Being different doesn't really matter
*** *** ***
“Pardon me for asking dear but are you wearing odd socks or is my eyesight poorer these days than I thought?” It didn’t matter to him if she was, but Catherine was usually so particular about such things.
Catherine looked down to her feet and colour rose to her cheeks and Father seeing clearly that there was nothing wrong with his eyesight hastened to reassure the woman he had come to look upon as a would be daughter in law. “Not that it matters. Down here anything goes.”
Catching the humour in his tone Catherine raised her eyes and grinned at the older man gratefully, “Guess that just shows how desperately I was to get here this weekend.”
Father’s merry eyes twinkled, “Yet it was all in vain as Vincent will be out with the work party for some hours to come I fear.”
“Father…you know I don’t just come down here to see Vincent.” Catherine crossed to the room and as if she had done it all her life went to stand behind the older man to massage his shoulders.
“Ooh, Catherine, that feels good. Lower. Can you go lower? Ooh yes that’s it you’re right on the spot. What was that you were saying my dear?” Father’s eyes had become glassy as Catherine’s hands worked their magic on his aching muscles.
“I don’t just come down here to see Vincent.” She reiterated though even to her own ears the words sounded false.
Father laughed, “I believe you, thousands wouldn’t. Ouch! Don’t press so hard!” Father laughed as did Catherine, and it warmed him to have her there. She was every bit as much as one of the tunnel community now as he considered everyone else. In fact she was more than that. She was, if only he could make his son see it, their future. In her hands lay the future of the tunnel world for after he had gone leaving his son behind only Catherine could ever hope to keep the place intact as it was now. With Vincent at her side or with Catherine at Vincent’s side these tunnels would continue to know love. These tunnels would continue to be there for whomsoever needed them and happiness would always be found therein.
“You know my dear?” Father leaned his head sideways allowing her easier access to his right shoulder, “I have done you a grave injustice in the past, I hope you can forgive me that now.”
Catherine smiled, applying a little more pressure in mock application of torture and laughed. Father did not miss her gentle assault and chuckled, a deep throaty sound that delighted her.
“Of course I forgive you.” She laughed, firmly massaging his other shoulder now, “You only wanted to protect your son. You didn’t know me then.”
Closing his eyes, Father revelled in the massage it had been just what he had needed all day. How did she know? Did it show in his face? She was a remarkable woman very perceptive of what went on around her. Noticing the needs of others, it was a virtue, and not many had it.
“No I didn’t. But I never gave you the benefit of the doubt either and for that I am truly sorry Catherine.”
“Its all right Father.” Bestowing a quick peck to the top of his head, Catherine straightened his clothing, her ministrations complete for the moment and came around to stand at the front of him her eyes showing concern. “Don’t fret about it so. Things are different now.”
Father looked at her with grave concern, “Be that they were better would please me more.”
Cocking her head, Catherine replied, “How so?”
“I just wish for a happier ending that’s all.”
“A happier ending, in what way?” Clearly Catherine was puzzled.
“Catherine, can I be frank with you?”
Catherine smiled, biting back her humour, it won nonetheless, “And there I was thinking that your name was Jacob.” It broke the ice Father laughed as his nervousness at speaking his inner heart faded rapidly away. He took up her hands in his “There is something that I want to say. You must correct me if I am wrong, before I say too much. I do not wish to embarrass either of us my dear.”
Nodding Catherine gave permission for him to continue her eyes large and full of intrigue.
“You don’t need me to tell you how Vincent feels about you?”
A smile lit up Catherine’s face, filling her with joy, “No.” She whispered her heart full of love.
Drawing a deep breath Father continued, “And neither do you need me to tell you that he believes that what you have to be an impossible dream?” His eyes twinkled. They were kindly, sincere.
Catherine shook her head sadly, “He believes that our differences chain us to our own worlds.”
“I know.” Father squeezed her hands, “But he is wrong.”
Startled Catherine’s eyes met his, in them she saw warmth and acceptance, “Are you saying…”
“I don’t know exactly what I am saying my dear. I am making assumptions that perhaps I shouldn’t, but I do know this, that Vincent’s future is with you, and I also think you would make a wonderful permanent addition to these tunnels. Would I also be right in assuming that you would come to live here like a shot, if asked by the right person?”
“Father, if Vincent asked me to do anything…anything…I’d do it like a shot. I love him so much.”
This surprised Father. He knew the depth of her feelings for his son, or thought he did, but if what she was implying…
“Catherine, I hate to ask, but what exactly does ‘anything’ cover.” He blushed, uncertain that he should have asked.
