Vincent puts up a brave argument against Catherine living below with him and hopelessly loses thanks to an unusual incident.
Bolt From The Blue
It was one of those quiet times in the tunnels beneath Manhattan in New York City, a lazy Saturday afternoon, when all the weekend chores had been completed enabling the tunnel members to relax in chosen pursuits of their own.
Catherine, taking a welcome break from her busy schedule, sat legs wound beneath her in Vincent’s over large wing backed chair turned such to face where he reclined upon his bed, his back and shoulders propped to afford him a sitting position, where he could easily read a book.
One of the same in her own hands Catherine, to all intents and purposes looked thoroughly engrossed in the reading material, only Vincent was aware that reading was the last thing on her mind. The connection that he shared with her told him things unreadable by any other onlooker that may wander in and out of his chamber, and Vincent’s heart was troubled. Still, he too kept up the pretence of being engrossed in his book, his eyes averted to those of Catherine’s that he felt so strongly upon him, though if he were to look up he was certain that she would very cleverly disguise the fact that she had been watching him at all by discreetly lowering her lashes.
Thus, the couple remained in that repose for another hour at least, each tiptoeing around the other’s feelings and trying desperately not to allow the other to know that they were doing anything other than reading. Finally Catherine’s feelings could no longer be denied and Vincent looked up from his book at the precise moment that Catherine chose to look up from her own and their eyes met and clashed causing Vincent to flinch at the fury he read in those emerald depths.
“Please Catherine, don’t look at me like that.” Vincent spoke softly and immediately felt her heart harden.
“I wasn’t aware that I was looking at you in any particular way, Vincent.” She told him her cheeks softly colouring with the lie. Catherine hoped that the soft lighting of the candles would hide that truth from him but he didn’t need varying hues of candlelight to see anything about Catherine. Her heart revealed even her deepest secrets to him. And though she might do or say something contradictory to what she was doing or saying to ward him off the scent, it would never work with him, for not only did he know her too well, but he also had their connection that told him everything about her real thoughts and feelings on any matter she tried to hide.
Still, without directly pointing out those facts, Vincent found her reply difficult to tackle, and so he looked back down at the book spread before him and tried to read the words that danced on the pages. They danced because his eyes were suddenly filled with tears. Tears that one, Catherine had lied to him and two, the reason for her doing so.
Given the opening she had needed Catherine decided to tackle the bull by the horns, “but since I have your attention now perhaps we can talk?”
From his book, Vincent looked up, his blue eyes searching and anxious as he wondered what she had in mind. He didn’t reply, didn’t need to, just one simple nod of his head showed his compliance to her wishes.
“I wish you could see this from my point of view, Vincent.” Catherine’s voice trembled a little as if she was unsure of bringing up a topic again that they had battered to death for the past four days already.
Vincent remained silent. He had learned that putting up any argument before this particular lawyer was extremely exhausting, and if he didn’t have anything substantial to say supported by facts then it was better not to speak at all.
“I mean, it’s only a little thing. And let’s face it, if I went anywhere else we would miss spending our anniversary together.” Catherine looked up at him hopefully, and Vincent knew that she felt triumphant having found the golden key of opportunity. It was true, if she were to be anywhere else on April 12th they would miss spending their anniversary together at her apartment, but there was nothing stopping her from coming to him was there?
“You could visit here.” He told her without preamble, deliberately emphasising the word visit, lest she mistook the invitation for a longer stay.
“I wouldn’t have to visit, if I was here already.” Her triumphant smile caused him to shake his head, not from denial but rather from despair and he told her, “Catherine, we’ve been through this a thousand times, you can’t stay here.” His words brooked no argument and Catherine sensed the finality in them. He wanted no more to pursue this subject. It had become abhorrent to him. Still like a dog with a bone, she refused to let it go.
Poised ready for battle, Catherine faced the biggest challenge of her life. As a lawyer and a good one at that, she had put forth winning arguments for the best part of three years and had been proud of those arguments and had nine times out of ten had won her case due to her facts and well chosen words. Well she had both of those at her disposal and she pursued her line of attack relentlessly. She would win this argument hands down, because simply put Vincent’s reasons against it were as thin as ice melting on a sunny spring afternoon.
Vincent braced himself for the attack to come knowing by her mannerism and body language that she was preparing to slay the dragon. And he was that dragon.
“I love you Vincent. You do believe that ,don’t you?”
Drawing a deep breath Vincent was silent a moment or two before answering, “Yes Catherine, I am aware that you have feelings for me.”
“Well those feelings for you, as you call them, Vincent, go deep in my heart. Probably deeper than the abyss and just as bottomless.”
He lowered his head then, the curtain of honey hair falling over his face hiding his feelings from her.
