Oblivion 1

Chapters 17, 18 & 19

Devin & Catherine search for and find Vincent's roots and discover a family he never knew existed.


Chapter Seventeen

Catherine felt that this was no ordinary summons. Walking through the grounds from her villa to the institute, with a member of staff that had not spoken to her since he had arrived at her villa, Catherine had an overwhelming desire to flee. Something was definitely amiss. She ought to have expected it of course, when she had blurted out Devin’s name in greeting the afternoon before, she could have kicked herself. She should have realised that it would not go unnoticed yet she hardly expected them to admit to having cameras installed everywhere and least of all the villas. It was an invasion of privacy and decency, and if they were prepared to do so, it could mean that she and Devin were in grave danger. For that would mean that the scientists were dead certain that they were impostors, with dead being the operative word in their case.
Catherine found herself ushered into another clinically white room, save for some pictures on one wall of different weather scenes, and that Devin and the three professors were sitting inside waiting for her to join them.
Taking a seat alongside Devin, she shot him a questioning glance, but he did not respond, keeping his glance fixed firmly on one of the pictures. All was quiet. No-one spoke, and save for their steady breathing all that could be heard was the gentle ticking of a clock somewhere behind her. Professor Strasser finally rose to his feet, and came to stand in front of her, “Mrs. Conway, who do you see beside you?” he asked her.
Catherine glanced at Devin, why would he not help her, give her a look, a grimace, anything to help her know how to answer.
“It is my brother Sir,” she replied nervously.
“And what is his name, may I ask.”
‘Ouch’, thought Catherine, ‘what do I say now?’ Deciding that honesty was the best policy she replied, “ His name is Devin Wells.”
“And your name Mrs. Conway?”
“My name is Catherine Chandler.”
“So, answer me why did you come here under false identities?”
Catherine really did not know the answer to that. Devin made a habit of going under a false identity, it was as second nature to him as breathing. She told Strasser, “I do not know, it was Devin’s idea. I just went along with it.”
“Very good so you have already collaborated a story in case you were found out, that is very convenient for you. It does not alter the fact that you have both lied for some reason, and I want to know WHY!?” Strasser brought his fist down hard onto the table, making Catherine flinch, Tell me?” he spat through clenched teeth, “Tell me NOW!”
“May I be permitted to speak Sir,” Devin ventured boldly.
Strasser barely nodded.
“Cathy really has told you the truth Sir. It was, as I explained earlier entirely my own idea, and Cathy never questioned why, for which I was grateful, honestly she does not know my reason for doing this. Had she of been she would never have had a happy holiday.”
“So Mr. Wells, how about you tell her of those reasons now, and let us all hear this amazing revelation?”
Devin shuffled in his seat until he was facing Catherine. She tried to question him with her eyes, and noticed that his own pleaded with her to understand. What? Taking a deep breath he spoke softly, “I did it for you Cathy. You remember when you divorced Robert, how he threatened that if he couldn’t have you, then no-one else could?” Catherine nodded, trying to keep her face expressionless, “Well, not long after we made our plans to come and tour Europe I heard that he had found out about our trip. He paid someone at customs control to let him know when you came through to catch your flight, and then he was going to hurry over and follow you.”
Catherine’s heart jumped in her breast, ‘this is excellent Devin’, she thought, ‘You have missed your vocation’
. Devin continued, “Naturally we could never change our passports, so I thought the next best thing would be to change our identity on our arrival here. And to let you believe it was because I didn’t want people to know who we were for reasons known only to myself, then you would be able to enjoy yourself and Robert would not be able to locate you.”
Catherine allowed her hands to visibly shake, and she was relieved when she saw Strasser take note of this, as with her eyes wide with terror she whispered, “Is Robert still looking for me, do you know?”
“No, I don’t know the answer to that, but you know Robert, he will never give up and I couldn’t allow him to get to you again.”
Devin directed his attention now to Strasser, “Sir if you would look at the scar near to my sister’s ear, you will see how deep it is, and it may surprise you to learn that but for cosmetic surgery, Cathy’s whole face would still be covered in slashes. Her ex-husband did this to her. Would you not, in similar circumstances try to protect your only sister from someone so dangerous?”
