seconds literally upon the person on Devin’s left. Devin held his breath. What was he about to witness? He shouldn’t be there. He knew that. Whatever was about to happen could cost him his life.
He had to leave and now, had to get out of the area, had to mind his own business, lest he got caught up with something that he knew nothing about and died for the fact that he witnessed it alone.
It was as he stood up that he saw something else heard it and saw it at the same moment, the distinct glint and clink of a trigger being drawn back and hushed whispers round about that froze him to the spot. Then light so bright that he was momentarily blinded and in that light saw only one face. One that he recognised with clarity and without thinking he shouted a low warning, “Ben! Ben!” The figure did not turn, did nothing at the sound of the voice, Devin shouted harder though still low, and only when the fellow did not seem to hear him did Devin shout loudly by placing his hands to his mouth to carry his voice further, “Ben Dover!”
At the further sound of his warning, the lights went out, the shuffle of bodies was heard and at the sound of running feet in his general direction Devin went down, flat to the earth hoping against hope that the danger would pass him by.
Suddenly the sound of gunfire filled the air. There were bright flashes as bullets left barrels in an explosion of light. And then it was over. Over that was for a few silent seconds before voices of jubilation filled the air. Stunned Devin remained where he was too frightened to leave his place until he thought he recognised one of the voices congratulating others above the rest.
“Catherine?” He croaked, then swallowing with difficulty and sitting up a little he tried again, louder this time more assertive, “Catherine? Catherine Chandler?”
There was a sudden silence and then a man’s voice, “Who wants to know?” The tone directed his way belied a genuine fear.
“Devin!” Catherine’s obvious delight filled the air and then came the sound of running feet toward him.
Catherine threw herself at him, almost knocking Devin back to the ground from where he had started to rise, “Devin Thank you! I owe you my life.”
“Me!” Devin did not understand.
“Yes you. That was you that called out a warning was it not?”
“A warning?” Devin was clearly puzzled.
A firm hand gripped Devin’s arm, helping him to his feet, “Don’t know who you are but I sure as hell want to thank you.” Devin saw Joe smile as torchlight lit up the area, “ Thanks to you my best investigator is still alive to make out her report.” Joe did not recognise Devin even though they had met before.
“I don’t understand.” Devin shook his head. He didn’t. What could he have possibly done but save his own neck and that of Ben Dover’s? Hastily he looked around, where was the guy anyway?
*** *** ***
It all came out in the wash so to speak. Back at the police headquarters Devin learned that Catherine, Joe and their team had been laying in wait for a murderer, a Jack the Ripper type murderer, known only as BD, who had, they’d only just realised, been waiting for Catherine Chandler herself to enter the park. Knowing her haunts, having her followed over the last few weeks, the serial killer had anticipated her arrival at the drainage tunnel anytime after ten o’clock and had intended to lie in wait, except for one fact that his plane had been delayed that night.
“We didn’t know who he was after. I surely didn’t think it was Cathy “ Joe glared at Catherine, with the words ‘you can tell me later why you frequent the park late at night’ clearly written in his eyes, before continuing to tell Devin, “We only knew that a woman was in danger.”
“I had no idea that he was so clever.” Catherine took up the commentary now. “I had half of the NYPD around me and Joe of course, yet he still managed to creep up behind me. It was only thanks to your warning shout that had me ducking out of harm’s way.”
“I still don’t understand.” Devin remarked clearly confused, “I didn’t shout a warning. I didn’t even know it was you out there.”
Catherine was clearly confused, “You did. You shouted bend over. I did it and in so doing his attempt to grab me and slit my throat was foiled and I lived to tell the tale. Thank you Devin I owe you one.”
As Catherine bear-hugged Vincent’s brother, Devin began to see the light. “I didn’t.” He attempted to untangle her from his body, “I didn’t know you were there. Oh Catherine I’m so sorry. It was him, him that guy Ben that I was shouting out the warning to.”
All faces turned to Devin mouths agape with disbelief. Why on earth would he want to save the life of a serial killer?
*** *** ***
Laughter, blessed laughter echoed along the tunnels reaching Vincent and Father’s ears and touching their mouths into smiles as hours later Devin and Catherine made their way down the ever constant tunnels toward the home chambers.