“A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G Father, anything. Anything that a man and a woman who are deeply in love would naturally do.” She looked at him steadily her eyes telling him the truth of her confession.
“You’d love him?” Father whispered low his tone displaying his disbelief.
“I do love him but if you mean would I make love with him, then the answer is yes. Vincent is more than a man to me not less. Why do you persist in putting differences before us, that simply to me are not there?”
“I didn’t did I?”
“Not in so many words, but you cannot accept that when I say I would do anything with Vincent, that making love comes under that category.”
“Oh Catherine.” Bowing his head, Father let his face rest upon her hands held fast in his. She felt his hot tears trickle through her fingers. Her heart went out to him. “I just love him Father. Nothing is impossible with him for me. Nothing at all, but…” She sighed deeply, “it will never be.”
Raising his tear filled eyes Father’s lips wavered as he questioned, “Why do you say that?”
“Because Vincent has put a wall between us against that kind of thing. A wall that I simply have never been able to tear down and the fight is getting beyond me. Father I don’t think I can ever make him see any differently. The way it is, is the way it will always be. What we have is all we will ever have. I just have to be thankful that he is, at least in my life at all for I could never live without him in it even in the smallest way.”
Catherine could plainly see that her words grieved Father. This stunned her. He of all people she believed would have been against such a union with Vincent. They were different outwardly yes, inwardly maybe but they both had the same needs and desires, only in Vincent those needs were reflected in an impossible dream. And there he and Catherine were at odds.
As if echoing her thoughts, Father surprised her by saying; “there must be something that can be done. I won’t accept that it is an impossible dream. If you would permit me my dear, there may be something that I could do. Something perhaps I should have done long ago, but back then I didn’t know how deeply you would come to love my son. And forgive me Catherine, but I am only now seeing how deep that love goes.”
“That’s all right Father. That you are on my side says a lot to me. There was a time when I thought you and I would always be at odds.”
For some reason as she said this, Catherine looked down at her feet, and Father caught her drift as she went on, “Mismatched we might appear, but inside we are the same. Just as these socks on the outside appear different, inside one is the same as the other, a pair of ordinary feet. And funnily enough facing one another too.” She added the last with a sense of wonderment in her tone.
“Vincent adheres to metaphors such as that my dear, you’d do well to apply it in his company. It could make him think. Something so simple yet true in its simplicity. Try it and if I get a chance to interfere I will, is that all right with you?” He grinned.
Catherine smiled, understanding at once, “Yes, Thank you Father. That will be wonderful.”
When Vincent arrived at his chamber some hours later fresh from his bath, he found Catherine seated at his writing table, pouring over some files she had brought down with her to while away the hours of his absence. Seeming not to have heard his approach, Vincent watched her for some time before padding silently into the chamber causing her to look up sharply as his shadow fell over her.
“Vincent!” The delight in her voice at his sudden appearance made his heart sing with joy.
“Catherine. Have you waited long?” It was silly really, the question. He had known of her arrival hours ago.
“Yes, but don’t worry I was able to keep myself occupied.”
“As I see. Have you nearly done?” He went about the chamber lighting new candles, replacing those that had burnt low.
Catherine leaned back and stretched before standing and coming to his side, “Nearly. The rest can wait.”
“I’m sorry to have distracted you, Catherine.” Vincent replied solemnly.
“Don’t be. Besides you are a welcome distraction and I needed a break.”
“You seem tired. I have to collect a meal from the kitchen. Why don’t you lie down on my bed while I go. Close your eyes, take a rest, and when I return you can tell me about your day.” Holding her close Vincent had felt the tension in her. She worked too hard as did he, but he considered her work to be different from his - more demanding.
Catherine nodded. She had looked upon his bed with some yearning earlier wondering if he might be think it a cheek if she should lie there uninvited, or if he would be uncomfortable about her doing so. Knowing how her scent would linger it grieved her that Vincent may have found her perfume very disturbing after she had left.
While he was gone, Catherine found that being able to lay her weary body down was sheer bliss. Able to stretch fully, and partake of his scent was wonderful. Catherine was still lying there like the proverbial Cheshire cat with her eyes closed and a grin spread upon her mouth as Vincent returned.
Stopping dead in his tracks, Vincent stared down at her. To see her on his bed was disturbing. It did things to him that he would rather not have noticed. It also brought fresh to mind some dreams he had had of her lying there, erotic dreams of the two of them lying on the bed together. His cheeks turned crimson as unwittingly he groaned, causing Catherine’s eyes to fly open and stare at his expression, surprised by the look of love and longing that she saw there, before he quickly masked it with a look of tender affection.
