Part Two of the Moonbeams Story
The Winds Of Dawn That Blow..
Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.
Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermits sensual ecstasy.
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell,
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry;
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreaded cards foretell.
Shall be paid, but from this night,
Not a whisper, not a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost.
Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
‘Let the winds of dawn that blow’
softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of sweetness show,
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find the mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness see you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.
1907 - 1973.
*** *** ***
Leaning over the balcony wall, Catherine could just make out the form of him, as he trod silently through the early morning mists that shrouded the park.
Her eyes danced with a fever that only he could dispel, a fever put there, from a night of fiery kisses that took them well into the first glow of dawn, and the inevitable separation, until the night came around again.
Catherine exhaled an exquisite sigh of pure pleasure, hugging herself tightly. They had come so far in such a short space of time, and would soon be embarking upon another step within their very complex relationship. If only they could hold back the night. Because night after night, it was becoming exceedingly harder to fight the need, the desire to take their relationship deeper, and with the limited time they could spend together, coupled with the dawn coming closer and closer when Vincent would have to return to his home beneath the city streets, Catherine could not help feeling frustrated that they never seemed to have time to fulfil the desire before he had to leave.
And it had taken years before Vincent had found the confidence to kiss her, until it had happened one beautiful moonlit night alongside the embankment, where he had taken her with the intention of sharing that first kiss.
And what a kiss!
Catherine felt herself melting all over again just from the memory.
A shiver ran up her spine, and back down to her toes. She curled them with the delight of the feelings the memory of that first very passionate kiss, stirred within her. And since then all his kisses had been better with each passing day.
That beautiful mouth upon hers....what was it the song said, arh yes!.... ‘kisses of fire, burning, burning, I’m at the point of no returning’ oh yes Vincent, I’m certainly at the point of no returning..... Catherine continued to mouth the words to the song silently, her eyes dancing with happiness, ‘kisses of fire, sweet devotion, caught in a landslide of emotion’. Oh yes, please. She hugged herself tightly, as she sung along, ‘I’ve had my share of love affairs, and there is nothing compared to this, I’m riding higher than the sky and there is fire in every kiss.....kisses of fire, kisses of fire.’*
Kisses of fire that brought forth a burning desire that only Vincent could extinguish.
Catherine sighed again, stepping back away from the wall, he was out of sight now, but still she could feel him.
He filled every fibre of her entire being, as well as the sure steady rhythm of their connection through the Bond. Catherine knew he would be feeling every bit as aroused as she herself.
Certainly there would be no sleep for either of them for what was left of the night.
Looking at her watch, Catherine wondered about that too. It was already five a.m. and it was Monday. She groaned. The first day of a very long and arduous week. Joe had a mountain of work lined up for her, and she was already tired at the thought of it.
“Oh well Chandler, you’d best see if you can get your head down for a couple of hours”, she told herself. Perhaps if she just closed her eyes and rested them it would be enough.
Crossing to the bedroom, she paused, the couch beckoned her, and she changed direction, going instead to sit upon it. Touching the seat, she could still feel his warmth, from where he had sat with her upon his lap, his arms around her, his lips on hers.
A soft moan escaped Catherine’s mouth, as another shiver ran through her. “I think what you need girl, is a cold shower”, she chided herself, and laughed softly. Turning towards her bedroom after all.
Laying beneath the duvet some moments later, she tried to shut her eyes, and let her mind go blank, but try as she might, visions and memories stirred within her, and all she could see was Vincent’s beautiful face just inches from her own.
“This is no good”, she told herself, stuffing her head beneath the pillow, and then shuddered as a fresh wave of nostalgia hit her. As via the Bond contact with him sailed through her senses.
Beneath the park now Vincent trod silently through the dusty tunnels, his mind very much back with Catherine in her apartment. His hands twitched with the yearning to be gliding across her body once more.
Leaning against the tunnel wall, Vincent threw back his head and sighed. He felt ecstatically happy, as a warmth, he was beginning to associate with dreams of his love, crept through his limbs.
He shuddered, stirred by the memory of that first kiss they had shared. How he had fought against it for so long. How easy it had been for Catherine to talk him out of his fears, and into their first kiss.
He melted at the memory. Standing together at the quay-side, beneath the moon, and the starry heavens, with the scent of the ocean tantalising his nostrils, Vincent had been filled with her, the sight of her eyes dancing with delight, hopeful, expectant, beautiful. And the scent of her had enflamed him, as he had held her close, safe within his arms, her small body pressed close to his, and moaned softly as he remembered the feel of every contour as her body moulded perfectly against him.
That night, that beautiful night, beside the embankment, where moonbeams had kissed the sea, he had kissed Catherine, tenderly at first, and then as he felt her lips part beneath his, with a passion he didn’t know he possessed.
Every night since, he simply had to go to her, he couldn’t get enough of her, wanting only to kiss her continuously, without let-up, every minute, of every hour, of every day.
*** *** ***
Walking through the tunnels back to his chamber, deep in thought, a movement caught his eye. It was unusual for anyone to be up so early, and Vincent hesitated, his face lighting up when he saw Pascal coming towards him, “You’re up early”, he told his friend. Pascal smiled, “Aye, I couldn’t sleep. Thought I may as well get to my post. Are you just coming in Vincent?”
Vincent smiled, “Yes.”
“Pardon me for saying, but aren’t you rather burning the candle at both ends a bit too much these days?”
A short sharp burst of laughter escaped Vincent’s lips, and Pascal went on, “I know its none of my business Vincent, but you work so hard in the day, and you are out all night, if you’re not careful you are going to run yourself down.”
“I am tired.” Vincent agreed.
“You must be. And its not just you is it. I expect Catherine feels the toll too.”
“And with a demanding job too.”
“Couldn’t you work around it so that it isn’t so tiring on you both.” Pascal asked concerned.
“Be it that I was different...” Vincent sighed, “But the night-time is the only time we can safely be together.”
“Yet it wasn’t always this way Vincent. I know you had the odd all nighter, but just lately, well its every night. What’s changed?”
Vincent felt a blush staining his cheeks, grateful for the dimly lit tunnel that would prevent Pascal from noticing.
“There is no privacy Below.” Vincent told his friend softly, hiding his face within the curtain of his beautiful hair.
“No privacy.....but its never bothered you before.....?” Pascal questioned, drawing his brows together in confusion.
Vincent turned away suddenly very embarrassed. Why were they having this conversation anyway?
Realisation dawned on Pascal gradually. “You mean....you and...Catherine...?” He could not finish.
“It’s not what you think!” Vincent exclaimed quickly, “We haven’t, we aren’t, we’re not yet......”
“But its only a question of time huh?” Pascal’s face lit up.
Vincent shuffled from foot to foot, looking down at the ground he whispered softly, “Yes.” adding quickly, “Perhaps....maybe....I don’t know.”
Pascal felt a great depth of feeling pass through him, ‘this was great...Vincent and Catherine!....it was wonderful’, and he told Vincent so, “Don’t be ashamed Vincent, I’m really happy for you, Catherine is a beautiful woman.” he paused, then continued, “But surely her apartment is private enough?”
“Yes, but that’s not the problem.” Vincent told him, “Its not having somewhere that is the problem, its not having enough time together before I have to leave, which is the problem.”
They took up step alongside one another now, and Pascal mused on the matter, “Can I help?” he asked at last, really hoping that he could.
“Only if you are a good listener.” Vincent told him, grinning broadly.
Pascal smiled, “Vincent...as if you needed to ask....look why don’t you go and get some rest and I’ll be along later and we can talk. I take it this is a secret from Father problem right now, eh?”
“Vincent nodded, “Yes, I haven’t been able to bring myself to talk of it with him yet.”
“I shouldn’t worry Vincent, even he couldn’t deny that Catherine has staying power. He thought the relationship between you two would be over in a couple of months, and yet its three years already. Father’s not a fool, even he must see that this relationship is going somewhere, perhaps you would do well to speak with him about it?”
Vincent nodded, “Perhaps, but I’ll talk with you first.”
“Testing the water, huh? Okay, I’ll see you later, at your chamber.”
Separating, each made his way to his own place, and Pascal continued to think about his friend.
It warmed each and every one of them down there, in the underground world, this fairy tale romance that had begun over three years ago, between one they loved so much and a beautiful woman he had rescued one night in the park. Her injuries were horrific, and Father had chided his son on bringing a stranger to their world, if only to heal, but from the very first, Catherine had changed Vincent’s whole life. The Bond that they shared was remarkable, a gift, and Pascal along with very many others could only wonder at such a connection, convinced that with it, Vincent and Catherine’s destinies had to be linked, and that nothing or no-one could ever separate them.
Sometimes when he heard how Vincent fought against the relationship, insisting that Catherine remained in her world, and married someone from Above, Pascal had wondered how Vincent could be so foolish, surely he could see, what everyone else could see that because of the Bond, Catherine and he were destined to be together?
And throughout the days and months when he had fought against a deeper, more intimate relationship with her, even Father had been able to establish that Vincent fought against the inevitable.
And so the knowledge that something was at last developing between them, brought Pascal great joy, and it was all he could do to refrain from tapping out the happy news to everyone Below on his beloved pipes. Only the thought of helping Vincent somehow when he spoke with him later, kept his mind from telling the world.
*** *** ***
Vincent made his way back to his chamber, taking off his heavy cloak and boots, and laying himself down upon the bed. Opening the Bond he shared with Catherine, he could feel her gently sleeping. So!, she had managed to get some sleep after all, yet even as he thought it, he could feel her rest was fitful, as on the brink of sleep her mind would jolt her awake, and all she had was a few minutes when tiredness overtook her.
Pascal was right, this life was doing little for him, and obviously Catherine suffered too. Her job depended on her keeping her wits about her, with dangerous assignments having to be confronted on a daily basis, even he knew that. His own work or sleep broken by the fear coursing through Catherine’s veins, making him jump up and run as fast as he could to get to her, to save her life over and over. All the activity, the sleepless nights, the long trek to and from her apartment to his chamber night after night, was beginning to take its toll on him, and Catherine too.
Perhaps Pascal could help him find a solution, for a certainty, something had to be done.
