While The Fountains Echo - Part Three of The Moonbeams Trilogy – With Poetry by Katrina Relf
While The Fountains Echo
As the distant sound of a subway train rumbled somewhere overhead, Catherine Wells looked down at her tiny rosy-cheek son, and smiled. Never could she remember a time when she had felt so happy.*** *** ***
Even in the days when she had danced through party after party, or jetted off to idyllic islands in the sun, believing she had found satisfaction, had she ever been as happy as she was now living far beneath the earth, in a dimly lit underworld. Chilly at times, yet filled with love and warmth from people who shared everything, and accepted her as their own.
Across the chamber, a soft sigh had her raise her head and she looked up into the most penetrating blue eyes she had ever known. Those of the man that she loved, as he pulled back the covers, and padded silently over to where she stood, gently caressing their son’s soft cheek. Revelling in the strength of the man, Catherine signed as he pulled her gently against him, to join with her in looking at the miracle to which they had given life.
“He’s so beautiful Vincent. I simply cannot get enough of him.”
“You should be resting, his birth exhausted you, and you need to sleep. He will be awake all too soon for his feed.”
Catherine snuggled against the solid feel of her husband, “I know Vincent, but sleep is the last thing on my mind, I find it difficult to tear myself away. It’s almost as if he would disappear if I did.”
Vincent chuckled softly, “Yes, he is a miracle isn’t, and you, dear Catherine, kept your promise, for he does look like you and not me, except for his eyes and his hair, just as you told me that day by the subterranean pool, when he was conceived.”
“I could never break my promise Vincent, even if to have a child that looks like you would bring me great joy.”
“You are a very strange woman Catherine Ch...” Vincent smiled, and heard Catherine laugh, “don’t tell me you have forgotten already that we are married Vincent?” her eyes sparkled with mischief, as Vincent told her, “as if I could. No, simply Catherine Chandler slips off the tongue so much easier than Catherine Wells, though I must admit to preferring the latter.”
“That makes two of us. I love being married to you Vincent. You are everything to me, nothing could be more perfect or bring me more joy than the knowledge of that. And being here with you, and having our son, it is all more than I could ever have wished for Vincent. Truly in you, I have found the happy life that my mother wished for me to find.”
Holding her tighter against him, Vincent kissed her face, trailing warm kisses upon her skin, until their lips met in a fiery exchange that left them both breathless, “ I shall
never tire of kissing you my Catherine.” Vincent whispered between kisses, “Your skin is so soft, so wonderful beneath the touch of my mouth, I want to kiss you into eternity.”
“That’s good then Vincent, because that’s the way I want it to be, I love you so much, and we have three long years of lost kisses to make up for.”
Vincent’s blue eyes twinkled mischievously, “As well as other things my Catherine, though Father has given me strict instructions that those things are not to be, until you are well and truly recovered from our son’s birth.”
Catherine laughed, turning in his embrace to look into his eyes, “He actually told you that!”
Vincent nodded, his eyes sparkling with humour.
“That must have been so embarrassing Vincent,” Catherine told him sincerely.
“It was, and was totally unneeded I can assure you, it was the last thing on my mind.” he laughed, “although now...”
“Well you are just going to have to wait mister.” Catherine laughed happily along with her husband, “All I want to do right now is sleep.”
“Arh so you have come to your senses at last have you. What it takes for me to scare you into submission.” Vincent rolled his eyes heavenwards, as Catherine chuckled softly, so as not to disturbed their baby son, sleeping soundly in his crib.
Catherine yawned, “Well I am tired, so perhaps you were right after all.”
“Too tired maybe to walk over to our bed.” Vincent’s eyes sparkled with humour.
“Oh yes far too tired, you shall have to carry me.”
Vincent laughed softly, lifting her into his strong arms with the ease of lifting a feather, and snuggled his lips into her neck, kissing her there. Catherine squirmed, “I said sleep Vincent.”
“I know my love.”
“Then quit turning me on!”
Wide eyed Vincent looked at her, his eyes filled with humour and desire, as Catherine asked, “What?”
“What about me?” Catherine asked as Vincent lay her down upon the bed, and joined her there in one swift movement, pulling the covers up over them before replying in a voice deep with emotion, “To think that I could turn you on, it sounds funny that’s all. That these hands could do that to you, that these lips of mine, behind which are these great fangs, could ever stir you to wanting me that way. That’s the miracle my Catherine, though we have a son as proof of our love, the real miracle is that you could find it in your heart to love me to start with.”
“Will you never stop putting yourself down. Vincent you are beautiful, unique,” Catherine shook her head, “And you are all mine.” she whispered, her silken voice, rich with desire, as she kissed him passionately, and “I am all yours Vincent, don’t you ever forget that.”
Looking down into her beautiful green eyes, Vincent’s heart constricted in his chest, and he found it an effort just to draw a breath. This woman, here in his arms, their tiny son, proof of their love, asleep in his cot, the possibilities for their future unfurling before them, Vincent was left in awe of all that she had given him. “Nonetheless,” he told her honestly, “I find it hard to believe that the dream became a reality. Oh Catherine, I love you so much, if I were ever to lose you, I would surely die.”
“Then you won’t Vincent, I promise. You will never lose me no matter what, believe that Vincent, no matter what might come, no matter what might be, you and I are forever Vincent, never forget that. Nothing, not time, not unforeseen occurrence, not anything can ever separate what you and I share, or what we have here and now, believe that Vincent, believe and accept it, for that is the truth.”
Looking at her, and the sincerity in those compelling green eyes, Vincent believed, how could he not, when her eyes and her heart told him of such truths. “I believe you my Catherine, what we have is for ever, and nothing will come between us.”
“Nothing Vincent. I promise you, though lovers may be lost, love shall not.” Catherine echoed the familiar words of Dylan Thomas’s poem that held such meaning to the two of them. And as Vincent gathered her close and tendrils of sleep wound its gentle wings over the two of them, Catherine was not surprised to hear Vincent murmur in a voice rich with love, and full of sincerity, “and death shall have no dominion.” Before sleep finally claimed the pair of them, and their shared connection entwined them in a dream, filled with the two of them together, forever.
Walking alongside Jamie through the park one sunny afternoon, Catherine’s eyes were bright with joy as she watched her tiny son, trying to stand on wobbly legs, in a determined effort to walk from tree to tree.
“Just look at him Cathy, is he cute or what?” Jamie exclaimed, as the young baby Jacob got up on the forth attempt to turn around and walk the way he had just come.
“He’s determined that’s for sure, and who ever would have thought that he is only five months old.” Catherine told her companion, “I wish Vincent were here to see him, he’d be so proud of his son.”
“And I’m proud of you Cathy.” Jamie told her sincerely.
“Me, why?” Catherine turned a bemused expression to the younger woman.
“Well just look at what you have done for Vincent. All that you have given to him, a lot of people Below are proud of you, you know. With Vincent having so much happiness now thanks to you, its more than any of us ever wished for.”
Catherine’s face lit up, “It is I, who should be the thankful one, having someone like Vincent and such a loving family, Jamie, you know how important these things are.”
“Yes I do know, but to have someone like Vincent, not that I don’t love him myself, I do, he’s adorable. But hell, don’t take this the wrong way Cathy, but to actually give up the life that you had just to be with him, and to continue to make him happy, that took real guts Cathy. And you have never complained at all for all that you left behind. Well not to my knowledge anyway.”
“That’s because there are no complaints, Jamie. Vincent is everything to me, and I love him so much, and having his children, well that’s just a bonus as far as I’m concerned.”
“His children! Cathy is there something I should know about?” Jamie remarked on the plural, with laughter in her eyes.
Catherine smiled, looking away sheepishly, “Guess I’ve said too much. Look don’t say anything to anyone just yet Jamie, because I’m not sure myself yet, but I could be pregnant again.”
“Hey that’s great Cathy, Vincent will be ecstatic, not to mention baby Jacob. Hey won’t you just look at that, what’s he on with now?”
Catherine laughed heartily, bending to scoop up her wayward son, who had filled his mouth with yellow and lilac crocus, “Not food Jacob” She told him gaily, “though if you are hungry, perhaps we had best go and see what Uncle William has cooked up for lunch today, huh? Besides it’ll soon be time for your nap.” Turning to Jamie Catherine asked, “Are you coming Below with us, or staying up here for a while?” And as Jamie failed to respond, Catherine prompted, “Jamie?”
“What...oh sorry Cathy, what did you say?” Jamie turned her attention back to Catherine.
“Where were you?” Catherine laughed, looking in the direction Jamie had been staring, and saw a distinguished man with white hair watching them from several yards away. “Hey now, he’s far too old for you Jamie.” She laughed while tugging the girl towards the drainage entrance, “Come let’s go home, before you get into trouble.”
“No, its not that Cathy, that guy, he’s been watching us for quite some time, I thought at first I imagined it, but it seems he has followed us at a discreet pace right across the park.” rather than point, Jamie nodded in the direction she referred to.
Catherine frowned, as Jamie continued, “Perhaps we shouldn’t go home via the park after all, he kinda gives me the creeps.”
“Mmm maybe you’re right, come, we’ll go via the threshold beneath the apartment. Perhaps we could even visit Laura and Bill while we are there.” Catherine had kept the lease upon her apartment allowing tunnel dwellers to live there during their transition from life Below to life Above, and currently it was being used.
“Yes that’s another thing I wanted to ask Cathy. When Laura and Bill have finished with it, would you let me stay there?”” Jamie asked.
Catherine was surprised, “You Jamie?”
“Yes is that so unusual?”
“Frankly yes, you are so much a part of Below, I couldn’t imagine you being anywhere else. Why the sudden change?”