Strasser looked across at Riedel and Kogler as each in turn shrugged his shoulders. there was no reason not to believe their story, but still it bore no weight. Strasser could not believe it entirely, they were hiding something he was sure of it.
“Then you have my sympathy and my apology Mrs. Chandler, at least you can be assured that you will be safe from your ex-husband while you are here. And so that your stay with us is not tiresome, I will endeavour to find you something to occupy your time. There is something I would like to ask however, Mr. Wells, that scar you have on your own face, was that caused by your brother-in-law also?”
Devin fingered the scar, wondering how to answer, “No Sir, it was caused by a lion at a safari park, but I prefer not to talk about the attack.”
Refraining from asking more questions Strasser said instead, “You may both go now. Mr. Wells you have another assignment waiting on your desk, you can see your sister this evening.”
With a curt nod, he held the door open for them. They had been dismissed.

*** *** ***

After several nights Catherine and Devin were well established in their pipe conversation, be it a little slow, and had made plans to explore more of the complex as soon as possible, either alone or together. Devin had gained access through the computer system to files that intrigued him with maps showing the tunnel system inside the mountain. And Catherine had taken to jogging around the perimeter fence every morning, in a bid to find a way into the wings that burrowed deep into the mountain itself.
It was on such a day that she was jogging beneath the early morning sunshine that she saw a woman approaching while keeping to the shadow of the trees. Catherine slowed to a walk and then halted, stepping behind a tree out of sight to observe this stranger. She was very petite and her movements cautious, cat-like. Sniffing the air in spasms as she moved.
Hardly daring to breath, Catherine watched silently. This was the first female she had seen on the complex in all the time she had been there, but it wasn’t that which intrigued her, it was the woman’s mannerisms, and her hair! Thick and golden, shielding her face, like a mane, a lion’s mane, and as she stepped briefly into the sunlight Catherine gasped. It was so like Vincent’s hair! Nervously Catherine stepped from her hiding place into full view of the woman, who hesitated when she saw Catherine, her eyes rolling wildly. Catherine called out a greeting to her, and the woman visibly jumped.
Shaking herself Catherine laughed gaily, whatever was she thinking of, as the woman came closer. Catherine chided herself for letting her imagination run wild with her, it was only another woman after all, and the shadows had played tricks on her, nothing more. The woman had a pretty face, a normal face, nothing out of the ordinary. Catherine relaxed, not realising that she had been so tense.
Eyeing one another keenly, Catherine felt that given the chance the woman would run away at any moment, so Catherine offered her hand and smiled reassuringly at her, happy when the woman visibly relaxed. It would be good to speak with another woman, anyone would be a pleasant change from the three scientists. Devin had told her that the other staff kept to themselves, no-one it seemed spent anytime with any other member of staff after work.
Standing there waiting as she approached, Catherine found once again that she was holding her breath, and then a strange thing occurred. The woman came close, and began to sniff around Catherine, whose body became rigid with this strange form of greeting. She sniffed Catherine’s hair, her body, walking around her all the while sniffing. Catherine wanted to laugh at her, and then suddenly she saw the woman’s hands! Allowing her gaze to travel down to the finger tips Catherine gasped when she saw that instead of finger nails, the woman had claws! Joy surged through Catherine, and the woman stepped back searching Catherine’s face with her green eyes. Beautiful cat-like eyes. Seeing Catherine’s friendliness the woman smiled broadly and physically draped herself around Catherine’s body, much like a domestic cat would in greeting its owner. Strained laughter welled up and bubbled over from Catherine’s lips, as she spoke to the woman, “Do you speak English?”
The woman stepped back once again and when she opened her mouth to speak, Catherine saw the glint of the same unmistakable fangs, English?” She echoed in a soft velvety voice that made Catherine’s heart somersault, “A little” she told her and made the sign of an inch with her fingers.
“What is your name?” Catherine asked, while pointing to herself as the woman tilted her head trying to understand, “My name is Catherine.” she told her gently, “Who are you?” she added pointing towards the woman.
The woman smiled as she understood, “Marie”, she replied happily.
“Marie”, Catherine repeated, “It suits you.”
Marie had seldom seen other women, she was curious, yet she felt she could trust this person, there was something about her that re-kindled a spark inside her, yes there was a definite connection.