“Try as you might my love, you can’t hide yourself from me. Any action you display only beautifies you more in my sight. Just looking away affords me the opportunity of seeing the crown of your beautiful head bathed in golden candlelight.” At these words his head jolted up, his gaze once again meeting hers to find her smiling at him, a look of pure, unadulterated love in her eyes, as she went on, “even your eyes…oh Vincent I want to drown in your eyes. I love you so much.” Tears gathered then in those emerald pools and as always unable to deny her the comfort of his presence Vincent slid from his bed and crossed the room to kneel at her feet his head resting in her lap, his arms sliding around her waist holding her close. Thus, they remained in that pose for some time, absorbing their own need through the touch of the other.
“If I could Catherine, I would give you the world.” Vincent murmured against her lap.
“I don’t want the world Vincent. What you have now is enough, if only you would give it to me freely.”
Unsteadily his gaze met hers. He saw honesty in her emerald depths and an acceptance of who he was to her. Beyond those things he saw the love that she felt for him, the love that she needed to show him was his alone. Even so, he couldn’t accept it, and knew that with one shake of his head, though she breathlessly hoped not to see it, he would dash all her dreams to pieces. Still, he began that action, his head moving first to the left, ignoring the gasp of protest that erupted from her lips and then back slowly, tortuously slowly, to the right, until the deed was done once more.
“Please?” One word and a wealth of emotions crashed down on him from her. She pleaded with him all her needs - all her dreams in that one word, and still he denied her.
“No.” One of them had to remain strong. One of them had to see reason, one of them had to pull away from the situation and keep their distance. And though it grieved him, Vincent pulled his arms from around her slim body, pushing himself back to his haunches and then into a standing position, crossing the chamber to where her coat lay across another chair, and handing it to her, told her, “I think its best you go, Catherine.”
Remaining seated, absolutely determined Catherine shook her head, “No. I’m going nowhere. I’m staying right here, and if you don’t want me to you are going to have to physically remove me from this spot for I’m not leaving, Vincent. I’m not!”
“You have to.” For a moment Catherine felt triumphant at the look of panic she saw blaze across his eyes, but that look was soon replaced by one of absolute determination, “If I have to carry you out of here I will, but don’t expect me to be gentle about it.”
Wondering what he meant by that, Catherine remained silent long enough to find out when a hand fur backed and lethal reached out and grasping one of her arms dragged her from the chair and onto her feet, causing her to cry out as much from annoyance as hurt and embarrassment.
“Let go of me!” She yelled struggling to be free.
“Only if you leave of your own free will.”
“I will not!” Catherine prepared to sit back down, but he stopped her, snatching both her arms in his hands and pulling her up against him his intention to swing her up against his chest and march her out of the tunnels only it didn’t quite work out that way. The moment Catherine was crushed against him, the position afforded her hands the delight of slipping behind his neck and pulling his face down to meet hers where her tongue sought out the secret cleft in his top lip, like a bee dipping into a honey pot.
Vincent’s head snapped back, his eyes wild with fury and an emotion new to him, a feeling that made his heart pound and his limbs turn to jelly and his loosened grip let her slip from his grasp down to the chair he had pulled her from.
“So, tell me that didn’t affect you?” Catherine gazed at him lazily.
In answer, Vincent strode from the chamber unable to look into her stormy green eyes, issuing one command as he went from her sight.
“Be gone when I return.”
Silently, Catherine vowed that she would not be going anywhere.
*** *** ***
By the time Vincent returned after traipsing the tunnels for the best part of four hours and reaching no decision at all, he found Catherine fast asleep on his bed. The sight of her there caused his heart to constrict and the love he had tried to deny raced to the fore coating him in emotions he had zealously tried to hide from her ever since that day he had first found Catherine in the park. Then as now, she looked so vulnerable lying there. All he wanted to do was lie down alongside her and gather her close. He loved her so much and he didn’t want to fight with her. Besides, she could be so stubborn at times and he acknowledged and it was so hard to win one over on her and he could not prevent a small whisper floating through his heart that told him the reason why she had always won an argument regarding their dream and their love. It was because he always put up obstacles where there should be none and if only he could learn to accept what she said was true such fights could be a thing of the past. Still, try as he might he could not think past the fact of their differences, nor the problem that her request to live below, even if it were only temporary was not a sound one to make. How could she know what might become of their dream if he allowed this? How would he know how he might react to her constant presence around him? As it was, he could be with her and recuperate from his desires beneath heavy manual work grinding rock before he felt the need to go to her again. His love for her was bitter sweet, but the sweetness overrode the bitter and he was a glutton for punishment. He had to see her for she was the very air that he needed to sustain him.
“Catherine.” Her name whispered from his lips with all the longing he was unable to conceal and in her dreams, Catherine rolled over to greet him, a smile playing around her mouth on lips just asking to be kissed. Vincent was lost, he turned and exited the chamber on legs unsteady with fear and longing. Against the outer wall of his chamber he leaned, his heart hammering wildly as he tried to calm it with deep uneven breaths. Oh, how he loved her! But to do as she asked or to go where she wanted? Impossible! Such things were not for the likes of he!