“You looked so relaxed, I was afraid to come in and disturb you, Catherine.” He whispered softly.
His poise might have been back to normal, but his tone belied his appearance. Catherine shivered at his voice, husky and impassioned, and she remembered Father’s words of earlier and asked him, “Have you seen Father?”
“Not since early this morning.” A sudden fear coursed through him, “Why, is he unwell?” He started for the entrance panic filling him.
“Vincent, no. It’s all right. Father is well, or he was the last time I saw him. I just wondered if you’d seen him that’s all.”
For a few moments a silence ensued. Vincent wasn’t sure but he detected that Catherine was telling him that he should see Father.
“I’ll see him anyway. You look as though you could do with some more rest Catherine. In fact you look as though you have been working far to hard of late. If I spend an hour or two with Father, it’ll give you the chance to rest and then we can spend the evening together. Do you mind?”
That sounded like a delicious idea Catherine mused. Normally her thoughts would have been anything but happy about the idea, but under the circumstances it was perfect.
“Yes that’s okay Vincent, thank you.”
Her reply grieved him further. Vincent hurried to his Father’s chamber eager to see that the older man was well. That Catherine had readily agreed to his going when they had been apart for almost a week had made him wonder as to his father’s health even more, despite her reassurances. Catherine wouldn’t usually prefer to rest than spend time with him. In fact Catherine had been acting very strangely just lately. If her mood swings hadn’t of been anything to go by, then her mode of dress today certainly had.
Vincent had never seen Catherine wear odd socks before. He’d wondered if he ought say something, but dismissed that idea as soon as it came. Catherine was usually so fastidious and he had certainly never seen her wearing anything mismatched. Not like him and certainly not like the tunnel dwellers that often didn’t have a choice about wearing things that did match.
Yet in a strange way Vincent found that Catherine’s wearing odd socks was mildly amusing and uncomfortably disturbing both at the same time without ever knowing why.
*** *** ***
For days after ward it made Father chuckle. His son entering his chamber for the first time since the early hours, and seeing that indeed Father was well Vincent’s first words in greeting had been, “Catherine’s wearing odd socks.”
Not ‘hello Father are you well’, not ‘hello Father I’m back’ but ‘Catherine’s wearing odd socks.’ It tickled Father no end, though he did not make it known to his son.
“Yes I know.” He replied, “I mentioned it to her.”
Vincent seemed relieved at this. “You did? What did she say? Was she offended?”
“Not at all. In fact she told me she hadn’t noticed in her haste to be down here…” Father paused for emphasis before adding, “with you.” And was rewarded by Vincent’s pallor turning a shade pinker than normal. His son as usual refused the bait and ignored those last two words but Father was determined that he should recognise them more than the rest of what he’d said.
“Catherine has made many friends below…” Vincent had begun, as Father interrupted, “You can’t ignore it Vincent, as much as you try. And when her haste to be with you so obviously disrupts her dressing…. Well what more can I say?”
Over the rim of his glasses, Father’s kindly eyes watched his son fiddling with a tassel on his jerkin. Vincent refused to meet his father’s eyes, or even rise to the bait of his teasing tone. In fact right now being beaten by Father at chess was preferable to the way this conversation was heading.
Vincent shifted uncomfortably, undecided as to whether to stay or return to his chamber, until he remembered Catherine was there, laying on his bed no less, another disturbing thought.
Father said nothing, just watched the play of emotions shift over his son’s features, wishing that at times like these he could read them like a book. Oh what a best seller that would be!
Vincent sighed deeply, at last focusing his gaze on something other than the tassel, that being a candle that was burning lower than usual upon Father’s desk. He stood his intention to change the candle for another. Doing something, anything might distract his father enough to alter the course in conversation. He was wrong.
Though Father watched him mildly interested as he changed that and other candles around the chamber, illuminating the cavern with a brighter glow, he didn’t for once stop thinking of a way to steer Vincent back to the matter at hand.
Finally Vincent, running out of candles to administer to, sat back down, his eyes at last resting upon those of his father’s.
“I expect the team relayed the news that G1 has been shored up sufficiently, though I expect to have to go down again tomorrow, to test the area for leaks.”
Father nodded, yes he had heard. Pascal had relayed that news to him earlier. Vincent should have known this. He would have deciphered the message easily. Obviously he had forgotten for his mind was elsewhere.
“Its not so bad you know.” Father began, knowing his choice of words would have his son’s rapt attention.
