Where Moonbeams Kiss The Sea
Where Moonbeams Kiss The Sea
The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the Ocean,
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle,
Why not I with mine?
See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother,
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;
What are all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?
Percy Bysshe Shelley
1792 – 1822
Dusty, dishevelled and weary, Catherine made her way slowly back to her apartment, her mind a storm of raging thoughts, at what could so easily have happened, and the revelation such thoughts had brought forth.
When had it happened?
When had she fallen in love with him?
Was it there before, or did the fear of losing him make her realise just what he really meant to her?
She could hear herself now, standing there, in front of him, so relieved that he was safe, telling him, oh so softly, ‘it wasn’t courage Vincent...It was love.’
She hadn’t known she was going to say that, but the clarity of the truth broke through the distress and the fear, like some brilliant shining light in a darkened place, sudden, beautiful, welcome, safe.
Stepping out onto the terrace, a soothing breeze caressed her skin, and Catherine allowed her mind to unravel the day’s events.
It has started off badly from the very beginning as far as she was concerned. Having to interview Elliot Burch and then having to go through the files he had given her containing enough information to convict Max Avery of extortion, and then that headache! She had been convinced it was caused by strain and tension of the last few hours, until the thumping grew louder, and seemed to be more in her ears than her head. When suddenly she had known without a doubt that the sound wasn’t coming
from within her, but instead from within Vincent. Momentarily she had been stunned, the Bond had never worked both ways before, and the moment she had realised she
hadn’t hesitated, just picked up her bag and ran. He needed her, she knew it.
He was the one in danger this time.
Was that it then?
Had her subconscious’s known all along what he really meant to her?
Leaning heavily against the balcony wall, Catherine looked out over the park. Beneath the folds of earth was his world, the world where he had taken her to heal, the world she had grown to love.
Yet when had she grown to love him?
He was one of the dearest people she had ever known, they were inextricably linked by a Bond, which up until now, had only worked one way, and she was left only to marvel at his knowledge of her whereabouts when she was in danger. Over and over again he had saved her life...she owed him so much...everything...but love?
Before today she had never considered it. He was her friend, her guardian angel, and yes she did love him, as a dear friend or a brother, but, she realised, as a delicate flush stained her cheeks, this new love was different, it meant something, something solid, something deeper, and it thrilled yet frightened her.
Today she could have lost him, and that frightened her too.
What would she do without him?
How could she survive without him?
Tears brimming over in her eyes fell swiftly and she brushed them away, and gave herself a mental shake, ‘Oh stop it Chandler,’ she reprimanded herself, and then sighed to herself, ‘What on earth are you going to do now?’
Stepping back inside the apartment she closed the door on the outside world firmly, determined to take stock of the situation. There was much thinking to be done. Vincent was an entirely different entity to anything she had ever known, and from anyone she had ever loved, there would be problems there had to be, she knew that. Deep insurmountable problems, and she had to make certain that she had the strength to see them through, and to fight against them and win, for Vincent was the ultimate prize, and she wasn’t about to let anyone or anything stop her from being with him.
Stunned by the strength of the feelings she was having, Catherine stopped dead on her way to the shower, unable to understand the power behind her emotions. Only this morning Vincent was a dear friend, whom she loved as a brother, would die for as a sister, and someone she was eternally indebted to, and within hours here she was acting like someone fiercely possessive as if he were a lover!
Almost at once a warm glow swept through her body at the thought of him, and Catherine made herself laugh, for if she hadn’t she would have cried, at the sheer hopelessness of the situation, and told herself sternly. ‘What you need Chandler is a cold shower not a hot one...Vincent indeed! What’s the matter with you girl? Must be the hormones or the time of the month...’ she laughed then, and peeled off her clothing to settle her weary body beneath the steaming water, regardless of what she needed.
Yet beneath the soothing touch of water, Catherine closed her eyes, and allowed delicious thoughts to come. Daydreams of Vincent’s hands caressing her bare skin instead of her own caused a deep blush to stain her cheeks. And hot with embarrassment, she fought against the way her mind was leading her and turned the faucet onto a cold blast after all.
The shock almost killed her, the iciness after the hot water... Yet it cleared her head
and stepping from the shower she rubbed herself vigorously with a fluffy pink towel, telling herself she deserved it for thinking about Vincent like that.
Whatever would he think of her if he knew? Probably run to the hills and never come back.
Suddenly Catherine froze, bringing a hand to her brow, ‘Oh no!’ She cried, maybe he already knew, didn’t the Bond allow him to know of her emotions?
‘Oh no please no.’ She shook her head, her eyes full of sorrow, ‘he mustn’t know. Not these thoughts.’ She could have cried, tears formed in her eyes, and she went across to the mirror to scan her face. ‘Whatever is the matter with you girl?’ She asked herself rubbing a place on the mirror, through the condensation from the steam, to see her face, and then it hit her!
That’s what the matter was, it hadn’t been sudden after all, this love... this love that had rushed up on her and taken her by surprise. It had been a gradual thing, a growing affection, a longing that had started from the very first time she had heard his voice. Her eyes shielded from him by the bandages to heal her wounds, that beautiful soothing voice, that had carried her away on soft wings in flight to a lovely distant land where she was forever safe, so long as she had him somewhere nearby.
It had all stemmed from that day, and hadn’t she wished, more than once that when they had embraced, that he might... just might... kiss her?
Just tonight even, hadn’t it seemed that at last it might happen? And then the magic had been broken and he had embraced her instead, and though she had been content to lay her head on his shoulder, hadn’t she wished that maybe...maybe... next time?
And there had been other things, other times when he had left her with the dawn. For hadn’t she watched him go away into the early morning light with disappointment and a sense of loss in her heart?
And hadn’t she hoped that one day something would develop between them within his heart, and he would ask her to live in his world with him?
Catherine moaned softly, the sudden revelation too colossal to bear, yes she had hoped and dreamed all those things, subconsciously maybe, but they had been there growing, nurturing, entwining her destiny with his, and now...now what?
Did she have a future with him?
Shaking her head, she didn’t know the answer to that. There was so much to consider. To her he was perfect, more than a man, not less. He was beautiful. And once she allowed herself to see him in the favourable light her heart had mapped out for her, Catherine soon realised how deeply she loved him.
Her love for him warmed her, a delicious tingling that began in her toes, rising up and up to settle deep in the pit of her belly. And Catherine chided herself on the romantic notions only momentarily, before giving in to them and allowing herself to picture her future with him.
How far could they go?
Would they be lovers?
Was it possible?
Catherine again allowed her mind to wander on the wondrous feel of those hands gliding over her satin smooth skin, her own hands loving the feel, the very differentness of him, the touch of silken fur beneath her fingertips.
The thoughts stirred her, thrilled her, until shocked by the desire for him that suddenly shot through her, Catherine brought herself back to earth sharply with a bump.
‘What on earth are you doing!’ she chided herself, again saying out loud, ‘This is Vincent you are thinking of,’ and giving herself a mental shake, she told herself
firmly, ‘no matter what he thinks of you girl, it would never be that way, he isn’t like that, you’ve got to snap out of it, and that’s that!’
Dragging herself off to bed sometime later, Catherine had managed to regain some semblance of normality over her feelings. Yes she loved him, yes she knew the futility of that love, and yes she must make certain that he never knew of her intense love for
fear it would frighten him away. She must never let him know just how deeply she loved him, and next when she saw him she must act normal, however hard it was.
She only hoped she was as good an actress as she was a lawyer, for the Bond was an unseen force that would not be so easily fooled. And it belonged to Vincent!
*** *** ***
It was a few days later before Catherine felt mentally stable enough to see Vincent again. She wanted to know how he and Father were, and made her way slowly to the tunnel entrance in the park. It was late afternoon, but already the sky was growing dark, storm clouds signalling the fall of heavy rain that she had seen forecast on the television earlier.
Ducking beneath the entrance to the drain, she trod silently, her long leather boots hardly making a ripple in the dusty floor, and as she rounded the corner, was not surprised to find Vincent waiting for her, but was surprised at how the sight of him made her pulse race. Catherine frowned, she had been certain she could contain herself. For three days she had given herself a severe talking to. The romantic notions that festered every time she thought of Vincent had been curbed, or so she had thought. This simple sighting of him told her otherwise. As a warmth spread through her entire body, she knew without a shadow of a doubt that she was hopelessly in love with him, and suddenly nervousness made her hesitate, though he held open his arms to her, invitingly.
“Something is troubling you Catherine. Can I help?” He asked her concerned.
Catherine shook her head. ‘What could she say?’ Yet the need to be in his arms was so overwhelming, that Catherine stepped towards him, and allowed herself to be enfolded into his embrace, giving her a feeling of welcome, of coming home after a long and arduous journey. Feeling at peace within his arms, Catherine felt the desire to cry, and tears formed within her eyes.
Sensing her distress, and something else, an unfathomable emotion, Vincent hugged her tightly, until he felt her regain some normality, enough to ask him, “Are you well Vincent? And Father?” Stepping back to scan his face, Catherine drowned in those perfect blue eyes, as they scrutinised her and she heard him reply, “Both Father and I are well Catherine, however, I fear that you are not. Tell me, please, what is troubling you.”
Catherine swallowed hard, her mind a hive of activity. Words flying here and there, trying to tell him the best way she could, and then not knowing if she should.
What to say?
Vincent, I’ve fallen in love with you?