“Do you live here?” Catherine gestured with her hands, “Is this your home?”
Marie shook her head, “No home”, she told Catherine sadly, Catherine noticed the unmistakable sorrow in her eyes and instinctively she hugged her.
Suddenly agitated Marie looked up at the trees. “No stay here.” she whispered, and taking hold of Catherine’s arm, she tugged her off the path, into the depths of pine trees. Allowing herself to be led in this manner Catherine found that Marie walked quickly, silently until she reached a density beneath the trees that appealed to her, whereupon she let go of Catherine’s arm, and held a finger to her lips. Catherine hardly dared breath. Marie glanced around her, looking high into the trees and Catherine gasped when Marie squirreled up a tree, to pluck off a camera that Catherine had not even known was there, crush it in her hands and let the broken pieces fall to the floor, as deftly she dropped to the ground to land at Catherine’s feet. In all her features Catherine visualised Vincent, and her excitement grew. This woman just had to be some relation to him.
There was so much that Catherine wanted to say, “Are you alone here?” she asked.
Recognising the word alone, Marie shook her head.
Catherine went on, “Who else?”
Marie wrestled with the words in her head, eventually answering; “My girl.”
“You have child?” Catherine asked her excitedly.
Marie held up two fingers.
“You have two children? Here?” Catherine asked.
Marie shook her head and even through the depth of the shadows around them, Catherine could see sorrow cloud the bright eyes, as Mary raised only one finger.
Catherine’s way of conversing was better than most, yet Marie struggled again to speak the language, for she only understood odd words, Marie chose her words carefully and began to unfold her story.
“They”, she gestured towards the complex, “Took...him…away.”
Catherine’s mind was racing, ‘A male child? Could it be?’
“When?” she asked breathlessly, “How long ago?” Her legs felt weak, like jelly, as Marie replied, “Long.”
Understanding at once, Catherine put the few words into a sentence, “You had a male child and they took him away from you a long time ago?”
Marie nodded and picking Catherine’s hand up in her own, she pulled up the fingers and flicked out her wrist in a gesture of counting in multiples of five. Catherine found herself speaking along, “Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty...” Marie stopped at thirty.
“Thirty years ago”, Catherine spoke almost to herself, Marie nodded.
It had to be Vincent! He was about that age. Catherine looked at this pretty woman, with the golden mane so like Vincent’s with the claws and the teeth, so like Vincent’s, and slowly, incredulously Catherine realised. She was sitting alongside Vincent’s own mother! And yet she was so tiny and Vincent was so large, it seemed impossible.
Suddenly Marie jumped to her feet startled, tilting her head to listen. Catherine had heard nothing, yet Marie looked agitated, then before Catherine could speak, Marie had gone, and Catherine did not even see where.
And though she searched all that day, there was no more sign of Marie, and the longing to find a telephone, call Peter and ask him to pass on the news to Vincent was overwhelming. Catherine was thrilled beyond belief. Returning to her villa finally late into the afternoon, Catherine found Devin waiting anxiously for her, “Where have you been Cathy, I have been so worried.” he hugged her tightly. Catherine took the opportunity of his closeness to whisper into his ear, “Devin, I have found Vincent’s mother, and he has a sister here too.”
Devin held her away from him searching her face, the joy that radiated from her eyes told him all he needed to know, it was no joke.
“Its true Devin, they are both here.” she whispered.
Delighted, he pulled her back against himself, kissing her full on the mouth, and swinging her around in his arms, “This is great Cathy”, he exclaimed, “I can’t wait to hear all about it.”
“There is so much to tell you Devin, I think I will burst if I have to wait until nightfall.”
“Cathy, we have to wait, we cannot risk using our method without the cover of darkness. Come on Cath cheer up, we’ve come this far, let’s not ruin it now.” He whispered in her ear, holding her so close he could feel the pounding of her heart, when suddenly her closeness engulfed him and he became aroused to such an embarrassing degree that he pulled away sharply, shocked anew as he saw recognition in her eyes.
“Cathy forgive me.” he told her, turning away hurriedly, “I’ll speak with you later.”
Bewildered, Catherine watched him as he disappeared inside his villa.