“Oh but it is. The chambers beneath G1 have much potential, it would be a shame if they are spoilt by water entering all the wrong places.” Vincent replied.
“I wasn’t speaking about G1.” Father replied nonchalantly.
“You wasn’t?” Vincent fidgeted finding interest in another tassel. Father felt like taking a pair of scissors to the whole lot of them. He grinned impishly, ‘wonder what he’d fiddle with then?’ he mused.
“No. I was talking about Catherine. Or rather about Catherine’s new fashion trend. Wearing odd socks, or any other piece of clothing isn’t such a bad thing Vincent.”
“I didn’t say it was.”
“Yet it was the first thing you said as you came here. So why if not that?” His fingers steeped before him, his chin resting upon them Father watched his son carefully. If he was careful he could tackle a matter that had deeply affected his son for some time. If he rushed it might well be a long time before he could broach it again.
“Its just so unusual that’s all. Catherine is usually so meticulous. Nothing is ever out of place, and nothing is ever outrageous or…or mismatched… for want of a better word.” He finished.
“Different.” Father offered.
“Mmm.” Father said, staring straight at his son.
“That sounds ominous Father. Are you trying to tell me something?”
“Well yes I am actually. Your opinion seems to differ from Catherine’s. And mine I might add. In our world as you know, things are often mismatched. It would at times be impossible to find gloves or socks, hats and scarves that do actually match. And when someone is cold it is hardly any matter that things do match, only providing that they are warm…”
“And your point is exactly?” Vincent felt his hackles rising as he realised that Father was paving the way for something that he might not want to hear.
“Something and nothing really. Just that being different doesn’t really matter. What matters is the warmth.” Father pretended he wasn’t using double talk, trying to look surprised when Vincent jumped up and started his notorious pacing, “Warmth from where Father? Warmth that surrounds or warmth from within?”
“A bit of both really Vincent depending on how you look at it. Or more to the point how you wish to look at it.”
Now he had Vincent’s rapt attention!
“Explain.” Vincent’s blue eyes searched those of his father avidly, his interest apparent in the way that he sat and the way that he waited for his father to continue.
Father decided to take the bull by the horns, no more pussyfooting around.
“You’re relationship with Catherine…” his voice trailed away, as he watched Vincent for any sign of unease. There was some, but Vincent’s interest won. He remained where he was, waiting to hear Father out.
“This I believe is a warmth from within. Both of you share a remarkable Bond, and through that Bond a certain warmth permeates everything that the two of you do, whether together or apart. And the two of you identify that warmth that brings you together as one. Other people too have a certain warmth from within for another person. It can be a fondness for another or a certain kind of love, and it’s felt here.” With one hand he motioned to his heart, “Deep inside the heart and it flows throughout the body and has nothing to do with the warmth of the area or place that they are in.
“Then there is the warmth that surrounds. This can be in many forms. Air for example, previously mentioned. A place or an area can contain a certain warmth that in turn warms the body. Or an item of clothing or an embrace, both of them bring warmth.” He hesitated a few moments allowing his words to penetrate Vincent’s heart. He knew when they had, by the guarded expression that appeared in Vincent’s eyes.
Cautiously Father continued, “The point is Vincent that it really doesn’t matter from where that warmth comes, or from what form it may take. That a person receives the warmth that they need is the important factor. And it doesn’t matter if that warmth comes from odd socks or odd company, it doesn’t matter one iota if that warmth comes from a different pair of socks to a different pair of people providing it’s genuine and true. And where there is that kind of warmth no one on the outside should notice or bat an eyelid and say, ‘hey look that’s different.’ Father winced, he knew the moment he said the last few words exactly how Vincent would jump on it, grabbing it like a lifeline.
He wasn’t wrong.
“I know exactly what you are saying Father, but it doesn’t escape the fact that people do notice. Did not I, or you notice that Catherine wore odd socks today?”
Father used his wrong move to bring home his point, “Yes of course but only because we aren’t used to seeing it, Vincent. If Catherine’s clothing were often mismatched we wouldn’t bat an eyelid. So too if the two of you were seen together more often people wouldn’t bat an eyelid. That’s in line of what you were going to say next weren’t you?”
One step ahead of his son, Father silenced whatever argument Vincent was about to make next.
Mutely Vincent nodded.
“When we see you and Catherine together Vincent it warms us. It warms us from the inside and it surrounds us from the outside. The two of you are so right for one another, and does not Catherine also rush down here to partake of your warmth be it from inside you or in your embrace? Does she not in her haste to partake of your warmth see just you, and not the differences. I’m sure that given half the chance Catherine would wear you with pride, both below in our world and above in her own.”