Sadly she shook her head, “It’s nothing Vincent, don’t worry.” She couldn’t tell him, it would be wrong. First she had to know how he felt about her, she wanted to say nothing that might frighten him. Having him as a friend was better than not having him at all. If he should know her true feelings for him, he might send her away, and she couldn’t bear to lose him, not now.
Vincent drew Catherine back into his arms something was definitely different about her today. In fact ever since the day when he and Father had been rescued from the rock fall, he had sensed changes within her, and a range of emotions, that moved so quickly through her mind and heart that he was hardly able to keep pace with them. And they seemed to be stemmed from the moment she had told him... ‘It wasn’t courage Vincent....it was love’.
Vincent had wondered about that, a lot.
Her utterance of those words seemed to come as a revelation to her, and certainly to him. In the main, he had believed before that she loved him, as he loved her, so why did she feel the necessity to say it was love?
His heart hammered a little harder now as he recollected the thoughts he’d had on the subject in the three days since he had last seen her. Holding her close, she seemed content to stand within his embrace, as he allowed his mind to recall his earlier thoughts.
Was it a different type of love that she now felt for him? Certainly her behaviour spoke of it.
And if that were so, where would it lead her?
Where would it lead them?
The very fact that her reluctance to speak to him about the emotions that raged through her body, showed in itself that she was having trouble accepting the fact, and why was that?
Was she upset by her emotions?
Was she distressed at the way her heart reacted toward him now?
He well knew what it was to love someone and not have that love returned.
After the incident with Lisa he had vowed never to lose his heart again with any woman, not in that way. And he loved Catherine dearly, but not in that way. Never again, the risk was too much, he loved her too dearly to love her so deeply that he could hurt her, as he had hurt Lisa.
And if Catherine did feel more for him than the devotion of a friend, then how should he react to it?
Could he ever begin to feel the same, or would it lead him into having the stirrings he had known for Lisa?
Could he take the risk?
With which kind of love dare he love Catherine?
These different kinds of love, though connected, had varying degrees of depth. On the one hand there was the kind of love that brought about a warm personal attachment or deep affection for a friend, a parent or a child, and in the Greek text is known as ‘a-ga’pe’ representing devotion. Or there was the love known as ‘phi-le’o’ representing tender affection, and then there was the love ‘e’ros’ representing love between the sexes. Vincent could only wonder at what stage of development Catherine had now reached for him, as her emotions had so obviously changed course when she had seen how close he had come to losing his life that day of the rock fall. Drawing a deep breath he told her gently, “Would you like to come Below Catherine, to see Father for yourself?” Secretly he hoped the excuse would give him more time in her company. He didn’t want her to return home just yet.
Stepping back from him, Catherine scanned his face. That dear leonine face that she had grown to love, and momentarily, her eyes came to rest upon his lips. A flush stained her cheeks as she reprimanded herself for wanting to feel the pressure of his lips against her own.
What would it feel like to be kissed by him?
Vincent smiled, tilting his head in the unique way that Catherine had come to love so much, and she closed her eyes, however was she going to get through this?
To be with him so close, and not give herself away?
“I don’t know Vincent.” she found herself telling him, “Perhaps I should go home.”
Vincent continued to look into her eyes, he willed her to stay. Realising with a jolt that he had never longed for her physical presence so much as he did at that moment
and heard himself telling her; “I would really like you to stay a while, if you’ve time?”
Catherine licked her suddenly dry lips. And shook herself mentally, ‘what was she doing, why was she was allowing her emotions to get the better of her. She had to be with him, no matter on what terms, she simply had to be with him, and heard herself saying, “All right Vincent, I would love to come Below with you. Besides if that is rain I can hear outside, I am certain I would get soaked returning home to my apartment . I shall have to go home via the basement now.” She smiled up at him, a different smile, a smile that lit up her eyes, eyes that shone with a fresh brilliance. Eyes that shone with love. For him.
And Vincent felt something stir, somewhere deep inside him. Like an emotion that was being awakened from slumber, and he frowned. Catherine noticed the frown, “What is it Vincent?”
He smiled, “It is nothing. Come Father will be pleased to see you he wishes to thank you for saving our lives the other day. He still has nightmares about the incident. But I warn you he was in a very strange frame of mind earlier, as you will see.”
Catherine smiled, and Vincent was touched by her obvious affection for his father, while she asked him, “Have those tunnels been sealed now Vincent?”
“Yes, and the children made to realise how misbehaving can lead innocent parties into trouble.”
“I expect it is a lesson they will never forget.” Catherine replied, happy to be involved in normal conversation, it helped to clear her head, yet just holding his hand as they walked along meant the contact to him still made her feel slightly dizzy.
Father was in a jovial frame of mind, Catherine was pleased to find. Almost as if a scare like that had made him want to get the most from life as he could from now on, in fact he said as much to her, when she laughed at some outrageous comment he made about Mouse and the explosives. “I find my dear that since that day, I am reminded what a gift life really is, and I do not intend to waste a single moment of it. You two could well afford to take a lesson from that yourselves.”
Vincent and Catherine had looked at one another. Whatever did Father mean?
Usually he was so against anything that might bring the two of them together more often.
Perplexed Vincent could only ask him, “I feel I should know what you are driving at Father, so please excuse me when I feel inclined to ask for you to explain yourself?”
“You want me to spell it out for you Vincent! What about you Catherine, a clever lawyer like yourself, do you understand what I am telling the two of you?”
“I’d like to think I do.” Catherine told him smiling enigmatically.
“But hearing it said from this silly old fool confuses you, eh? And so it should do my dear, and so it should do. I for one have not been the most welcoming of fellows, towards you, am I right?”
Catherine tried to mutter he was wrong, but he brushed her aside, “You are too kind Catherine, however, I know I haven’t exactly encouraged this relationship between yourself and Vincent, and for that I make amends.”
“Father are you drunk?” Vincent asked, concerned, his father wasn’t making any sense.
“Drunk! No my boy. I’ve just come to my senses. Life, is, as I said, a gift, its not to be wasted, and advice however well intended, is not to be taken if it stands in the way of
happiness, and I truly believe Vincent that you and Catherine could be more to one another if you only allowed yourselves to be, and I want to say that should you want this, then you have my blessing.”
Again Catherine looked at Vincent, mystified, it was one thing that Father should have a new outlook on his life, but to be giving his blessing on a relationship between
the two of them, when they had given no sign of wanting it to flourish before, both bewildered and frightened them.
Had Father seen something they had both been unaware of?
“Catherine and I will be in my chamber should you need me, Father.” Vincent bent to kiss his father’s brow, then blushed as Father replied, “That’s right my boy, you and Catherine go and make some memories, I’ll be all right.”
Steering Catherine away by the elbow, Vincent apologised for Father, “I don’t know what has come over him Catherine. At first he was subdued and uncommunicative for a couple of days, and then earlier he started like this. I am sorry if he has embarrassed you.”
“That’s all right Vincent really, I think I could really warm to him in that frame of mind, certainly I like the sound of his ideas.” She stopped then, and blushed realising what she had said, and looked questioningly up at Vincent, who had lowered his head and turned his gaze from her, but not before she caught sight of something, some fleeting desire in those startling blue eyes.
“Vincent?” she questioned.
Regaining his composure he looked steadily at her, “Catherine...I...” He stopped abruptly, whatever was he going to say? He didn’t think he knew the answer to that. Suddenly he felt very shy and very nervous, and very unsure of himself, what if he were wrong, as he had been wrong with Lisa? Yet the Bond was telling him no lies, Catherine did feel more for him than she did before, he was certain of it, but even she hadn’t learned to cope with these new feelings yet, he had to give it time. It had to be Father’s outrageous behaviour that was speeding things up, and Vincent felt suddenly very foolish. “Perhaps I should walk you home.” he told her at last, frowning as she replied, “Yes, perhaps you should.”
Walking together in silence, each became aware of the other, yet unable to voice opinions, until they arrived at the threshold, and Catherine walked forwards a few steps, and turned back to look at him. His expression was unreadable, yet the desire to hug him fiercely was strong. Watching him, his eyes brooding, Catherine felt a warm ripple run through her, and knew how much she wanted him, she moaned softly, and instantly he was at her side, “Are you in pain? Should I call for Father?” He asked concerned, his arms enfolding her slim body against the firm hardness of his own. Catherine turned love filled eyes to his, and smiled weakly, “Yes and no. Its not the sort of pain to be healed by medicine.” she told him lightly, then in a voice heavy with emotion she went on, “Vincent...I...” She wanted to tell him, oh how she wanted to tell him, but the words would not come. Each time they rose to the surface, she told herself, ‘Chandler this is Vincent, your friend, stop it. Think of what you will do to him.’ Until finally she told him, “I shall miss you.” Smiling up at him warmly.
Stunned, and a little embarrassed, Vincent had been as unprepared for her answer but smiled nonetheless, telling her, “And I shall miss you too Catherine. Pleasant dreams. Will I see you tomorrow?” He really hoped that he would.
Catherine nodded, “Yes, I’ll meet you beneath the park at seven. Goodnight Vincent.”
“Goodnight Catherine. Be Well.”
Catherine made to step away from him, but some force, some magnetic force kept her beside him. It was so hard to tear herself away, and as she made to walk forwards she hesitated again, suddenly resigning herself to her new feelings, and turning to him once again, told him softly, “I love you Vincent.” And heard his sharp intake of breath, saw his beautiful blue eyes soften, and her heart melted.