Tears pricked at the back of Vincent’s eyes, he did not deter their flow, letting them come and course down roughened cheeks, forming rivulets between the whiskered hairs growing there. Their rough texture forming dams where tears were stopped before an onslaught so strong burst them forth over the whiskers and down to the where they cascaded from his chin to fall on his hands steepled beneath. There in a pose reminiscent of one who prayed, Vincent stood, his heart torn and bleeding, as a great void opened up deep inside rent in two and forked a road leaving him incapable of knowing which one to take where he might find healing for his tormented soul.
Life without Catherine or life with Catherine which road should he follow? Which would bring the less pain? He didn’t know, and he couldn’t make that decision with her so close. He needed time though he had had time already, and he needed space though he desired to have her close. He didn’t know what he wanted only that he was held spellbound by his own entrapment knowing full well that after those first eight months he had been separate from Catherine he should never have gone to visit with her to see how she was. He should never have done that. If he had let her go out of his life for good, he would have been spared so much pain, both physical and mental. He should have left well alone. It did no good that such sound reasoning was interspersed with the logic that Catherine would likely to have been dead by then had he not of visited when he did. Had he of ignored the connection he shared with her, had he of not gone running to her rescue when her fear had clutched at his heart that first time. Such reminders did not help the situation he now faced. For face it he must - it was time.
Unsteadily, he tiptoed back to his chamber entrance and peeping inside looked across the expanse of rock and stone to where Catherine lay upon the bed still soundly sleeping. He had to do something about this…their relationship…he could no longer deny the need that had so recently sprung up between them whenever they were close. The joy of simply holding her hand had now become a task rendered impossible from the desire that raged in his loins every time his flesh was in close proximity to hers.
He wanted her. He desired her and it was no use trying to deny the simple truth that he needed to make love with her. Vincent groaned at such thinking and whipped his head back shutting her off from his greedy sight. Such things were not for him! Whatever was he thinking? He shook his head and a mane of golden hair tousled about his face and reminded him of how Catherine viewed the action and he wept, fresh tears soon formed behind those past, and Vincent scrambled away from his chamber knowing that he had to put as much distance between himself and Catherine as he could. Perhaps time and space could enable him to see things in perspective, though he had tried that already, but he must try again, and keep on trying until he had pulled his resolve firmly about himself, and was certain that he could be no more to Catherine than a friend. A friend she looked to in times of trouble. How he longed for the day when he might touch her hand and feel the joy of belonging. How he longed for the day when once again they could spend time together and see one another as no more than a friend. He’d heard it were possible. He’d heard how lovers had fallen out of love and could remain friends so he knew it was possible to find such a plane once again. The thing was his heart whispered, ‘ah yes, that is so, but you and Catherine have never been lovers…so how can you go beyond without first confronting the issue?’
Had Vincent been capable of metaphorically ripping his heart out at that moment he would have done so, but he didn’t think he dared. For deep down inside that same heart rendered it impossible to deny the logic set before him. The things he ran from only galloped close behind. His connection with Catherine was the thing he should sever but that was impossible. Never could he run from that and never could he live without that peaceful thud alongside his own heart telling him of her disposition wherever she may be. And so, he was stuck, stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea, without knowing his escape route one iota. Shaking his head as if to hide from the delusions filling it, Vincent knew the futility of running another mile, he couldn’t outrun this problem, he had to face it head on. So turning once again, Vincent made his way slowly back toward his chamber, and to Catherine and to whatever she might propose. But he went heavy of heart like a lamb to the slaughter having not the will to flee the matter again, for to do so would take him straight back to square one to that lonely place of indecision and that forked road where neither destination was acceptable. Whatever came, whatever happened from now on, he would have to leave it with Catherine. She had become his only safe place from the storm.
*** *** ***
Strange but as if she had known of his imminent return Catherine was sat up in bed wide awake when he turned the corner and entered his chamber. Vincent stood heart hammering madly, his feet rooted to the floor, his mannerism clearly signalling to Catherine of his indecision to stay yet she could not find the words to seek out his reason.
For long moments, they stared at one another and then with a defeated sigh Vincent crossed the floor to the side of the bed where Catherine turned to face him with questions dancing in her eyes.
“We have to talk.” Vincent surprised her by saying.
“Yes, we do.” She replied wanting to add ‘as if we haven’t enough already.’
That part was easy, Vincent decided, but adding to it was difficult. What to say now? And why wasn’t she making it easy for him to speak? Probably because she feared what he had to say, he expected. The questions in her eyes were still there, but so too was a mask of apprehension and a great deal of anxiety.
“I love you.” He was surprised to hear himself utter the words, but the moment he did so a huge weight was lifted from his shoulders and seeing the delight that spread away all other emotions from her eyes, Vincent knew that speaking his heart had been worth it. Yet she remained silent as if by doing so he would speak the words of his heart, his deepest feelings conveying to her his innermost needs.