*** *** ***
The shrill of the alarm clock sounded, and one slender arm reached from beneath the duvet to snuff out the sound. Catherine groaned, ‘what already...’ it seemed only moments ago that she had lain down to rest.... ‘huh! rest....so much for that....’ Catherine snorted, with her mind very much on Vincent and his kisses, rest had been the furthest from her mind.
Dragging herself off to the kitchen, Catherine felt that facing another day at the office was the last thing she needed.
Monday morning blues. If it had been any other day of the week, she might, just might, have rung Joe and feigned sickness, but Monday morning! It was too obvious. He’d see through it straight away.
Stirring her coffee moments later, Catherine watched the whirlpool of liquid almost as if she were being sucked down within it, her eyes did not want to focus, her lids gently closed over them and she felt so dreadfully tired.
Perhaps if she called in late, perhaps if she just sat down and closed her eyes for a few moments longer. If she went in at ten o’clock instead of nine, wouldn’t that be best? After all, better she went in fresh rather than dog-tired wasn’t it?
Surely Joe would understand that?
The couch beckoned, and Catherine sipped her coffee as she walked towards it. Just ten or fifteen minutes then, just long enough to rest her weary eyes. Settling the mug onto the table in front of the sofa, Catherine drew up her feet and wound them beneath her. A pattern on the material caught her eye. She had stared at that last night too. Funny how patterns can be turned into pictures. She had no idea she had little puppy dogs crawling all over her couch. Catherine laughed, just as well...she told herself....all those little puppy dogs might have chased away one very beautiful and loving cat!
Giving herself a mental shake, Catherine told herself off again, she would not get a moment’s rest if everything reminded her of Vincent.
Simply she had to close her eyes, shut off her mind and sleep, failing that she had to get into the shower, wash, dress and get herself off to work. There were two choices open to her, which one was she going to take? Whatever, neither included Vincent. And neither could if she were to get any peace that day.
Leaning her weary head back against the arm of the couch she chose the former....her eyes closed, she dozed.....grey tendrils of sleep wrapped themselves around her head...she was almost there.....sweet dreams....Vincent dreams.....lovely, cosy and oooh so stimulating!
Catherine sat bolt upright! This would never do! Sleep would have to wait, simply, if she were to get through the day, without thoughts of Vincent bombarding her mind, she would need some other powerful stimulant....employment!
*** *** ***
Satisfied that the pipes were in safe hands, Pascal made his way towards Vincent’s chamber. The way was pleasurable. As children Pascal had spent many an happy hour coming this way. He and Devin, seeking out Vincent, planning another daring escapade together, would huddle around Vincent’s chamber, whispering low, and snatching up a book, whenever they heard Father’s stick in the tunnel outside, pretending to be reading, hard at study.
How they had laughed into the pages, the book held close to their faces, when he had exited and they heard his footsteps getting further and further away.
Pascal smiled, those were the days. Boyish days. Days of adventure, and pirates and spies. Days of dreams.
Rounding the corner now and coming into Vincent’s chamber, he walked as silently as he could believing Vincent to be sleeping, surprised when he found his friend sat in his chair staring out into space, the flickering candle-light dancing shadows across his beautiful features, and honey gold hair.
“Have you been sat there since you got back?” Pascal asked, coming into the chamber and settling himself down at the side of the bed, which looked un-slept in.
Vincent nodded, “I couldn’t sleep.”
“Have you reached any decisions?”
“Decisions? No, I wasn’t searching for any.”
Pascal smiled, obviously Vincent had just spent the last four hours thinking about last night with his love, if his face was anything to go by, for he positively glowed.
“Well I’ve done nothing but think about it since we parted earlier...” Pascal began.
“Vincent forgive me for stating the obvious, but you cannot possibly live Above ... so...”
Vincent shook his head, “I know what you are leading up to Pascal, but it is not an option. Catherine couldn’t live Below. She has her job, her life Above, its just not possible.”
“But if she were to give all these things up.”
“For what?” Vincent stared at his friend as if he had gone mad.
“For you of course.”
“Me! No, I could never expect Catherine to give up all she has Above to live down here with me.”
“Perhaps that’s not an option either.” Pascal spoke quietly.
“What do you mean by that?” Vincent drew his brows together.
“I mean Vincent, you are so certain that these things would not be what Catherine wants but have you asked her? Perhaps she would like to get away from it all. Its a rat race up there Vincent.”
Vincent was shaking his head. “No I haven’t asked her, and I’m not going to do. Catherine has a life. I have no such life. Simply I have nothing to offer her, and would be asking too much to expect her to throw away everything she has, everything she is yet to be, to live down here with me.”
Pascal shook his head, “I think you are wrong. Now I for one wouldn’t be prised out of this world, I think its wonderful down here, peace, quiet, tranquillity, good friends, unity, family, love, shelter, good food, plenty of work, its a great place to live, and maybe Catherine does have a great life Above with all of those same things up there, but some of them will be lacking...and its those things that are, that make the rest have any appeal at all.”
Vincent pondered his words, nodding gently, it was true up Above Catherine had a good many of those things, yet the things she didn’t have Above were available to her Below, and these things were the most important in life. Love, friends, family, unity.
How many times had he heard Catherine beg, ‘Vincent let me live in your world, it has everything I need there, love, unity, a family....’ he could see her now, her eyes sparkling with mischief as she had added, ‘you of course are a bonus’. Vincent couldn’t help a bubble of laughter rise up and escape him, as Pascal smiled broadly.
“Obviously that’s made you think.” he told his friend, “Am I right, or am I right?”
Vincent grinned, “Yes Catherine has expressed a desire to live Below with us.”
“Well, what did I tell you. Look Vincent, give the girl a chance. Give yourselves a chance. And if its privacy you are concerned with, well you could always cover the entrance to this chamber.”
Vincent gasped, “but that would mean...”
“Yes Vincent, it would mean that you had made a declaration, a statement to all who live here, that you and Catherine are a couple...but pardon me for stating the obvious Vincent”, Pascal pursed his lips together, “But I think we are all well aware of that already.”
Vincent couldn’t stop himself from laughing, “Yes but covering my chamber, well that really gives an impression doesn’t it. I mean it...well... it says something.”
“It certainly does Vincent...but what choice do you have. And what’s a minor embarrassment against all the benefits?”
Vincent blushed, stammering, “I don’t know Pascal...its a big step...and its not as if its necessary...yet.”
“Huh, the sixty four thousand dollar question then...so you said it yourself...yet. I take it that means its in the air then?” Pascal asked, laughing softly.
Vincent felt another blush rising, he really didn’t want to answer that question.
Pascal sensed his unease, “Sorry Vincent, I shouldn’t have asked, its none of my business, in fact none of this is, but Vincent I really feel that you are going about this the wrong way. Life can be so much easier than you make it you know, and you might find it brings some nice little surprises you had never dreamed of along the way.”
“Sometimes Pascal...” Vincent began, grappling with his words, “I have the most wonderful dreams about Catherine and myself. I imagine that she is living here with me, that we can marry and have a family of our own, and I can forget what I am in those dreams, until I am brought back to reality, and the pain of it all is so unbearable because I have to face the fact that for me, none of it can ever be.”
Pascal shook his head, “You’re wrong Vincent.”
“Yes you are. You are only one half of the fantasy Vincent, a fantasy that warms us all, and not one of us would give up a chance of stepping into it with you. Especially Catherine. Reality is what you make it Vincent, but fantasy well that’s something else. Its the stuff that dreams are made of, and its all yours. All you have to do Vincent is reach out for it, reach out to make this fantasy have a very happy ending, for us all, but especially for yourself and Catherine. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were the only one of your kind in the entire world Vincent, and you are loved by so many, Catherine must feel really privileged to have the love you give her, I know if I were a woman, I would do.”
Vincent gaped open mouthed at him, and Pascal went on, “You talk about Catherine having the chance to meet a real man, a man out of reality, but Vincent, in you, she has found a fairy tale come true, how many women can boast to having found that? How many women would jump at the chance of stepping out of reality, with its cold harshness to step into fantasy with someone as wonderful as you. Don’t throw the chance away Vincent. See it through Catherine’s eyes, she’s found gold, refined gold, please Vincent, don’t offer her the sparkle without offering her the treasure as well.”
Vincent gasped, and smiled broadly, “Where did all that come from?”
he asked his friend, amazed at his words.
Pascal laughed, “I read it somewhere and applied it, good wasn’t it, even I was surprised at how well it came out.” he laughed, then grew serious, “But the application won’t be wasted Vincent if you use it. There was a lot of logic in those words.”
Vincent nodded. “It seems that no-one ever fails to paint me in glowing colours, I only wish I could look upon myself in quite the same way.”
“Stop putting yourself down Vincent. See yourself as unique. There is not another in the world like you, you are perfect, and I know this world of ours would be a pretty dismal place without you. Catherine is one lucky woman. And Vincent she is offering everything to you. Take it. Take it Vincent and be happy.”
“I’ll think about it.”
“Thank goodness for that.” Pascal rose to his feet, “I’d like to stay, but one, I have work to do, and two, you need some rest, whether you know it or not, especially if you are scaling a tower block later on today. Do think over everything we have said Vincent please. When all is said and done, you have so much to gain, don’t throw it all away Vincent, please, I beg of you.” Pascal shook his head sadly, “And don’t waste any more time day dreaming Vincent, start making the dreams you’ve already had come true.”
Vincent looked up sharply, “You mean..?” he was unable to voice the words.
Pascal nodded, “Yes Vincent, ask Catherine to marry you. I’m certain she’ll say yes. And then deepening your relationship will come naturally, and without the embarrassment.”
Vincent groaned,” “If only.” he whispered.
“All you need to do is ask. Just ask her Vincent, just ask her.”
Vincent shook his head, if only it were that easy.
*** *** ***
Laying upon his bed much later, Pascal’s words went around and around, ‘ask her Vincent, just ask her’, was it possible, did he have that right? Would Catherine readily agree to marry him as Pascal insisted that she would?
And what would life be like within marriage? Was he ready to face it? It wasn’t something he had ever really, seriously contemplated before. Such dreams into reality were not for him.
He knew Catherine. In fact he probably knew her better than she knew herself. And if he was perfectly honest with himself, Pascal was right, Catherine would marry him. So then what was the problem?