He never replied, just let her go from him, away up the steps, through the blue white light back to her world, but through the Bond, he felt her lightness of spirit, her happiness that she had unburdened herself at last from all that she felt, for him, leaving him feeling loved and cherished in a way he had never before known, and he just wanted to weep, as his own heart soared with happiness.
*** *** ***
The following day, Vincent woke with a feeling of contentment, such as he had never before known, and on reflection realised that this new feeling was founded in Catherine’s declaration of love for him. Nonetheless, he was fearful of where that love might lead them.
Feeling the need to be alone, he took himself off, after breakfast, to the Whispering Gallery, intending to spend some time reading, to try to detach himself somehow from Catherine’s emotions, which did little to soothe his own. His heart raced at the thought of her, and he found himself in awe of how quickly this thing had erupted.
One moment just friends, and the next...gradually he began to feel a little of what Catherine had been trying to come to terms with since the day of the rock fall.
Walking along reading the book, his attention was diverted by the sound of Oriental Music coming from Above, and the sound of much laughter as people celebrated Chinese New Year, and he decided to go and visit one of Father’s old Chinese friends
who helped them quite a lot from time to time.
He found the old man mixing herbs together in a concoction which Vincent himself had ordered not many days since, and while he waited for the mixture to be completed, the old man’s granddaughter, Lin came in. Vincent congratulated her on her forthcoming marriage to Peter Chang, yet was dismayed when she refused to accept his congratulations, explaining that she loved a different man, named Henry, whom she had been forbidden to see.
Her grandfather explained to Vincent that Lin did not wish to marry the man she had become engaged to, he was, he explained, the man who had paid for her passage to America, and her hand in marriage was the custom with which to repay his kindness. This saddened Vincent, and he told the old man that another way should be found to repay Peter, rather than have Lin enter into a loveless marriage, but the old man disagreed, saying it was custom and the expected thing to do.
Leaving a little later, Vincent’s sadness for Lin continued to stir him, and as he walked back towards the home chambers, he had an overwhelming desire to share Lin’s predicament with Catherine. Something about the whole situation brought home to him, the same despair of their own union, and how very unfair life could be.
Meeting her later as pre-arranged, Vincent was thankful for the distraction of sharing the news with her, trying hard not to notice the way Catherine’s eyes lit up the moment she saw him, or the fragrance of her newly washed hair that assaulted his senses as he held her tightly.
Certainly, there was no denying her depth of love for him, it shone forth from her eyes, and Vincent found his world spinning, with little to cling to but Catherine herself.
Pulling himself together he refused to allow himself to notice all these things too much, as he continued to talk about the Chinese custom.
“I’m concerned for Lin” he told Catherine. “Sometimes it seems that the world does everything it can to keep lovers apart.” He told her sincerely, unprepared for her answer which seemed to him to have a double meaning, when she told him, “Yes, or why it brings people together in the first place when the situation is impossible.”
“Meaning?” he couldn’t help but ask.
Catherine looked down at her feet, but Vincent turned her to face him, and the look in his eyes made her heart leap.
“I’ll speak to Lin if you think it would help Vincent.” she evaded his question and his eyes, “You know... explain to her the choices, those that might not appear evident.”
Vincent nodded, “Yes, I would appreciate that.” He tried to speak calmly, though his mind was on other things, “We must find some way of bringing about happiness for Lin. I have known her family all my life. They are good people. And Lin has much love to give, it wouldn’t be right for her to marry the wrong man.”
Catherine sighed, “This I do know. But sometimes Vincent what we really want is impossible to have.”
“So speaks one with experience eh?” Vincent smiled at her tenderly.
Catherine shook her head, refusing to be teased, her own predicament, their own predicament was all too raw, too new, and Catherine felt immensely sad.
She had given it a lot of thought all that day. She loved Vincent, of that there was no doubt, but what of their future?
Did they have a future, together?
For she could not be certain that she could forsake all she knew of her life Above to live Below with him, yet knew that it was impossible for him to live Above.
Things were impossible, that was the one thing she was sure of.
Looking up into those penetrating blue eyes as he surveyed her, sensing she was having trouble forming words to speak with, Catherine made a decision, right or wrong, she had to know. “Vincent did you hear what I told you last night when we parted?” she knew of course that he had heard, she just needed a way to bring it up.
Vincent regarded her solemnly, “Yes.” and so there was no confusion he added in a voice tight with emotion, “You said that you loved me.”
Catherine looked up into his eyes, so full of love for her...that Catherine gasped!
His eyes spoke volumes, love she had never seen before shone from them for her, and her heart beat fast with hope.
Something had altered for sure.
Now he was just as aware of the feeling as she was, she was certain of it, but at what depth had it manifested itself within him?
Cautiously she went on, gently, “The day of the rock fall Vincent, I have never been so frightened...if I had lost you...Vincent!” Her words deepened with emotion, “I realised how much you meant to me...I realised how much I had come to love you.” Her words trailed away, as she searched his eyes, his face for some sign, some expression that would tell her how to go on, what to say next, but his expression remained unreadable, almost cautious. Catherine shook her head, whispering softly, “So why does the world bring people together, when the situation is hopeless?”
Vincent continued to gaze down at her, his heart hammering.
What did she expect him to say?
Why did she feel it was hopeless?
If she should follow her heart, nothing would be impossible, so obviously reason and logic told her why their relationship would never work, did she then see their differences as did he?
If so, he was grateful for that, perhaps it was her lifeline, the only thing that would keep her from insanity, the only thing with which to anchor herself from losing sight of the fact that they were different. And a love like that of a normal couple, was for them a thing that could never be.
“Vincent?” Catherine queried, expecting an answer “say something.”
“What would you have me say Catherine.” He paused, searching his mind for the words, finally finding them and telling her gently, “What we have is something that has never been, we have no examples of others that may have gone ahead to guide us. I have felt this change in you, and yes I have glorified in it, but Catherine...though love has developed in your heart for me, it can go no further, for as you yourself have said, it is an impossible situation.”
Catherine sighed, “But need it be? Vincent I love you. With love all things are possible.” She told him anxiously.
“Not for me.” He replied sadly.
Catherine refused to accept that, “Especially for you Vincent. You are more than a man not less, and I believe we could take our relationship further, if only you could believe that.”
Vincent shook his head, “No Catherine, it is just a dream. You deserve someone better, someone who could walk with you in the sunshine, someone who could share the life you were born for. Someone like Elliot Burch perhaps.”
“Vincent No!” The words were torn from her, and she hugged him fiercely, searching his eyes when he held her away from him. “Catherine” his eyes softened at the look in her own, a sadness within them made him want to weep, and he closed his eyes, pulling her back against him, “Oh Catherine, I didn’t want this to happen, I can feel your pain. And I’m sorry to be the cause of that.”
“It needn’t be that way Vincent, you could ease this pain. I know you love me too, your eyes tell me that you do.”
“No Catherine...” still he refused to tell her what his own heart screamed for him to say, he could not give her hope when there was none. They had no future, it would be cruel to let her believe otherwise.
He gazed down at her face, yes he loved her, she was right about that, but he could never tell her, the way forward could, would destroy them.
Suddenly Catherine smiled. It transformed her face, lighting up her eyes, and Vincent was lost. A staggering jolt of desire ran through his body, and Vincent grew afraid. The beast inside was awakening, he would harm Catherine, and Vincent could never allow the beast to hurt Catherine as he had hurt Lisa. “NO!” Vincent roared, stunning Catherine into silence as she was about to speak again.
“Catherine look at me, LOOK AT ME! And tell me what you really see?”
Plaintively Catherine responded, “I see the man that I love.”
“Then your eyes deceive you Catherine, for I am only half a man, and half a beast, and because I cannot be wholly in either, I am less than both.” He whispered softly, dejectedly, “If I were a real man Catherine, to have your love, I would be king among men, but Catherine, don’t you see, what you offer me I cannot accept. It can never be Catherine. It can never be!”
Catherine shook her head, tears running freely, “But it can Vincent, I believe that it can.”
“Then you are wrong Catherine, and I think it would be wise if we saw less of each other in future. If our paths had not crossed, you would have met someone else Catherine, and its still not too late.”
“What are you saying Vincent?” Catherine tried to grab hold of him, as he made to exit back to his world, and heard him tell her sadly. “Find someone Catherine, someone to love, someone to be a part of,” before he left her and Catherine heard herself cry out, “but I’ve already found him Vincent.”
Beyond the doorway to his world Vincent slumped to the ground. His heart breaking.
Father had warned him that it would end this way. He should have listened, and but for the Bond he may have. Even in his love for Lisa, no such connection existed.
Why was it there?
Even now could he feel her pain, echoing the depth of his own.
He loved her so much, yet he could never tell her so. To do so would bind her to him forever, and he did not want that, she had too much to live for, it was unthinkable that she should forsake all she had ever known to be with him, in his world, beneath the city she had grown up in. She had so much to offer the world. He couldn’t take that from her, or expect that she would do so willingly, for him. One day she would come to regret all she had left behind, and their love would turn sour, and he would die without her once he had known such deep love with her.
Holding on to the conviction that ‘it could never be’, he made his way sorrowfully back towards the home chambers.
*** *** ***
Catherine made her way home, every step seeming like lead.
At least she could do something for him. She could look into Lin’s problem. At least in that she would have reason to contact him again, have him come to her.
Perhaps she shouldn’t have declared her love, she had known what a risk she took in doing so, but the connection, their Bond, told him that something had altered, and she had felt obligated to explain. Besides, she knew she hadn’t imagined it, despite what he told her, his eyes had told her otherwise, and she glorified in the knowledge, hugging it to herself.