Hesitantly, since he realised he would get no help from her, Vincent began to speak, “It’s not that I don’t want…” He swallowed with difficulty before adding, “you.” He looked embarrassed at that confession and lowered his lashes unable to say another thing until through their connection he felt delight take up wings and fly through Catherine’s heart. With that, he looked up at her, her shining eyes of love and adoration spurning him on. “Catherine?” He gazed at her his eyes pleading for help and she could no longer deny him whispering tenderly, “Vincent, tell me.”
She held her breath, waiting for him to gather his thoughts, fight his fears and pull the words from his heart, words he had never spoken to a soul in all his life. “I’m afraid, Catherine, I want you so much and I’m afraid.” Tears ran freely now swiftly down his cheeks as he opened his heart to her and in response Catherine held out her arms encouraging him to come close to be held against her, and he complied instantly. Smiling through her tears Catherine held him tightly against her, the scent of him filling her nostrils and going deep, deep down into her lungs, God she loved the scent of him, it did things to her that were not printable.
She held him and said nothing, waiting for him to continue, knowing that to speak now would detract from all he had decided to tell her, and so waiting patiently she rubbed soothing circles around his back hoping that in so doing he would feel comforted and able to continue. It took a while, several minutes perhaps ten or so passed before he found the ability to speak again. “I don’t know how or where to begin.” He confessed and though she did not see the flame of his cheeks, his embarrassment was clear to her. “Oh my love don’t worry, I can teach you all you need to know.” He felt her smile against the side of his cheek and managed a small smile of his own in response. “Would you like me to start showing you now?” Catherine held her breath for his answer, something he could only manage with a nod. Carefully, slowly Catherine placed the palms of both hands to either of his cheeks, and turned his head to face her, thus looking in his eyes, sensing the innocence, the fear and the need she pressed her lips to his. Rotating her tongue slowly and deliberately against them, teasing the upper cleft with the tip, her hands slid to his shoulders allowing him freedom of movement.
A groan echoing around them was the only sound that Vincent made as shivers ran the length of his body and by sheer force of will he succumbed to the delight of Catherine’s lips teasing his for movement and responded in like manner. At that moment, that single delicious moment Vincent was lost. All logic, sound reason and fear left him and he was swamped with one need, one thought only to be as one with Catherine. His hands that a moment ago had lain motionless at his side suddenly found the soft contours of Catherine’s body and he pulled her close needing the touch of her next to him. Catherine’s love and delight pulsed through his veins a musical recital of love and harmony. The sweetness of her mouth surrounded him and he drank from her in great draughts needing this, needing it so much.
Deeper and deeper the kiss went on, giving and taking and melding together two hearts for all time. Wrapping her arms around him Catherine delighted in the heightened senses surrounding her, feelings of the past, feelings of the future, new sensations never before known with any other man and she revelled in it, her delight pulsing through Vincent like a violent storm, crashing waves upon a barren island untouched, unspoiled a paradise, their Elysium.
Breathlessly, reluctantly they drew apart, their eyes locked and speaking volumes, before snatching that one required breath to slake their thirst again. This time Catherine reclined back against the pillows bringing Vincent down with her so that he was forced to half lie across the bed, and even through the covers that separated them Catherine could feel his body heat, his rising ardour that told her in no uncertain terms the state of his arousal. Knowing that to speak now could ruin everything Catherine tried with limited success to pull the covers from between them, thankful when her actions signalled the same need to Vincent and with a slight uprising of his body both were able to free the constriction so that he might lay atop her, his body next to hers. In that position they could feel the rising heat from each other, share the need and with lips still fastened, Vincent made the decision that would change his life forever.
It was hardly possible to believe and Catherine held her breath the moment she felt the possibility that Vincent was removing his jeans, sure it was her heightened sense of imagination, until the touch of a firm muscles and exceedingly furry leg met her outstretched hand. And then and only then did she wiggle to position her own clothing to such a way that he would gain access to her body.
At the back of her mind Catherine knew it was going too fast, knew she ought stop him and expect his remorse if they should make love when he had taken leave of his senses. But another little voice told her that maybe this was how he wanted it, and to have logic return all his doubts it would never be achieved. So, she let it be, allowing his hands to gather her buttocks up against his hard body her legs twisting around his hips anticipating that delirious moment of contact.
There was a second when he wavered and pulled his mouth from hers, a second when she held her breath, and a time when his eyes locked to hers seeking permission that she granted without hesitation. In that moment of acceptance he sunk his body down, down and fastened his lips back to hers as his body entered hers. Oh the rapture of their joining – sheer bliss – ecstasy – Vincent was still, his eyes full of unshed tears obliterating the beauty of Catherine’s overwhelming love for him blazing forth from her eyes. She kissed him reaching out and kissing every part of his dear and beloved face, in gratitude and appreciation for giving to her what she had needed from him the most. They were lovers at last, this unique couple joined as one for all time and all of Catherine’s dreams came home to roost.
“I love you.” She whispered the words against his lips wounding her arms around his neck and pushing just slightly with her hips to signify her need. Suddenly as if the veil had been lifted, Vincent pulled back his face ashen and aghast he cried, “Catherine! No what have I done!”