Strasser had seen them. He had seen everything, and though he could not hear their words, the body language of Mr. Wells, told him all that he needed to know. It was not the way for a brother and sister to act. He became angry, very angry, they had fooled him again. Something else bothered him too, earlier he had seen Catherine confront Marie. She showed no fear, it was almost as if she had seen her before, yet that was impossible. It had troubled him all day.
A knock at the door, and the sound of it opening, startled him, Mich’ael Riedel stood there, “Ignatz, Marie is still out, what do you want us to do this time?”
“Leave her.”
“Leave her? What outside, isn’t that risky, she may try to escape.”
“No, she would never leave Geraldine... in fact I believe it may be an idea to let Geraldine out too.”
“Have you gone mad? There are people out there.”
“Exactly. Sound the siren to bring all the employees into the complex, only make sure that Wells and Chandler do not join them. I want them left outside, and when you have done that come back and tell me, and I will go and free Geraldine myself.”
“But why Ignatz, I thought you trusted them now?”
“Not anymore, today I have become convinced that they know what we have here, and I cannot take anymore chances, and besides it is time Geraldine was allowed another kill, she has become frustrated, wild, I cannot seem to handle her these days. A kill might calm her down. It will vent all her anger and we may be able to breed from her after all.”
“I don’t know about that Ignatz, I believe its the same with all animals in captivity, they just won’t breed, until their environment is such that its as near as it can be in the wild. You could possible have results only if you set Geraldine free more often, she doesn’t need to kill to become placid.”
“But it would be a bonus huh? Come we are wasting time, it will be dark soon, and I would like to be able to see Geraldine stalk her victims. Though it promises to be a full moon, it will be like watching a show beneath spotlight, eh, Mich’ael?”
Mich’ael did not reply, could not trust himself to speak, he liked Wells and Chandler, and he would be sorry to see them killed.

Mich’ael left and Strasser unlocked a drawer at his desk, extracting a large blue folder, from which he pulled some yellowed papers. His own handwriting from fifty years ago, hadn’t altered much. Old plans, old sketches lay before him. Once the dream meant so much to him, to produce a beast that could speak and think like a man, with the instincts of the wild. A beast that resembles a lion in every way, so that it could be set free onto the savannah and he could monitor its progress, and bring it back when needed to ask his questions. Yet his dream had never reached fruition and now because of the length of time involved, Strasser knew that he had to change his views, his tactics in order to achieve anything constructive from a lifetime of experimenting.
Once he had only wanted females to breed from, to strengthen the animal strain, and had made arrangements for any males to be sent to his colleague in the USA who was working on something similar. Only there had only ever been one male that had survived and he had been stolen without trace. Strasser had concluded that he had most probably died. The offspring were vulnerable at birth, Geraldine had almost died herself, and all the others had been still born.
So Strasser had aborted the original plan, and now concentrated on a much more sinister idea. The world was always at war in one country or another, and Strasser had convinced a few governments that what they needed in their armed forces was a different type of soldier. One without a conscience, one ferocious and frightening enough to strike terror into the minds of the enemy, just by the mere sight of him. A soldier who would bring certain victory for his country with his insatiable desire to kill.
Strasser knew he could achieve this, only if Geraldine would breed. Filled with bloodlust that shone from her menacing eyes constantly, she was a real wildcat in every sense of the word.
Strasser had marvelled at her ability to stalk, to sense a victim, to strike him before he was even aware of her presence. And whenever he’d allowed her to kill, Strasser found that it had incensed him, he felt as though he were a spectator in a Roman Circus, watching as the beast ripped apart its prey.
He found it stimulating, exciting, erotic.
As he heard the sirens go off, he flicked on the screens to show him around the complex. Funny! A lot of the camera’s didn’t seem to be working, maybe the siren had drained the generator needed to run them. Unconcerned, he returned the file to the drawer, locked it, and made his way silently towards the West Wing.
Darkness had just fallen as Catherine, unable to contain herself any longer tapped on the water pipes to contact Devin, just as the sirens went off. “What was that?” she tapped to him.
“Don’t know,” he tapped back, “Ignore it.”
“No, I’m coming across.”