For a certainty Vincent loved her too.
Over the next few days, Catherine found this fact put to the test.
Outlining to Lin her options, Catherine and then Vincent played no small part in bringing the lovers together, until finally they were guests of honour at Lin and Henry’s wedding conducted by Father, Below in the tunnels. And during the ceremony Vincent could not help but gaze at Catherine as the vows were read, and dream his own dreams.
They had not spoken of their conversation since, but as Catherine felt his eyes upon her, she was stunned when she saw the depth of love within the twin blue pools, shining out for her. Her heart constricted in her breast, and she wondered just how long Vincent could go on denying to himself what they meant to one another.
For a certainty no matter what he convinced himself of, his eyes spoke of another need, and Catherine smiled at him, blissfully happy in the knowledge of that love.
Vincent saw her smile, it broke through his dream, and he felt as though his heart somersaulted in his chest.
Just how much had he given himself away?
He had been day dreaming.
If things were different, if he was not who he was, he would want nothing more than to accept Catherine’s love and take her for his wife.
Vincent grew hot with embarrassment at that thought. Taking a wife for himself and all that entailed was not something he had ever allowed himself to dream of, but when he realised the way his mind had led him, he shuddered, as the full realisation of his dreams hit him.
Yes he loved her, yes he desired her, and yes he wanted nothing more than to spend his life with her, but sadly it could never be.
Catherine watched the varying expressions chase across his face with mixed feelings. A whole lifetime of beliefs were heaped upon his shoulders, much of them heaped there by Father no doubt.
Vincent had a great deal of hang ups about himself, and forcing a situation was not the way to deal with it.
Resignedly Catherine sighed, it was going to take a long time, years maybe, before Vincent would be comfortable with the fact that they could be together. Yet Catherine knew, that whatever it took, however long it took, she would wait, because she loved him, and could not visualise life without him.
So she resolved there and then, that she would always be there for him, never pressurise him, so long as they could just be together.
Those last few days apart that had been so terrible, coupled with the thoughts that she had lost him, had been unbearable, and Catherine never wanted to go through days like that again, ever.
She loved him deeply, but she could wait.
Wait until he accepted the fact, and came to terms with it, though deep down inside she hoped that it would not take long.
He was everything to her and she wanted to be with him.
Never had she, in all her life, loved anyone as deeply as this.
*** *** ***
Trying with all their might to act as if nothing had transpired between them, Catherine went about her life much the same as before, working hard, perhaps too hard, and seeing Vincent whenever possible. Though she lived for those nights when he would come to her on her balcony and enfold her in his arms.
Yet withholding from one another what they really felt became a strain, though they accepted as part of their existence.
Simply Vincent was grateful that Catherine no longer reminded him of her feelings, nor felt compelled to tell her of his.
Happy only to go along each day safe in the knowledge of the deep affection they shared without having to do anything about it.
For this Vincent was satisfied, and it became easy to push away all thoughts of how he really felt when he held her in his arms when they met at the threshold, on her balcony or beneath the park.
And Catherine longed for those sweet moments.
Safe within the circle of his arms, she felt protected and loved and would stay there forever, if she could.
All the day’s strain washed away as he held her, re-charging her with his power, his strength to face another day out there in the criminal world. And he never failed to know when she was in danger, or to come to her rescue. Again and again he saved her life, bringing him closer and closer to her in the love she felt for him.
Yet there was something.
Something that had never been present before and only there since they had acknowledged that love had manifested itself between them.
Each time that he held her now, he would look into her eyes, and she would see him dream, then just for a fraction of time, she would see his eyes drawn to her lips, and she hope rose within her.
And this hope fuelled every occasion he held her like this. That one day, just one day he would no longer be able to fight the pull of her eyes, the sweetness of her lips, and would bend his head and kiss her.
Out of everything, that was the one thing that Catherine found hard to accept, how he could find the strength to stop himself from kissing her, when he so obviously wanted to so very much.
Sometimes she almost asked him why, but stopped herself just in time.
Hadn’t she promised herself to wait no matter how long it took?
However, she had been unprepared for the enormity of this vow.
The strain it had on her began to show, and Vincent as ever, was quick to notice when her eyes lost their lustre, and she trembled within his embrace.
One night after holding her for much longer than normal he stood her back from him, searching her eyes, begging her to tell him what grieved her with his own, but she just looked away. And Vincent felt a great sadness envelope her via the Bond forcing him to voice his fears, “Catherine, I sense great sadness within you, please won’t you tell me what is troubling you?”
Catherine shook her head, “I can’t Vincent. I don’t really know where it is coming from myself.” She looked at him, really looked, his concern humbled her and she feigned a laugh, “You think you are in control of a situation, when suddenly out of the blue it comes back and bites you.” she told him, attempting a smile, that didn’t quite reach her eyes.
Instantly Vincent knew what she meant, and with downcast eyes and a voice deep with emotion he whispered, “Our love for one another.”
Catherine looked up at him, stunned. That was the nearest he had come to declaring that he loved her as much as she loved him.
“Yes.” She replied simply.
“I don’t want to cause you pain Catherine you know that, perhaps it would be better if I didn’t see you so often.”
On the verge of denying this Catherine stopped herself.
She had tried that, believing that having him in her life on his terms was better than not having him at all.
Now she was not so sure.
The way things had become, were slowly destroying her.
“I don’t know Vincent.” She looked up at him, and the love he saw shining from her eyes rocked him, bringing forth a deep groan that issued from his throat, wanting nothing more than to crush her to him, and never let her go. To be able to believe that the way forward for them could be possible after all.
If only he was not as he was!
Catherine saw the look in his eyes, and hope flared once more.
His face was just inches from hers and she could feel the warmth of his breath against her mouth, and waited, her breast heaving in anticipation. They gazed at one another, eyes locked, the blue sapphires and the green emeralds, refined fire, ablaze with love, and yes! Catherine saw it, just for a moment, but there nonetheless... desire there in his eyes!
“You do love me!” Catherine exclaimed more as a statement than a question.
Vincent hugged her fiercely, “With all that I am.” He groaned, burying his face into her neck to breathe deeply of her scent. His limbs felt weakened by the fragrance of her and his breathing became ragged and laboured.
“Oh Vincent”, Catherine warmed to him, holding him tightly, “I love you so much.”
Maintaining some semblance of sanity Vincent withdrew from her hold, untangling her busy fingers as they worked their way through his beautiful hair, and with eyes that told of his anguish pulled away from her.
“Catherine...” He began, his voice tight with emotion, “I fear for you Catherine if we allow this love to deepen between us. How can I protect you from me?” He swallowed hard and Catherine could see the inner fight he was having to regain his composure, and how tightly he was holding his cloak around himself, lest she see how his body had shamed him. Her heart went out to him, “Vincent don’t fight it. We can be anything to one another, if only you’d let it be.”
“NO!” He roared, “Catherine you still don’t understand. How could you possibly understand?” He moaned softly, broken at heart.
“It’s not me that doesn’t understand Vincent. What we have is true love, and a desire born of that love and... I want you so much.” Catherine reached out for him, yet he flinched when she touched him, “Don’t shut me out Vincent, not anymore, let me love you... Please.”
Vincent groaned, swaying on the spot, his eyes closed as he fought within himself, and through gritted teeth told her, “I must go Catherine. I must never defile your beautiful body by mine, and I fear for you if I stay.” he made to leave, hauling himself
over the balcony wall, but Catherine held on to his cloak tightly, “Please Vincent, please don’t go, I need you.” tears broke afresh tearing her words apart, and Vincent was almost lost, her pain was breaking his heart. “I must Catherine, before it is too late for either of us. Find someone Catherine, someone who is worthy of the love you have to give. Goodbye Catherine.” he left her then, tugging his cloak from her grasp, pulling himself over the wall, and out into the dark of the night, running blindly across the park towards home, feeling her agonised, choking sobs reverberating through the Bond with every step that he took.
Catherine would have none of it, she couldn’t let him go.
Sending all reason to the wind, she grabbed her jacket, a torch, and rammed her feet into her shoes, grabbed her keys, and stuffing them into her pocket she fled through the door, into an elevator, and down to the basement. To follow him through the park now would be fruitless, but to go the other way, they might arrive back at his chamber at about the same time, she simply could not let go of him.
She had to make him see how much she loved and trusted him. He could never hurt her.
Didn’t he know that?
*** *** ***
Running full pelt through the familiar tunnels, Catherine realised that news of her perilous flight would be racing ahead of her, as the sentries watched her run by. Vincent reached the home chambers ahead of her, and hearing the messages being relayed, he froze, she had never acted so impulsively before.
He was at a loss as to what to do.
He didn’t want to see her, yet didn’t he know deep down that they couldn’t run from this forever?
It affected them both the same way.
At least safe within his world he would feel less threatened, more in control, and could speak with her rationally.
Grateful that Father had retired for the night, Vincent awaited Catherine’s arrival with some trepidation.
Sitting down in the high-backed chair, where he could see her face the moment she stepped through the entranceway, he felt her approach.
Walking slower now, Catherine hesitated, finally stopping just short of his chamber. A few steps more and she would see his face.
Catherine wondered about that.
Did she really want to see the look on his face. The firm set of his jaw, eyes that would echo words he had uttered earlier?
Giving herself a mental shake, she was suddenly undecided.
Just around the corner she felt him waiting for her.