She should have known but she had dismissed it as irrelevant, having him inside her at last Catherine had not presumed that he might fight her still. She had been aware that he might have let passion cloud his otherwise perfect logic to their state of affairs but she had deemed that part of him had known what he was doing. But the look upon his face now denied all of that. “You should have stopped me!” he cried as if it had all been her fault. “You should have known that I could never, never…Oh Catherine what have we done!”
“Nothing.” Her tone was flat expressionless, void of anger, remorse or joy. He stared down at her, at himself, his own state of undress and hurried to tidy his clothing deliberately looking away from seeing anymore of her that he had no right to see.
Finally feeling a merit of control, he told her shakily, “We did more than nothing. Good God Catherine…why didn’t you stop me? I could have killed you!”
An outburst was the last thing he expected as suddenly without warning, for he never detected it rising through the connection they shared, Catherine’s anger smashed into him like a twister hurtling through a town. “Why didn’t I stop you? Because I thought, I thought…oh damn you Vincent!” Angrily she jumped from the bed dragging her tousled clothing with her, pulling it on haphazardly as she flew around the chamber snatching up items that belonged to her eager to put as much distance between herself and this…this… She searched frantically for something to call him that would fit and could only come up with something as pathetic as…stupid man!
“God Vincent, how can you be so dumb!” She cried as she reached the exit to his chamber pausing to look back and direct her anger at him, “You didn’t hurt me, wouldn’t have hurt me! We were making love Vincent…making love! You bloody idiot why did you stop!”
Before he could reply, she had gone leaving him only to stare after the place where she had been her angry retort stinging his ears, his heart his mind. Nothing else filled them, no sound reasoning no satisfaction that they had stopped before going too far, for how far was too far anyway? Clutching the side of his chair Vincent walked around and lowered himself to the seat his eyes still fixed to where she had last been seen with disbelief warring with the anger deep within his members. Until slowly, slowly those feelings were pushed aside by sorrow, a deep gnawing sorrow that eventually flooded every other feeling Vincent might ever have had as he realised what he had truly done… He’d lost the only woman that would ever love him the way Catherine had for no other woman had ever would ever give of herself so freely as Catherine had given of herself to him that day and he had thrown it all back at her as if something abhorrent and disgusting had befallen them. Her words of idiot and dumb haunted him, yes he was both of those things…and her words of ‘we were making love’ humbled him. His heart mellowed and his tears flowed freely, they had been making love…he would not have hurt her…could never hurt her…love was stronger than any other emotion in the universe and would obliterate any other emotion while in action. They’d been making love…Head in hands Vincent sobbed…Oh God they’d been making love…
*** *** ***
Up in her apartment Catherine paced the floor relentlessly, fuming noisily, calling Vincent all the names under the sun, and then searching her mind for fresh ones when she had run out of all the ones she knew well.
How could he have been so dumb? He’d asked her to show him how to love and then with a simple kiss had taken the lead. His needs had seen to that and she had gone with the flow loving every single minute of it, although if she were honest she had a tiny doubt that he might have at any moment pulled back and stopped, told her enough was enough… But when his body had finally entered hers…oh! Catherine needed to sit and fast as the memory of those feelings turned her legs to jelly. To feel him inside her at last…oh the rapture of such an experience with him! Catherine melted at the memory, and then out loud murmured, “Oh darling, darling what have we done?” Because suddenly she saw it exactly the way Vincent had at that precise moment when those feelings so new and so beautiful had enveloped him that whatever happened from that point on would change their relationship forever. Things would move forward in ways he was unprepared for, in ways she had hoped for, and it wouldn’t necessarily be right. And what of now? They couldn’t wipe the slate clean, both would never stop remembering what it had felt like to be a part of the other. Whatever they did from now on, that memory would always stand between them. They could never go back to how it was before, and if he was unprepared to move forward…then what?
Tears gathered in Catherine’s eyes, and she let them fall unheeded. Void of emotion she sat and watched the night close in with a flicker of hope at the back of her mind that when darkness fell he might come to her…he might…with great sorrow tearing at her heart she hoped he might find the courage to come to her…for she needed him close so much…
*** *** ***
Though their connection pulsed at a shallow level Vincent detected her need, and unable to resist he rose from his chair donned his cloak and devoid of emotion let her guide him above.
Had he the strength to resist he might have…only might have…he knew that the longer they left not seeing one another the more difficult it would be. And as much as he would rather not do this, he knew that he had to go to her now, and they had to cry their tears together, share the loss of a friendship turned hollow by their need for something deeper that when shared had caused the loss of everything. Never again would things be the same…their friendship was severed due to their love strange as that might sound, but never could they go back and never could they go forward and forever after the pleasure of their being together would be marred by the memory of that one brief moment when their bodies had been joined as one.