“I suppose one could make a joke out of it.” Devin was saying, “I mean how was I to know that you were there, that he was holding a knife ready to cut your throat. How was I to know that shouting his name would signify a warning to you? How did I know that you didn’t know his full name? I mean let’s face it shouting Ben Dover could so easily be received as a warning bend over couldn’t it?”
Catherine laughed, “For you Devin anything could mean anything. I’m just so glad that whatever the reason you and he were on the same plane that you were both in the park at the same moment. Whichever way you look at it Devin I owe you my life.”
“That makes two of us then.” Catherine’s footsteps halted as she looked up into Vincent’s eyes. He stood barring their way, his relief at having her home, his happiness at seeing both his true love and his brother home safe and sound reflected in his eyes.
“Father is expecting you.” Briefly he hugged his brother tight while his comment and actions signified his need to have Catherine to himself for a moment. Devin understood, “I’ll see you two lovebirds later.” He told them with a wink before leaving them alone.
After Devin was out of sight and for what felt to be a long agonising moment, Vincent stared down at Catherine as her returned gaze belied a somewhat bemused expression.
“What is it Vincent?” She felt prompted to ask. He had never looked at her quite that way before and it made her heart gallop and jump hurdles beneath her breast.
Without answering Catherine became aware only of his arms enfolding her and drawing her close to him, his relief at having her safe apparent by his embrace. But the kiss upon her head that she had expected did not come. Instead Catherine swooned at the feel of his hot breath fanning her cheeks as his intent became plain. As his lips touched hers Catherine fell back against his arms for one moment literally faint with joy. Until recovering faster than she would ever have believed possible she leaned into his kiss holding on to the delight of his lips against hers for as long as being without air would possibly allow.
“Mmm. Do that again.” Catherine asked dreamily as they pulled apart long enough to draw breath delighted when he did just so. If this was a dream may she never wake up! Catherine thought as his kiss deepened and she moulded her mouth to the contours of his. Reality was better than any dream, so it had to be reality. Catherine moaned, having waited so long for this her belief that his kiss would be enough soon told her that a kiss from Vincent was not enough, not nearly enough. ‘God Vincent’ the thought winged its way through Catherine’s startled brain ‘you’re setting my soul on fire.’
*** *** ***
Devin’s arrival at Father’s chamber was not as he expected. His father’s greeting was genuine true, but Devin was concerned when Father’s obvious gaze over his son’s shoulder showed that he expected to see someone else too.
“What is it Pops? You expecting someone else?”
“I heard Catherine was with you. And where’s Vincent.”
“They dilly dallied back there, I guess they’ll be along soon…hey where’s the fire?” Devin almost stumbled as his father pushed past him and headed the way he had just come. Hurrying after him somewhat amused Devin found it difficult to keep pace and that too delighted him. Whatever was happening must be good for his father’s disability not to hinder him.
Smacking right into his father’s back when the older man grounded to a halt, Devin peered around his parent, his eyes lighting up by what he saw. Vincent and Catherine with arms around one another oblivious to everything but each other. Lips upon lips absorbed in kissing, and very passionate kissing at that. Devin’s eyes opened wide and wider still as he took in the delight upon his father’s face and noticed too the tears that welled in his father’s eyes.
Taking his arm in the crook of his own Devin tried to turn his father back to the chamber they had just vacated, but Father seemed reluctant to go. “Look at them.” He whispered lest they heard, “Just look at them. Have you ever seen a more wonderful sight?”
Devin shook his head. He was losing it he was sure of it, either that or his father was. Had he really just heard the approval in his father’s voice for the obvious passion that was building in the couple before their very eyes? It didn’t need a genius to tell them what was going to happen next, not if where Catherine’s hand was heading was anything to go by. Devin had noted with satisfaction that Catherine’s hand seemed to have a mind of its own. Still though his brother wasn’t doing so badly. Was he really caressing Catherine’s right breast right there in the tunnels where anyone could see?
“Mmm, if you would just excuse me.” Devin let go of his father’s arm and made to walk toward the pair of lovers to be “I think perhaps they’re the one’s that need escorting.”
“A hem.” Devin approached the pair knowing they were oblivious to his being there and he was loath to tap Vincent on the shoulder. He might get his hand bitten off literally so he chose to tap Catherine’s shoulder instead.