Could feel his tension, like an uncoiled spring.
Whatever did he think of her, to come running after him like this?
Never had she acted so impulsively before.
Suddenly a mental calculation helped her take stock of the situation, and she found a bubble of laughter rise within and erupt from her. That was it! It was that time of the month again. Usually she would never had behaved so irrationally.
Catherine sighed. To go forwards now, she knew that they might say things they would regret, and in her highly emotionally charged state she might do something that both would find unforgivably embarrassing.
Shaking her head she suddenly saw how foolish she had been, and turned to make her way home, better to leave now, before she disgraced herself further.
Sat in his chamber Vincent felt her make the decision, and the bubble of laughter that had erupted from her, had calmed his jangled nerves.
He rose to his feet, striding after her as she exited away from the direction of his chamber, calling softly to her just as she disappeared from view, “Catherine, wait. Don’t go.”
She turned then, watching him beneath hooded eyes, wondering what was on his mind, as he held open his arms to her inviting her to step within.
Catherine felt her heart melt as with love and affection she stepped back towards him into the safety of those strong arms, and sighed blissfully as they closed around her. All her heartbreak floated away, as he continued to hold her tightly, and she found herself saying, “Forgive me Vincent.”
For long moments he said nothing, and then he whispered, “We can’t go on like this Catherine.”
“I know.” She told him sorrowfully.
“If we don’t come to terms with this it will destroy us.”
“I cannot be what you want me to be, but I do love you Catherine.”
“And I love you too Vincent.”
“If I was not as I am....” He left the sentence unfinished.
“I know...but with love all things are possible.” She sighed wistfully, as he rubbed his face against her hair.
“Not for me.”
Catherine did not reply.
To argue the point might have him put her away from him once again, and she didn’t want that. Instead she told him, “Vincent I’m so tired, could we sit on the couch, do you think?”
He knew what she meant.
The couch was a place they liked to sit cuddled up together, and he guided her there now without words.
Laying back against one end, he drew her gently back against him, and his arms gathered her close.
So many times they had lain this way, with one of them listening while the other one of them read something out loud, or one of them talking while the other listened.
So many cherished memories came back to remind them while they lay there so close together.
Vincent caressed her hair, sliding the length of its silkiness through his fingers, loving the feel of it, until her steady even breathing told him she was deeply asleep. Then he manoeuvred himself until he was able to scoop her up into his arms and carry her towards the guest chamber.
Once there, he took off her shoes, and tucked her into the large bed, gazing down at her before he made to leave.
As he turned, Catherine opened her eyes, and whispered in a voice barely audible, “Stay” and Vincent found himself rooted to the spot.
Turning around, he drowned in the love from her eyes, his own heart hammering painfully against his ribs, as a staggering wave of desire swept over him that seemed to come from nowhere.
Rocking slightly, he swayed under the depth of desire, and fell to his knees beside the bed, “Catherine...” His voice tight with emotion spoke her name filling it with all the love he held for her, and Catherine closed her eyes tightly wishing with all her might. A tear squeezed through her closed lids, and as Vincent brushed it away, Catherine grabbed his hand before he could withdraw it, bringing his hand to her lips to tenderly kiss each fingertip, as she slowly opened her eyes to gaze up at him.
His face was so close to her own, the desire in his eyes evident, and Catherine could feel his warm breath fan her lips, and she held her breath, waiting, hoping, yearning. But even as she hoped, she knew he would not do it, and as the situation registered in those beautiful blue eyes, he began to draw away from her, and rise once again to his feet.
He said nothing, but Catherine could see he was deeply aroused, and her heart raced.
This was the first time he had allowed her to see the evidence of his desire, and hope flared within her.
Stepping back into the shadows, Vincent was suddenly ashamed of what he had let her see, but Catherine did not want him to feel regret, for the moment had been
something special to her, and she felt it should be no less for him, gently she told him, “Vincent, remember, with love...all things are possible.”
He continued to gaze at her without words, without moving until Catherine whispered softly, “Goodnight Vincent.”
Vincent nodded, not trusting himself to speak, before leaving her gazing after him, but even when Catherine could no longer see him, she sensed he was still there.
Just around the corner, just beyond the entrance, lingering, unable to tear himself away.
And Catherine knew that what had just taken place, had taken them one step closer, one very big step closer to a future together. And with patience she could wait, knowing without a shadow of a doubt, that now, all things were possible, and her heart soared on wings of joy.
*** *** ***
Slowly Vincent made his way back towards his chamber, as he sensed Catherine had fallen asleep. How long he had remained just outside fighting the pull of her need, he did not know, only when he felt her relax and sleep was the magnetic force broken, and he was able to walk away. *** *** ***
Sadly, he sat down at the side of his big bed, knowing that for him sleep would not come that night.
Too many thoughts raced and crashed through his mind, like a foaming tide within a storm drenched sea.
He need to walk, to clear his head, to put things into perspective.
What she required of him was impossible!
Yet, deep down inside part of Vincent glorified in her need. That she could look past their differences and still want him! He marvelled at the strength of her love. For him.
Yet had she really thought it through?
To have her live in his world with him, to have her there with him, so close so often, had she really thought about what that would do to him?
And what if she should suddenly change her mind?
How could he cope with that?
How would he survive without her, once he had known her love?
He dare not take the risk.
He had loved Lisa, but even she had forsaken him?
He could not bear to lose Catherine the same way.
To see the horror in her eyes.
Reaching the park entrance, Vincent was grateful for the freshness of the air, heavy with the fragrance of flowers, and started to walk through the grass, feeling it slip beneath his boots, wet from another downpour of summer rain.
Standing alone, beneath the starry sky, Vincent looked out across the park, and was surprised to see the lights shining from Catherine’s window.
Concerned he made his way towards the building.
Cautiously he climbed to her balcony, peeping inside, listening carefully.
When he was convinced that no-one was inside, he concluded that in her haste Catherine had left open the balcony doors and left on the lights when she had run after him.
He had never been inside her apartment before. But the shower of rain had already soaked the carpet, and he could tell that the rain was not over yet. The scent of it rode on the wind, and Vincent knew he would need to turn off the lights, and close the doors, before he left for his home.
Suddenly a streak of lightening lit up the sky, and Vincent turned to watch it. Thunder rumbled seconds later, and the gentle patter of rain soon fell swiftly. Stepping back inside the apartment, Vincent closed the doors, and taking off his cloak and boots, padded across to the light switch, and turned out the lights, returning again to the window to watch the storm.
He had always been fascinated by storms.
What irony, Catherine he knew, hated them.
There she was safe within his world, with no knowledge of a storm which ordinarily would have had her hiding underneath her bed by now. While he, who loved to watch them, and seldom could, was able to have one of the finest seats in town, to see the storm give off its best performance.
How would Catherine react if she knew she was Below in his world, while he was Above in hers?
And in her apartment no less?
A burst of laughter broke from his lips.
For one night they had exchanged lives, and the funny part was, each felt safe, safer in their new roles.
Why was that?
Ordinarily Vincent would not feel safe in her world. It was full of people who he reminded of what they were most afraid of.
Yet away from those compelling green eyes of Catherine’s he did indeed feel safe, yet...he missed her so. Especially being here. In her apartment.
His thoughts continued without letup, throughout the ferocity of the storm, and he watched as the lightening sped away into the night, out across the Atlantic, over the sea, bringing with it a calmness of heart.
Then as the storm clouds dissipated, and the moon came into view, Vincent could visualise the reflection of the lightening upon the water, where the moonbeams shone from between the clouds to gently kiss the sea.
So many nights he had stood beside the dock watching the moonbeams play upon the water, wishing he could ride away with the silvery waves to another life.
He sighed, he couldn’t alter what he was, or change how he felt.
This love for Catherine and hers for him, was something that they had to confront and put behind them, if they were to regain the friendship they had once shared, without these new feelings destroying what they had.
That was the only way forward.
And he had to make Catherine see that.
For both their sakes.
Weeks, then months went by.
Nothing was said again, and Vincent began to hope that it was, after all, just a passing phase in Catherine’s life. Certainly if the problem still existed, she was making a remarkably good job at hiding it from him. And though he knew that she had found a way to shut down on their connection at times, for reasons known only to herself, he did not dwell on it, and slowly he relaxed that the trying moment had perhaps passed.
They enjoyed one another’s company just as much as they ever did.
Vincent still saved her life when her job took her into danger, and she still spent whole weekends in his company, without so much as a hint of any feelings other than anything but compassion and friendship, for him and his world, and for this he was grateful.
The depth of love he felt for her continued to grow, but it was a good love, born of companionship and devotion and nothing else.
And Catherine did play the part well. Knowing as only she could the toll it was taking on her to play it.
Being with him, so close, when her heart would race. She would put aside her emotions, before he had the chance to feel them. While all the time her mind screamed to be set free, to be able to think about him the way she wanted to do.
Slowly the fight was beginning to tell.
She disguised the darkened shadows beneath her eyes from lack of sleep, with make-up, and with meeting Vincent in the half light most of the time, he did not notice how unwell she had become.
For the most she was able to fool him, and fool herself, until one morning when she awoke from a distressing dream about her father.