“Its not so sudden Cathy, its something I’ve given a lot of consideration to. I would appreciate having the opportunity to live up here, get a job, and to see something of life, that’s all.”
“And meet a man I suppose?”
“Am I so obvious?”
Catherine laughed, “Aren’t we all?”
“Well you can hardly blame me, there isn’t really much to chose from Below is there, and since you have pinched Vincent from me, there’s no-one left, and I guess I should move on.”
Catherine burst out laughing, knowing Jamie was teasing her, “What about Mouse? I thought you two were made for one another.”
Jamie snorted, “Mouse yes, there’s always Mouse, why does everyone assume he and I are an item? Cathy there has to be more to life than living with a racoon and a man who doesn’t know if he has grown up or not, you know how it is, Mouse is a good enough person, but he can hardly be recognised as husband material can he?”
Catherine shook her head, trying not to laugh, “Not now that you have put it that way, but sometimes you know, the best of friends can make the finest of lovers, and Mouse loves you in his own way.”
“Yes in his own way, like a brother Cathy. I need more from a relationship than that. I need the chance of standing on my own two feet, and making a go of my life. I want to do something, be someone, make an impact in someone else’s life, you must understand how important that is?”
“Yes I guess I do, and until you have done all the things that you set your heart upon, then believe me marriage is the last thing you need. If you marry before you have achieved your heart’s desire, then you will always feel that you missed the mark somehow. At least with me, I got the chance to do all those things, though for what its worth it wasn’t all its cracked up to be, I was never truly happy until I met Vincent.”
“So what about the apartment then Cathy, will you let me stay there?” Jamie asked again.
“If that’s what you really want, yes its yours as soon as Laura and Bill have finished with it, though if you want my opinion, your home, your real home, will always be Below.”
“Yes, deep down I know that to be true, but I have to be independent, spread my wings and fly, before I am finally ready to build a nest to stay in.”” Jamie laughed.
“That’s very poetic Jamie,” Catherine told her laughing heartily, “Now is there anything coming can you see, can we cross here?”
Jamie laughed, “I’ve been taking my lessons from Vincent too seriously.”
They had reached the edge of the road outside of the park gates, and the apartment doors beckoned from the other side of the street. Holding Jacob firmly in her arms Catherine looked both ways, along the street, anticipating a safe place to cross, when Jamie noticed the white-haired fellow signalling to a car parked alongside the curb not far from where they stood. “There’s that chap again Cathy, come on let’s cross now. We’ll make it if we hurry.”
Stepping out into the street, Jamie proceeded to dart between the traffic, but Catherine missed her chance and as the sleek black car crawled along the curb towards her, she let out a scream. Jamie turned on the spot just in time to see the white-haired fellow manhandle Catherine from behind and push her and Jacob into the car, getting in behind them, before the car drew away from the curb and sped away out of sight.
The blaring of car horns made Jamie jump, as she realised she was stood in the middle of the street staring out after the disappearing car and at the spot where only moments before Catherine had stood with a sleepy baby in her arms. And turning, Jamie fled across the remainder of the street to run full pelt towards the apartment building and the threshold to call for help!
*** *** ***
One Year Earlier
The sound of laughter disturbed Father from his reading of Huckleberry Finn, and he looked up awaiting the arrival of the two people most dear to him. He knew the story inside out anyway, and did not mind in the least at having to close the book, while the laughter from outside of his chamber grew closer.
Father smiled, by the sound of them they would have a much better story to tell him anyway.
Rounding the corner into Father’s chamber moments later, Vincent and Catherine entered arm in arm, and Father’s eyes beheld a wondrous sight at these two people so obviously at ease with one another, that Father’s bright blue eyes twinkled with merriment at the sight of them.
Standing to greet them, holding out his hands to clasp their own, Father told them happily, “Well, what can I say, I gather the trip Below was an enjoyable one?”
Catherine and Vincent exchanged glances and burst into laughter, as Father, eyes bright with humour waited for them to explain.
“It was delightful Father,” Vincent told him, bending to brush a soft kiss upon the older man’s brow, “It couldn’t have been better.” The smile in Father’s blue eyes deepened, as he realised that these two had certainly changed during their three days away on their sojourn to the lower levels and asked them, “Was the water warm, did you go swimming?”
Catherine’s eyes were filled with mischief as she replied, “The water was glorious Father, but not as wonderful as the company.”
Vincent’s eyes lit up, filled with love for her and something else! Father frowned, trying to analyse the emotion and had to conclude that it was indeed a fire in those intense blue eyes, a hunger that in the past Vincent had kept well hidden when around Catherine, and was now openly expressive for the woman that he loved. And Father felt a warmth ripple through him that warmed him right down to the marrow.
“I expect you would both like some hot tea, after three days living on water,” Father asked, letting go of their hands to beckon them down the steps into the warmth of his chamber, well aware that neither of them had replied. “I take it you both do want a cup of tea?” he questioned with some amusement, as the pair continued to gaze at one another with an expression, that for Father, had long been denied though not forgotten. He could well remember gazing at his late wife Margaret in this way.
Oblivious to any one else, Father watched as the pair continued to stand upon the steps leading down to his chamber lost in one another. And a warm glow of love swept through him when Vincent bent his head to claim Catherine’s lips, and her hands stole around Vincent’s neck drawing his head down to her mouth for an extremely deep and passionate kiss.
Father felt his knees weaken at the sight. It did his heart good to see Vincent receiving the love from such a beautiful woman, and to know that everything ever denied Vincent in the past, before he had met Catherine, was so obviously no more. And that Catherine offered Vincent everything was clearly visible.
Drawn to watch them, Father could not have looked away had he of wanted to do, the sight of these two kissing, excited and warmed him, in a way no other’s could. And with the ease that they pressed their bodies together, it didn’t take a genius to see that things would soon go further, if they hadn’t already.
The kiss ended, and the pair continued to gaze with love at one another, oblivious to their audience. And Father coughed just loud enough to bring them back to earth, and was stunned to find that the usual embarrassment that Vincent would have displayed at being caught out, was no longer evident, as Vincent turned and told his father; “Tea would be wonderful.” As he proceeded to lead Catherine by her hand down the steps towards their usual seats within the chamber.
Pouring three mugs of steaming tea only moments later, Father handed one to each of them noticing the silence around the pair. A peacefulness that settled upon them giving off an aura that Father found enchanting, while he wondered with humour if he would get anything out of them at all this day.
Hands still clasped tightly together, and eyes so obviously only for one another, Father wasn’t sure whether to try to engage them in conversation or to point them in the direction of Vincent’s chamber. Father laughed softly to himself, and the sound drew Vincent and Catherine’s attention towards him.
Now the moment was upon him, Father wasn’t certain how to open up the conversation, and literally said the first thing that entered his head, “So Catherine, how did you enjoy your first time in the crawl way?”
Catherine’s lips twitched with humour, followed by Vincent’s burst of hearty laughter, while Catherine joined him, “What have I said?” Father asked, rubbing his chin thoughtfully, his blue eyes twinkling.
“Oh Father you’re priceless,” Vincent told him, reaching forward and taking hold of one of Father’s hands, as he continued to laugh.
“So tell me?” Father enquired, his expression puzzled.
“Forgive us Father,” Vincent began, “We aren’t making fun of you, but you see that mention of the crawl way holds special meaning for Catherine and I.”
Father inclined his head, waiting for Vincent to continue, as Catherine’s laughter died though her lips continued to twitch most becomingly, her green eyes full of mirth as she gazed up into the blue of Vincent’s.
Holding one another’s gaze, Vincent told his father softly, “You see Father, the crawl way held a first time for the both of us.” Then started to chuckle once more.
Father tried to make sense of Vincent’s words, watching the pair kiss again and slowly Vincent’s words dawned on him, “Vincent! You didn’t! No! Not in the crawl way!”
Abruptly Vincent drew away from his kiss with Catherine, to burst into hearty laughter as Father went on, “It isn’t possible, there’s not enough room, is there?”
Vincent laughed harder, standing up and sweeping another light kiss against his father’s brow. “You wouldn’t have thought so would you Father, but its quite amazing what can be achieved in such a small area.” He laughed some more, taking his and Catherine’s empty cups across to the table, listening as Father joined him in hearty laughter, “Oh Vincent, Catherine, I am lost for words.” He told them wiping away tears of mirth.
“That makes a change Father.” Vincent told him, coming back to his seat.
Father watched his beloved son, delighting in this new-found ease and confidence around the woman he loved, as Vincent took up her hand once again within his own large one, and turned to speak. “The trip Below was everything to us Father, thank you for suggesting it. I went down there half human and came back fully a man, thanks to Catherine’s courage and love.”
“So I take it Catherine will not be needing the guest chamber from now on Vincent?” Father asked mischievously.
Catherine shook her head, “Not unless you want a riot on your hands Father.” watching Father’s expression alter to one of concern, “What is it Father?” She asked.
“Something and nothing really, be it not for me to spoil things for the two of you, but I trust you did talk about this event before it occurred. I mean it wasn’t a spur of the moment idea brought about by the darkness of the crawl way and the pair of you together was it...what I mean is, you are both aware are you, of what the joining of bodies can bring about, aren’t you?” Father felt his cheeks flush with embarrassment.
“Ever the doctor Father,” Vincent told him, “Don’t worry Father we did speak of it beforehand. Everything will be all right.”
Father sighed, and relaxed, he should have known that these two would be sensible. And so did not notice the look Catherine sent Vincent, her eyes asking a silent question which Vincent answered via the Bond, ‘we’ll tell him in time my love’ knowing as did Catherine that she already carried his child.