“If I might be of assistance.” He asked with eyes twinkling. Immediately Catherine opened her eyes, startled at seeing him there, an angry retort ready to burst from her at being so rudely disturbed from the place she wanted to be most in the world. Devin heard Vincent’s sharp intake of breath and a sudden warning growl that he chose to ignore. He shrugged, “Well see, you’re kinda clogging up the tunnel.” He smiled enjoying his brother’s obvious discomfort.
Full of apology and deeply embarrassed Vincent noticed first Devin, then Father, then a couple of giggling children before realising that the tapping pipes beating ten to the dozen were relaying the latest turn of events with much enthusiasm, and he hoped the ground would open up and swallow him. While much to his chagrin Catherine on the other hand seemed to find it all highly amusing.
“Might I suggest your chamber?” Devin couldn’t keep the laughter out of his voice, and finally let it go when Vincent grabbed Catherine by the hand and took his brother’s advice striding purposefully forward and passing a very amused Father on the way and onward toward his own chamber.
Joining in with his son’s merriment Father coughed between giggles, almost choking in places, “Did you see his face? It was a picture. I don’t think I have ever seen him so embarrassed. It’s a pity we couldn’t have got Catherine the same way. Did you notice she loved every moment of his discomfort? Oh Devin, poor Vincent.”
“Poor Vincent my foot! Sure I noticed her reaction but I also noticed that she was more than willing to allow him to…to…well you saw them so you know what I mean.” Devin felt decidedly uncomfortable now. “Mind you I think I know how to embarrass her too.” He smiled, wickedly so, Father noticed with obvious glee. “Do tell?” He asked innocently, “It sounds like something rather good.”
“Later. Just follow me.” Arm in arm the two men, father and son sauntered down the tunnels toward the chamber where they knew Vincent had taken Catherine, appearing like a pair of hyenas with a delicious morsel to partake of. This, they decided, was going to be fun.
*** *** ***
Inside the chamber, the heavy drape baring the entrance and thus signifying expected privacy within, Catherine was back in Vincent’s arms.
They had wasted no time on arrival, doing everything necessary to ensure that they would not be caught out again, that no one would disturb them anymore this night.
“I love you Catherine.” Vincent whispered between kisses.
“I love you too Vincent.” Their continual kissing rose to higher peaks, hands accepted and allowed to wander at will causing the skin to tingle wherever fingers touched.
Beyond the heavy drape and unbeknown to the two lovers Devin and Father supported one another in a deliberate attempt to eavesdrop which was totally out of order and totally forbidden by Father himself. Yet on this one occasion he made allowances lying to himself that it was purely for Catherine’s safety in case anything should go wrong.
They couldn’t hear everything that was being said, but the silence itself told them many things. Other than that the occasional sigh and moan told them all that they needed to know. “Do you think they’ll…well you know?” Devin whispered to his father.
“It would be about time.” Father chortled. “All this mooning about makes me sick.”
“Oh go away, you know you love every moment of it. I’ve seen you watching them.”
“Then you will know that half of that time I was wishing with all my might that one of them might take the initiative. Devin I’ve seen them hunger for one another, it was so obvious that I wanted to smack them sometimes. They couldn’t see what was plainly before their own eyes. Each of them wanted the same things. So I had to push them didn’t I?”
“You did this?” Surprised Devin turned to his father, “You brought about tonight’s turn of events?”
“Well let’s just say I had a few words with your brother.”
“How could you! I’ve been trying to get them into bed with each other for years. Now you’ve beat me to it”
“Well whatever way you look at it, it all comes down to the same thing doesn’t it? Why are we here now snooping on them? Aren’t we hoping to hear the bed springs sounding?” Devin’s muffled laughter sounded heartily behind his hands at his father’s obvious discomfort.
Having the grace to blush, Father nodded, “Well yes all right, but my being here is purely as a doctor you understand.”
“Of course.” Devin giggled.
“It is. Catherine may need assistance.”
“Exactly and that’s why I am here too.” Devin grinned, his eyes lighting up with mischief.
“It is? I feel I should know and perhaps I do. Is it because of your capabilities as a doctor’s son that you feel you might be of assistance? After all Vincent’s claws are known to be lethal, perhaps you would rather wait in my chamber in the circumstances.”
“Oh come on Pops. You aren’t worried about Cathy’s welfare and you know it. Just admit it you are a nosy old bastard or a perverted one, who can tell? Maybe you are the tunnel’s peeping tom in the guise of a concerned doctor. You’d get away with that.”