Groaning as she realised, Catherine coiled in on herself. It had now been a whole year since her father had died, and the feeling of loss was unbearable. More than the grief she had felt on the anniversary of her mother’s death, for then she’d had her father to cling to, and now she had no one. Even her relationship with Vincent was a farce, a pretence that she had to maintain in order not to frighten him away. To have him close and not go forward was unbearable, but not to have him at all, would be the death of her. Nonetheless, the enormity of everything came crashing in on her, so that she found it hard to draw a breath. And tears she had fought away over her non-existent love life with Vincent, started to form in her eyes at the loss of her happy life, the one wished for her by both her parents. And Catherine finally gave way to the torrent of her emotions as the threatened tears gained momentum and cascaded from her eyes down her cheeks as though they might never stop.
How could she continue to fight it?
To do so would rob her of her sanity.
She loved Vincent, so much, wanted him so much, that this half life, this lie that she lived was no longer acceptable.
She needed him.
Of that she was certain, but how? How could she tell him of it without losing him?
*** *** ***
Beneath the city, safe in the confines of his underground world, Vincent felt her distress. He wanted to go to her, but it was daylight, and he could not.
And the desire to crush her to him was breathtakingly overwhelming.
Whatever sadness engulfed her, he was very much a part of it, as with the Bond open and sure, her grief shuddered through their connection, filling him with great sorrow.
Father noticed his anguish as they sat side by side over a cup of tea, after breakfast, while Father had been outlining the events for the day ahead.
“Vincent is something wrong with you?”
“Wrong? With me? No Father.”
“Then is something wrong with Catherine?”
Vincent sighed wearily, “She is in great distress. I feel the need to go to her.”
“But Vincent it is daylight, you cannot.”
“Vincent this love you and Catherine share, it warms us, it warms all of us, but this Bond you have, it grieves me. Can you not separate yourself from it, so that whatever Catherine is feeling, doesn’t affect you quite so badly. I hate to see you so troubled.”
Vincent smiled, “Be it that it were that simple. This connection, it’s not like a link that can be shut off like a telephone call. Oh, I know that I, as well as Catherine, can shut down on it to spare each of us from distress, but it takes great effort to do so, and there has to be a very good reason to maintain it.” He paused, smiling tenderly, as he continued, “Sometimes I feel Catherine is so much a part of me, it’s almost as if we are one.”
Father frowned, “That’s what frightens me. Vincent if anything should happen to Catherine... Have you ever thought of that?”
Vincent turned his gaze away, “Yes.” He spoke softly.
Raising his eyes once again to Father’s he saw only compassion there. “And....I would die if I lost her.”
“That’s what I thought. Vincent so many people depend on you, love you, do you not think that we deserve a say in this?”
Vincent shook his head, “I know they do, yet... how can I ignore this connection with Catherine? It is like nothing I have ever experienced, and I don’t even know why it is there, unless....” His words trailed away.
“Unless?” Father prompted, when Vincent made no move to continue.
Vincent turned sorrow filled eyes to his father, “Unless, our destinies are linked, and what we are fighting against, is something that is meant to be.”
Father rubbed a hand across his bristled jaw, “And do you believe this could be so?”
Downcast Vincent turned his eyes away once more, “I don’t know what to think anymore.”
“Vincent, you do know that Catherine loves you, do you not?”
Rising his eyes back to Father’s Vincent could only stare open-mouthed at him.
“You seem surprised. Tell me you had noticed?” Father went on.
“Only surprised so much in that you know of it.” Vincent told him.
“It would be hard not to know. Catherine makes a remarkably good job of hiding her feelings, but in her unguarded moments I have seen the way her eyes follow you, and I am not so old that I don’t remember such a look. She is hungry for you Vincent. And she loves you to distraction.”
Vincent gasped, as his face coloured up, and he heard Father exasperate, “Oh Vincent, come now, you must have known?”
“Yes.” Vincent whispered.
“For a time it almost destroyed us. And even though it existed between us, Catherine was still able to act unselfishly when she planned to marry Elliot Burch to save our world from destruction, knowing full well what that decision did to me. To the both of us. And then even when her turmoil took her over the edge into a nervous breakdown, and I told her we must stop seeing one another, that our dream must end, for the sake of her sanity, even then, she came running back to me. And Father at that moment, I knew... As I must always have known, that we are meant to be together, but still I cannot accept that Catherine could turn her back on the life she knows to live down here with me. Despite what Catherine so desperately tried to make me believe.”
“Yet something must have transpired between the two of you, for you both to deny those feelings Vincent, almost so perfectly.” Father touched his son’s arm, deeply concerned.
Vincent nodded, “Yes, I firmly believed that Catherine had mastered her feelings, and had come to accept the truth of my words, that such a relationship could never be, for the two of us, ever.”
“And you really believed she accepted that?”
Father nodded, he could see the logic in that. Vincent had grown up sheltered from the world. Once he had maintained a firm belief in anything, he saw no reason to doubt it.
“Vincent, this distress that Catherine is undergoing now, is it because of you, and this great love she has for you?”
“I don’t know Father. It seemed to come to her upon awakening.”
“You knew when she woke up?” Father was stunned, and Vincent smiled, telling him, “The power of the Bond Father, it makes us as one. I could know what Catherine is doing every minute of the day, if I chose to do.”
“And Catherine, is she able to do likewise with you?” Father was so surprised, but then its not something he had ever given a great deal of thought to.
“Not as easily. The first knowledge I had of it was that day you and I were trapped in the rock fall, in fact....” Vincent did not know how to continue.
“Yes Vincent, in fact what?” Father’s merry eyes twinkled.
Slowly Vincent answered, “It was from that time that Catherine told me what I had come to mean to her.”
“She told you that she loved you!” This did surprise Father.
“And still you believed that she could switch it off just like that?”
“Yes. It appeared that she had.”
“Oh Vincent, no wonder the poor girl is feeling so wretched. Can you not imagine what it must be like to withhold that kind of love from another and still spend every spare moment within their company? Can you not imagine that? And for so long too!” Father found his heart ached for Catherine’s feelings.
“Yes Father. I can not only imagine it, I can feel it.” Vincent spoke softly, his eyes never leaving Father’s, as he told him of his own emotions.
“You love her too!” Father shook his head, “Then why Vincent.... Why are you putting yourselves through this torture? For it is torture isn’t it Vincent, to deny yourself the right to love? I know....” he shook his head sadly, “I’ve been there. It’ll destroy you Vincent, it’ll destroy you both.”
“It never destroyed you.” Vincent reasoned.
“Did it not? Have you ever known me to love another the way I loved Margaret?”
“There was Grace, Devin’s mother?”
“I did not love Grace. She just happened to be there at a time when I needed someone. I used her, and she paid dearly for it. In many respects you could say that my selfishness, killed her.”
“Is that why you could never accept Devin as your son?”
Father nodded, unable to voice the words, as tears formed in his eyes, and he brushed them away. Taking a deep breath he continued, “Let’s go back to you and Catherine shall we. Something has got to be done about the two of you. All this unhappiness is not good for either of you.”
“Yet you were so against anything developing between us.”
“Yes that is true, I was, once. But Catherine has more than proved herself to me. And that she contemplates being able to carry out her role as one not in love to protect you, only serves to remind me, what a remarkable and unselfish person she is.”
“But Father we are so different. I well know, you are aware of this fact.”
“Yes, but in denying you the right to accept the most basic of human needs, I am in effect highlighting those differences. What I feel, what you feel is immaterial here. It is what Catherine feels that she can accept that is the truth of what you are. Obviously she sees past those differences, and I for one can only marvel at that. Even I who have known you since a baby, cannot deny that you are...not as other men.” He added sadly.
Vincent sighed, Father was right, though not in the way he had been aiming for. It was true, he was not as other men, and that Catherine could love him, when she could have any man, any real man, was beyond comprehension.
Yet Father’s kindly eyes were speaking to him of possibilities, such as those he had only ever dreamed of.
And Vincent did not know if he could grasp them. He wanted to do, oh how he wanted to do, but perhaps it was already too late, if Catherine’s distress was anything to go by. Perhaps self denial had already destroyed them.
And if it had not?
Vincent did not know the answer to that. Despite what Father had told him, despite what Catherine’s eyes begged of him, he still did not know if he could, if he should, love her the way he did in his dreams.
Arh yes dreams!
He could lose himself within them, believe anything was possible even for him.
Yet that’s all they were, just dreams.
Dare he really believe in them?
And what of the beast? No matter what dreams the man succumbed to, the beast was still a very real part of his make-up, one he could not ignore, and Vincent feared where the beast may lead him, if ever he gave in to the needs of the man.
*** *** ***
By nightfall Catherine had regained some control over her emotions. Ashamed now in the knowledge that Vincent would have felt them, and when she heard him tapping at her balcony window, it was with a heavy step that she walked over to let him in.
“Catherine....” he held his arms open to her, “Come to me, please.” He begged her, “I’ve wanted to be with you all day. Tell me what’s troubling you.”
Would it always be like this?
This bitter sweetness that she had come to associate her life with him?
Moving back towards the sofa, she beckoned him inside, “Won’t you have a seat Vincent?” she asked him.
Stepping inside the apartment, Vincent crossed to her side in silence, sitting down opposite her, a feeling of utter despair washing over him, as Catherine sat wringing her hands together.
“A year ago today...” She told him, “My father died.”
Vincent groaned, he should have known, had he of looked inside his journal he would have seen that the date was ringed, but he hadn’t written in it for a day or two, and had not noticed.
“I’m so sorry Catherine.”
Catherine looked up into his eyes. The look of utter despair in her eyes frightened him that wasn’t the whole problem he was certain. For if it had been she would have gone into his embrace, when he offered, and he found himself asking, “There’s something else though isn’t there, some other reason for the grief that you have felt all day?”