Vincent shuddered at the memory, knowing he could never toss it aside. The moment had been pure bliss – rhapsody – and he would treasure it all his life. The joy of feeling his body enter hers, the warm welcome home he had received there, the knowledge that this was what he had been born for just would not leave from his mind. And the truth that he ought to have continued, that he should have completed the act of making love to her was a bitter pill to swallow. Still, he knew now that’s what he ought to have done, because if he had then now he wouldn’t be facing the most difficult task of his life, that of facing Catherine after denying her love in such a callous and despicable way.
“Oh Catherine!” Vincent’s voice rode the wisp of cold night air, spiralling away to heaven, “What have I done to us?” Sorrow filled his heart, for he knew not the answer. For if he should try to make amends that time, their first time would always be there between them, never more in all his life did he wish to erase a situation. He wished it had never happened, because then in all innocence he could continue to hold on to all he had maintained, that such things were impossible between them and that he might harm her if they tried.
Well they’d tried and he hadn’t hurt her, and he could finalise the act, he could go up there to her apartment, and if she agreed he could complete the act of making love to her…he groaned at the thought…but that would not complete the issue…the overall issue that had brought it all about. Catherine wanted to live below, and he wouldn’t let her. True it was only temporarily while her apartment building was being refurbished, but he knew that was only provisionally for Catherine would hope that he would view it as a trial to accepting her living below permanently.
And why not? Vincent halted stopping dead where he walked out across the park. Where had that voice come from? When he had berated himself night and day instilling in himself sound reason against Catherine living below, why did a little voice ask why not?
The reason, he knew, was because Catherine’s life was above not locked away in tunnels beneath the city that she loved and he could not allow her to sacrifice all she had been born for to give it all up to live with him.
Vincent growled…there it was again. “You know why not!” He told the little voice from within knowing that it mocked him with his answer.
There was no answer, no real answer, and try as he might to delegate that voice to his other more sinister side he knew that not to be true either. Unfortunately, the voice of reason was his own… And once again, Vincent chose to ignore it.
*** *** ***
Stilling her heart to listen, Catherine had the overwhelming feeling that Vincent was coming to her when all of a sudden the feeling subsided and she knew the moment when he made the decision to return home instead. What she didn’t know, and what she presumed to know were very different to the actuality of what was taking place down beneath her apartment building where Vincent always began his ascent to her home. For just as he reached the very spot a voice shouted from above ‘Look out below!’ but too late he heeded the request as a pain shot through his temple and his vision became blurred. For several moments Vincent stood unable to move as he held a hand to his throbbing brow all the while knowing the danger of remaining just so. Until finally he was able to stoop and pick up whatever had hit him from where it had eventually landed by his foot, tuck it into the pocket of his cloak and head for home…and his doctor and father. Even then that wasn’t the end of the problem. Having arrived back at the tunnels, his felt woozy and sick and had to wait until Father had finished his rounds for the evening of the sick and frail members of their community before he could be seen. So sitting in Father’s chamber he waited patiently unable to think of anything because of the pain as he mopped the cut with a cold wet flannel and applying gently pressure to stop the bleeding.
Finally, Father hobbled into the chamber, Vincent half heard half saw him arrive and heard the swift…oh no what now…grunt coming from his exasperated Father who had presumed that Vincent had been in another of his dare devil rescue attempts for Catherine. “Will that woman ever stop running into trouble?” Father asked as he reached for the flannel to reveal Vincent’s injury, “Ouch Vincent, that looks nasty. So, what was it this time, hm? A baseball bat perhaps?”
Miserably, Vincent said nothing. This knock on the head was nothing to the injury that had befallen him earlier that day, be it self-inflicted.
“Vincent?” Father prompted when his son remained silent. Then the ever efficient doctor took over, “This will need stitches. Of course, it might help if I knew what caused it. Is there likely to be splinters? I can’t see any and it looks clean. Vincent tell me please, did you lose you’re tongue as well?” then as an afterthought and annoyed that it should be so, Father cried anxiously, “Is Catherine alright?”
“As far as I know, Catherine is well.” Vincent’s tone was flat. Father was speechless until he thought things through. “What’s happened?” He asked at length, “Can you tell me?”
A fight ensued as Vincent tried to burrow his head in his hands and Father tried to keep it upright so that he might tend the wound at the same time pleading, “Vincent whatever is wrong? And will you tell me what caused this!”
“I don’t know.” Vincent replied hoarsely.
“And that would be to which?” Father asked.
“I don’t know what hit me, here…” Vincent fished inside his pocket and pulled out the offending thing, it was both a surprise to him as well as Father when they both clapped eyes upon the bright silver bolt that he held upon the palm of his hand.
“A bolt!” Father exclaimed, “Did someone throw it at you?”
“No, at least I don’t think so. I heard someone shout look out below, I assumed it had fallen from the roof.”
“What roof?” Exasperated Father awaited his son’s reply.
“Well it may not have been the roof. Catherine’s apartment building is being refurbished and there are men working on certain floors below hers. I assume this came from one of them.”