“Devin…I am not…!” Despite their predicament Father’s voice rose and he hastened to drown out the sound with a hand to his mouth, grateful when it appeared that neither Vincent nor Catherine had heard him. Yet he didn’t know whether he should be grateful for that or not, Vincent had exceptional hearing. His growing anxiety was apparent.”Do you think they are all right Devin?” He motioned toward and thus beyond the heavy drapes.
“Perhaps you should incline your perverted little ear more closely.” Devin giggled. It was great to tease his father so. He had been allowed this far too few times in the past.
Suddenly both pairs of eyes widened and mouths fell agape as the most horrendous sound of laughter came from the other side of the curtain and it was lifted up before their very eyes, and they came face to face with the highly delighted expressions of both Vincent and Catherine.
“You were saying bro?” Vincent glared at Father as he directed his question toward his brother, then added, “Really Father. Of all the people, you I would have least expected to be a peeping tom.” The laughter in his eyes soon had Devin in fits.
“It was Devin’s idea.” Father retorted in his own defence.
With his arms folded before him Vincent stared down at his Father and quirked an eyebrow. The look said it all but Vincent enlightened him nonetheless.
“And you didn’t try to stop him?”
“Well yes of course Vincent.” Father replied blushing as Devin retorted, “Why you liar, you little toe rag you.” While behind them all Catherine bent double with laughter.
His arms still folded Vincent tried not to join her, his lips twitching nonetheless holding in his merriment of the moment. Devin had waited a long time for putting his father on the spot with no way to turn and Vincent too was loving every moment of it.
For a time a long silence ensued, for suddenly as the laughter ebbed away there didn’t seem to be anything more to say and each stared at the other, becoming more and more uncomfortable by the second.
Catherine seemed to recover first. Amused by the three men with a passion that delighted her she stepped forward taking the edge of the drape from Vincent’s hand and allowing it to fall as she told them, “Well if you two would please excuse us, Vincent and I have some unfinished business.”
The drape fell back into place swinging slightly before coming to rest still and straight before Father and Devin leaving them speechless by the obviously dismissal at Catherine’s hand.
“Ever the lawyer.” Devin retorted. “Did you see she wasn’t a bit ruffled.”
Father nodded, “Yes and I noticed that Vincent covered his embarrassment extremely well, which is more than I can say for me. I have a terrible feeling that I have just walked into a mine field where the two of you are concerned and will have to watch my step very carefully from now on."
“That you will.” Stunned Father’s mouth dropped open as Vincent’s retort met his ears through the heavy drape between them.
Devin laughed, “Took the words right out of my mouth bro.”
“Just as well for you Devin. You have an uncanny knack of putting your foot in it usually.” Catherine retorted from somewhere within the chamber beyond.
Despite himself Vincent found that exceedingly funny and laughed uncharacteristically for him, out loud
“I’ll get you for that Chandler.” Devin retorted.
“Yeah you and whose army?” Catherine was clearly caught up in the merriment going on between the three men now. She had overheard Devin’s remark and Father’s about her not being embarrassed by the recent incidents ever since Vincent had kissed her in public and was loving every moment of all that was going on. This was something new to her - something she saw rarely and she warmed to it. It was being a part of a family with a side to them she never knew existed, especially Vincent, and it thrilled her no end.
“I have my ways.” Devin’s laughter gave him away. He had thought of something that was all too obvious. “But it can wait.”
With questions filling his eyes, Father nodded his head toward the curtain, his lips mouthing words that only Devin could decipher, his puzzlement plain to see. Shaking his head, Devin mouthed answers back, Father clearly caught the word ‘later’ and taking his cue from his son, he bid Vincent and Catherine goodnight as he allowed Devin to lead him away from Vincent’s chamber entrance.
Within the chamber Vincent and Catherine waited, listening beyond the heavy drape for any sound outside.
“Do you think they’ve gone?” Catherine asked at length.
Vincent shook his head, “If I know Devin, and believe me I know Devin. Then no… However…” He took a step toward her gathering her against him, seeking her lips with wild abandon as if he had done so all his life. They had already wasted enough time and he hungered for her so much. Willingly Catherine returned his ardent kisses allowing the fire to re-ignite deep in the pit of her femininity.