Vincent shuddered. It was obvious. Making love with Catherine brought forth a fear that knotted his stomach, and something deeper, an intense fear that such an intimacy would bring forth the dark one.
And the dark one was savage and could kill Catherine.
Vincent could not undertake such a risk.
Once, he would have convinced himself that Catherine would be better off without him.
That she should find a man from her own world to love. Now he knew he could never live with that.
He would rather die now than lose her to another man.
The memories of the kisses they had shared would be the death of him, to think of her sharing those kisses with someone other than himself.
Yet he knew Catherine needed more.
Kisses to Catherine were a natural progression into something deeper, and he could not deny, even to himself, the stimulation such kisses brought to his own body. The desire for Catherine was growing out of his love for her, his need to make her his, but could he in all honesty ever reach that stage?
And where would it lead them if they did?
Vincent groaned....as another possibility reared its ugly head.
What if Catherine were to find that she was carrying his child?
Could he cope with that?
What if she were to abort that child?
What would that say about her love for him, for her insistence that he was a man not a beast?
And what would it do to him, to know that she was not prepared to give birth to his child, in case it resembled him?
Vincent’s thoughts run riot through his mind. And no matter how tired he was he just could not sleep.
These were real problems, and Vincent didn’t think he had ever had to undertake any like it in his life before. For now he was caught in the middle. No longer could he insist that Catherine make a life for herself without him, for now he needed her badly, and neither could he open the way forward for her, because his own fears rooted him to the present and he could not visualise a future without them taking root.
Rising from the bed, Vincent began to pace his chamber, his mind a whirl, his body heated with desire.
In a few more hours he would go to her, he had to do, he simply could not be without her....yet marry her? Vincent shook his head....no, it just wasn’t possible, whatever Pascal had said.
*** *** ***
Catherine looked at her watch, just a little after two o’clock, and the pile of folders hadn’t appeared to have lessened any.
Rubbing her eyes, she was surprised when she heard Joe calling out to her, “You okay Radcliffe?”
She looked up into his kindly eyes, and smiled weakly, “I’ll survive Joe.” she told him as brightly as she could muster.
“You’ve tried to hide yawns behind a folder all day Cathy, you’re making me feel like a slave master. Are you bored or just plain tired?”
“Too many late nights Joe, nothing to do with the work.”
Joe left his desk and came across to sit on the side of her desk, fiddling with an elastic band, he seemed unsure of his next remark, but said it anyway, “Don’t get me wrong Cathy, but I’m certain that you push yourself too hard. Trying to put thirty six hours into a twenty four hour day. Its not possible Cathy, something has got to give. What say you take a few days off, get some rest, and come back here fighting fit?”
Catherine smiled, ‘a few days off...so appealing...but rest...definitely not. Still it would afford her more time with Vincent...and maybe...?’
Her smile deepened, “Okay Joe, you’ve got yourself a deal, and thanks, I’ll take a couple of days from tomorrow.”
Joe shook his head, reaching for the pen in her hand, taking it and laying it upon the desk, “No, you take it from now, and you take three days, that is I don’t want to see you back here until Friday, and I promise you won’t have to face this lot when you get back, I’ll get Sandy to shift them. Three and a half days off, one day at work and another two off for the weekend, that should I hope, sort you out. See what a nice guy I am?”
Catherine laughed, “I never doubted it Joe. But I can see this day out, I’m okay really.”
“Well I’m not, if I have to sit through another of your yawns I’ll fall asleep myself, now off you go and no arguing.” he laughed softly.
Catherine drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly, “Well as you insist.”
“Then I’d best get my coat.” Catherine pushed back her chair, picked up her bag, and reached for her orange duffel coat from off the coat stand. “See you Friday then Joe.” she told him as she headed for the door.
Joe put down the rubber band and stood up to return to his desk, “Yeah and see that you rest, don’t go running marathons or anything. Friday morning, bright and bushy tailed okay?”
Catherine laughed, “Yes Joe, bright and bushy tailed. Thanks Joe, I owe you one.”
“I’d like to hold you to that Radcliffe.”
Catherine laughed as she exited the office and made her way to the elevator, dear Joe, such a good man, so obviously attracted to her, a dear friend but never a lover. There was only one lover she had in mind, and perhaps these few days off?...If she went Below...spent some time with him, time that wasn’t broken by parting...by the dawn...Catherine hugged herself as a deep smile lit her eyes,...then... maybe... just maybe?
*** *** ***
On her way home Catherine was deep in thought. The urge to go home, change and hurry Below was strong, but Catherine made herself think of others. No doubt Vincent would be resting, or he would be busy and really she owed it to herself to get some rest too. Perhaps if she went home, showered, and went to bed, she would be in a finer state come evening to go Below and stay for a few days.
Decided at last, she felt happier, and opening her bag withdrew some paper and a pen, to send Vincent a note to meet her, not on her balcony as arranged, but at the threshold at seven instead, adding that she had a few days off from work and could she stay Below until Thursday. Then she passed the note on to a helper and asked for it to be delivered to Vincent as soon as possible.
That done she continued her journey home in a very happy frame of mind.
*** *** ***
“A message for you Vincent”, Father hobbled into his son’s chamber, finding him much the same as Pascal had hours before, “Is something wrong?”
Vincent looked up, his eyes mirrored a great sadness, and Father was concerned, “Care to tell me about it Vincent. You know a problem shared and all that..?”
“Yes Father I do need to speak with someone, have you the time?”
“I’ll make time. Should we stay here, or go to my chamber?”
“Here’s fine, you can have my chair, I’ll sit on the bed.” Father frowned, Vincent’s tone was expressionless, almost as if it were an effort to speak.
“Have you had any sleep Vincent?”
“Then you should.”
“I know, but I cannot sleep with this problem in my head. It keeps going around and around, and I don’t know the way out.”
“Does Catherine figure in this problem?”
“Yes,” Vincent managed a half smile, “She is the problem.”
“Arh, it’s going to be one of those talks is it?”
“How well you know me Father.”
Father watched his son carefully, it was unusual for Vincent to be unable to voice his problems, obviously this one was of a very delicate matter.
Father decided to help him out a little. He hadn’t been blind these past few months, he had noticed that the relationship between these two dear people was getting serious. Once he would have had grave reservations about that, but Catherine had more than proved her worth in his eyes, he knew she would never hurt Vincent, and he had begun to hope that they could resolve their differences and step forth into a future together.
Vincent might never get another chance to have the things that every man had the right to have, without Catherine.
“I take it you have both reached the stage where you want something other than friendship from each other?” he asked his son now.
Vincent looked up, and regarded his father closely, “Sometimes Father I wonder if you can see right inside a person’s head.”
“It isn’t that hard Vincent, some times body language provides all the right clues. I have noticed the way the two of you are around each other of late, and seen the kissing. That is something new is it not?”
A short sharp laugh was exhaled from Vincent, as he looked down again into his lap, “Yes Father, and since it began, it has opened up a whole new world for me with...” Vincent hesitated, and Father had to prompt him, “Yes Vincent with what?”
Vincent sighed, “with other desires Father, but look at me,” he rose from the bed to stand above his father as if to make a point, “how could Catherine ever consider such a union....with me?”
“I think you should stop guessing as to what Catherine wants Vincent and concentrate on yourself. Could you ever consider taking the relationship further yourself? Do you want to do this?"
Vincent groaned, “To my shame yes I do. Just lately I don’t seem to have the control I once had when around Catherine. I want her Father, not just to be with her, but to be a part of her... intimately.” he whispered the last, his words trailing away, as shamefully he hid his face beneath his great mane of hair.
“Vincent”, Father spoke tenderly, “These are normal feelings, don’t be ashamed by them. You and Catherine have deepened your relationship over three years, some people don’t even wait three weeks, I don’t think you have any need to worry about your desires Vincent. Catherine is a very special person, and I am certain that she would love to enter into a deeper, more fulfilling relationship with you.”
“Do you really believe so Father?” Vincent lifted his head, a sparkle of hope shone in his deep blue eyes.
“Yes I do. But before we go any further...” he picked up the note which lay in his lap, “I understand this message is from Catherine herself, perhaps you would like to read it now.” he offered the folded paper across the space to his son, and slowly Vincent got up to take it from him.
Fingering the neatly folded piece of paper, Vincent lifted it to his nose, and drank in Catherine’s scent under Father’s scrutiny. A warmth passed through the old man, ah yes, he could remember doing exactly the same whenever Margaret had written to him. True love... perfect bliss.
Unfolding the note, Vincent scanned the contents, and then read them through again. Father watched his expressions, first one of surprise, then one of joy, quickly followed by one of doubt.
“What is it Vincent, what does she say...sorry I shouldn’t have asked, its none of my business.” Father told him.
Vincent didn’t seem to mind, and told his father, “She has some days off work, she doesn’t say why...the last time Joe gave her time off, it was in preparation for a case that was to take her away from New York, and we couldn’t see one another for two weeks...I don’t think I could bear that Father, not now...not feeling as I do.”
Father ignored some of Vincent’s remark, it was all circumstantial anyway, “What else does she say?”
“She wants to come Below until Thursday, and asks that I meet her at the threshold tonight.”
Father watched his son carefully, as both spoke the same words together, “Is that all right with you?”
They laughed, “Great minds think alike, eh Vincent, of course its fine by me, but what of you, do you think you could cope?”
“I don’t know.”
“Look Vincent, you want my advice then I’ll give it. Obviously you and Catherine need to talk and frankly too. You mustn’t leave anything out, and if you need a mediator, I’ll be only too happy to oblige, but you must get this problem out in the open, and you have to do it soon. For whatever reason Catherine has these few days leave from work is immaterial, for it has provided you both with a given opportunity to have the time to resolve the problem.”
“I don’t think so Father.”
“Why ever not?”
“Above with Catherine in her apartment, we have privacy but there is never enough time. Before we know it the winds of dawn are blowing away the night, and I have to leave, and down here, well I have no need to be afraid of the day or night, but alas...”
“There is no privacy?” Father finished for him understanding the way his words were heading.
“You could cover your chamber entrance Vincent.”
“Yes I know, but that would be saying something.”
“Yes it would be saying, clear off I’m busy.” Father tried to stifle a laugh beneath his hand, but it erupted anyway, yet surprisingly, Vincent only grinned at him.