“Vincent how could you! To be in the vicinity of where you could so easily be seen, what were you thinking of?” Until that moment, Vincent hadn’t thought about that. True he had been as ever cautious to his position but knowing that there were men working on the building he ought to have been more vigilant than usual, Father was right he so easily could have been seen by someone. He doubted he had been though. Only that shout ‘look out below’ had him raise his face upward, in truth he would have been safer had they not issued the warning, for then the bolt would have landed on his hood and might have protected him. At any rate, it was possible that the bolt wouldn’t have cut into his temple and caused a gash that now required stitching.
“So?” Father asked hands on hips, “Where were you?”
“I was above.”
“I know that ninny, what I mean was where was you? In your mind.” Father tapped the good side away from the wound to strike his point home.”
“Oh you mean…” Vincent hesitated as thoughts rushed to and fro around his mind. Perhaps he should tell Father what had happened this afternoon in his chamber, maybe another’s perspective would be what he needed right now. “Father, this afternoon…in my chamber…Catherine and I…” he paused this was difficult. Father threaded his needle as he waited, pricking his finger when it came, “almost made love.”
He stared at his son askance, “You what?” He asked with disbelief. Vincent said nothing, just stared at his father with sorrow crossing his features.
“You almost made love…Vincent don’t stop there…tell me why was it almost? Did you hurt her?”
“No! No I didn’t hurt her, and I don’t think I would have had I continued.”
“Ah you stopped, not Catherine then?” There was a definite twinkle in Father’s eyes.
“Catherine wouldn’t have stopped. I was the fool.” Vincent told his father sadly.
“Then why did you stop? How far did you actually…well you know?” Father wasn’t prying just asking out of curiosity, or so he told himself. Most couples could make love and no one would bat an eyelid unless they were underage but with Vincent, - well this was a milestone that no one had envisaged could possibly be taken.
“Almost is close enough Father. We were as one, only I couldn’t continue…I wish now that I had…but oh Father don’t you see this has ruined everything. Nothing between Catherine and I can ever be the same again.”
“No, of course not. But I failed to see why you stopped, didn’t you like it?” It was the only reason Father could think of.
“I loved it, oh Father, how could you think that? It was the most exquisite moment of my life. But look what it would have produced!”
Both opened their eyes widely as another thought sprung to mind. “I take it you did use contraception Vincent?”
Shaking his head Vincent replied, “No, and that would be another thing to have worried about had I continued.”
“Still could be.”
Surprised Vincent stared at his father, “Are you saying…”
“Yes, Vincent, that you became as one, could have been enough to produce a child, its been known to happen, especially in a certain circumstances.”
“As passion. Semen can seep Vincent, during heightened passion. It might be a strong possibility that Catherine will find herself with child.”
“I’m sorry Vincent. And as I say it’s a possibility, but why do I get the impression that isn’t the whole problem here?”
“Its not, at least it wasn’t. I felt that going through with the act would change the relationship that Catherine and I share to a degree that I have no further argument to her living below. Making love with her would have given Catherine certain rights toward me, I couldn’t allow that to happen.”
While they had been talking Father had deftly stitched the cut in Vincent’s temple, and was clearing away his things as he told his son, “Vincent you once asked me if you were a man do you remember?”
“How could I forget? You replied that part of me was.”
“I should have elaborated on that Vincent, I should have told you that it was a very big part and that Catherine was ready to envelope that part and make it whole and that you should allow this to happen for your own sanity and her sake. Catherine loves you Vincent, and surely showing how much today should make you accept that. If she feels capable of sharing her life with you in these tunnels, it’s not for you to try to dissuade her. Catherine isn’t stupid or used to making rash decisions, she would have thought it through very carefully before asking this of you.”
“But what if it shouldn’t work. What if she grows to despise living down here with me?”
“No relationship is absolute Vincent. We all have to take a risk. I know you see Catherine as the only woman you will ever love, and I know that she loves you deeply, but so too do we all think that way at first. We all hope it will last, sadly often it doesn’t, but you’ll never know unless you try. Its possible that the relationship you have with Catherine is the one made in heaven, but unless you put it to the test you are never going to know that for sure. And look what you would have wasted had you not tried to see how far it could go.”
Thoughtfully, Vincent nodded, “I should have known you would have the answer Father, I ought to have spoken to you months ago regarding this. Catherine wishes to stay temporarily while her apartment is being refurbished.”
“I know, she has spoken to me about it. We, the council are willing to allow this, but we know the final decision rests with you. However, in light of all you have told me tonight, I think it would make the perfect opportunity to view how things stand between the two of you and Vincent…”
“If at the end of her stay here you both feel capable of extending the arrangement why don’t you do something very special on your anniversary this year,” before Vincent could ask Father added, “Ask Catherine to marry you.”
“Marry me!” Vincent cried with disbelief.
His father nodded, eyes twinkling, “Yes, as simple as that. Ask her, I’m sure she would not refuse you and I for one think of Catherine as a daughter already.”
“But marry her?” Vincent asked with awe, he had never allowed that dream to take root, well not too much. There had been the time of Henry and Lin’s wedding, but that had just been because of the occasion.