Devin met her by the door of his villa, they listened to the siren and as their eyes became accustomed to the darkness, Devin took her arm, and they walked across to the perimeter fence, talking softly.
“Perhaps we should have stayed at the villa Devin.”
“Perhaps. Not afraid of me, are you Cathy?”
“What of you?” she teased him lightly.
“So you did notice. I’m sorry Cathy, my feelings were only temporary. It is a long time since I have held a beautiful woman in my arms. I have to apologise for the way my body reacted before I was able to stop myself.” He was grateful for the darkness, so she could not see how his face reddened.
“That’s okay Devin, I forgive you. I know that you do not seriously think of me in that way.”
He stopped, turning her to face him, “Oh don’t underestimate me Catherine, I do find you physically appealing, but alas, if I want to keep living, I have to ignore what my heart tells me.”
“The heart is treacherous Devin.”
“Yes Cathy, and so is Vincent.”
They both burst out laughing.

As the moon rose behind the mountains, they continued to walk in silence, it wasn’t often that they allowed themselves this rare treat. On other occasions they had been sure they had been followed by the security guards with the dogs. Catherine took Devin’s arm for support, the ground was uneven along by the fence, and she hoped that he did not mind the physical contact. As they walked along each with their own thoughts, wishing they were able to talk about Catherine’s discovery, Catherine became aware of an attachment on her other arm, and stopped to look. Marie was there, holding on to her, and Catherine had not even heard her approach.
“Marie”, Catherine exclaimed happily, pulling Devin around to meet her. Marie eyed him carefully, she had been watching these two for some time, and approached him cautiously. He stood still as Marie scrutinised him, sniffing him, liking the smell of him. Sensing another friend, she positively purred before him.
Devin smiled, “I see what you mean Catherine, she is so like Vincent. I can see the likeness, she has to be his mother.”
“Vincent?” Marie queried.
Catherine nodded, “Your son.” she relaxed. That Marie was with them assured her that there was no-one else around that may overhear their conversation. That Marie had sharp ears went without question.
“Vincent...my son?” Marie replied hopefully.
“The child they took from you Marie... we know him.”
Marie took in the words carefully, jangling them around in her mind, to get the sense of them. She hardly dared believe what her mind was telling her.
Devin put his hand on Marie’s arm, “Vincent’s friends”, he explained pointing to himself and Catherine.
Mystified, Marie shook her head.
Catherine tried again, “The child they took from you?”
Marie understood this she smiled and nodded, waiting expectantly.
“We,” Catherine pointed to herself and Devin, “Know where he is.”
They watched her face, their own radiating happiness, while her expression went from one of confusion to one of hope and then joy as the words sank in.
“My son!” She exclaimed excitedly, “With you?”
Catherine and Devin nodded, “Yes.”
“Here?” Marie asked hopefully
. “No”, Catherine shook her head, and as Marie’s face fell, she hurried on, “Not here. Come we can take you to him.”
“You take me?” she asked surprised “How?”
“We must leave here.” Devin told her gently and as the moonlight picked out his expression Marie trusted his face, but she became downhearted.
“No”, she told them sadly, “No leave here, my girl.” and she looked wistfully back at the institute.
Catherine nodded, “Of course Devin she won’t leave without her daughter, we shall have to find a way of getting her out also.”
Marie looked from one to the other of them, she knew she could trust them, “I know a way.” she told them seriously, “Come I show you.”

*** *** ***

Chapter Eighteen

Geraldine rested her forehead against the cold bars that stood between herself and freedom. How often she had stood there, tormented by the outside world, drinking in the smells of the night, with the longing to be one with them. This man made cave that had been her home for almost twenty-two years sickened her. Tunnelled into the mountainside and barred from the outside world, Geraldine loathed the restrictions of her home and torn between anger and despondency, she had watched life pass her by.
She had never been accepted as a human being, unlike her mother, because of her face. It showed the distinctive features of a Siberian tiger. And for that she had been used, abused and misused, all her life as every test conceivable had been tried out on her and she was so weary of it all, that her heart felt heavy and she wished only to die.