“What humour?” Father cried, “I was expecting an outburst, for my wit.”
Vincent shook his head, “Thank you Father. I can always count on you to put things into perspective. Seriously though we have Catherine’s reputation at stake here also. If I put up a screen over my chamber entrance, everyone will know that Catherine and I are or could be...” he gulped and went on as the unaccustomed word slipped off his tongue... “lovers, and how would Catherine feel about everyone knowing that?”
“Yes I see what you mean. Do you have any suggestions?” Father surveyed his son with humour.
“Do you?” Vincent returned the question, baiting Father at his own game.
“I asked first.” Father told him.
Vincent sighed, “Yes I have a suggestion, can I run it by you?”
“Of course.” Father rubbed his whiskered chin with one hand, his sapphire eyes bright with mischief.
“What if Catherine and I were to be married.” Vincent whispered, unable to meet Father’s steady gaze.
Father waited before answering, waited until the lapse of time forced Vincent to look up in expectation, “That’s better. Vincent you don’t have to be ashamed, why ever would you think that you have no right to voice that kind of question?”
“Because of what I am.” he mumbled, but kept Father’s gaze this time.
“Nonsense Vincent. And no doubt you carry the thought that the dark one would have his day should you allow passion to get the better of you eh?” Vincent nodded wordlessly, “Then don’t believe it Vincent. The love that you and Catherine share could never turn into something sordid, something abhorrent, once I might have let you convince me so, but not now. Hasn’t kissing Catherine told you that?”
Vincent nodded, slowly replying, “Before we kissed I knew it was something Catherine wanted but I could never bring myself to allow it. I always believed that such a step would bring forth the beast and he would become out of control, but Catherine made me believe that intimacy doesn’t always follow kissing, especially not first kisses, and I would have time, weeks even, to come to terms with one event before needing to embark upon another.”
Father nodded, he could just imagine Catherine putting this to his son. “And now you are ready to embark upon the other?”
“And Catherine wants this?”
Vincent smiled, and Father laughed heartily by his answer, “Oh yes Father, Catherine has always wanted this.”
“I don’t know who I should feel the most afraid for here Vincent, you or Catherine.” he laughed some more, thankful when Vincent joined along with him.
“So...” Father began when the laughter subsided, “What are you going to do about Catherine staying Below for a few days, are you agreeable?”
“Yes Father of course.” Vincent told him, raising his eyes to the roof.
“And where is she to stay, should we make up the guest chamber or is she to stay in here with you?”
Vincent gasped, “Father!”
“Well what do you expect Vincent after such talk?” he laughed, “Just how desperate are you?”
Vincent blushed, “Father please!”
“All right Vincent don’t fret, I’ll have the guest chamber made up, but just in case I’ll have a screen on standby to be delivered to your chamber also, just in case you need it."
Vincent was shaking his head, “No Father, don’t do that. I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to think that Catherine will stay with me in here, not yet. And you never answered the question about my marrying Catherine?”
“No I didn’t did I? Well, I think it would be a marvellous idea Vincent, I have begun to think upon Catherine as a daughter for some time, but as I mentioned earlier, all of this... this whole matter needs talking about frankly and openly between the two of
you, and I think you would do well to go someplace other than here to do that.
Why not take Catherine Below for a couple of days, have an adventure, explore some of the lower levels, take time out, be together, take some of the edge off your relationship, enjoy yourselves, and let everything come naturally, that’s my advice.”
Vincent nodded, “Thank you Father, I might just do that.”
“The pair of you could go swimming in the warm subterranean pools, I bet that is a pastime you have never shared, and it offers its own intimacies.”
Vincent nodded, swimming yes, that was a marvellous idea, and as Father implied, it could be just the opening they needed.
*** *** ***
Refreshed after three hours sleep Catherine woke to look at her watch, and note it was six p.m. Another hour and she would meet Vincent. Had he replied to her note? Flinging on her robe she walked from the bedroom to the lounge, delighted when she saw a message pushed beneath her door, and hurried to pick it up.
Vincent’s handwriting of her name on one neatly folded corner made her catch her breath, and she traced the name with her fingertips, thrilled by the knowledge that he had no doubt lovingly written it there, and then she unfolded the note to read its contents;
I would be delighted to have you stay for a few days.
Father has made a suggestion that we make the most of the time you are here by exploring the lower levels.
He feels we need an adventure and the chance to enjoy ourselves. Do you have a swimsuit and a large towel?
The subterranean pools are quite warm, and we could do some swimming.
You will also need some extra warm clothing to travel in, some sturdy footwear, tough jeans and some gloves for when we have to travel on hands and knees.
The journey is a tiring one, yet the beauty Below is a sight to behold, and I can promise, that you will return with memories to treasure.
See you at the threshold at seven.
A ripple of excitement ran through Catherine.
Time alone with Vincent.
In the lower levels, swimming!
Catherine gasped, her eyes opening wide, swimming!
What a chance that afforded!
What would Vincent wear to swim in? She had never seen him without his layers of clothing, and she felt a warm rush of desire spread through her limbs, making her weak with longing.
Slowly her mind returned to his message.
Did she have a swimsuit?
Hurrying over to her chest of drawers, Catherine rummaged through several before she found anything that even resembled a swimsuit. A bikini, and a brief one at that. Catherine blushed, then chided herself, it was swim wear wasn’t it? And perhaps she could wear an old T-shirt over the top if the sight of her in it, made Vincent uncomfortable.
Wasting no more time, Catherine hurried to find the other things he said she would need, and in no time at all it was almost seven o’clock.
Tingling with excitement, Catherine finished her packing, checked her apartment that everything was as it should be for a few days away, and then picking up her keys and bags, she left her apartment to meet Vincent at the threshold.
*** *** ***
No sooner had she stepped half way down the ladder from the basement when Vincent’s arms slipped around her waist, helping her down. He took the bags from her, put them down with one hand and with his other still firmly around her waist, drew her gently against him.
“Vincent” she spoke breathlessly, her eyes sparkling as he brought his lips down to caress her own, she didn’t ever think she would get used to this greeting.
Having waited so long, now to have him kiss her so naturally Catherine still found it hard to believe and revelled in the sweetness of it.
“I’ve missed you so much today.” she told him at last when their kiss ended.
His eyes echoed her words, “As I have you, dearest Catherine. Have you brought everything you will need?” he eyed her bag dubiously.
“I think I’ve brought too much, you will need to go through it with me, pull out everything I won’t need.”
“Did you bring any swim wear?” he asked casually trying to keep his voice light and matter of fact.
“Yes, such as it is.” she thought it best to warn him, and when he raised an eyebrow she felt compelled to explain, “I seldom went swimming on my holiday’s Vincent. I generally sunbathed, and sunbathing means exposing as much skin as possible to get as good a tan as possible, I’m afraid it doesn’t cover much.” she blushed and added quickly, “But I could put a T-shirt over the top if you prefer?”
Catherine hadn’t meant it to sound like that, and the question hung in the air, demanding an answer.
Vincent shuffled from foot to foot, his eyes never leaving her face, and Catherine watched the many expressions chase across his leonine face, as he made one of the biggest decisions of his life, telling her softly, “No, you won’t need the T-shirt my Catherine.” As his eyes bore down into hers, and he drew her towards him once again, to kiss her passionately, leaving her in no doubt as to the way this adventure was heading.
Catherine felt her legs turn to jelly, the kiss held such promise...could it really be so? Were they really embarking upon the next stage of their relationship?
When they broke apart Catherine continued to gaze up at him, there was something she wanted to ask, but didn’t dare, and questioned him with her eyes.
Vincent smiled, answering her need, understanding via their connection, “Alas, I have no such swim wear.” He whispered softly, as Catherine gasped, and could not stop herself from asking, “Then what will you wear?”
The moment became filled with an invisible force. A current that passed from one to the other of them, and held them spellbound for several delicious moments.
“Nothing”, Vincent replied softly, so softly that Catherine had to strain her ears to hear him. Lip reading afforded her a better chance, plus she could not believe her ears anyway, “Oh Vincent!” was all she could manage, as she slipped her arms around him, and buried her face into his chest. Her mind hammered the answer to her earlier
question, ‘yes, yes, yes, they were going forward together at last...’.And she had never felt so estatically happy.
*** *** ***
Walking back towards the home chambers, they chatted about their day, and Vincent was relieved to find that Catherine’s days off held no conditions with work, though he was a little concerned that Joe had seen fit to give her time off to rest, and here he was dragging her off on a tiring and arduous adventure, “Perhaps we should embark upon this trip another time, you won’t get any rest with all I have planned for us.” he added.
“No way! Are you kidding Vincent, you’ve just held up the bait, do you think I am going to refuse it?” she laughed, and Vincent joined her heartily easing away the last of the tension between them.
“Seriously Vincent,” Catherine knew they had to discuss it, “What exactly should I be prepared for on this trip Below?”
They had reached the home chambers by now, Father having discreetly disappeared beforehand, and Vincent led her straight to his own chamber before answering.
Sucking in his cheeks repeatedly, as he fought for words, he kept her gaze as Catherine waited for his answer, absolutely flabbergasted when it came, “I want to make love with you Catherine.” He spoke, oh so softly, his words trembling, his eyes never leaving her own, and Catherine felt her whole body melting with desire.
Her breathing became heavy, her pulse raced, her lips opened slightly to take in more air, and... had she heard right? Or did her mind just alter Vincent’s words to some of her own, some she had longed to hear him utter for so long?
The way he was looking at her though, it was different, almost arrogant, where was the shy and troubled Vincent, where was the Vincent that feared himself?
Catherine could only continue to stare in disbelief, until she finally heard herself say, “Pardon?” and laughed nervously.
His eyes continued to bore into her own, his own breathing coming heavier, his throat constricting as if he was having difficulty swallowing, and Catherine took pity upon him.
It had probably taken everything he could muster to utter the words the first time, and here she was expecting him to repeat it!
She had heard right the first time, she knew that.
If actions really spoke louder than words, she had no need of hearing him utter them again, and slowly a smile lit her face right up to her eyes, “Vincent” she told him in a voice deep with emotion, stepping towards him, “Oh yes Vincent, please.” Her eyes closed as she reached him, her body leaning towards his, and felt his arms slip around her drawing her close, holding the contours of her body close against his own. And for the first time since she had known him she felt his arousal pushing tight against the pit of her belly, and gasped, her eyes flying open to find him looking down at her again in a way that thrilled her.