“Think about it Vincent. It would be the perfect answer, and Catherine needn’t be a prisoner down here. Other’s of our community work above come and go daily, some of the younger ones even attend university, it doesn’t pose too great a problem. Catherine could keep her apartment, her friends need never know that she lives anywhere but. She’ll think of something, she’s clever enough. No doubt she’s thought it all through already.” Father chuckled knowing damn well she had. The amount of time they had secretly had this conversation Father had lost count but never before had there been an opportunity to approach his son with it, till now.
“I’ll think about it.” Vincent told him clasping his cloak and straightening it around him, Father cocked one eyebrow, “Going above?”
“Yes. I was on my way to see Catherine…”He paused, “You know I was undecided about what to say or do when I saw her, but now I know. Thank you Father, it was a good thing I was forced to return to receive your counsel. Thanks to it I have seen the light.”
“Oh think nothing of it, anytime, you know I am only happy to help anytime.” Father chuckled, “In actuality you could say your change of heart was due to a bolt out of the blue.”
Realising, Vincent chuckled too. “Perhaps I should frame it.” He picked up the bolt from the table where he had laid it, and turning it over in his hand smiled, “I don’t think I have ever been so happy to have been hit by something.”
“Well don’t go making a habit of it. Oh and before you go…” Father hobbled to his private cabinet and unlocking one drawer handed a small green packet to his son, the words upon it jumping out at him and making him blush.
“Take them Vincent, if you want to protect Catherine, you’ll need them. Or its possible Catherine has thought of that, maybe she has protected herself already. Take them anyway, it won’t hurt to use both.”
Vincent shook his head, “No, if I am to marry Catherine the requirement of these will not be an issue.” He smiled and Father beamed, “You’re going to ask her?” He cried excitedly.
Vincent nodded, “Yes, I’m going to ask her…tonight…hopefully we shall be married on our anniversary.”
Father clapped his hands, he was so happy that had he been able he would have jumped for joy. In his heart he did.
*** *** ***
The light tapping on her balcony door had a hoard of emotions crashing in on Catherine. Joy, apprehension, anxiety, fear, happiness, love…oh yes love…and she ran across the room flinging open the balcony doors and charging straight into Vincent’s arms. Had he of expected anything less he was clearly mistaken and very surprised.
“Forgive me Catherine…” He began.
“Forgiven, just hold me like you will never let me go.” She told him sliding her arms around his waist and holding him tight against her. She had almost decided she would never see him again. It had been the worst few hours of her life.
“I love you.” They spoke as one and Vincent pulled her up against him crushing her to his chest as he sought her lips with his own.
“Oh God Vincent, “Catherine whimpered, “Never, never do that to me again.”
A few hours ago Vincent might have misinterpreted her plea, but now he knew exactly what she was referring to, as her heart through their connection told him everything.
“I won’t. I promise, I was an idiot.” He smiled as did she both remembering that was what she had called him hours earlier.
“Yes you were. But we can correct that, if you’re willing?” Cautiously Catherine cocked one eyebrow and held her breath hoping for an affirmative. With a smile and another long slow kiss Vincent nodded to show he was very willing…”But first…” he told her, his eyes locking with hers, “there is something I must ask you.”
“So ask me.” Catherine smiled at him, her eyes full of love.
“You know it is our anniversary soon?” Eyes bright Catherine nodded.
“I’d like you to spend the night of our anniversary with me…” Catherine gasped and was about to say something when Vincent placed one finger to her lips, “Shh.” He told her and then continued, “Catherine, would you spend the night of our anniversary and every night thereafter in the tunnels, in my chamber, in my bed, with me….as your husband?” He whispered the last hardly able to breath as he anticipated her answer.
For a long terrible moment he thought he had presumed too much but then Catherine let out a whoop of joy that he felt Father would have heard and then she was hugging him and dancing round and round him, and asking him joyfully, “Vincent are you asking me to marry you?”
“Yes.” Still he held his breath even though it was a delight to see Catherine’s reaction. And then suddenly she stood stock-still, faced and told him with all the love she felt for him, “Oh yes…yes…yes…yes…yes…”And every yes was interspersed with a kiss. A long sweet kiss that sent his pulses racing…
Hours later the perfect couple whose marriage would last beyond forever held one another close beneath the duvet of Catherine’s bed and kissing the tip of her nose Vincent told his truelove, “Perhaps we should have saved that for our wedding night. We’ve waited long enough another two weeks wouldn’t have hurt.”
“Are you complaining again Vincent Wells? Speak for yourself why don’t you?” Catherine told him, “Lord if its not one thing its another, what am I going to do with you?”
One raised eyebrow told her the answer…and laughing Catherine hugged him close…”Well you’ll get no arguments from me on that score.” She told him happily slipping down the covers to snuggle close to him once more.
“I love you Catherine, I love you so much. And I’m so happy that we have made love at last.”
“So you never did tell me. What changed your mind?”
Vincent chuckled, “Well it all began with a bolt out of the blue…”
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.