“Yes.” She whispered. “Vincent...” For a moment she continued to stare at him. Her eyes had lost their light, and for the first time Vincent noticed how unwell she looked. Dark circles beneath her eyes that told of days, weeks, months maybe of anguish had befallen her, and he had not noticed?
Vincent re-coiled that Catherine had been able to fool him so easily.
Or had he wanted to be fooled?
He waited for her to continue, almost afraid of what he might hear.
“I made a decision today.” she was telling him, gently, slowly, keeping her distance from him, both physically and mentally. It had proved the hardest decision she had made in all the three years of knowing him.
Even though she had once vowed that what they had together was worth everything, she now knew that it no longer held any weight. Simply she needed more, and Vincent was reluctant to give it.
And so they had to part, for both their sakes, if either were to move on, to have any life at all, they must part, before neither of them could.
Vincent sensed that what she had to say was not easy, and he waited, his breathing coming painfully slow, as she refused to look at him to go on, “Vincent...I...” This was so hard.
“Tell me?” Vincent asked her, wishing she wouldn’t.
Taking a deep breath, Catherine wrung her hands together harder, as Vincent reached across to take them in his own, stilling them, as he ventured for her, “This has something to do with the two of us doesn’t it?”
Catherine lifted sorrow filled eyes to his and nodded. “I don’t want to cause you pain Vincent....and I know that I once told you that what we have is worth everything....”
“But?” he prompted gently.
“But now I find that my life is running away with me, and I have not attained anything.”
Catherine licked her lips, “What we share is worth everything, but there are things that I need, things which you are unable to give....” She couldn’t continue. A feeling of unreality passed through her, and she spoke as through a dream.
Looking into his dear face, she didn’t know how she could do it to him, how she could get through life and never see his face again, yet they had tried everything else, so perhaps separation, was, after all, the only way out.
Vincent groaned, “Catherine, I thought we had covered all that, established a foundation....”
“I know...Vincent. I thought so too. But I never stopped loving you, and the desire never once went away, and now it has grown so far out of proportion that I can only go forward for the sake of my sanity, but at what cost to you?”
“What are you suggesting?”
“If you are still adamant Vincent that there is no future for us, then...we have to part.” Her eyes never left his, and Catherine did not dare to divert her gaze, she had to be able to see, to wait for any flicker of emotion in him, that might still give her hope.
But Vincent’s eyes remained void of any uplifting emotion, only despair raged there.
“I don’t want to lose you Catherine.” He was speaking now, oh so softly, that Catherine had to still her own breathing just to hear him, and as a sob broke through his words he continued, “but I see no other way.”
Catherine didn’t want to part from him, it was the last resort, and with a last ditch attempt she begged him, “Let me live in your world Vincent...please.”
Vincent shook his head slowly from side to side, the pain in his eyes evident at his self denial yet again.
“Please” Catherine begged, the tears now beginning to flow, “Vincent I need you.”
Throwing back his head, Vincent felt the need to roar his anguish, but could not, not here, in her apartment, with all her neighbours so close.
Why were things never simple? Already they had put one another through so much pain in the time they had been together..
“I love you Catherine. But what you ask is as impossible just as much now, as it ever was, to have you in my world, so close, would be unbearable. We have gone around and around this issue so many times, why can’t you let it be?”
“Because I love you so much, and I believe we could see it through, if only you would believe that.”
Rising to his feet, Vincent began to pace the room, “Where will you go?”
For a moment Catherine did not understand the question, until he continued, “Will you leave here?”
“I haven’t really thought about it. Perhaps I will.”
“Will you keep in touch?”
Catherine shook her head, “I don’t know.” Suddenly something inside her snapped as she watched his torment, her voice rose, “Vincent how can you let me go?”
He stopped then to look at her, sitting there so vulnerable, like a lost child, and he wanted nothing more than to enfold her into his arms and never let her leave them ever. But he was afraid that if he did, the beast would take control and the desire that on occasions had been so evident would cause him to injure her. And he could not take that risk.
Suddenly, he had nowhere to go. Unable to fight it anymore, he slumped to the floor, his head in his hands, “Help me Catherine.” he groaned heavily.
She was beside him in an instance, her arms around his shoulders, holding on to him tightly, “Vincent...let it go my love, please. I know how holding it in eats you up...don’t fight the need Vincent...its an impossibility.” Her voice heavy with emotion cut through his thoughts, somewhere out there among her words was reason, if only he had the courage to listen to it.
He lifted his eyes to hers, their faces just inches apart, and Vincent drowned in the love and compassion he saw shining out from the emerald depths.
Deep in Catherine’s heart she felt hope rise again, so many times in the years gone by she had felt it, and so many times disappointment had dashed it to pieces, but this time, there was something, almost.
Again the moment passed, and fear crossed Vincent’s expression. Catherine sighed, resting her forehead against his, would it always be like this?
Would they always come within a hair’s breath of kissing, only for him to break away at the crucial moment?
Suddenly she wondered about that.
What exactly were his fears?
“Vincent...help me to understand this fear that you have.” She heard herself asking, as she rocked him gently, “I want to know.”
Watching as he struggled for control, Catherine waited, and when he appeared quite normal again, he rose to his feet pulling her up with him, wordlessly.
He seemed reluctant to talk about it, and Catherine found herself for the first time since she had known him, putting herself in his position. She knew he felt uncomfortable being in her home, all the lights, no where to hide, no shadows to creep into, no darkness to disguise emotions, and unwanted desires.
“Would you prefer to sit out on the balcony to talk?” She asked him, grateful that she had when he visibly relaxed before her. How little she knew him. For so long she had been guided by her own needs, and the fulfilling of those needs, that she had failed to acknowledge what all this must really be like to him.
Out there, in the darkness, he began to feel better. Feel in control again, regretting his earlier weakness, “I’m, sorry Catherine.” He told her sincerely.
“Its okay Vincent. I understand.”
Shaking his great head, he told her, “I do love you Catherine, and if I was not who I am, I would gladly allow you to live with me in my world, but as it is, I fear for you Catherine if you were to live there.”
“Vincent what is it you are most afraid of?”
“The beast, could savage you to death.” He told her quietly, and Catherine saw evidence of his belief when his voice trembled.
Nonetheless she asked him gently, “And what would spark off his savagery?”
Turning his gaze from her, he made to answer, but Catherine would have none of it, “Look at me Vincent, don’t be embarrassed. I love you.”
Vincent swallowed, hard. And taking a deep breath attempted to reply, holding her gaze steadily. “I know what it is you yearn for Catherine. I too want nothing more than to feel your soft lips beneath mine.” Catherine gasped.
“Yet your self control is incredible.” She told him light heartedly.
“Vincent smiled, “Yes, its had to be.”
“And if you were to kiss me, what then?”
Vincent found his smile deepening, the earlier sorrow fading. “I fear that a kiss would not be enough.”
“Oh yes it would Vincent.” Her sudden answer surprised him. And he drew his brows together in question.
Catherine laughed, “I can see someone has neglected your education in the art of love terribly, Vincent.”
A bold smile lit his face, “Why?”
“You think about it. In the normal world, very few people let go of themselves after one kiss. Especially a first kiss. Perhaps this is your problem.” She wondered aloud, almost to herself.
“Then how...?” He ventured to ask.
“If you and I were the normal couple you wish to be, we would date a few times, and maybe kiss lightly on the first night. Timidly perhaps, depending upon our experience then as our relationship deepened we would go with the flow, experimenting with kisses, until we felt happy with taking it a step further.”
“ But that’s in the normal scenario. It still could never apply to you and I. Though I have a feeling that you are going to disagree with me.”
“Correct. How much self control does it take Vincent, to prevent yourself from giving me a simple kiss?”
“It takes all the strength I have, and more.” He wondered where she was leading to, in many respects enjoying the conversation. She was teaching him things about himself.
“I wonder....” She began, seeing him raise an eyebrow, she laughed, and quirked the corner of her mouth, “if you were to go through the various stages, the correct procedure of things, maybe you could learn to control each facet as it was presented. Of course that rather depends....” Catherine hesitated, looking him straight in the eye, “On whether or not you want to pursue a deeper relationship with me.” She smiled at him encouragingly, and Vincent laughed.
The sound of his laughter was infectious, and came as much with relief as humour, and Catherine laughed along with him, until he felt capable enough to answer her question.
His eyes searched hers, deep liquid pools of blue fire, and Catherine felt her knees weaken, her breathing coming hard and fast as he continued to look upon her.
This time then...Please...Catherine begged within her mind, as Vincent seemed to make up his mind about something, and again the moment was lost. Catherine sighed. Disappointment washing over her like a tidal wave.
Yet Vincent was speaking, and she hadn’t heard correctly, or had she?
“What did you say?”
Vincent smiled, “You mean I have to repeat it?”
Catherine smiled back at him, “I’m afraid so, my thoughts were elsewhere, I never heard what you said.”
“I asked if you would join me tomorrow evening for a romantic walk along the embankment. I understand the moon will be full, and the weather promises a calm evening.”
“A night for romance then?” Catherine laughed gaily.
“Yes Catherine a night for romance.” Vincent gazed down at her, his heart racing, and he wanted to kiss her there and then. He blushed at the thought, hardly daring to believe that she had used so few words, so little logic to make him believe that he could kiss her at all.
He needed time to come to terms with it though, and that’s why he had suggested the walk the following evening.