Vincent was silent. Really there was no more to add and nothing to comment upon. He could find arguments if he wanted to do, but it had stunned him to know how Father saw his relationship with Catherine. Stunned him to know how many people were affected by the love the two had for one another.
Finally he stood, taking his leave wordlessly, turning to smile and nod in his father’s direction prior to exiting the chamber. Father sighed and mumbled to himself, ‘well now Catherine its over to you - go dream your dreams - together.’ And he hoped that whatever she did or said would drive home the final wedge.
*** *** ***
He watched her. Standing in the entrance to his chamber Vincent watched the sleeping form of Catherine upon his bed his mind awash with emotions. Tenderness didn’t even come close and in light of his recent talk with Father Vincent could only stare in wonder that Catherine, his Catherine, could in all honesty not mind sleeping in the bed of a beast. How many other women from above might lay there so peacefully and sleep knowing who and what he was?
Vincent marvelled not for the first time at Catherine’s courage. At her warmth and compassion, at her love for him and allowed himself the rare opportunity to visit inside her dreams while she slept. He’d never done that before. He’d known of her dreams, some of her nightmares, but Catherine had always guarded her most cherished dreams of him, this he knew. For during such times that she daydreamed she would surround further thoughts of him with an unpenetratable wall that he could not see through or around, leaving him only to wonder at her thoughts from then on.
This time he relented, concentrating on her dreams, stirred by the words Father had spoken, wondering if there might be some basis for fact, and hoping deep down that it were so. For if they were to move forward he had to know. Had to know if she may reject him still, had to know whether she wished to be surrounded by his warmth, all of his warmth and had to know if she would be proud to wear him in her world as well as in his.
Tentatively he probed the Bond, edging in slowly, meditating on her dreams, overjoyed to find that she did in fact dream of him, afraid slightly of where her dreams would lead her.
And so he drifted with her – prepared, he thought, for anything.
*** *** ***
“Catherine darling, how good it is to see you.” Catherine turned a smile ready upon her lips as she recognised the voice.
“Elliot! Oh it’s been so long. How are you?”
“Too long. Though I must say the wait was so obviously worth it. You look as always a million dollars.”
Catherine smiled, “And you I hear have made twice as much since we last had the time to chat.” He laughed at her words, and Catherine shivered, remembering only too well how his laughter could send her even now. The words dangerous liaison flitted through her mind, Elliot would always attract her, but she would never love him. Her love was reserved for someone else, someone she found far more attractive.
“I hear you got married.” Elliot was looking beyond Catherine as he spoke, “So where is he? I hear he’s pretty evasive.”
Catherine laughed, ”Usually but not tonight. Come Elliot, I’d like to introduce you to him.”
Intrigued Elliot followed. He’d heard much about this guy, most being that he and Catherine were rarely seen out and about together. That too had intrigued him.
There were many people in the room, Elliot had noticed earlier that they appeared to be poorer than those he usually met at such functions. Many wore old clothing, good clothing true, but so obviously second hand. Some of the ladies he noticed wore clothing he had once seen Catherine wear, and some wore mismatched clothing, although they had paid thorough attention to colour co-ordination.
“Vincent…” Catherine was calling out a name, and the recipient turned just as Elliot made it to Catherine’s side, “Darling, I’d like you to meet someone. Vincent Wells meet Elliot Burch. I know the two of you have heard much about the other, now it is time for you to chat and ask all those burning questions.” Catherine laughed, caught away just then by a hand on her arm. It belonged to Father. He needed introducing to a few people also.
“Excuse me.” Catherine bade her husband and her friend a short goodbye as she made her way to the other side of the room on Father’s arm.
“So you are the man that stole my girl.” Elliot asked Vincent, now that they were alone to speak of things that might have been left unsaid with Catherine in earshot.
“She speaks often of you.” The deep, gravely velvety voice of the man before him, stunned Elliot. Oh for a voice like that! No wonder Catherine melted every time she spoke of the guy.
“That’s as maybe, but obviously my good looks were not enough to keep her at my side. What do you have that I don’t huh?” Elliot’s blue eyes twinkled with humour - the answer was staring him in the face, this guy was beautiful, in every which way. To Elliot Vincent looked…well he looked…like no one he had ever clapped eyes on in his life, but clearly he was accepted by so many, loved by so many, and he was indeed beautiful. Like a God, Elliot thought. He could just picture this leonine-faced man shrouded by a golden glow, sitting upon a golden throne and worshipped by thousands. And those eyes! They were jewels in his face and windows to the world, such expression in those eyes. Elliot could see by them that the man had a heart of pure gold.