Marie, in comparison, with her placid nature had been allowed relative freedom of which Geraldine envied, and the pair of them had exchanged feelings as they conversed through the bars. If it hadn’t of been for her mother bringing to her books that she had stolen from the villas, and returning them once Geraldine had read them. Geraldine knew that she would have gone mad. Many of those books were of language translation, and Geraldine had taught herself how to speak, English, French, German and an Austrian dialect, but she was never certain if she said the words correctly, having never heard it spoken.
Intellectually Geraldine’s knowledge surpassed anything her creators felt her capable of, they thought of her simply as the beast, and Geraldine allowed them to think this, giving no indication of knowledge of speech or of human brain activity. She had found delight in the books that Marie had brought to her. Books about romance of courage and integrity and through them Geradline had recognised a need within herself, a woman’s need. To love and be loved and looking at her hands as if touching them for the first time, she wanted to rip out the claws and the fangs and tear away all the features that made her look anything but a woman.
Geraldine hated her captors with a venom that shook her as they had experimented on her, pulling, probing, externally as well as internally, so that when she came round from the anaesthetic she was left writhing on the floor of her cell in agony. Only Marie knew what she really went through, and her heart ached to be allowed to go to her, to comfort her and rock her gently in her arms, but they were never permitted to be together.
Geraldine’s hatred was such that she paced her cell throwing herself against the walls relentlessly, until exhausted she would sleep for days, and in the bliss of sleep she found her freedom, where she ran and climbed the mountains and drank deeply from the fresh spring water from crystal clear pools. She had a burning desire to lay upon the grass and feel the sun upon her skin, to soak up its warmth and only in her dreams was she able to do this blessed thing.
By nature Geraldine was not the ferocious beast that Strasser would have her to be, she had inherited her mother’s sweet nature, who in turn had inherited it from an ancestor way back, for Ignatz Strasser was not a nice man, and fortunately neither Marie or Geraldine had inherited any of his wicked traits. From time to time Strasser had given Geraldine freedom at night, but usually it was to satisfy his own depraved yearnings, to stalk someone to frighten them, or on more than one occasion to trick her into killing them, and Geraldine regretted deeply the taking of innocent life. She would always remember the first time, Strasser had come to her and opened the door, and she believed he was giving her freedom. How wonderful it felt to be free, she had made such plans. There were places she would visit, things she would do. She would find her mother, and they two of them would see the world. Geraldine glorified in that freedom, believing it to be forever. She would always remember the glorious feel of the cool night air upon her back and ruffling her hair around her face, and the delightful sounds of the night all around her, until she suddenly heard a high pitched scream, which had for a moment been hard to distinguish, until Strasser had come running towards her shouting, “Geraldine there is someone hurting your mother, you must do something to stop him.”
Geraldine had not stopped to think, she had rushed to the scene, and as her eyes beheld the man beating her mother with a large piece of wood, fury had leapt up and seized her like a cobra around her throat, and she flew at him in blind hatred, stunning him with one powerful blow to the head, and then swiping him over and over again, ripping him apart, until he had become a quivering fleshy mass at her feet. And as she had stood there, blood-soaked and breathing deeply, she had seen her mother fall and at the same time felt the pain of a tranquilliser dart in her own leg, and heard Strasser’s voice clear and strong saying, “Well done Geraldine, well done, that’s got rid of him.”
And ever since that time when Strasser had seen how easy it was to trick her, knowing she would defend her mother, he had used the same tactic time and again, stopping her with a dart, before she had time to escape and she had always believed Strasser when he told her someone was hurting her mother, until the day she had overheard a heated argument between himself and Reidel.
“You can’t keep doing this Ignatz, it is defeating the purpose. On the one hand you want Geraldine to be placid and gentle so that she is a willing candidate for conception, and on the other you are intent on keeping her savage to carry out your warped perversions. You have to make a choice here and stick to it.”
“How can I make you see that our work here is of up-most importance, and when I receive a threat to the contrary, I am left with no other option. These people have to die, we just cannot take the risk that they will keep quiet, and after all Geraldine does it so thoroughly.”
“Maybe, but I have seen you Ignatz, you enjoy every moment of it, sometimes your bloodlust frightens me, and I fear for you, for Johannes, for myself, that you are creating a monster in Geraldine.”
“No, her future killings would be controlled, besides would not kill without provocation.”
“How can you be so certain?”