Catherine wanted to hold back the moment, it was electric, as he waited for her answer. A fire had begun to spread through her veins, and she laughed as she suddenly wondered who was likely to be most at risk here. On the one hand Vincent was afraid that a kiss would take the beast out of control and he would ravish her. And on the other, even though she had told him how to avoid this, wasn’t she now the one that wanted nothing more than to declare that a mere kiss would not be nearly enough?
Vincent tilted his head to one side, in the way that she loved, curious by her laughter, as Catherine found the words with which to answer him, “Oh Vincent I would love to walk with you in the moonlight. Where shall I meet you?” she asked breathlessly.
“I’ll come for you. Meet me at the threshold at ten o’clock. Is that too late?”
“Too late no, of course not. Any earlier and there would still be many people about.”
“You could take a nap before I arrive.”
“Oh no Vincent, I’d be too excited to sleep.”
Vincent smiled, “Till tomorrow then, sweet Catherine. Goodnight.”
Pulling himself over the balcony wall, to take his leave of her, his heart somersaulted in his chest as he heard Catherine whisper, oh so softly, “Goodnight my darling. Be Well.”
Oh how he loved her!
*** *** ***
All the following day, Catherine’s mind was in a whirl.
Vincent was going to kiss her!
He was actually going to do it.
Catherine could hardly wait.
What would it feel like, his lips against her own? She had always known that his wonderful mouth that spoke such beautiful poetry was designed for kissing. And now it was to be!
Would it be chaste?
Would it be passionate?
How should she respond to either?
Catherine did not know how she got through the day. Her job depended upon her to be dedicated to it, and Joe kept giving her strange looks.
“What you on Kiddo, got some for me?” He teased her.
“Sorry Joe, it’s all spoken for. It’s called love.” Her eyes sang of her joy.
“Lucky guy.” He mused.
“No Joe lucky me.”
Far beneath the city streets, Vincent prepared for his evening with Catherine. He had promised too much to back down now. And if he did, what then?
The earlier feelings Catherine had shown him, left him in no doubt that such a disappointment would surely take her over the edge, and now without that first kiss, he would do her irreparable damage.
Yet he was so nervous.
What would she think of him, when his lips finally touched hers?
Would she be repulsed at the very difference of his lips to other men?
She had kissed him once though, surely that spoke volumes, and Vincent could still feel the feather light touch of her lips on his, almost a year ago, when she had thanked him for seeing her through the grief of her father’s death.
Running his fingertips over his mouth, he tried to imagine what it would feel like to have her lips part beneath his own. Initiating the kiss himself, he had no doubts that she would not respond.
Catherine knew all about kissing.
Whereas he did not.
If he were to put his lips to her own, what then?
Moving his lips across his fingers, he practised kissing them, feeling very foolish, as he did so.
Neither did he like the sound that it made.
Would his kiss upon her lips make such a sound?
He hoped not..
And what of the self control he would need to prevent the kiss from taking his needs further?
Vincent swallowed, hard, almost wishing he could vanish into thin air.
He closed his eyes, it was as well he had arranged to meet her at the threshold. In his present state of nervousness he might have fallen from her building, had he arranged to meet her at the balcony as he had first intended. It was only when he realised that the bedroom lay just beyond the balcony doors that he had changed his mind about this. He needed to present her with his first kiss someplace less enticing. Should anything go wrong. And they could hardly make love out there on the embankment could they? A hot flush stained his cheeks, at the thought of making love with Catherine. It was something he had allowed himself to dwell on in his dreams, but now, obviously it was to become reality.
And Vincent balked at the thought.
It was one thing to kiss Catherine, but quite another to expect her to accept him in that way and he didn’t know if he could manage it.
Fear started to wield its way through him, and Vincent had to give himself a mental shake. One step at a time Vincent, he told himself, let things take their natural course.
*** *** ***
Stepping off the final rung into Vincent’s waiting arms later that evening, Vincent found it would have been the most natural thing in the world to have kissed her there and then in greeting, and he wondered briefly if that’s the way it would always be, after tonight.
Catherine’s mind was running exactly the same way, almost in expectation of his kiss, yet knowing that in his own way, Vincent wanted their first exchange to be somewhere perfect, and not beneath a dusty basement.
Talking her elbow, he guided her through the stretch of familiar tunnels, leading towards the dock, talking of inconsequential things, until they reached the entrance that brought them up beneath a moon drenched sky.
Catherine gazed heavenwards, her eyes dancing lights, “Oh Vincent, it’s beautiful.”
“Yes. This is one of my most favourite places. To be able to walk alongside the ocean, whenever the moon is full. I often come here to dream dreams.”
“And tonight one of those dreams will become reality.” She whispered so softly he had to incline his head to hear her.
They walked together arm in arm along the embankment. The moon caressed the sea and Catherine was reminded of some poetry she had read by Shelley, and started to recite the first line. “ The fountains mingle with the river...” She began, when Vincent picked up from there and took over the poem from her, saying in his firm, sure voice; “And the rivers with the ocean. The Winds of Heaven mix forever, with a sweet emotion,” he smiled down at her, continuing softly, “Nothing in this world is single, all things by a law divine, in one spirit meet and mingle, why not I with mine?”
Catherine smiled up at him as he paused, waiting for her to pick up from there. It was very romantic, this reciting of a poem, and what a poem, every line held meaning for them!
Catherine started to whisper the last verse, her eyes never leaving his face, “See the mountains kiss high Heaven, and the waves clasp one another, no sister-flower would be forgiven, if it disdained its brother. And the sunlight clasps the earth, and the moonbeams kiss the sea; what are all these kissings worth... If thou kiss not me?”
Catherine’s heart raced, as she finished the poem, gazing up into Vincent’s beautiful eyes, so full of love for her, and Catherine heard herself whisper deep inside, ‘Don’t make me wait any longer Vincent, as beautiful as the night is, don’t make me wait, please.’
Vincent looked down at her, his pulses racing, his emotions high, as through the Bond he felt her need, and matched it with his own. Her lips slightly parted, invited him, and Vincent groaned. There would never be a more perfect moment than this, and he brought his head down, feeling the warmth of her breath fan his face and his own breathing became laboured.
Catherine waited, watching as his face descended towards her own, hoping, praying, yearning with all her might via their connection, begging in her mind, ‘Come on Vincent...come on...Don’t stop now, you are doing marvellously...’
And then she felt it, the softest of touches, the purest pleasure of his lips upon hers, and her whole being literally exploded.
She was on fire for him, stealing her hands up around his neck, she ignored the gasp that escaped his mouth, as applying pressure to the back of his head, she pressed his mouth closer to her own, and opened her lips beneath his.
Hot waves of desire shot through Vincent. His mouth pressed firmly against her own moved of their own accord, and he found her open mouth too delightful not to explore. Of a need born of instinct, he manoeuvred his tongue over her small pearly teeth, and heard her moan with delight, feeling as her body weakened in his arms. Once, he may have believed he had hurt her, had it not been for his own body feeling the intense delight of her mouth beneath his, her hands tangled in his hair.
The kiss deepened, passionately, Vincent could feel his desire becoming evident and what was more, by the way Catherine was pressing herself against him, she was delighting in every moment of it!
For a moment Vincent panicked. The fire in his veins pounded through his heart, in his ears, and he felt passion overtake him, believing he had awakened the beast, but Catherine’s emotions were equally as high, and she had no such beast within her.
Was this then just a normal human response to love?
The revelation in itself, caused Vincent to break the kiss.
To stand back slightly, and see through hooded eyes, the way Catherine’s breast was rising and falling quickly, her breath coming in short sharp gasps.
Her eyes deep pools of desire.
As she calmed, she smiled at him, her body still trembling, and still in need of his strong arms around her, for her legs were as jelly, and she was incapable of standing up without his support.
Vincent sensed her need, and smiled. There was no need for words. The small gap between them became unbearably great, and Vincent bent his head to recapture her lips, to savour the feeling of their sweetness once again. This time, Catherine searched his mouth with her tongue, the strange cleft lip, the fearsome fangs that held no fear for her, the large textured tongue. Catherine shivered as her need over-rode her promise, and she felt giddy at how ready she had suddenly become for him.
Through some sense of her needs, Vincent withdrew his lips from hers, and smiled languidly at her, laughing softly, “That’s twice I have been the one to break our kiss my Catherine. I feel if I left it up to you, you would smother me.”
Her gay, tinkling laughter split the silence of the night, and Vincent erupted into peals alongside her, revelling in the short sharp kisses she bestowed upon him, over and over again, as she laughed happily, “Oh Vincent, I love you.”
Together they stood wrapped in each other for long moments, Catherine’s dancing eyes filling Vincent with joy, and to know, yes to know that he had actually stepped over that first hurdle, at last.
And he was amazed to find that even though their kisses did stir up a fire from within, he was able to control it, though he looked forward to the time when they would extinguish the burning fire, together. Until then, Vincent knew, what Catherine had told him, to be true, that he need have no fear for her safety from him, the beast and the man were of the same accord when it came to loving her.
And as blue eyes met green, the silence enfolded them into its own soft embrace. And as hands reached out to caress, lips searched hungrily for the other once again, while far overhead the stars in the heavens twinkled their own brilliance, reflecting in an array of moon-drenched polka dots upon a softly rippling ocean.
A beautiful night, a romantic night.
A night just made for lovers...
Where the moonbeams kissed the sea.
*** *** ***
To be continued in Part Two - 'The Winds Of Dawn That Blow - click on 'Next' below:.
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