“Well I expect the pair of you are both tired after your long journey and would like to go and rest. Catherine will you be staying tonight, or going back Above?”
“Catherine is never going back Above Father, from now on, she will be living Below with us. How did you get on with the wedding arrangements?” Vincent replied with an outward show of happiness in his voice so visible. Father’s mouth dropped open in surprise, closing and opening again slowly as he tried to make it return for its purpose of speech. Then finally deciding to overlook the first part of Vincent’s declaration until later, as he told them, “ All we are waiting for is a date Vincent, have you both agreed on one?”
“Yes Father, is three days time too soon?”
“Three days!” Father could not believe his ears, “Well its not entirely impossible Vincent, but why the rush, so many people will not want to miss it, and there is hardly time to let them all know. And what of Devin? It might take some time to locate his whereabouts, I assume you do want him as your best man?”
Sighing, Vincent reluctantly agreed, “Then when would you suggest Father?”
“I think two weeks would be more favourable, even four if you could wait that long. And despite the way you must both be feeling, I also think it would be only courteous for Catherine to work out her notice with the D.A.’s office during that time. After all, Catherine can’t just drop off the face of the earth can she? Joe Maxwell for one, would seek Catherine down to the earth’s crust if he had to do.”
Catherine was nodding, “Yes I had thought along those same lines Father, and I didn’t want to go back at all, but perhaps you are right.” as turning to Vincent she asked, “What do you think darling?”
Father’s eyes opened wide, the term of endearment pleasing him no end, as Vincent replied, “I don’t want you to go Catherine, but maybe Father is right. Far better to have things tied up and secure, so that there is nothing to worry any of your friends.”
Catherine nodded, “Nonetheless Vincent, I simply cannot bear to leave you so soon as today.”
“Isn’t Joe expecting you tomorrow Catherine?” Father asked.
“Yes, but the worst he can do if I don’t turn up is to sack me, and if he did, that would make things a whole lot easier.” Catherine laughed, “Don’t worry Father, Joe mightn’t approve of my resignation, but it will explain why I didn’t go in on Friday after all.”
Father wasn’t convinced, “ I don’t know Catherine, I still think he might get over concerned when you don’t turn up tomorrow, not that I am trying to get rid of you of course.”
“As if you could.” Catherine shook her head, “Nonetheless Father, nothing, but nothing will make me leave Vincent any earlier than Monday morning, no matter what, we have too much to do.” A soft blush stained Catherine’s cheeks at the implication of her words and Father chuckled, “All right my dear, I won’t insist you do anything you don’t want to do, but at least send Joe a message saying you will be delayed. And it might also be an idea to include a little of your plans within that message, so that he has the weekend to prepare himself.”
Catherine nodded, “All right Father,” she rose from her seat, “But the first thing I want to do is lie down in Vincent’s chamber and close my eyes, I can hardly keep them open.”
Father nodded, “Off you both go then, though if either of you come back here later any more wide awake than you are now, I shall be most surprised.” he chuckled, and as he shot Catherine and Vincent a knowing look, both burst into gales of laughter.
*** *** ***
The wedding had been the most marvellous event of the year, no, of the century, as far as the tunnel dwellers were concerned. So many people wanted to be there, and Devin was finally located at his mountain home, and was able to persuade Charles to accompany him to the tunnels to join in the celebration.
As Catherine floated towards Vincent, her arm clasped firmly with Peter Alcott’s, the family doctor, who thought of her as a daughter more than a patient, and long term friend of Jacob Wells, Vincent’s heart constricted in his chest, and he found it difficult to breathe.
Catherine was a vision of loveliness, her hair swept up high upon her head. Little wisps escaping the pins and ribbons that held it in place, curling softly against her neck, and dressed in lace and satin of the most exquisite shade of pink he had ever seen. When she walked it shimmered, one moment rose white, the next moment rose pink, and when she finally came to stand alongside Vincent, the tantalising scent of roses wafted to his nostrils, making him breath deeply of the heady fragrance with a sigh of pleasure. Forever after that same scent would remind him of their wedding day.
Catherine’s eyes were bright with love as she gazed in adoration at the man that was soon to be her husband.
Dressed in his finest ruffled white shirt, and dragon green breeches, with brown thigh high boots, his cloak cast aside, unneeded amongst so many of their dear friends and family members, Vincent looked more handsome than Catherine had ever remembered, but his eyes captivated her heart the most. Startling blue, bright with love, soft with desire, a shimmering happiness that seemed to ooze right from the core of the man. It was more than Catherine could do to prevent herself from reaching for him there and then, and kissing him passionately. Through their connection, Vincent sensed her emotions, and his smile became deeper. And as he held out his hand for her to take, a hushed rustle of appreciation whispered through the crowd waiting to witness this marriage of these two dear people, so obviously in love, and made for one another.
Father, dressed in his finest attire, stood with a copy of the Holy Scriptures in his hands, held open at the appropriate page, waiting for his chance to perform the ceremony. While Devin stood at Vincent’s side, handsome and clean shaven, dressed in a grey suit with a white shirt and blue silk tie, fingering the rings inside his pocket, one of which had been especially shaped to fit by Cullen, to be slipped over one of Vincent’s very large fingers.
Standing there in front of all their dear family and friends, Father waited patiently, his eyes full of love, his heart fit to bursting as the moment he had once fought so hard to thwart, but had thrived nonetheless, came to be. And the happiness shining forth from his son, brought great joy to the elderly man, who had never even dared to hope for such happiness for this unique and much loved member of their community. And his love overflowed for the beautiful woman who had given his son a chance of a dream come true. And when Vincent and Catherine could finally tear their gaze from each other to look upon Father waiting patiently to begin, a ripple of love and excitement ran through the crowd. As each hugged his partner, and listened with rapt attention to the words of the ceremony until Father paused to allow Vincent and Catherine to read aloud their own vows to one another, when complete and utter silence descended over the crowd, as Vincent turned to Catherine and began to speak;
“All that I am is nothing compared to what I would be for you.
For you have taken my dreams and turned them into reality.
You have taken my aloneness and filled it with you.
Now my heart would burst with feelings it has never known before,
and my soul glories in your touch.
For you have given me everything.
You have seen me and all that I am,
and you accepted me, you loved me -
You loved me, Catherine,
and this is beyond anything,
everything I dared to hope.
Yet all I can give you is all that I am and all that I have,
until eternity is no more.”
There was a shuffle as Vincent finished speaking, as their dear friends felt the need to brush away a fallen tear, watching as Vincent continued to gaze with adoring eyes into those of Catherine’s. The Great Hall was filled with dancing candles, and fragrant with hundreds of roses in colours significant to the pair, of red and white, and deep pink to compliment Catherine’s dress. And everyone waited in hushed anticipation as through the mistiness of tears, brought forth from Vincent’s words to herself, Catherine began to recite back to him, her own vows in a voice soft with love and emotion;
“In the shelter of your arms,
I find the only peace this world has to offer,
and in the very presence of you,
I know my only joy, my only strength.
Just to hear you speak my name,
just to feel your hand in mine,
is the sweetest gift that God could give.
I am complete,
I never want for more, as long as you are near.
As long as you are mine.
I find more love in the touch of your hands,
than in a thousand lips.
I see more beauty in the message of your eyes,
than in a thousand sunsets.
What we have, what we share, is beyond all words.
If this is but a dream, forever let me sleep.
Forever let me stay, in the shelter of your arms.”
As Catherine finished speaking the beautiful words, the tunnel children broke into a well rehearsed song, and finally as Father announced that Vincent and Catherine were husband and wife, every guest stepped forth with flowers and gifts, to congratulate the pair, but the most magical moment of all as far as everyone was concerned, was when Vincent swept Catherine up into his arms, and kissed her long and passionately, thrilling every single person in the Great Hall with happiness to overflowing, hugging to themselves every blissful second of the shared kiss, as if it were their own.
And each and every person readily agreed that there would never be a wedding more moving than this one, nor one more perfect, truly this was a marriage made in heaven, and one could almost hear the angels themselves rejoice.
And in less than six months they were all back again in the Great Hall. All friends together, as wave upon wave of excited chatter filled the great chamber, and eyes turned with expectation as a hushed silence gathered and fell, when Catherine handed to Vincent their tiny son, for his naming ceremony.
And everyone rejoiced at Father’s beaming face, when Vincent announced, “We name our son Jacob,” agreeing that no other name could have been more fitting.
This fairy tale romance that had been built upon a dream, had become a reality. And now the one that all the tunnel dwellers regarded as their saviour in their underground home, had received back in full measure everything he had ever given and more besides, from the woman who had given him everything. And with the arrival of his son, their happiness was sealed forever and ever.
*** *** ***
A quiet serenity had fallen upon the tunnel dwellers since that day, living as it were beneath the wings of a fairy tale, as the happiness that poured out of Vincent, became infectious, and everyone shared in his joy.
Father could only marvel at how smoothly everything had run since the day his adoptive son and Catherine were wed. Almost as if everyone had been captivated by a huge web of love, that drew people one to the other, a helping hand here, a kind word there, as nothing was too much trouble for any one, and the tunnel community throbbed with life and a love that transcended time.
*** *** ***
So it was with great horror that Jamie came running through the tunnels, tapping out a message on the pipes as she ran, causing every one to stop whatever it was they had been doing, and to freeze with terror. And a great roar was heard resounding off the heavens themselves as Jamie’s urgent message reached Vincent’s ears.
Running towards her, Vincent collided with Jamie outside of Father’s chamber, her eyes bright with fear, her face ashen and her body shaking. “Tell me!” Vincent grasped the frightened girl’s shoulders tightly, feeling her body weaken and slump in his arms, “There was a man... He was watching us... We intended to come home via the threshold... I crossed the road ahead of Catherine and I heard her scream... When I turned to look... The man was bundling Cathy and Jacob into a large black car!”