The closest she could put to it was possession. And it made her feel light-headed and wonderfully alive.
He continued to hold her wordlessly, his breathing growing deeper as he tried to calm his racing heart, unable to believe he had uttered those words.
He hadn’t planned to say them, it was almost as if someone else had stood inside him and uttered them, but now he had and she had accepted. Oh how good it made him feel!
Catherine wanted him, as he wanted her, she had accepted his offer to love her, and how he wanted to do.
He needed her so badly.
Already his body had told her of his need.
Yet for once he felt no shame.
Searching for her sweet lips, he was stunned by the intensity with which she returned his kiss.
This kiss was like no other, deep and extremely passionate, and it sent his mind reeling.
Catherine clung to him, simply she could not get enough of him, almost as if he was her lifeblood, the kiss went on and on, neither wishing to break it, as tongues of fire explored depths never before explored and hands started a journey of caresses that never wanted to stop.
Catherine moaned, as Vincent broke the kiss to travel his lips down around her throat to nuzzle between her breasts, and she held on to his head, tangling her fingers into his beautiful hair, feeling dizzy as the chamber span around her.
When Vincent stepped away from her at last, Catherine’s eyes were on fire, his own matched them for intensity and desire, and he could hardly speak, as he told her, breathlessly, “Catherine...we can...wait...until...tomorrow...Below...if you wish?”
“Or?” Catherine questioned, licking her lips after the utterance of such a simple word.
Vincent stepped back towards her, “Or...” he took possession of her lips again, unable to let them go, drawing her gently back towards the bed, leaving her in no doubt as to the alternative.
She took it, “Yes Vincent.” she murmured beneath the passion of his mouth, “Now please.”
It was all he needed to hear, he wanted her so much, he didn’t think he could wait another day. Almost amazed at the speed with which things had gone, he could have laughed with thinking about his earlier misgivings.
Truly Catherine was as intoxicating as wine, she went straight to his head, knocked away all his reservations, even made black seem white.
Yet how he loved her!
Clothing seemed to peel away in an almost indecent haste, as hands given the right to travel searched out all the most intimate places.
Catherine gasped as her fingers wrapped around the hard length of him, and Vincent groaned as his mind felt fit to explode along with his desire.
Never had anyone ever touched him there before, but this was so right, so good, so welcome, Catherine’s busy little fingers knew exactly what to do, how to stroke, how to tantalise, how to have him thrashing from side to side in convulsions beneath the workings of her hands.
A deep roar resounded around the walls, as he emptied himself, groaning at his inability to hold back, almost afraid to open his eyes to see into her own.
What would he read there, disappointment? Embarrassment?
He opened his eyes, unprepared to find Catherine looking into his face, with such an expression of love, such as he had never seen in her expression directed at him, that he wanted to weep.
“No-one” he told her breathlessly, “no one has ever touched me the way you are touching me now, in my entire life.” He added almost by way of apology and reason.
Catherine smiled, “Don’t worry Vincent, I never expected my ministrations to have no effect on you, and its all part of the experience.”
“Oh yes, and it would please me to have you touch me in a similar way.”
Vincent’s eyes opened wide, suddenly the situation was beginning to dawn upon him.
Catherine near naked upon his bed, himself in much the same state of undress, the candles blazing around the chamber, the entranceway uncovered, and...what was that? Yes, the definite sound of footsteps getting closer by the minute!
Catherine heard them too, and dived beneath the covers, the first thing she could think of!
Vincent made a grab for his discarded clothing, as too late he saw a figure appear in the entranceway, and Father’s voice saying, “Vincent...I’ve had Mary make up the guest chamber for Catherine, what time do you expect to leave tomor...row...oh!... Sorry Vincent. Forgive me.”
Father stood stock still, taking in the sight that befell his eyes. Catherine’s clothing in an untidy heap on the floor, Vincent holding his own tight against his half naked body.
Vincent’s eyes met Father’s and held, he didn’t know whether to feel embarressed, laugh, cry, or roar with anger Catherine it seemed was no-where to be seen, but Father couldn’t help expressing a giggle as he saw a huge mound convulsing beneath the covers of Vincent’s bed. Catherine was laughing!
Father found that so appealing, unable to see the situation for herself, she could just imagine the sight.
Father wanted to laugh too. In fact the more he saw the bedclothes trembling the more he wanted to laugh, until unable to hold it back any longer, it erupted from him, like a cork from a bottle of champaign, and he was unable to stop it.
Only Vincent’s curt “Father please!” brought him to his senses, as he turned away unable to stop himself saying, “Vincent...I did tell you. I did offer to bring a screen, but you didn’t want one.” he turned away to return to his chamber, stopping just long enough to add, “ So you only have yourself to blame.”
“Has he gone?” Catherine peeped from beneath the covers to see Vincent looking mortified.
“Yes”, he whispered, still holding his clothing tightly against himself.
Catherine laughed, “I take it that everything is off for tonight now then?”
Vincent turned to face her, his lips twitching with mirth, “Catherine!” he cried, as she went on, “Well now that he knows, it would be kind of embarrassing, you know, he would know that we were, er....making love. Perhaps tomorrow after all?”
Vincent nodded, and pulled his clothing away from himself, “There’s your answer”, he told her, looking down at himself. That part of his body had gone to sleep with shame.
Catherine burst into laughter, “Oh Vincent.” untangling herself from the covers, she climbed off the bed to come and stand in front of him. “Tomorrow it is then.” she told him, kissing him soundly, then gathering up her clothing told him. “I’ll make my own way to the guest chamber Vincent, you stay here and get dressed. I’ll see you in the morning. And Vincent don’t worry, what you started was quite something. I love you. Pleasant dreams Vincent.” She smiled at him mischievously, and left him then still looking down at himself, a bemused expression on his face that she couldn’t fathom, but found immensely enchanting.
*** *** ***
Making her way toward the guest chamber, Catherine found Father in his study, sifting through some books, he looked up as she passed, and smiled wickedly at her. “I was looking for a good book to settle down with in bed.” he told her, the mention of bed making him smile, as Catherine blushed, “There was no need for you to leave Vincent on my account, my dear.” He told her sincerely.
“Its all right Father, for some reason I was grateful for your untimely visit, I know that sounds strange, but Father whatever did you put in Vincent’s tea today?”
Father chuckled, putting down his books, and coming across to take her hands in his, he led her towards a chair, and had her sit down. “My dear, Vincent had a lot on his mind today, we had quite a lengthy discussion.”
“Yes, you dear Catherine. Vincent was having such a problem unravelling his emotions, and I’m afraid that these things have been preventing him from sleeping.”
Catherine nodded, “I too have had trouble with sleeping.”
“As I assumed then.” he spoke kindly.
“Even so Father, all this,” and she waved her hand back towards Vincent’s chamber indicating what she referred to, “seems to have come up out of nowhere. Its almost as if Vincent suddenly made a snap decision, and that is so unlike him. All of it was, welcome yes, but so unreal and I was so afraid that come morning Vincent would have deep regrets.”
Father nodded, and Catherine thought he was agreeing with her, until he surprised her by saying, “Catherine, I believe if Vincent were to wake and find you in his bed in the morning, he would be able to cope with that, with all that you have shared, but to wake and find himself alone, I fear he will be mortified and unable to face you. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if, even now, he is contemplating going out, for I am certain sleep will evade him even more so tonight than before. He will want the night air to clear his head and set his guard back into place.”
“Surely he wouldn’t, not while I am here?” Catherine asked, surprised to think that Vincent would go Above when he didn’t need to do.
“Its because of your being here that he would go Catherine, having you so close will make him nervous. You want my advice?” Catherine nodded, her eyes large with anxiety, “Return to his chamber my dear, and heal one another.”
Catherine hesitated, unsure, then without speaking, made her own snap decision and headed back towards Vincent’s chamber.
Sure enough, she found him fully dressed, and just pulling on his boots, he stopped but did not look up as she approached.
He found it impossible to meet her eyes.
Sensing this, Catherine asked in as bright a voice as she could muster, “Going out? Can I come?”
Exhaling a sharp breath through his nose with a hint of laughter, Vincent looked up at her and half smiled, “Come here Catherine”, he told her opening his arms wide, “I need to apologise for my earlier behaviour.”
Catherine’s face lit up, and she walked into his embrace, “Don’t be sorry Vincent, it was expected, but don’t let embarrassment spoil for you the feeling it gave you.”
Resting his chin on the top of her head, Vincent held her tightly, closing his eyes, wanting nothing more than to hold her like that forever, never moving from the spot. Catherine sensed this was no time to tease him, he was deeply grieved about his conduct and she found it hard to know what to say but wanted to say something to ease his pain, “Vincent?” she began only to be halted by his mouth searching for hers,
and he kissed her deeply, before breaking away and asking her, “Catherine have you ever seen the city from the rooftops?”
Smiling up into his eyes, she told him breathlessly, “No and I don’t think now is the time to start, my legs are far too wobbly for climbing onto rooftops.”
Vincent chuckled, “Don’t worry my love, I know this place. The climb is easy, and it is nothing compared to what we will have to undergo on our trip tomorrow. Go put on something warm, and I’ll wait for you here.”
*** *** ***
Walking arm in arm sometime later through the park, Catherine was afforded an opportunity to see into Vincent’s other life. A rare opportunity for her, though they had often walked through the night together. Not far from her apartment block, Vincent led her down a darkened alley, towards a broken wall, which he beckoned her
Picking her way carefully over the loose bricks, Vincent held her hand pulling her up and up, until they were scaling the very rooftops themselves, and led her to one of his favourite spots.
“Sit here Catherine, not too near the edge.” she did as he bade her, feeling him sit behind, his long legs on either side of her, his arms around her waist drawing her back against him, as his lips nuzzled her hair, trailing soft kisses wherever he found exposed skin. Catherine shivered, and his hold tightened. Up there on the rooftop with the city lights beneath them, Catherine found herself intoxicated by the magic of the moment and his presence, and she sighed blissfully. “This is wonderful Vincent, thank you for bringing me up here.”