In their passion they slowly forgot all about Father and Devin’s possible return.. As time ticked by and it became ever apparent that Vincent might have been wrong, that Devin might not seek glory at the final hour, Vincent lifted and carried Catherine over to his bed his intention plain.
*** *** ***
“I am at a loss to ask Devin but why are you filling that water pistol?” Father had spent the last hour watching as his son had rummaged through an old toy box for something he so obviously knew to be there and now watched totally bemused as his son filled the toy gun with water.
“You’ll see.” Devin grinned holding the gun up to replace the cork when the water was fully in place.
“You’re going back to Vincent’s chamber?”
“That was the general idea. You coming?”
“I’m not sure that I want to do anymore. I’ve lost the heart for it. Why don’t you just let them be?” Father passed a hand over his weary brow. He had had enough embarrassment for one day, and truly he had lost heart in it and he had yet to hear what had gone on above now from Devin as Catherine was otherwise entertained so to speak. Also they’d had their fun and doing anything else seemed wrong. They would be disturbing the lovers, for that was what was so obviously taking place between the two of them now. Vincent and Catherine were becoming lovers.
But Devin had other plans, “Its time I got my own back on that pair. You know how it is, on my every visit over the past couple of years, they have seen to it that some how or another I have been made to look a fool. You know that. This is divine retribution time though I am no God.”
“You are no angel either, much of what they did to you was due from something you had done to them Devin. You got what you deserved in my opinion.” Father retorted remembering some of the foolhardy pranks Devin Vincent and Catherine had masterminded over the past couple of years, usually to the acute embarrassment of Vincent and often to Devin, but never it appeared to Catherine, who had remained unflustered throughout every occasion no matter what it had been.
“Well anyway I am gonna have the last laugh. So you coming or what?” Devin made to help his parent out of the chair but adamant Father shook his head. “No you go. Do it, whatever it is alone. No doubt I will hear of it eventually. I usually do.”
“Okay.” Devin replied, as Father left him, while under his breath adding, “Don’t count on it.” For as with the distant past when they were boys the recent years had been the same, there was much that Father had not heard about. And hopefully he never would.
*** *** ***
“There is only one thing.” Vincent was acutely embarrassed and hiding beneath the folds of his long hair unwilling to let Catherine see into his eyes, “I need to follow my instincts.” He whispered, wishing he didn’t have to say that. Wishing it so much, yet knowing it would be the only way for him until Catherine taught him different modes for love making.
Not quite understanding Catherine stood beside Vincent at the foot of the bed her arms wrapped around him trying to reassure him that he could tell her anything.
“What Vincent? What are your instincts? You know anything that you need is all right by me.”
Vincent hesitated, the words faltering in his mouth, unable to utter them. “I want you.” He was able to say that. Those words came so easily now, especially now that they were both gloriously naked and Catherine had accepted his body for what it was. Half beast half man. She had not been repulsed at the sight of him, he had in fact seen the blazing desire in her eyes at the first sight of him, had believed her words, of ‘Oh Vincent you are so beautiful’ because their connection had told him of her honesty. But this, this instinct was too raw, too primal, too feral, how could he expect it of her?
“Anything Vincent, you only have to ask.” Catherine lifted the curtain of his hair to seek out his eyes and emplore him to know with the sincerity of her own that anything he wanted was all right with her. But Vincent shook his head he couldn’t even say the words.
“Then show me. If you can’t tell me, show me.” Catherine told him as she tenderly took up his hands in her own and kissed each fingertip in turn. “I trust you. Nothing you could want or do would injure me or offend me. I love you Vincent. Make love to me… please.”
Perhaps she was right. Perhaps, Vincent reasoned that he could show her what he needed, how he needed to love her. Turning her away from him, he placed one arm around her waist, the other against her back thus bending her down and out away from him and Catherine understood at once. Of course the ‘doggy’ position, how could she have been so blind? Of course he would know no other way, this being inadvertently the only one that would come naturally to him.
“Oh my love forgive me. I should have realised.” Catherine almost sobbed as she felt him close the gap between them “but Vincent believe me this would be better on the bed.”
Vincent blushed crimson, he had survived many embarrassments this day but he wondered if he might ever recover from this one. Still he understood that she was right, at least for her the bed would be more comfortable. He allowed her to move away before following her example to kneel upon the bed her back to his front.