She spoke breathlessly still shaking.
“Have you ever seen this man before?” Father hurried towards the pair blocking his doorway, as other distraught tunnel dwellers congregated in the tunnel outside.
“No… Not until today, he was very tall and thin, with white hair, the whitest I’ve ever seen, though he didn’t appear to be old.” Jamie whispered, as her voice seemed to trail away and leave her remembering.
Father recognised the symptoms of shock, “Bring Jamie into my chamber Vincent, sit her down over there and drape that blanket around her,” he added, as Jamie’s teeth began to chatter.
“Could the man have had blonde hair do you think?” Father asked her gently, as he extracted the required medicine from his black medical bag.
Jamie shook her head, “No it was definitely white, I was never close enough to see his face, but there was something unusual about his eyes. At times he wore dark glasses, save for the moment he grabbed Cathy. I can see him now, those eyes, sunken, expressionless, almost as if he had none.” Jamie shuddered at the memory.
Father nodded, “Could be an albino then. Did he say anything?”
Jamie shook her head, as Father spooned medicine into her mouth, and then took her temperature, “No, and it all happened so fast. Looking back now, it was obvious that Catherine was his intended victim.” a fresh bout of tears threatened Jamie, “I wish I had alerted Catherine sooner, I’d noticed him for most of the morning, but thought little of it.”
“Don’t blame yourself Jamie,” Vincent told her gruffly, “there was hardly anything you could have done.” then turning to his parent went on, “Father we must send word at once to all our helpers.”
“Its been done.” Pascal’s voice loomed over the people stood outside in the tunnel, “And an all clear is out on the pipes in case Cathy should try to reach us.”
“Thank you Pascal.” Vincent told him.
“How about your connection with Catherine, Vincent?” Mary asked as the tunnel dwellers stood aside to allow her entry, “surely you can locate her with that?”
Vincent shook his head, “For some reason since the birth of Jacob, the Bond I shared with Catherine has been dissipating. For a while after our son’s birth, it was as strong as it ever was, but these past few weeks, I have noticed it weakening again, I don’t know why. I will never forgive myself if Catherine is lost to me at a time when I could not feel her, here inside me.” Vincent replied pointing to the region of his heart with obvious distress.
“With Jacob then?” Mary ventured, “You share a Bond with him too do you not?”
“I know his feelings Mary, but not his heart beat. Catherine shares a stronger bond with our son, and could help lead me to where they are, alas, I have no sense of her.” Tears broke afresh in Vincent’s eyes, “Of all the times for the Bond to leave me, it happens when Catherine needs me the most. It’s almost as if something is blocking our connection.”
“Like it was when Catherine carried Jacob?” Father ventured.
“Yes Father, just as it was then. But why?”
“I don’t know Vincent, perhaps it will be something that will slowly transfer to your son, perhaps he is to be your future connection.” Father suggested gently.
“No I don’t think so, Father. It’s almost as if Catherine herself is shutting me out.”
“No, Vincent!” Mary exclaimed. “Catherine would never do that to you.”
“Would she not?” Slumping his body into his favourite high backed chair, Vincent could only stare ahead in grief, “Perhaps she has decided she has had enough of living in this hell hole beneath the ground.”
“Vincent!” Father stormed. “How can you say that? Catherine loves you, whatever are you saying?”
“That perhaps this whole thing was a set up, that this man works for someone that Catherine has fallen in love with, and has gone to live with Above.”
“I will not hear you saying such things Vincent, it’s blasphemous. Catherine would never do that to you.” Father exclaimed.
“Then what am I to believe? That Catherine shuts the Bond off between us, that she is supposedly abducted with our son, and I have no sense of her, what am I to conclude, perhaps I always knew that forever was too much to hope for. Perhaps what we had is all there is, and Catherine could find no other way of leaving me.” Tears poured unchecked down Vincent’s cheeks.
“No, Vincent.” Pascal shook his head, followed by other concerned members of the tunnel community who had overheard his distress speaking, “Cathy would never do that to you, and deep down you know that. Stop putting yourself down like this! Cathy loves you, and what you share is forever. You must believe that, you must!”
Vincent shook his head not knowing what to believe any more, while Jamie, listening with a troubled heart was undecided about what to tell him. Finally making up her mind, “Vincent if I might speak with you privately, I think I know the reason why you have lost the Bond you share with Catherine.”
Looking down at her, all faces echoed Vincent’s own as he asked, “You Jamie?”
“Yes, me, don’t look so stunned everyone, Catherine and I have grown as close as sisters, we tell each other things, but this particular thing, is for Vincent’s ears only, as it was told in confidence.”
“Tell me?” Vincent hissed, grasping her shoulders much the same as he had earlier.
“Not here Vincent. In your chamber.” Jamie told him, rising to her unsteady feet.
Father wrapped a blanket around her shoulders, “Keep her warm Vincent, and whatever she tells you don’t take it out on Jamie, its not her fault, remember that.”
Vincent nodded, and followed Jamie as she made her way slowly towards his chamber.
Almost the moment Jamie’s feet touched the floor of his chamber, Vincent spun her around to face him, “So tell me what did Catherine say to you!” He demanded, fear making him harsher than normal, as the thought that Catherine had left him for another, again reared its ugly head.
“She didn’t exactly tell me Vincent, it kinda slipped out. And Cathy asked me not to say anything to anyone, until she was certain, and could tell you herself.” Jamie muttered, unable to tear her gaze away from those angry blue eyes.
“Tell me!” Vincent’s voice was deadly and hard, as he seethed once again through clenched teeth.
Jamie winced, “Its nothing bad Vincent. Not at all what you are thinking.” and relaxed when she felt his hands slacken slightly upon her shoulders, “It’s just that Catherine thinks she might be pregnant again, that’s all.”
“Pregnant!” Vincent flopped his now weakened body gratefully onto the bed that he shared with his wife, as Jamie continued, “Yes and I guess that’s why you have lost the connection with Catherine again.”
Closing his eyes tightly, tears squeezed beneath Vincent’s beautiful golden lashes, as relief and the enormity hit him, at the life of his Catherine, his son, his unborn child in the hands of some mysterious, sinister looking man, and Vincent didn’t think he would be able to bear it.
Slowly a rumble Jamie recognised caused her to flee away screaming for Father. It rippled through Vincent’s body, coming up and up, to erupt in a mighty ear-splitting roar, and Father arrived just in time to see Vincent bringing his fist crashing down across the table to shatter everything within its path, before slumping once again upon the bed, as an invisible weight too colossal to bear crashed in upon him, and threatened to suck him down into oblivion.
*** *** ***
“So Miss. Chandler, you are one very elusive woman do you know that? I have been trying to ascertain your whereabouts for months.” Catherine could not see who spoke to her, could only hear his voice coming through over speakers pinned high against one wall. “Have you nothing to say?”
“Where is my son?” If fire could have been breathed through Catherine’s mouth, at that moment it would have been, although in effect the very heat of her emotions scorched the very face of the man that beheld her, as she gazed with obvious fury up at the camera.
“He is in safe hands, you needn’t worry about him Miss. Chandler. It is you who are my concern at the moment. You can answer questions which he so obviously knows the answer to, but has not the words to tell me.”
“What do you want to know?”
“The beast Miss. Chandler, the beast that rescues you without fail from all the dangerous assignments that you undertake, tell me what is he to you?”
“The beast?” ever on guard, Catherine feigned confusion, “what beast?”
“Very good Miss Chandler. But let’s not waste time, nor play games. I know about the beast, and I know that you and he share a special attachment, perhaps the child is his, is it not?”
“Then you do not deny knowing the beast?” Catherine shook her head, what could she say? Anything now might bring irreparable damage to Vincent and his world, but what of their son?
“I can see you have trouble answering Miss. Chandler, but the result of your son’s blood test has just been handed to me, one moment please.”
There was a moments silence save for Catherine’s anger that seethed as she waited, wanting only to kill her kidnapper as his voice came back through the speakers,
proceeded by a sinister laugh, “So Miss. Chandler, you do not disappoint me, the blood reveals a feline element. This is perfect, you cannot know how much this means to me.” Remaining silent, Catherine waited as the voice went on, “So you have nothing to say, that is a pity, perhaps solitude will loosen your tongue to tell me all that I need to know. And in a day or two, I may allow you to see your son, just to say goodbye.”
Gasping Catherine shouted with horror, “What do you mean! What will you do with him?”
“So now you want to speak? Too late Miss. Chandler, this conversation is over, and if you want to see your son again, I trust you will give me no trouble.” There was a sudden click and the room was filled with an impenetrable silence, leaving Catherine only to stare wide eyed up at the camera, knowing further speech would go unheard.
*** *** ***
Oblivious to the terrors that went on around him, baby Jacob was amused by the amount of toys that he suddenly found himself surrounded by. And by the sparkling black ring upon the hand of the man that sat on a chair watching him play, with a hint of a amusement on his face.
Jacob looked up into those dark penetrating eyes, he did not know this man, but he had no reason to fear him, hadn’t his mother come with him to this place, and hadn’t he been left with many different people during his short life so far? There was always someone who had been more than willing to cart him off to some interesting place, and consequently, Jacob knew no fear of strangers.
“He is a remarkable child Gabriel. What is he about five, six months old, certainly no more from what you have told me about the woman’s pregnancy and the length of time she has been missing, yet just look at him, trying to walk already.” Said the man with the white hair.