In silence they gazed out over the city, each aware of the other as a burning question reverberated through their connection, yet neither were able to voice it, until finally Catherine unable to hold it back no longer began, “Vincent...can we talk about earlier?”
Behind her she felt Vincent stiffen, and Catherine felt a warmth ripple through her. She loved him so much, and obviously he was still deeply ashamed by his behaviour, and she so desperately wanted to ease his pain.
Turning slightly so as to see into his face, Catherine begged him, “Please sweetheart”, the softly spoken endearment made him want to weep, and he turned watery eyes to hers, whispering, “Yes, perhaps we should, but not here. Come let us walk along the embankment.”
“Or we could go to the apartment, its not far from here, but you will have to let me in, I haven’t brought my keys.”
“No, not to your apartment, let’s walk and talk.”
Catherine understood at once, the apartment would have perhaps been too private under the circumstances.
Walking hand in hand a little later alongside the embankment, they stopped to gaze out over the ocean, “Its beautiful isn’t it?” Catherine whispered feeling melancholy.
Vincent turned to look at her, as a great sadness from her engulfed him, “I’m sorry Catherine for making you so unhappy.”
“Me unhappy!” she exclaimed, “Vincent, I’m not unhappy.”
“Yet I can sense it within you.”
Catherine looked away briefly up to the starry heavens, looking back at him to answer, “Only in so much as comparing being here now with the last time we walked along the embankment, you remember?”
“How could I ever forget.” His blue eyes shone with a brilliance at the memory.
The memory of their first kiss together.
“Kiss me Vincent.”
“As I did before?”
“Yes.” Catherine whispered breathlessly.
Bending his head, Vincent sought her lips beneath his, drawing out from her one of the tenderest kisses she had ever known, it almost made her cry, and then as he pulled away she thought she had misheard when he asked her softly, “Marry me Catherine.”
Stunned Catherine could only stare up at him.
What was it with him tonight?
He was so out of character.
She should have been ecstatically happy, but instead found it all so overwhelming.
In fact she felt almost nervous, and as Vincent expected a reply and received none, he turned his gaze away as a great sadness washed over him.
Walking around to face him, Catherine looked at him beneath the curtain of his hair, telling him softly, “Vincent I love you and nothing would please me more than to marry you, but darling, all this is so unlike you, almost as if its not you that’s asking me, its all happening so sudden, and I don’t want you to have any regrets.”
Throwing back his head Vincent sighed deeply, before drawing her close to him and telling her, “Earlier today I met Pascal and we had a long chat about you and me, and then later I had a similar chat with Father. Both of them made me realise what a fool I have been to keep pushing happiness away. They convinced me that even for me all things are possible, and I believed them because I wanted to believe them and because I love you and I want a future with you.”
Catherine listened, warming to his words, her heart bursting with love for him, this was the Vincent she knew, solid and reliable, not impulsive as he had seemed earlier. She could see now that what had appeared to be snap decisions, were in actual fact, based on a firm foundation, on a certain logic that had been made after much soul searching.
Sliding her arms around his waist beneath the warmth of his cloak, Catherine snuggled against him, feeling safe and protected, surrounded by his body and his love, and she told him, “Yes Vincent I’ll marry you, and I’ll make love with you, but you mustn’t let what took place earlier spoil it for you, it happens to everyone. The experience brought us a step closer and our future loving will erase any shame of that first encounter for you.”
“No one has ever touched me, the way you touched me in my whole life, I’m sorry Catherine I could not contain myself.” he spoke from the heart, but could not look at her when he said the words.
“Vincent its all right, honestly, I never for one moment expected that you could hold back, in fact you gave me no surprises at all.”
Looking down into her face, Vincent smiled, he could see her smiling up at him, he loved her so much, still next time, he would try to control himself, if that were possible. Hugging Catherine tightly to him he told her, “I love you Catherine.”
“And I love you Vincent.”
Far above the ocean, the first fingers of dawn reached out to draw back the cloak of darkness, and together they stood to watch as the sky grew lighter heralding the sunrise.
“This day, my love,” Vincent began, holding her close to his side, “the winds of dawn will blow more than just the darkness away.”
Catherine searched his eyes, they were a
depth of fiery blue, filled with passion and love for her, and waited for him to continue, “This day Catherine the winds of dawn will blow away all the shadows
from my soul. I see nothing but light my Catherine, nothing but a happy life for the two of us forever.”
At his mention of a happy life, Catherine sighed deeply, was it possible then that she had found it?
After all the years of searching, now at last she was on the brink of the happy life her mother had wished for her.
Looking up at the man she loved, she knew it were true, and hugged him fiercely, loving him with a fresh wave of passion born of possession.
He was hers, hers now forever, and she would never let him go.
*** *** ***
Like an excited child Catherine almost skipped along beside Vincent as they embarked upon their trip Below some hours later.
Both were very tired, having not slept properly in forty-eight hours, but the thrill of the trip kept the tiredness at bay for the both of them.
Before they had left, they had told Father of their plans to marry, and Catherine had been stunned by the depth of feeling that Father had bestowed upon her, when hugging her tightly he thanked her for bringing his son such happiness, telling them both that while they were away he would start making preparations, and all that was left for them to do, was to set a date.
Now walking along holding hands, Vincent was stunned as Catherine chatted excitedly about their future, listening with awe as she unfolded all her dreams. Everything was so detailed and he told her, “You seem to have everything mapped out so perfectly, surely you haven’t just thought of these things?” he grinned broadly.
Catherine laughed up at him, “Ever since the day I fell in love with you, you remember the day of the rock fall when you and Father were trapped in the maze, ever since that day I have been making plans to marry you.”
A smile that began and deepened, lit up Vincent’s eyes, and spread across his face, as he realised how useless all his self-denials had been in the past, and he told her so, “You mean to tell me whenever I said, it could never be, that you refused to heed those words.”
then before she could answer, he answered himself, “Yes of course you did, as I remember there was never a time when you agreed with me.”
Catherine laughed, “I always knew we would be together. My only hope was that it was sooner rather than later.”
“Did you doubt that you could wait a long time?”
“Not at all, I just didn’t want to be too old to enjoy our children....” she hesitated, “You do want children I take it?” she asked nervously.
Vincent was overwhelmed, “You want my child?”
“But of course, why ever not, I love you.”
“But a child, that might look like me? Catherine I hardly think...”
Placing a finger to his lips, Catherine hushed his further words, telling him sincerely, “Vincent every woman wants to have a son that looks like his father don’t you know that?”
“Yes but a child... like me...?”
“Vincent I love you, and together we can give our child a happy life, whomever it may take after. Though personally, I feel, it would be a bonus, if he or she should look like you.” Catherine truly felt that having a child like Vincent would enrich her life.
With wonder in his voice, Vincent whispered, “Our child”, liking the sound of it more and more, “Yes Catherine, I would love to give you a child, if you are sure.”
“Oh I’m absolutely positive Vincent, to have a child like you, I would be truly blessed.”
“You Catherine Chandler are a very strange woman.”
“There’s always got to be someone hasn’t there.” She laughed up at him, and stood on tiptoes to kiss his mouth, “I love you more than life Vincent, and we will be so happy together, I promise you. You, me and all of our children. ” She smiled up at him impishly.
Vincent wanted to weep, hugging her tightly, never had he felt so happy. That she accepted him, not only for himself, that she had already seen part of him, the part that caused him shame no less, and still she wanted to love him, and she wanted his child, Vincent felt as though he were drowning in her love, everything made him feel so good and such pride coursed through his veins, to have this beautiful woman within his arms looking up at him with such love and desire in her eyes, she made him believe in miracles, and for the first time in his life he felt truly beautiful.
“So Vincent how many children shall we have?” Catherine was asking, as she continued to smile up at him.
“Do you think its genetically possible, Catherine. You might find it isn’t.”
“Well I’m certainly not going to ask Peter’s opinion. He would try to talk me out of it.”
Vincent nodded, as she continued, “And Father too, bless him, he will find a hundred and one reasons why it shouldn’t happen. Let’s just leave it to nature shall we, and see what happens.”
“I’ll go along with that, and since you have brought it up, and since its perfectly obvious that it will happen, there is something I have to ask, please don’t laugh at me.” Vincent told her so softly, she had to strain her ears to listen.
“What is it Vincent. Please, you can tell me anything, I won’t laugh at you I promise.”
Vincent sighed, he didn’t like to ask it, but could see no other way, and after all this was the woman he loved, surely she would understand?
Softly he began, “I have led a very sheltered existence Catherine.... And I never looked into matters of the sexual nature, because for me, I never believed it would be possible. So whenever I was reading something and it cropped up, I passed over those pages. I didn’t want my body to be stimulated into anything that was, for me, impossible to have. And since I never spoke with anyone who knew, only Devin but he knew nothing at that time either, and since I have never watched television...”
Catherine began to smile, as she started to understand, and told him, “Vincent are you trying to tell me you don’t know the correct procedure?”
Vincent nodded, as a blush started to infuse his cheeks, and he looked down at his feet.
Catherine had promised not to laugh, but could not prevent an infectious twitch touch the corners of her mouth, as she answered, “Tell you what Vincent, I’ll lead and you follow, you’ll soon get the hang of it.” she laughed then and he shot her a startled look, and she had the grace to blush, “Sorry Vincent, I wasn’t laughing at you, honest?”
“I believe you thousands wouldn’t.” he told her beginning to grin himself, and surprised her by saying, “I shall look upon it as an educational assignment then.” to which Catherine burst into laughter, as she told him happily “ Just provided you let your tutor get actively involved then.”
It was Vincent’s turn to laugh heartily, as he hugged her hard against him, “Anytime.” he whispered, before he kissed her very soundly.
Breaking apart Catherine told him, “You know Vincent, I am certain that no-one has ever told you before, when I say this, but if your love making is as perfect as your kisses, I am one lucky person. Your kisses are beautiful Vincent, the best I have ever had. None have ever stirred me the way yours do, or have left me feeling quite so breathless.”
Vincent didn’t know what to say, but a warm glow spread through his entire body, and his breathing accelerated.
Finally taking a deep breath he told her, “Come Catherine, if we are to reach the desired spot by tea-time, we had better press on, as enlightening as this conversation is.”