Catherine waited, her heart hammering in hopeful expectation. She had dreamed of seeing his eyes the first time that he entered her, she had longed to hold him close and to hear the strong beat of his impassioned heart close against her ear. But what did it matter? If he could only love her this way, then maybe this had been his dream. Who was she to shatter it?
Suddenly as she waited she heard Vincent growl and stiffen behind her as a movement and a shout came from the entranceway and Devin’s voice rang out as he shouted, “Ben Dover Chandler!” Before a stream of water hit Vincent squarely on the back.
The sound of laughter that followed the cry died as suddenly as it had begun as Devin took in the full view of what lay before him, “Oh my gawd…sorry guys…you already are…guess Vin beat me to it.” He slunk back letting the curtain fall back into place, deeply embarrassed and amazingly for Devin deeply ashamed of what he had just done.
For long agonising moments silence permeated the atmosphere in and outside of the chamber and for several seconds time was frozen
Beyond the heavy drape Devin shook with a mixture of emotions vying for supremacy all racing through his mind and heart at once.
Inside the chamber Catherine collapsed face down onto the mattress, her face crimson with embarrassment while behind her Vincent still poised to enter her didn’t know whether to roar or run deep into the catacombs with anger or with shame.
One thing was apparent though. The moment that one precious moment that would have been their first time together was now lost, never to be retrieved in that way.
*** *** ***
When Father saw his son’s ashen face he did not pry. Devin trailed in one weary foot in front of the other like a soldier that had fought the battle and lost spared only his life in tatters.
Without a word, Father poured and handed his son a cup of tea, watching over the rim of his own mug as Devin absentmindedly sipped the welcome brew. Father knew he might never hear what had happened, which perhaps was just as well if they sight Devin presented was anything to go by. But as his son bore no tell tale marks that might match the one Vincent had given him when Devin was fourteen then Father did not worry needlessly that something awful had transpired between the two brothers.
And in actual fact it hadn’t. Devin might have been feeling a heel, Vincent might have felt shame at being caught in that position and Catherine might have been filled with embarrassment at being caught likewise but all those things each would get over in time. What concerned Vincent the most was those words his brother had uttered and how crude they had sounded even to his own ears. Bend over. How could he justify to Catherine that the only way he could make love to her was like a dog? Or rather a cat?
How could he justify that he wanted to hide his inexperience from her eyes by taking her from behind where she could not see his expression, could not see how his hands shook as he had guided himself into her soft and welcoming heat? He couldn’t. There was no justification in the way that he had behaved. His animalistic perversions were worse than those that he had accused Father of earlier and in comparison that was just a bit of light-hearted fun.
Catherine, he was embarrassed to note had rolled over and lay fully sprawled out in front of him, her legs either side of his knees wantonly displaying her naked glory for his perusal should he be inclined to look. He looked. Unable to do otherwise, he looked and he hungered and he lowered himself down into her arms where she cuddled him close and whispered words of tenderness to his tormented soul.
“I’m sorry Catherine.” He told her.
The sincerity in his eyes pained her, “Shhh. It’s all right Vincent. Believe me it is, it is.”
“No it isn’t, Catherine you don’t understand… I.”
His eyes opened wide as she spoke. Was there nothing he could keep hidden from her?
“But you are wrong Vincent. There is a way. A better way in fact.” As if to prove her point Catherine nudged his hips with both knees while raising herself slightly from the bed to press her body close to his delighting somewhat from his sharp intake of breath as he understood her completely.
Her dancing eyes softened his shame even as her questing fingers caressed his back and shoulders working their way down to his hips where she applied gently pressure to finalise her point but it was her words that was his undoing. With passionate longing she begged, “Make love to me Vincent.”
No more words were needed no more time no more doubts and no more hesitancy. The blue of Vincent’s eyes bore down into her depths of green his lips seeking out the honeyed jewel of hers as he joined their bodies together for the very first time.
And funnily enough at that precise moment Vincent actually spared a thought of gratification to his brother whose practical joking had shown him a better way to make love to Catherine. For without it he might not be seeing the tears in her eyes and know that they were not tears of pain as he would once have surmised but tears of joy in knowing that their dream had at last come true. And in his heart Vincent thanked his brother sincerely before at long last he lost himself willingly and forever in Catherine’s loving arms.
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.