The man with the black ring nodded, “he is a remarkable child Snow, with a remarkable heritage, one that cannot be surpassed for power. He and I together, can only go from strength to strength, we shall build empires together, and he will be my stronghold. When this child grows he will have the power of a dozen men, and I will be unstoppable.” he paused, smiling languidly, “So is the plane ready to take us to London?”
“Yes, but what are you to do with the woman?”
“I haven’t yet decided. My first thought was to kill her, but I have had second thoughts about that. It was so easy to kidnap this child, and in the future she may produce more like him, just think what could be accomplished with children such as these. I think it would be beneficial to me to let her go, though I want her having no memory of this place, in fact no memory at all would be advantageous, could you arrange this?”
“I could, but it would thwart your future intentions Gabriel. If she has no memory at all, she might be afraid of the beast, too afraid to resume relations with him, have you thought of that?”
Gabriel stroked his chin thoughtfully, “No I hadn’t, and it is sound reasoning. Then she must be given something that brings about a comatose condition, giving us enough time to get out of the country, and making certain that when she does come around she will not remember the things she has seen and heard recently, until much time has elapsed. I will not give up this child Snow. From the moment I saw the beast on those recordings from the cases that Miss Chandler worked upon, I wanted to know about the him, and then to have a report that she was suspected as pregnant, you cannot believe my joy to hear that bit of news.
“The child could have belonged to anyone Gabriel, you took a risk abducting her, and what I cannot understand is that since her arrival here, the beast has not tried to rescue her.”
“Yes I too find that most odd, and yes you are right the child could have been any one’s. But if there was one thing I was certain of, it was that Miss. Chandler did not seem to have any relationships. And despite Elliot Burch and Joe Maxwell wanting to date her, she firmly refused, apparently telling them that there was someone else, yet this someone was never seen. From those reports Snow, I drew on hope, and that hope has paid off. This child, human as he may look, is very much the beast’s son, and in time no one will attempt to touch me again. Just look at these photographs Snow, the beast is formidable, with one such as he at my side, I will conquer the world.”
“So you want me to arrange the woman’s future, I take it?”
“Very much so. Get the good doctor to give her something to comatose her, and have her left in the park tonight. I don’t know the home of the beast, but it must be close to that area, for that is the place she is seen to frequent the most. In fact I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he doesn’t occupy a small section of the network of disused tunnels that run beneath the city.”
“I’ll get on to it straight away. Will you be taking the nurse to London with you?”
“No it is not necessary, and I am leaving you in sole charge of my assets here in New York, I shall send for you in London if I should need you. Has the child been included upon my passport?”
“Yes everything is arranged Gabriel, just as you wanted, there are no loose ends, nothing to connect you to the child’s abduction, and there will be nothing to connect you to the woman’s eventual condition.”
Gabriel nodded, bending to scoop Jacob up into his arms, as he made towards the door, “That is good Snow, and I am relying upon you to let me know if the woman should be seen pregnant in the future. Now if I can leave all those things in your capable hands I will go and prepare my son for our journey.”
*** *** ***
It was with a startling sense of daja-vu that Vincent found himself walking through the park that very night, when a large vehicle sped through the park gates, and slowed to a halt before flinging a lifeless form from out of its side. Hesitating just long enough, until the vehicle was out of sight, Vincent padded, oh so softly, towards the still form lying upon the grass, his heart in his mouth. And with a sense of unreality rolled the figure over to find himself looking down into Catherine’s dear face. Vincent gasped, dropping to his knees, bending to seek a pulse against her neck, drawing a breath at last when he found a glimmer of life beneath his fingers, and blinded by his tears, he gathered Catherine up against his chest and carried her Below.*** *** ***
“Who would have done this thing!” Father exclaimed, his eyes filling with tears, as Peter Alcott, Catherine’s doctor and long term friend of both the Chandler’s and the Well’s family, examined Catherine carefully.
“Someone with a knowledge of medicine Jacob. They certainly knew what they were doing, look at these punctures in her arms, I can’t ascertain how much of a drug she was given but certainly more than enough to make her sleep. She’s comatose Jacob, and there is no telling when she will wake from it, if ever.”
“She has to do. She is the only one with knowledge of young Jacob’s whereabouts, the only one who could possibly tell us anything.” Father fumed, marching up and down, an action he had inherited from Vincent.
Peter shook his head sadly, “Even if Catherine awakens Jacob, there is no telling what her memory will be like. You have to prepare yourself and Vincent. She may not know any of you.”
Father sighed, flopping himself wearily into a chair, and could only stare at the gentle rise and fall of Catherine’s breast as she remained sleeping, “Is there nothing that can be done, what if she were taken Above, would her chances be any greater Peter?”
“Not necessarily, and we cannot be sure that she will be any safer up there. Whoever did this to her may have hoped that she would die, personally I think everything that can be done for her, can be done just as well down here as up Above Jacob, and there is always Vincent to think about, he will want her near him.”
Father nodded, yes Vincent, he would want Catherine nearby. His adopted son had already undergone more than enough grief already in the three days of Catherine and Jacob’s disappearance, and now this!
Vincent would not be able to bare another separation.
“The best you can do is have familiar people sit with her, and talk to her. You know as well as I Jacob that comatose patients often respond to voices that they know. And I will come to see her daily too.”
A shuffle at the doorway turned Father’s attention away from Peter, and he was not surprised to find Vincent there. Yet he was stunned by the younger man’s pallor, and feared for him, “Vincent, come in.” He told his son gently, hurrying to take up the large furry hands within his own.
While Peter explained the last few comments he had just made to Father again to Vincent, he was worried about the younger man, something obviously distressed him more than Catherine’s condition. “What is it Vincent?” Peter asked at last, concern over-riding his curiosity.
“Catherine may be pregnant Peter, is there any way that you can establish if this is so?”
Startled Father looked up, “Pregnant, is this what Jamie told you the other day Vincent?”
“Yes. Though Catherine wasn’t sure of it herself.”
Peter frowned, “Do you have any idea of how long Vincent?”
“Try to think, it would help. When was her last period, can you remember?”
Vincent shook his head, “I have been trying to remember since Jamie told me, I do not know.”
Peter frowned, “This could be complicated Vincent. I don’t know for definite what drug was used on Catherine, but I believe it to be morphine and it might have harmed the child, and I have to ask you to make a decision here. Obviously not straight away, but before the child is developed much more, you will have to choose Vincent whether to terminate its life or not.”
“No!” Vincent roared, “How can you say that Peter?”
“Because of the facts Vincent. The child might be deformed by the drugs injected into Catherine, in the long run, it might be the kinder way.” Peter told him matter-of-factly, trying to stand back from the situation, though inside his heart was racing. Catherine was like a daughter to him, and the thought of being forced to perform an abortion on her was abhorrent.
Pacing the chamber, Vincent’s fury rose and fell, it was too much, the decision was not his to make, “I cannot do it Peter, I cannot take that risk. Is there no way of telling if the child has been affected?”
“Yes there are ways, but Vincent you have to realise, these tests will need to be performed Above, and they might open up more than we are prepared for.”
Hanging his head, Vincent sighed, “Then what would you suggest Peter?”
“From a personal view or from a medical view?”
“I don’t want to know the medical view Peter.” Vincent reasoned.
“Then I cannot give you one. Personally I would hate to perform a termination, I never have liked doing it to anyone, but to Catherine, it would be unbearable.”
“We have had deformed children living here before Peter. It would not be the first, and any deformity has a merit of life, of love to give and be given, personally I think we should leave well alone, whatever comes and all that. Besides in the normal scenario a child might be affected by such a drug Peter, but a child with such a genetic makeup as Vincent’s, well we might find in the end that it could prove to be a life saver.” Father mused, without taking his attention from Catherine.
Peter nodded, “I’ll go along with that, if you are sure. What about you Vincent?”
Speechless, Vincent could only stand and stare with gratitude at his father, nodding his agreement, his eyes brimming over with unshed tears, as Peter went on, “Well the next step then is to ascertain how far on she is, and get the appropriate vitamins into her. We have to assume that Catherine has only missed one period, but nonetheless, a simple examination could reveal more. Hold this will you Vincent, I’ll see if I can find out anything now.”
Vincent took the stethoscope from Peter’s hand, watching with avid interest as Peter pressed his fingers firmly along Catherine’s abdomen, feeling for the stretched uterus beneath his fingers, and nodded when he encountered it a few inches below her navel. “Yes its here, I’d say about two months, maybe three. That’s not long Vincent, not long at all after Jacob you two should have been more careful.” He scolded.
Embarrassed, Vincent turned away, leaving Peter feeling instantly remorseful. “But then I have never known a couple love one another as much as the two of you, so you can be forgiven.” He added, trying to take the sting out of his earlier words to Vincent. “At least any development that might have been affected by the drug will have at least taken place by now. It is possible that nothing untoward will have happened as regards missing limbs, etceteras, but the child’s growth could be stunted however. And Vincent you also have to realise that the child could be born before Catherine awakens.”
“Perhaps its birth will bring her out of the coma Peter?” Father questioned. His obvious concern evident in his tone.
“Yes it may well do, but you have to be prepared for the worst nonetheless. Look, there is nothing more I can do here today, and there are many things that Catherine will need, so I should leave now, and get on to that, and bring those things down here tomorrow. In the meantime, do as I say, have people come and visit Catherine, sit with her, talk to her, read to her, and hopefully she will recover faster than we dare to hope for.”
“Thank you Peter, whatever would we do without you.” Father told him gratefully, as Peter straightened, a wry smile on his face, “Oh, you don’t really need me Jacob. You are a good doctor too, you just haven’t the faith in yourself that you should have. I’m quite certain you don’t really need me.”