“How did you get like that?” Elliot blushed beet root when he realised he had spoken out loud and apologised profusely.
Vincent stilled him with one clawed and furry hand to his arm. “Please don’t apologise, everyone asks, and quite frankly I don’t know. It used to bother me, I used to wonder about it endlessly, but now, accepted by so many, I find I think of it so little these days.”
“When Catherine speaks of you she has such pride in her voice. I’d give anything to have someone love me like that. Vincent, let me tell you, if looking the way you do secures such deep affection I’d trade places with you in an instant.”
It was Vincent’s turn to laugh, derisively so. “Yet you have everything that money could buy.”
“Money is nothing. It doesn’t bring happiness. Neither does the way a person looks really. Love and warmth, affection and happiness comes from within.
Some people have it others have to work at it. I’m afraid that I have it only when I work for it, most of the time my competitive spirit seems to frighten the ladies away in time. I can’t really explain exactly how it is, but I have a feeling that you are the sort of person that knows without my even uttering a word.”
“Yes.” It wasn’t said in a way to put Elliot down, or to elevate himself, both Vincent and Elliot accepted that Vincent had the uncanny ability to see through a person and know everything about them whether he really did or not.
“It’s been nice to meet you. You must come to my apartment for drinks sometime, you and Cathy.” Elliot’s invite was genuine, he had taken to Vincent like a duck to water.
“I heard my name mentioned. So what are you two talking about. Nothing detrimental I hope.” Catherine had returned slipping her arm through one of Vincent’s, her other hugging him close around his waist.
“No of course not.” Elliot smiled, “I was just inviting the two of you to my apartment one evening. It would be a pleasure if you could make it?” He looked hopefully at Catherine disappointed when she shook her head and answered, “Maybe. It’s difficult though Elliot, Vincent and I are so often busy, please don’t be offended if we don’t come soon.”
“As long as the two of you are not offended if I send down some machines to lighten the work load down there. I know all about chiselling solid rock Cathy, please accept my offer as an open one, take all you need when you need it, you only have to ask, and only then so I can provide replacements on site. Anything I have is yours, whatever you need okay? Remember that?” His eyes searched first Catherine’s then Vincent’s. The two of them nodded, and thanked him heartily before shaking his hand and turning back to their other guests.
There were so many people. Catherine had insisted that Vincent met all of her associates, telling only a select few of their world beneath New York City.
*** *** ***
So far what he had seen into her dream had amazed Vincent, that she could so easily introduce him to her friends, and that they in turn could so easily accept him. Maybe she had primed them, but even so none appeared shocked by his differences. But the next part of her dream amazed him even more as the reason behind so many of her friends and his family being together at once came to light.
*** *** ***
“So then Mrs. Wells are you ready to go home?” Vincent was searching Catherine’s eyes in hopeful expectation and she hugged him tightly while lifting her mouth to his for a deep and passionate kiss. He complied willingly, surrendering himself to the moment as most of the guests looked on.
Devin’s voice rang out, and he felt his hand on his arm, “Its time to go bro, me thinks its time you two got down to brass tacks, before you go ahead and give this lot some entertainment they hadn’t bargained for.”
The two broke the kiss as Devin interrupted them, more than willing to see things his way, and more than willing to be escorted out of the building where they had held the reception to a honeymoon penthouse suite several floors above.
Devin left them at the elevator, “Sure you can find your own way from here? I mean you will stop snogging long enough to get off five floors up and not go all the way through the roof won’t you?”
His expression of going through the roof rather than to the roof was not lost on the newlywed couple. They nodded and grinned and thanked him as the doors closed thus separating them from him.
“Now where were we Mrs. Wells?” Vincent asked as he brought his lips to hers again.
Caught up in the delicious act of kissing Catherine said nothing but her mind thought a lot and mainly about what was to follow once they reached the honeymoon suite!
*** *** ***
It was those thoughts that brought Vincent now out of his meditation. He was gasping for breath. Catherine had dreamed that the two of them were married. That she had introduced him to her friends and work associates and to Elliot Burch, had even preferred him over Elliot Burch and now her dreams were wending their way toward an erotic encounter of their bodies! Vincent didn’t think he wanted to know anymore.
Or did he?
Perhaps in all honesty he did but maybe not in dreams. Vincent looked at her, watching her sleep, agonising over the things Father had told him for quite some time.