Catherine smiled up at him, “Is it far?”
“Not much, but there is a long crawl way, do you want to go in front or behind me?”
Catherine thought about it, “Is it very narrow, will I get stuck?”
“No, its wide enough for me, and its not dangerous.”
“Then I’ll go in front.”
Vincent nodded, “The worst part is having to travel in the dark. We can’t carry the lamps too well and crawl, I usually put out the lamp at that stage, and pad it inside the blanket in my pack, to prevent breakage while I drag the pack behind me.”
“If you used a flashlight you could strap a belt around your chest and insert the torch beneath it, that way you would have light.”
Vincent stared at her, “I’ve never thought of that! What a marvellous idea. We don’t usually use flashlights down here, in case they get dropped and broken, but for crawl ways, tied like that, they would be an asset.”
“And it just so happens”, Catherine told him, “That I brought a flashlight, alas, the only thing is, I never brought a spare belt.”
“You have one around your waist, you could use that.”
“Yes but then my trousers would fall down.”
Vincent’s eyes widened and Catherine burst into laughter, saying, “We could always use your belt.”
“Then my trousers would fall down.” They laughed and laughed, until Vincent finally told her, “Perhaps a piece of cord would suffice. I always carry some, one never knows when it might come in handy. Its amazing how often I’ve needed it, and this is just one of those times.”
When they finally reached the start of the crawl way, Vincent fished inside his pack and produced the cord, while Catherine sought through her pack for the flashlight. Both finding what they wanted, they stood, one behind the other while Vincent tied the cord around Catherine as she held the flashlight in place, tucking its end inside her jacket.
“If I leave the zipper down a short way, it will help keep the flashlight in place.” she told Vincent, “We can think up something grander for another time.”
“Yes now the idea is borne, we can ask Mary to make up some appropriate attire for carrying flashlights through crawl ways in future. Every body can benefit from your idea. I’m surprised no-one has ever thought of it before.”
“I’m not just a pretty face.”
“No Catherine your definitely not.” his slow appraisal of her body, thrilled her and Catherine shuddered, suddenly getting to the spot they were to camp seemed very important, she was certain that would be where they would take up from the previous evening. Picking up on her thoughts, Vincent smiled deeply and told her, “That’s if you aren’t too tired by then”, and Catherine stared open mouthed at him.
He laughed at her expression, knowing again what she was thinking, and what she would say next even before the words had formed, “Sometimes I forget that you can read my mind Vincent. I should be more careful with what I fill it.” she laughed, shakily.
“Its not something I like to do, and usually I don’t, but your face gave most of it away and I was just checking to see if I’d read it right.”
“I feel embarrassed.”
“I’m sorry Catherine.”
“Even so...” she told him mischievously, “I do hope I’m not too tired.”
Vincent exhaled a sharp breath, “I’m surprised you want to have another attempt after my failure last night.”
“Vincent when will you ever learn to put that behind you. Look sit down, we’ve got to thrash this out once and for all.”
Vincent slid his body down the tunnel wall, and held his hand up for her to join him. Side by side, Catherine began to speak.
“I know you aren’t comfortable with things yet Vincent. But touching is all a part of lovemaking. In many respects it is the best part. Getting to know how each other responds, what stimulates, what thrills. And being able to relieve you is all part of the service Vincent, whether its by hand or by love making, and I intend to do it to you that way again, as I hope you will do the same for me.”
Vincent felt embarrassed at hearing Catherine speak so frankly, but he was relieved nonetheless, for the first time since the previous evening, he began to feel at ease.
“Shall we go on now?” Catherine asked, sensing his relief.
Vincent nodded, “Yes, for I too now feel eager to arrive there.”
A smile lit Catherine’s eyes, “Good, at least now we are of the same mind.”
*** *** ***
The crawl way was harder than Catherine had imagined. Thankful for the light from the flashlight, she was able to avoid most of the sharper stones, but still many of them bit into her knees and the palms of her hands, and she wondered if they would ever reach its end.
“Not far now Catherine,” Vincent told her knowing her distress, “We can rest a few minutes if you like.”
Catherine stopped, allowing her body to lie down in the crawl way, and turned off the flashlight. There was something compelling about the darkness, and Vincent remained silent, allowing her to think. “You know,” she told him at last finally breaking the silence, but for their breathing, “Its kind of nice in a way. Comforting, like being in the middle of a deep sleep.”
“Sometimes deep sleep is void of dreams my Catherine, and sometimes it is not.”
Catherine thought it was a funny thing to say, until she felt his hand caress her leg from her ankle up.
Catherine thrilled at his touch understanding at once, “Yes,” she whispered breathlessly, “And always my dreams were of you and what we could do together.”
“As were mine.” the sensual tone of his voice thrilled her.
Continuing his caresses, Catherine held her breath as Vincent’s hand continued its ascent, up along her thigh caressing the contours of her body as he reached them, and a low moan escaped her before she could stop it, and in a voice rich with emotion she told him, “Vincent make love to me.”
“Yes.” she told him breathlessly.
“I don’t think there’s room.”
“There is. Trust me.”
“I can turn on the flashlight.”
“No Catherine, the darkness will be fine. But I fear the stones will cut you.”
“Quit finding excuses Vincent. I’ll lay my jeans beneath me, and you can put yours beneath your knees.” Vincent chuckled softly, further words unnecessary, and Catherine could feel his acceptance through the Bond.
It was a struggle in the confined space to remove clothing, yet after a few moments both were naked enough to make love, and as Vincent manoeuvred himself level with Catherine in the crawl way, he whispered a little nervously, “Now what do I do?”
Catherine laughed joyfully, “Kiss me”, she told him, and he complied with her wishes without hesitation. He loved kissing her.
This time it was different though.
This time, beneath tons of rock and enveloped in a crawl way in total darkness, partially naked, Vincent kissed her long and hard, as her lips parted beneath his, and her tongue played a rhapsody within his mouth.
A long low moan escaped Vincent, an expression he could not have prevented even if he had wanted to do, and he understood now Catherine’s appraisal of his kisses, for the way she was kissing him was setting his soul on fire.
His body throbbed with desire, and Catherine sensing now was the time, placed her hands upon his hips, and pulled him gently over to lie on top of her.
There were no need for words or for explanations. Vincent knew now without a doubt that this was it, the actual moment when all his dreams would be fulfilled, as with a gentle but firm thrust he felt himself penetrate her warmth, and heard Catherine whimper.
“I’ve hurt you.” he whispered, mortified, and made to withdraw, but Catherine clamped her legs hard around his hips, thus preventing him from doing so, “No.” she told him, breathlessly, “Its beautiful, keep going, and don’t you dare stop again.”
Vincent chuckled, and Catherine floated away as he made love to her very tenderly with long slow delicious strokes, that carried her away on the wings of a dream.
Vincent’s breathing quickened as Catherine caressed his body, and finally unable to withstand the exquisite pleasure no longer, he emptied himself within her in short sharp bursts, and collapsed upon her, breathing hard.
A lump that would go neither up nor down found its way into Vincent’s throat as tears fell from his eyes, and he was grateful for the darkness.
Never in all his life had he experienced anything as beautiful as making love with Catherine.
It had surpassed all his expectations, all his dreams, nothing could have prepared him for its beauty, and he was totally lost for words.
Catherine was quiet also. A deep feeling of contentment had washed its way over her now weary body, and as a soft sigh escaped her lips, rustling Vincent’s hair as he lay with his head upon her shoulder she told him, “Thank you Vincent. I love you.”
Vincent could not believe it, she was thanking him! “Oh Catherine,” he murmured, tracing a line of small kisses along her neck, “It is I who should be thanking you. In fact I could never thank you enough if I live to be a hundred. Simply there are no words to tell you how you have just made me feel.”
They were silent again for a time, until Catherine became aware that the rocks were really biting with Vincent’s weight upon her, and she tried to shift slightly to ease the pain without disturbing him. Vincent however, through the haze of a loving afterglow, managed to see the discomfort she was in, and reluctantly he moved himself out from the warmth of her body.
“We can’t be too far from the campsite Catherine, do you think you have the strength to make it.” He whispered to her, struggling to pull up his jeans.
“Do you?” she asked.
Vincent exhaled a breath of humour, “Yes my love, just. Though I fear that if I stay here with you any longer, I shall fall asleep, for suddenly I have never felt so tired.”
Catherine agreed, “It gets you like that Vincent. I too could curl up and sleep forever.”
Handing Catherine her own jeans, Vincent helped her to wiggle into them, and then switching on the flashligh, they accustomed their eyes to the sudden light before going forward again. There were no need of words, for their connection bound them together.
,br>*** *** ***
Catherine soon realised that Vincent was right, the rest of the crawl way did not last much longer, or perhaps it was because though tired, she felt re-vigourated.
In fact the more she thought about it, the more in awe she was at what had taken place between them.
She had made love with Vincent, back there in the dark, and it had been beautiful, perfect. Warm waves of emotion swept through her, and she found herself having to stop every couple of moments just to tell herself to breathe.
Coming up behind her, Vincent’s thoughts were much of the same content.
He had made love to Catherine, at last he had actually done it, joined his body to hers. Such a wealth of love for her swamped his senses, that his body felt drained and weakened by the power of his love for her.
When at last, the scent of sulphur assaulted their nostrils, Vincent whispered, “We’re there Catherine. I can smell the pool.”
It was bliss to be able to stand again, and Catherine held out a hand to help Vincent up, the flashlight beaming directly now up to the ceiling so that their expressions were obscured by the shadows. Yet Catherine could see the brightness of Vincent’s eyes, filled with love for her, and she melted into his embrace, sliding her arms around him to hug him tightly against her.
“I shall never look upon a crawl way in the same way ever again,” he told her humorously, “and every time someone mentions the word I think my eyes will light up. Oh Catherine, I love you so much.”
Catherine had started to giggle, until he told her he loved her, when she snuggled harder against him, “Vincent, what we have shared was nothing short of perfection, and I did a lot of thinking back there.”
“I know.” Vincent had been silent at the time, allowing her to make up her own mind.
“So then what do you think Joe would say if I got back on Thursday, rang him and said I was never coming back to the office?” Catherine asked him eagerly.
Vincent stared open mouthed at her, “You mean...?” He had hardly dared to hope.