“Oh yes I do Peter, if only for moral support, yet more often for far more. You are an asset to those of us Below, and never let me hear you say otherwise, besides who would look after me if I get sick, I need you Peter and don’t you ever forget it.” Father
told him sincerely, though deep inside he was immensely chuffed at Peter’s confidence in his own abilities, and somehow that made his day feel a little brighter.
*** *** ***
For Vincent the long wait was doubly unbearable. Able to feel his son’s emotions, he knew that the child lived, but could not be sure if he were in the same comatose condition as Catherine, neither could he establish where the child was being held. The grief Vincent abstained from the loss of his child went far deeper than anyone would care to acknowledge, fear making them want to hide behind ignorance, hoping that Vincent did not lose sight of what he was now, to what he had once been in the days before Catherine.
Many had seen him do battle with the beast, and it was a frightening experience that none wanted to undergo again, least of all have it brought about by Vincent himself.
Father tried his up-most to involve Vincent in all kinds of activities in an attempt to try to take his mind off of things, but he was not to know, could never know the true makeup of his son, for underneath those leonine features, beneath the muscle and sinew of the man, the beast was ever present, ever a heartbeat away, and waiting for his chance to seize and dominate the man.
For Vincent the grief of his lose and his ever-present combat with the dark one was a constant battle against insanity.
Pacing his chamber became his only outlet for his frustration, that and killing. But he had sworn to Catherine that he would kill no more, that to do so was giving glory to the beast, giving reign to the beast, and if he were to remain as a man capable to love her, then the days of the kill had to be over.
As the days went into weeks and there was little change in Catherine, Vincent had the added pain of his son’s emotions vanishing from his heart. At first he had felt a distance between them, and then a gradual tapering off of the sense of his son’s feelings. It grieved Vincent, it was the final torment, all he was able to establish was that his son lived. He felt he would know had it of been otherwise. And the grief the feeling brought almost made him lose his mind, because he had to face the truth that even if Catherine should awaken, it was unlikely that their son would ever be returned to them.
The added pain of how Catherine would react to that caused Vincent to slip further away from the man that he had become, although he still maintained tight control over the beast.
Father was terrified for him. Watching him pace the chamber, day in day out, lost to the night, not knowing where his son went, always grateful to hear the pipes announce his return just before dawn.
The toll on his son’s health was leading somewhere, to a place Father had seen twice before, and had no wish to return to. That last time, it had been Catherine who had brought back the man, but who would have the courage to go in her place should it happen again?
Watching as Vincent sat for short moments, flicking through a book, that Father could tell he was not reading, and then jumping up to pace the room again, Father grew agitated. The measured control that Vincent fought was so apparent, and Father knew it was only a question of time before his son snapped completely and became unreachable. Over the weeks Father had tried all the words of comfort, all the words of encouragement that he could find, all to no avail. His brooding, grieving, adoptive son was almost over the edge, and Father was powerless to stop him. Only Catherine could do that, yet she had shown no signs of awakening, even though her child grew at an alarming rate beneath her heart.
So it was always a pleasure to have Peter arrive, providing a welcome distraction from Vincent’s raging thoughts. After he followed the doctor down the tunnel towards the hospital chamber, he watched every little thing that the doctor did to his wife, taking her temperature, monitoring her heart beat, lifting her eyelids, shining a torch into them, providing physiotherapy for her limbs.
This day as Peter went through the motions, he straightened before completing his task of manipulating her joints, and turned to speak, “You know Vincent, there is some new evidence about comatose victims. New evidence is often taken with some scepticism, but I can see no harm in trying it anyway. As you are aware, familiar voices can trigger a response in a comatose victim to awaken, yet now it is also thought that certain places can also do the same, and in many respects much more. A sound, a scent, the touch of sand upon bare feet, those kinds of things, the salt spray of the sea upon the skin, the touch of a stiff breeze blowing through the hair, all these things can bring a comatose victim around in time.”
“What are you suggesting Peter?” For once, Father was quick to notice hope flare in Vincent’s sullen eyes, and held his breath and waited.
“There must be so many places Vincent where you could carry Catherine, or have someone help you. It is a blessing that she is able to breathe by herself, without the aid of a life support machine. Catherine is alive, Vincent. Her brain may not be showing any activity on this monitor, but she is still here. The colour of her skin tells us so. She looks just as if she is sleeping. So come on let’s make a determined effort to do more, and rather than speaking to her with words of tenderness, let us ensure that she takes an active part in all that goes on down here. I want to see her taken to your chamber at night Vincent, have her know that you lay beside her in your bed, that you hold and kiss her, just as you would normally have done. I should like her brought to Father’s chamber in the day, to take part in the day to day activities that take place down here, and I should like for you to carry her to places that you and she shared together. Let her listen to the waterfall let her imagine the sights reflected in the mirror pool. Tell her where you are going, tell her what you enjoy about the place, read to her. Do all the things that are normal, and then we will know we really are trying everything that there is. It can be no fun lying here day after day, with only an unborn child for company. Let’s try it Vincent. Now where would you first like to go?”
A rush of enthusiasm sped through Vincent, his eyes taking on a brightness that Father had almost forgotten, as he told Peter; “To the waterfall, no, wait, there is a place that Catherine and I call our own. We discovered it together, and I have been loath to visit it without her all these months. I shall need help to take her there, probably on a stretcher, there is a long crawl way, would it be possible do you think Peter?”
Peter nodded, “Nothing is out of reach Vincent, if you’ve a mind to do it, it can be done. We will need to pad out a stretcher underneath her, would that still fit through the crawl way?”
“Yes, its not very wide, but I can get through it by rubbing the sides, there would be little problem for Catherine even on a padded stretcher, but I may need help, to get her there.”
“I’m certain Jamie will go with you Vincent?” Father offered.
“Jamie yes, or Mouse, either of them would be perfect.”
“Except that Mouse would chatter so much, Catherine wouldn’t be getting the right atmosphere while you are down there.” Father laughed, grateful when Vincent laughed too. It had been a long time since he had.
“I’ll prepare her Vincent, while you collect the things you will need.” Peter told him, while Father stood up to tap out a call for Jamie.
When Vincent had gone, and the message had been sent, Father came back to help Peter, telling him, “Call me daft Peter, but I have a good feeling about this. I’m sure its going to work, but even if it did not, the respite that the hope has given to Vincent has been immeasurable. Thank you Peter for suggesting this, its just what the boy needed.”
“Yes, I noticed, he’s a changed man isn’t he? I wish I’d read that darn article sooner. It lay in my desk drawer for weeks. Let that be a lesson huh, to read things as soon as they arrive, one never knows what good the articles can do for someone, a whole lot sooner.”
With Vincent in front pulling the ropes that harnessed the stretcher carrying Catherine, and Jamie bringing up the rear with the packs, they manoeuvred the stretcher around the outcrops of rocks, in less than two hours after Peter’s visit, and the three finally arrived at Vincent and Catherine’s secret place.
“Its not so secret Vincent.” Jamie told him as she stepped out into the large gallery filled with stalactites and stalagmites and gazed out at the large shimmering pool that reflected the lights from the lanterns that Vincent held up. “And you may be surprised that there is another way in.” She added.
Vincent eyed her with interest. “You’ve been here before?” Jamie nodded, “Mouse brought me, though that time though we came in from Above. Look up there can you see it, that’s it there, a large ledge. Just above is a vertical shaft, that drops straight into this gallery. I’ve not been here since we were children though. It’s funny how I’d forgotten all about it, I guess that’s because there is never enough time.”
Vincent chuckled, “chained to the kitchen sink are we?”
“No”, Jamie punched him lightly on one arm, “You know how it is, there is always something that needs doing, and believe me the way in from above is a long journey, much longer than the way you have taken me. If you have no objections I should like to bring others here.”
“Why should I object, the place is beautiful, it is meant for sharing? Perhaps you should like to share it with Mouse?” Vincent teased her.
Jamie still had every intention to live Above as soon as Catherine had regained consciousness, but no-one knew of that yet, and so she ignored Vincent’s teasing. Answering instead, “Because it is yours and Catherine’s place now.”
“No Jamie, Catherine and I aren’t selfish about anything that there is Below, others have just as much of a right to partake of it. Don’t worry, of course you must bring the others here.”
“So Vincent which part does Catherine like the most. There are so many different aspects to this gallery, I could never tire of exploring them?” Jamie asked him looking around her for the memory.
“The part that made this place special for us, was the fountains. I have not found another place Below where there are so many. Catherine would sit for hours watching them spray upwards and plummet down again into the pool, sending spiralling ripples further and further across the pool. She told me that being here was a place to unwind, to put things into perspective and to simply enjoy the wonder of life and all that we shared.” Vincent’s voice trailed away, as tears gathered and fell as he recollected those happier times past, sitting there with Catherine.
“Tell you what then Vincent, I’ll help you take your things over to that spot, while you carry Catherine, and then I’ll leave you two alone for an hour or so, while I go explore. I won’t be careless, and I will never go out of your sight, will that be all right?”
Vincent nodded, touched by her thoughtfulness, “Yes, thank you Jamie.”