It was true that they as a couple were mismatched, yet what did it matter, what did it matter if Catherine loved and accepted him, what did it matter if Catherine’s dreams of the two of them together meant marriage and all that married couples do together? A shudder went through Vincent as he let fly his own dreams, things only his pillow knew as he had cried into its softness night after night, her name, and his love and need for her.
Through the bond images of Catherine’s dream filtered through to the front of his mind. He could see them doing things before his eyes, things he never expected ever to be for him. Things he had only surmised at, never truly believing that it could be done, or should be done even by people in love. Often attributing those desires to the animalistic side of him and always leaving him filled with hatred and shame for what he was.
Surprised to suddenly find himself at the side of the bed and never knowing when he had moved from the chamber entrance to here, Vincent only knew he was there when he saw his own hand reaching out to lightly caress Catherine’s cheek.
She stirred in her sleep, a soft smile playing around her mouth and taking one of her own hands she clamped it against the back of his, holding him firm against her. “Vincent.” Her lips uttered his name with such reverence it brought tears to Vincent’s eyes. “I love you so.”
That did it. Vincent was down beside her on the bed in an instant, amazed at the speed in which she snuggled into his arms, even in sleep seeking his warmth, both those from within and without. “I love you too, my Catherine.” At the sound of his voice Catherine slowly opened her eyes recognition warring with disappointment as it became apparent that she had again been dreaming, and something had happened to wake her before that final event that she yearned for with him with every fibre of her being. Tears flashed in her eyes, and Vincent recognising the reason why at once, hugged her closer, kissing the tears as they fell in rivulets down her soft and flushed cheeks.
“Don’t cry honey.” It was the first time he had allowed himself the expression of such an endearment with her, and Catherine noticed. How she noticed!
Struggling to sit and wake up, she was soon high against the pillows, her eyes questioning his, her heart racing, and her mind screaming to her that she must have misheard him.
He smiled, knowing her thoughts, reading it in her eyes, and he nodded before making his intention plain. Catherine gasped as he brought his lips to hers and she whimpered as they touched. Her arms steeling around his neck to angle his head to hers, seeking out the best way to mould her body to his.
On and on it went, nothing had prepared her for this. None of her dreams could ever have guided her to the reality of Vincent’s kiss. It was beyond imagining, and stirred every ember deep inside to a blazing fire of longing.
“Oh Vincent.” Catherine gasped when they finally came up for air, “That was wonderful.” She breathed her eyes shining lights of love. “Thank you.”
She was thanking him! Vincent couldn’t believe his ears. Her acceptance to his kiss had set his soul aflame, and his erection throbbed painfully beneath the tight denim of his jeans.
He faced a dilemma then. Dreams were one thing, but what of reality? He decided to take it step by step and bent his head once again to kiss her.
Catherine was on cloud nine! This time, knowing what was coming she shuffled in the bed positioning herself to receive him in the best possible way. And she was only too happy when she felt his hands shift from her waist to her underarms, blissfully aware at how close his long fingers were to the softly rounded curve of her breasts. She moaned showing her pleasure as his fingers gently stroked their way inwards and arched against him, delighting at the throbbing length of his arousal against her thigh. God she wanted him! She fused all her longing through the Bond hoping he would hear her.
Instead of her thoughts communicating themselves to him and becoming applicable as she had hoped however, Vincent pulled back out of her arms. He was breathing heavily and trembling visibly. Catherine watched him beneath heavily lidded eyes, saying nothing, herself breathing hard and fast.
“Catherine.” He spoke at last, softly almost reverently, she could detect the disbelief in his tone. So many thoughts then bombarded his mind, so many things to say so many things he wanted to do yet able to say nothing. He lifted his head, his eyes meeting hers. Catherine gasped at the raw desire she saw heavily laden there.
“Catherine I have to know…” He swallowed hard, taking her hands in his, gently caressing the palms hoping that the contact would force the words he so badly needed to express to come.
“What is it Vincent? You know you can tell me anything?” Catherine gently coaxed.
His mind was frantic. Thinking one thing, dismissing it, moving on to the next. How could he ask if he might make love to her, when they had only just now kissed? How could he find out if she would reject him without having to ask anything that would later shame him and ruin what they had together as friends?
Manoeuvring herself to a kneeling position, her feet tucked out on either side of her afforded Catherine closer contact with him. Now eye level she willed him to tell her what was on his mind.