“Yes my darling, I never want to return Above. Here is where I want to be, with you for the rest of my life. Can we be married soon?”
“As soon as it takes to organise my Catherine.”
“How long then?” her eyes danced with happiness.
“Yes! Three days, oh Vincent what did I ever do to have all my dreams come true at once?”
“You walked into a fairy tale my Catherine, kissed the Beast and turned him into a real man, a prince among men. You have freed me my Catherine, in a way no-one else ever could. And happiness is your reward.”
“Oh Vincent, that’s lovely.”
“I’ve been reading too many books, gives one an over active imagination.” he laughed. Then lifting her clear off the floor, he swung her around and around, sending beams of light from the flashlight swirling circles around them, as like an excited child again, Catherine squealed with delight.
*** *** ***
The subterranean pool was wonderful. Warm and steamy, Catherine wondered if she would ever stop being surprised by all Vincent’s world had to offer.
The beauty Below surpassed much of what she had seen Above, and few had seen it. She felt very privileged to be there, and sharing the pool with him, knowing they were so completely alone was something else entirely.
Catherine felt as if she had just been given the whole world, and only Vincent shared it with her.
Within the silky smooth water they splashed and played games like children, they swam and dived deep beneath the warm water, holding their breath and coming up beneath the other with surprise tactics. They laughed, and kissed, and as a fresh wave of desire crept along their limbs, they fell back into the water and lay at its edge to make tender love once again.
Catherine found Vincent to be the most wonderful lover.
Now beneath the ray of lamps, she could see him clearly.
His muscles rippled as he loved her, while droplets of water brushed his skin from the pool, and his eyes were pools of their own, of passion and tenderness, as they gazed deeply into her own.
Catherine moaned with pleasure, loving the feel of his skin and fur beneath her gliding fingertips, thrilling at the sound of his own moans when she touched an exquisite spot and learning where he could endure her touch and where he could not.
Wherever she could reach her hands caressed, stimulated, tortured, until unable to contain himself no longer, Vincent emptied his seed within her.
Yet there was something different about this time.
A thought flitted through Catherine’s mind, this time had been sharp in contrast to the other time, something wonderful had happened, she was certain of it, and when Vincent told her softly, “I give you my child Catherine.” She did not doubt it for one moment. He knew, and through their connection she had known of it too, and the knowledge itself wrapped her in its soft wings making her feel cherished and safe. Safe within the boundary of his arms and his love.
Catherine sighed wistfully, and Vincent lifted his head to gaze into her eyes, his own silently asking ‘what?’
“I was just thinking Vincent, no one deserves to be this happy, yet I seem to have searched all my life for this moment, and I really hope nothing ever snatches it away from me. Vincent I never want to leave you again ever, not tomorrow, not Thursday, not Friday, not ever. Where you are I want to be, when you move away from me if only for a few yards, I ache to have you back next to me again, and this is not a new feeling Vincent, its been there from the very first moment you ever spoke to me. I love you so much. You don’t know how much.”
“Oh yes I do my love. I too feel this way about you. Being apart from you all those years, leaving with the dawn to return to my world, it was almost the death of me. Sometimes I wished I could hold back the night, and never leave your arms.
Laying back against the wall upon your balcony reading to you was perfection to me, but even then, if I am completely honest with myself, I longed for more intimate contact with you, only I refused to believe that. I put myself through a lot of useless counsel, telling myself you would be better off with a man from your world.
It broke my heart every time I heard myself utter those words Catherine. And I lived with the dread that one day you would listen to me, and do just that.
That time I felt Elliot kiss you, I was filled with such jealousy, never have I experienced any feeling so deep in my life, and it was then that I started to realise just what you really meant to me, and that thrilled yet frightened me. I never wanted to hurt you, and I really thought the beast would do that. I can hardly believe he hasn’t even attempted to come forth during all we have just shared.”
“That’s because you aren’t seeing him and yourself as separate entities anymore Vincent. You and he had the same needs, the same desires, making love to me Vincent fulfilled the desires of the both of you, and now both of you are content. As am I.”
Vincent looked down at her, his blue eyes blazing with a knowledge of acceptance that was new to him, “We’ll really make it won’t we Catherine, I mean you and I, it really is a dream come true, but forever, do you think we can achieve that too?”
“I have no doubts Vincent. For some reason, and I don’t know why or what, our destinies were linked. I wish I did know, but knowing doesn’t matter. The truth of it is Vincent that we are meant to be together. That day you found me in the park, you became my gentle saviour, but if it hadn’t of happened that way, I do believe it would have occurred some other way, even in as much as my following Devin that night into the park, when he was posing as Jeff Radler at the D.A.’s office. You think about that Vincent. I have many times. I was working alongside your own brother, how much closer than that could I have got? I have always believed Vincent from that, and other incidents since that we were meant to be together, and this love of ours will surpass time, forever is not long enough, neither is infinity, our love will go on, and on and on, and I will never be apart from you ever again, I promise, not even for a day.”
Gathering her against him Vincent felt the tears slip down his cheeks, every word of hers spoken from the heart had moved him greatly, and he loved her more at that moment than ever he had since he had known her. In fact it seemed to him that every thing they now said to one another, everything they now shared, intensified the love they felt for one another, and Vincent was left in awe of the feeling.
There were no words to describe how Catherine made him feel.
That she had set free the man, was only part of it, her love, courage and warmth had set free his dreams, all of them, and he now lived through them gloriously with her.
No dream could be more perfect.
*** *** ***
Later as they dried one another by the side of the pool with big fluffy towels, Catherine placed a hand on her midriff, “Is it really true Vincent?” she asked hopefully.
Kneeling behind her and catching her mood, Vincent told her, “Yes my love, you are nurturing my child, trust me.” he rubbed her hair vigorously, stopping to caress her neck and shoulders with his lips from time to time, sending little shock waves up and down her spine.
“Do you know what it is?”
“But of course.”
“How do you do that?” she asked him softly, “ Its remarkable.”
“Its a gift. Do you want to know what the child is?”
Catherine pursed her lips, undecided, “I don’t know yet. How do you know Vincent?”
“That I am pregnant?”
“Just like the winds of dawn that blow away the night and tell us that the new day is on is way, my Catherine, so too when we made love that second time, I knew without a doubt that it would produce a child. You knew it too.”
“Yes but I picked up the vibes from you. Or I thought I did.”
Catherine twisted herself round to look into his eyes, blue liquid pools of love and tenderness, that spoke volumes where words never could.
“No, my Catherine, it didn’t just come from me. You made it happen too. Remember you spoke of it earlier, and from somewhere deep inside yourself your body listened and reacted to that need, mine answered that need, and we created a child between us in that tender act of love.”
“You amaze me Vincent, I feel awe inspired by your presence, you know that? And something else...?”
“Yes my love?”
Catherine’s eyes filled with love for him, her body was on fire as his fingers traced soft lines along her bare shoulders and back.
“Do you believe in magic Vincent?”
“Not as much as I believe in miracles, my Catherine.” the way he said it thrilled her, and she told him so, “I love it when you say that?”
“What?” his lips just inches from her own, Catherine murmured, “Call me my Catherine. It makes me feel good, possessed by you, owned by you, I love it. It makes me feel protected, safe and something else...”
“The same something else as before?” His lips touched hers now briefly, sending shivers up and down her spine, and she wriggled in her place, feeling herself grow ready for him again, feeling herself melting beneath his fingertips.
“Its magical Vincent, everything about you, about us, about our love, its magical, and I have just stepped into a most fantastic dream, and I don’t ever want to step out from it. I love you so much.” she sighed.
Vincent’s lips fastened upon hers, drawing from her the sigh, taking it deep within himself, as he kissed her with an intensity that surprised her. Finally as the kiss came to an end, Catherine finished the sigh taking it back from him, and together they moved away from the water’s edge to wrap themselves in warm blankets within the contours of one another’s bodies.
And finally as soft grey tendrils of sleep gently overtook their tired and contented bodies, Catherine just managed to murmur, “Vincent...is it a boy or a girl?”
Vincent gathered her closer to him, “Its a boy.” He whispered with such obvious pride in his voice.
“And will he look like you?” Catherine could not stop herself from asking.
“Now that I don’t know, you’re the one that makes miracles happen my Catherine.”
“Do you want him to look like you?”
Catherine nodded, her mind made up, every woman would want her son to look like the man she loves, but Catherine knew how much this would grieve Vincent, “I’m no miracle maker Vincent, but if wishing helps, then I’ll do my best to wish that the child does not look like you,” she paused, before adding softly, “though personally, I would love it if he did.” Catherine smiled, as dreams of her arms holding a cute, cherubic child, with a cub-like face and deep blue eyes, filled her mind. Yes she could certainly live with that, and it would always remain her dream to have such a child. For now though, the sigh of relief that Vincent uttered, was enough to make her realise that the sacrifice of her own dream was worth it, against putting his happiness first, and told him softly, “Whatever he looks like, our child will be beautiful Vincent, that I do know, yet may it be as you wish.”
Gathering her close, Vincent kissed Catherine’s eyelids, cheeks, and finally his lips came to rest upon hers, and he kissed her tenderly.
To him, she was indeed a miracle maker, since finding her that night in the park, she had changed his life completely and made miracles happen that he had never dared to hope for, and now that she was carrying his child and had promised to become his wife, and Vincent had never felt so happy.
*** *** ***
Some time later, as they lay cuddled together, blissfully contented, gentle wings of sleep finally overtook them, enveloping them in a soft downy slumber, where dreams were filled with joyous things, and Vincent sighed when he heard Catherine whisper, oh, so quietly, oh, so softly, “Except for a few things Vincent...” She sighed dreamily, wishfully thinking, “...he’ll have your beautiful blue eyes and your wonderful hair, and he’ll love poetry and books...and walking out beneath the stars at night...” Her voice trailed away just for the moment, happy with her thoughts, and Vincent smiled tenderly, as he gathered her closer still, as Catherine continued to tell him of all the things their son would have, until sleep finally enfolded them together, blissfully as one, at last...
Far beneath the winds of dawn.
*** *** ***
To be continued in ‘While The Fountains Echo’ - click on 'Next' below:
(*Kisses of Fire - By ABBA.)
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