It really was healing to his bones to be back in their secret place, with Catherine laid upon his lap, as Vincent leaned against a large cushion he had brought to put between his back and the cold stone wall. The subterranean pool danced and sang, as the fountains bubbled a crescendo of white foam, that chased itself across the turquoise water, and Vincent sighed deeply, remembering the joy that he and Catherine had found there. “Can you remember Catherine?” he asked her, “The first time we discovered this place. How timeless you said it felt. How the fountains must have been bubbling forth for centuries, and perhaps only a handful of people had ever seen its beauty. How Above in your world, it would be incomprehensible to believe that such a wealth of life and colours existed so far below the city streets. I remember Catherine, every word, every expression of your face, as you lived through the joy of that experience. Oh Catherine, what I would give to have you share it all over again with me now. To tell me how the beauty of this place thrills you.” For a moment Vincent fell silent, listening to the gentle breathing of his sleeping wife. Before reaching into his pack to slide out a book of poems, that he had brought there to read aloud to her. “Can you remember this poem my Catherine, the one called Song, by George Darley? When we first read this together, we were reminded of this place, and now the words could never be more perfect to how things are today, and when you awaken my Catherine you will know how hard it was for me to give voice to these words. So forgive me my love, forgive me if you feel my tears upon your cheeks, for the words are spoken from the heart, from my heart to yours.”
Shuffling into a more comfortable position, Vincent took up the appropriate page in his hand, careful that the biting rocks were not cutting into Catherine, as he began to read huskily, choking back the sobs when he reached parts oh so, poignant to him;
“Sweet in her green dell the flower of beauty slumbers,
Lulled by the faint breezes sighing through her hair,
Sleeps she and hears not the melancholy numbers,
Breathed to my sad lute, ‘mid the lonely air.
Down from the high cliffs the rivulet is teaming,
To wind round the willow banks that lure him from above,
O that tears, from my rocky prison streaming,
I too could glide to the bower of my love!
Ah! where the woodbines with sleepy arms have wound her,
Opes she her eyelids at the dream of my lay,
Listening, like the dove, while the fountains echo round her,
To her lost mate’s call in the forests far away.
Come then my bird! For the peace thou ever bearest,
Still Heaven’s messenger of comfort to me-
Come - this fond bosom O, faithfullest and fairest,
Bleeds with its death wound, its wound of love for thee!”
For long moments Vincent could only continue to sit, his body trembling with unshed tears, as he knuckled away a fallen tear or two that channelled rivulets through his dust covered cheeks. The poem had always stirred him, none more so than now. The words could have been written for Catherine in her present condition. Had the poet George Darley suffered just the same? Had he too known the loss of a loved one to eternal sleep?
Looking down at Catherine, Vincent’s heart constricted in his chest. Had she heard any of the beautiful words, had she known how it broke his heart to read them to her? She slept on peacefully, and putting down the book, Vincent took up his journal, intent on writing down his present feelings, lest they were lost. Having the feel of the place surrounding him, he wanted to write down his feelings as and when they occurred, and not just from a memory. Everything he did now had to be done so that Catherine could read the words when she awoke, and know how he had felt at this sad time in his life. It was suddenly important to him that she knew how he had felt, knowing that she would want to have shared it with him, if only she could.
While he wrote, Jamie watched from a safe distance. The echoes passed on by the fountains swam around her and snatches of the poem that Vincent had read to Catherine reached her ears.
Jamie brushed away her tears, she had never heard a poem so tragic, so fitting for the moment, and wondered how Vincent could have been able to read it without breaking down. She couldn’t have done it, but such was the strength of the man. He was a remarkable person, and Catherine, dear sweet Catherine, a true friend to herself and countless others Below, did not deserve to have this bitterness bestowed upon her. For Jamie knew how much it would pain Catherine to know how the sorrow around her condition was paining the man that she loved above all else. Jamie choked back her tears, and locking her head between her knees she cried, the sound of her gentle sobbing reaching Vincent’s ears, who looked up from his journal to watch her with his steady blue gaze, before laying Catherine down carefully, with his cloak as a pillow for her head, and going across to where Jamie sat oblivious to his approach.
His hand upon her shoulder, gentle, comforting, brought her face upwards to look into his, “Why do you cry Jamie?” his own eyes brimming with tears, as he wound his body beneath him to sit alongside her, taking her in his arms.
“For Catherine, for you, how can you bear it Vincent?” Jamie’s voice trembled, as she pressed her face against his shoulder. Looking up as Vincent pulled her away from him to search her eyes.
“Catherine gave me hope Jamie. More hope than I ever dreamed possible, for me, all the dreams I ever had, became reality in Catherine’s love for me. Now that hope is all I have to hold on to, coming here, sharing the things that were dear to Catherine with her it is all that there is, until such a time when Catherine opens her eyes again. I can ask for no more, but yes I know the pain of being without her, of losing our son, that more than most, for even if Catherine should awaken soon, I fear that our son is forever lost to us now. We just do not know where to look for him.”
“What about the child she carries Vincent, surely he or she will heal your wounds?”
“Yes, but in no way replace the child that we lost. Always I will carry this void inside me. This not knowing what became of our son, wondering how he is, if he is happy, if we will ever see him again. Though I grieve for Catherine’s present state, I am happy to have her near, but Jacob...” A sob caught in Vincent’s throat, “for Jacob I have no such joy. He is lost to us Jamie, I feel it here, and the pain of that knowledge will never go away.”
“Then how can you bear it Vincent? How can you read such heartbreaking poetry to Catherine and not have it crack you up?”
“You heard the poem?”
“Only the odd line. The breeze from the fountains carried your voice to me.”
Vincent nodded, “It is a beautiful poem Jamie, written by a man who suffered also in some same way, but he went on to write more beautiful poetry Jamie. His loss did not break him, and there is hope in those lines, hope for whomsoever reads the words, that we do not suffer alone. Your tears do you credit Jamie. Your heart is good and pure that you can feel such pain for others. And with people like you, I can see through this pain, until such a time that Catherine can stand at my side again.”
“Do you believe she will wake up?”
“Yes I believe that she will, in time. Peter has told me to expect the worst of course, but how can Catherine not come back to me. She gave all of herself to me, brightened my existence, gave me life, she will know that without her I would become as nothing again, lost to the night, and Catherine would not want that for me. Yes Jamie, with this hope, I can believe that Catherine will return to me, to us eventually.”
Jamie nodded, “One day Vincent, I hope I meet someone as wonderful as you, just listening to your voice, you make me believe in miracles.”
“Catherine’s love was my miracle Jamie, and the day she gave me our son. Miracles do not need to be believed in, for it is a fact that they do exist.”
Jamie sighed, “Thank you Vincent.”
“For helping me put things into perspective, for filling me with hope.”
“Hope is all there is Jamie, all there is.” he shook his head.
Jamie nodded slowly, “You’d best return to Catherine Vincent, she will be missing you.”
“She misses you too, come let us return together, and we can talk to her, I’m certain she will enjoy your company.”
Jamie smiled, “I miss her Vincent.” a sob caught in her throat once again, and Jamie hurried to brush away the threatened tears, as Vincent pulled her to her feet telling her, “So do I Jamie, so do I. Let’s go and tell her that shall we?”
Jamie sniffed, “Yeah, if we keep getting melancholy with her, she’ll probably open her eyes and tell us to shut up.”
Vincent chuckled, knowing he’d give anything for that to be so.
If the day beside the fountains had been melancholy, nothing more so than that night as Vincent lay in his big double bed with Catherine enfolded in his arms. It felt strange to have her there, her warmth, to feel her breath on his cheeks, but to know that she would not respond to his kisses, his caresses. Peter felt certain, that somewhere in the deep recess of her mind, she would know, that she would glorify in having Vincent hold her so close, and would eventually reach out to share in their love.
With hope the only thread to hold on to Vincent carried on the charade day after day, night after night, taking Catherine back again and again to the fountains, to the waterfall, and the mirror pool. And one night even taking her up to the very park itself just so she could drink in the fragrances of the summer flowers. It concerned him that the child’s birth was imminent, and Catherine still had showed no signs of awakening, for he did not know how the labour would affect her, remembering the pain of the Jacob’s birth.
In many respects, he had given scarce attention to the child that grew beneath her heart. It seemed alien to him. Though he felt the movements of its body beneath his hands, he had simply cut himself adrift from feeling anything for the child. Mainly because everyone had assumed its birth would erase his pain over Jacob, and Vincent wanted nothing ever to erase that pain, believing that if it did, then Jacob would become but a distant memory, almost as if his life had never been.
And painful as it was to remember, Vincent wanted never to forget his son.
So as the hush of one deepest night gathered its wings together over the tunnel world, and made way for a new dawn, Vincent lay beside Catherine, sleepily listening to the gentle sound of her breathing rising and falling and fanning his cheeks, when suddenly her whole body jerked into a spasm that jolted him wide awake and a gasp escaped her lips.
Struggling to sit up, Vincent watched as pain etched itself over her face, and he knew that the onset of labour had begun.
The knowledge brought joy and fear, joy that his Catherine had at last felt something, fear that he knew not what to do, or how it would turn out for her, and for their child. For Peter had told him, that without Catherine’s help the child would have to be delivered by caesarean section, and that brought about its own problems, with their limited supply of apparatus and medicine Below.
Leaving his bed and his wife, Vincent donned a night-shirt, and hurried to Father’s chamber, waking him even as he entered, by knocking into a pile of books in his haste and hearing them slide to the floor in an untidy heap.
Father sat up at once, rubbing his eyes, “What is it Vincent!” He cried seeing the look of fear upon his son’s face.
“The baby, Father! I believe it is coming.”
“Call Peter, and fetch Mary, I’ll be there as soon as I can.” Father told him, reaching for his robe. His mind reeled, how on earth were they going to manage this? It had been his greatest worry concerning Catherine in all the proceeding weeks, without her being awake to help, everything that could go wrong, no doubt in these dire conditions would go wrong, his only hope was that Peter could get there in time.
*** *** ***
“I promised you forever, Vincent,
But there is no forever for us now,
Our dreams, our happy life, destroyed
By my world.
They have taken our son,
And I have so little time.
But for you there will be no consolation,
For you will never know, never know.”