At first when she moved fear coursed through Vincent. She was leaving! No, she couldn’t, not yet, they would never reach this stage in their lives again. He could never come this far and risk rejection again. Never! But she wasn’t leaving, only changing positions, only seating herself so that she might be closer to him, so she might see into his eyes. Vincent sighed with relief when he knew this, and held her hands in his that little bit tighter.
“Vincent what is it? I love you. And with love all things are possible. You know that.”
Vincent nodded, his eyes shifting from her face to her body, running his gaze down the length of her to her feet, and it was then he smiled. Mismatch! Her socks were not only different shades, but since her trouser legs had shuffled up, he could plainly see that they were in fact quite different.
Watching him avidly Catherine looked to where he was so obviously intrigued by something by the way he was smiling. She copied him as she realised, “Oh dear, I was in a rush, wasn’t I?” She laughed as she saw one sock striped yellow at the top and the other striped red. “Now that’s what I call different. Maybe I’ll start a new trend?”
“Only if your friends above should see you, down here such things would not be noticed.” He spoke softly, and Catherine detected some sadness in his tone.
Her heart aching for him she replied “yes you’re right. Above things that are different are noticed. For example you and me. People above might accept you as I do, and that is my dream, but in reality it probably wouldn’t be quite as I would like. Down here though anything goes.” Her smile teased one from him and he released a deep nasal sigh.
“Yes. Down here anything goes. Catherine…”
“Catherine…. Would you marry me?” He looked away unwilling to see her eyes, frightened that he would see refusal within them, and he couldn’t bear that.
There was a long silence. Too long, Vincent thought he would die for the waiting of her reply. He looked, shyly in her direction, surprised to find her mouth wide open in stunned surprised. This alone made him smile despite his anxiety.
“I believe I may have misheard something that you just said, would you please repeat it?”
He couldn’t. For the life of him he couldn’t. “What did you think I said?” He asked almost timidly but this time he looked at her watching her eyes register the fact that he had asked her to marry him.
Slowly a smile began to light up her entire face. Catching her eyes with a sparkle that he had rarely seen in her. “Do you mean it?” She asked with disbelief.
Vincent nodded, unable to find his voice. His courage had almost failed him. His voice had left him long ago.
“Marry you?” Catherine’s heart was beginning to race. If she didn’t soon quell it, she’d have a heart attach she was certain of it.
Again Vincent nodded his eyes now bright with hope and longing.
“Oh Vincent!” Throwing herself against him, Catherine’s arms wrapped around his back and she hugged him hard, “Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes Vincent! I’ll marry you!”
Closing his eyes tears squeezed beneath his lashes as Vincent returned her embrace. She would marry him, and within that marriage she would he knew accept everything that he had to give, all of him and they would be together forever. Vincent had to tell himself to breathe or he would surely die of the sheer weight of joy that thundered through his veins right at that moment.
“I love you.” They both spoke together, foreheads close noses touching, arms around one another before they sought each other’s lips in a sweet kiss of contentment.
“What made you ask me now? That’s what I would like to know.” Catherine spoke aloud the inner voice of her heart surprised when Vincent replied by touching her feet. “These.” He told her fondly, “These, and something Father said.” He refrained from adding that he had also seen inside her dreams, he was still a little ashamed that he had allowed himself to do so, even though they had provided the final stimulus that had brought them to where they were now.
“My socks?” Catherine exclaimed, “My socks!”
Vincent nodded, “Yes, they and something Father told me made me see that being different doesn’t matter, it’s the warmth inside and out that’s important. Such a little thing, yet it opened my eyes to something that has been obvious all along.”
“Vincent, if I’d of known this before then I’d of worn odd socks years ago.” Catherine exclaimed laughing happily, “and saved myself a whole lot of frustration in the meantime.” She blushed then and laughed kissing him soundly on the lips.
“Me too.” He genuinely surprised her with his confession and her eyes opened wide.
“Its true.” He told her, holding her close, “I have felt your need and denied that I had similar needs to you, but here in this chamber, in this bed I have longed…to love you.” His words were spoken so sincere, with so much love that Catherine had to brush tears from her cheeks that had gathered and fallen from her eyes as he had spoken.
She kissed him, all of him then, every part of him that was bared to her eyes his face, his hands, his ears and even the inner soft skin of his wrist. And between each kiss she showered him with words of love, in an attempt to wipe away all those lonely nights when he had hungered for her here in this bed, and when she had thirsted for his love in hers and she vowed ‘never again my love.’
From this day forth they would be together. Different yes, mismatched never, for no two people could ever have been more perfectly matched than Vincent and Catherine…and they had the rest of their lives together to prove it was so.
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.