The words tumbled through Catherine’s mind. Amid the pain of her labour, and the stillness around her, Catherine could only remember the time of the distress of her kidnapping. Of Gabriel standing over her Vincent’s son in his arms. That evil sinister face mouthing words that she wished to cover her ears not to hear, telling her he was taking Vincent’s son, to a new life, a better life, a life where her son would rule over mankind with the strength of the beast. And nothing or no one would threaten Gabriel or his empire again.“Suddenly I hear your voice -
And then watching with horror as a man in a white uniform that Gabriel referred to as the ‘doctor’ had inserted a needle into her arm. And she had heard Gabriel laugh, “Sweet dreams Miss. Chandler,” before she slipped into a sleeping death, never to re-awaken, never to be able to see Vincent again, to tell him what had happened, and to ease his troubled mind.
Catherine groaned, re-living the terror of that moment, feeling the pain as it sucked at her inward parts, her frantic heartbeat loud in her ears, slowing, slowing to a faint beat, far away, until she could no longer hear it.
Was this death then? This void, where she felt nothing, saw nothing? This darkness that pinned her weightless against an impenetrable mist that swirled forever around her entire being?
Sometimes she thought she had heard voices from far away, but they were voices on the wind, passing her by, before she were able to grasp them, hold them to her, against her, within her.
Now alone, the pain filled her, and through it all again the wind rushed up to meet her, bringing with it voices from afar, filling her mind, her heart, her soul, as a scream, her scream, filled her head. And then she heard Vincent calling to her from afar, the sound of his dear voice filling her mind, swamping her with a longing so long denied her.
Her mind screamed to bring her back, to fight against the darkness that held her in its steely claws, drowning out sound of his voice, thwarting her aim to return to him, to grasp hold of the one to whom she had given her life. And as she struggled against the mighty grip of oblivion, Catherine gasped, for suddenly there he was, and her mind was filled with the rapturous joy of the memory of him!
Distantly - calling my name.
Is it a dream?
Is this sleep I am trying so hard to fight
Claiming me so soon?
But even in dreams we must try.
If heaven has sent me to you.
And, somehow, with all the strength in my body,
I follow your voice -
And you are there!
That beautiful face I thought I would never more see,
Is above me,
And I am in your arms.
The pain has gone, the longing has gone,
And I am at peace.
For words are being spoken that I thought I would never hear,
And hands are touching me that have not touched me
For so long a time.
And, as I close my eyes, your face is still before me.
You take my hand, and you lead me towards the light,
Forever is all there is...”
*** *** ***
There were no words, for simply there were none that could portray the joy felt by all those in the underground world, as they huddled in hushed groups around Vincent’s chamber. Their tears of joy streaming down their faces, the only indication to the heartrending emotions that they felt.
This wondrous sight, this incredible, rapturous sight of Vincent cradling his Catherine in his arms, as both looked down with love into the beautiful green eyes of their tiny daughter. She lay on the bed before them wrapped in soft shawls made by loving hands, that was keeping out the chill from the windy tunnels. And Catherine looking radiant and none the worse for her experience, tracing her fingertips over the baby’s rosy cheeks as she said spoke softly, “She’s so beautiful Vincent,”
And Catherine’s voice, such a pleasure to hear after all this time, filled the chamber in soft echoes and Vincent felt his heart leap in his chest as he told his wife, “You are the beautiful one, my Catherine.” As his intense blue eyes gazed with a longing that Catherine alone recognised, and made her heart beat faster, as she returned the look with one of her own.
Slowly, one by one, the tunnel dwellers felt they were intruding now in something very special, something very tender, and quietly got up to leave, until only Father and Mary remained, “We’ll be in my chamber should you need us Vincent.” Father reached over to squeeze Vincent’s shoulder, “Its good to have you back with us Catherine.” He added, leaning forward to plant a soft kiss on his daughter-in-law’s flushed cheek.
Catherine smiled, “Its good to be back, and don’t you dare insist that I should get some sleep!”
Father laughed with relief, followed by Vincent, strong hearty laughter, within which Vincent let go of all his recent fears, all his anguish, and there was healing in that laughter. Save for the sadness that prevailed at the loss of their son, Vincent and Catherine were happy again, together again, and as Father and Mary left them alone, Father hoped that in time Jacob too would be returned to them, then their happiness would truly be complete.
*** *** ***
With the love from their family and friends, and the arrival of their new child, slowly Catherine and Vincent were able to put the past behind them. Yet no matter how hard they tried, the loss of their son robbed them of the joy that they should have known. The thoughts of him were forever present in their minds.
And even when Catherine went Above and employed the help of Joe and people she knew to trust, still no news came to light of Jacob’s whereabouts, they never gave up hope.
Until after nearly a year had passed since Gabriel had taken him, and still nothing had come to light, Vincent and Catherine were finally forced to admit that they might never see their firstborn again.
“The worst of it all is losing my connection with him Catherine.” Vincent told his wife one day as they sat side by side at the fountains, listening to the soothing rush of the water, “At first I was able to feel him, but in time that feeling has disappeared, yet I know he lives, I know it!”
Catherine nodded, holding on to their daughter as she took her first wobbly steps towards her father with arms outstretched for him to catch her, “I know it too Vincent. And one day I firmly believe that he will be drawn to us, not now when he is so young, but one day Vincent, one day something will trigger a response in him, and he will come home to us.”
“You sound so certain, I wish I could maintain such a hope.” Vincent told her, shaking his great mane of hair, as their daughter reached his arms, and he turned her around to go back towards her mother.
“It’s all I have Vincent. Without it I would be lost. Our daughter is beautiful but she does not make up for the loss of our son, neither will the child to follow.”
Vincent looked up then as the tone of Catherine’s voice alerted him to her words, “Catherine? He questioned, watching as a smile lit her eyes and she nodded, “We are rather clever at pro-creation aren’t we Vincent?”
Unwinding his legs from beneath him, Vincent sat upon his haunches to look wide eyed at his wife, “Catherine, you don’t mean...oh no not again?” He teased, holding a hand to his brow.
Catherine nodded, “I think so.” Her green eyes danced with joy. Vincent groaned, “Oh no another lecture, whatever will Father say?”
“Oh, don’t remind me, last time was bad enough.” Vincent groaned once more at the memory of Peter’s words to him the last time it had happened, so soon after Jacob’s birth.
“My poor Vincent, and you had to shoulder it all alone, this time we can face the storm together my love.” Catherine laughed.
“So when is the baby due Catherine?” Vincent asked ruffling his daughter’s hair who had returned to him, and flopped wearily at his feet. He would never get over how beautiful she was, a smaller replica of Catherine, with none of his features present in her at all. Her dancing green eyes filled him with love every time he gazed upon her.
“That’s debatable Vincent, and you know it. What my friends would give for a pregnancy that lasted only seven months, I feel very privileged you know that. And if this one follows the recent trend then I have around five months to go.”
“Do you know what it is?” Vincent asked, remembering how he had known without a doubt that Catherine carried their son right from his conception, as they camped alongside the subterranean pool almost two years before. Since that time, he found those powers lost to him, and with Catherine comatose during their daughter’s development, he had been able to tell the sex of that child.
“Maybe. I’m a little unsure, in fact it’s not something I want to dwell on Vincent, can’t we let it be, and wait and see.”
But something in her tone gave Vincent the answer, “Its a boy isn’t it?” He asked her gently.
Catherine nodded, “I believe so Vincent.” regarding her husband’s face for signs of distress, “But he will not take Jacob’s place in my heart Vincent, I can promise you, or erase the sense of our loss, un-yet it will be good to have a son again.”
Vincent nodded, yes it would be good to have a son again, a son to grow with them, to guide them, to show them how it would have been had things of been different.
“I love you Catherine.” Vincent spoke softly, “and all of our children,” he told her then started to laugh as he said, “and I can’t believe I’ve got to go through endless lists again searching for another name!” Catherine laughed out loud, stopping when he added, “Perhaps you should chose one this time my love?”
“You have chosen well in the past Vincent. Jacob is a lovely name, and Crystal is perfect, it suits her eyes, and it is special word for us also.”
“Nonetheless my Catherine, it is your turn to chose.” Vincent told her.
Nodding, Catherine accepted, “There is only one name I love above all others, and that could get confusing,” she told him, thinking of his name, “All right, I accept, just as long as you promise me something Vincent?”
“If it’s in my power my Catherine, you know I will promise you anything.” Vincent told her, his blue eyes twinkling with humour as he caught his wife’s mood, gasping when she told him, “That you name the next one.” Before bursting into peals of laughter at the sight of his face.
“Oh Vincent don’t you know by now, that loving you and having your children bring me the greatest joy, I could want for nothing more than that for all my days. Vincent, I love you so much.”
Vincent sighed, “That you could love me as you do, and bring me the greatest of joys, Oh Catherine it is I who love you so much more.”
“I love you to the sun and back Vincent.”
“I love you to infinity Catherine.”
“I love you to eternity Vincent.” Catherine laughed, “Beat that.”
“There are no words my Catherine, and no space or distance that could measure the love I feel for you.”
Gazing into those compelling blue eyes, Catherine was lost, “Then let actions speak louder than words Vincent, and show me how much you love me.”
And while the fountains echoed all around them Vincent enfolded Catherine into his arms, loving the feel of her lips beneath his own, and accepting the fact that no matter what happened in the future, no matter what had happened in the past, they had each other. And as long as they continued to have each other, they would see through every problem, every heartache and move through it...
Until the fountains echoed no more.
*** *** ***
‘To be concluded in ‘Legacy’ – Part 4 of the Moonbeams Story - click on 'Next' below:
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