“Because I always instigate the reason for her rage. Give her a reason to kill, in believing that she is protecting her mother. Whomever I wish to terminate, I tell them that Marie has got out, and that I would like them to bring her in for me. I tell them that Marie is docile but stubborn, and they will have to use force to get her moving, beat her if they have to into submission.” he laughed wickedly.
“You do what! That’s sick. You literally set them up, not to mention causing harm to Marie.”
“So what, Marie is old, really I have no further use of her, and it is only for sentimental reasons that I let her go on living, you know flesh of my flesh and all that.”
A fierceness like Geraldine had never known before rose into her chest, threatening to suffocate her as a deep menacing growl had issued from her throat. Her eyes had become beacons of fire, mere pinpricks of blazing heat, as raw hatred throbbed in every fibre of her being, and as she listened to his words, she vowed at that time that never again, never would she allow Strasser to trick her, and never again would she kill for him, only for herself. For she pledged that she would make one last kill, one in which she would derive immense pleasure, the slaying of Strasser himself.

Now recognising the sound of the siren, Geraldine knew what it held for her. Strasser turned on the siren prior to every kill he had expected of her, and she waited in expectation of his arrival. Pacing the floor of her cell she trembled with unleashed vengeance, as the swaying of beacon light announced his approach long before she heard the sound of his footsteps crunching down the gravel path towards her.
Listening for the familiar sounds of his keys as he pulled them from his pocket, she waited until his figure loomed before the backdrop of a moon drenched night, to stand outside the bars looking at her.
Her eyes narrowed as she watched him, an involuntary growl issuing from her throat and she felt a tingling in her hands as her claws detracted and retracted in frenzied anticipation.
Strasser eyed her nervously, and she watched him pull a gun from his pocket, unlock the door and pull it open.
Geraldine slid down to her haunches, if he expected her to flee into the night this time, he would be disappointed, she would make him come inside and get her. Balancing the flashlight on a ledge of rock, Strasser leaned against the door to hold it open with his back and aimed the gun at her, wishing he had brought a whip. The fact that she hadn’t done as he expected un-nerved him, and he shouted at her “Get out, go, quickly someone is hurting your mother.”
Her mind soaked up this information, she knew it was a trick, and did not move. Geraldine sensed his fear, heard his voice falter as he spoke again, “Come on girl... show me what you can do.” and in that moment the words Reidel had spoken flooded to her mind, ‘keeping her savage to carry out your warped perversions’ and ‘sometimes your bloodlust frightens me’ and she knew in that instance that she would allow him to feel as well as see exactly what she could do.
Stealthily she rose and approached him, and he saw the foreboding glint of her eyes in the beam of the flashlight, and as she padded silently towards him, he noticed as if for the first time, just how tall she was, taller than her mother, taller than himself.
The aura of her presence hung in the air coupled with an ominous feeling of impending doom that engulfed his very soul, and Strasser found his body shook with a chill that seeped into his very bones and made his teeth chatter uncontrollably in his jaws.
Holding the gun in his outstretched arms gave him a merit of comfort, yet as she advanced and her eyes locked with his, he physically wet himself. Shamefully he dropped his gaze, and Geraldine took advantage of the chance.
Making no sound at all, she leapt upon him, throwing his body to the ground, forcing the breath from his lungs, he was powerless to stop her. He felt a sharp pain in the hand that held the gun, and then felt a warm trickle seep into the fabric of his jacket and placing his other hand to the wound, he recoiled in horror as he found a gaping hole where his arm had once joined his shoulder, then as his heart beat pounded in his head, he saw the blood spurt from the wound and cover Geraldine’s face. Strasser tried desperately to scramble to his feet, but her weight was too much for him, and he never realised before just how strong she was. Taking his face between her hands, he saw the glint of fangs, and fear gripped his throat, his breath coming in ragged spasms. And then for the first time, he heard her speak, stunned in knowing that she could, “You!” she spat at him, “How I hate you. I am going to kill you. Kill you for all the things you have done to me. For all the things you have done to my mother. For taking her son away for creating us all like this. It is your destiny to die by the hands you created.” Then before he had time for further thoughts, he saw her raise her arm, and watched in terror as it came hurtling towards his head. He felt the flesh rip, heard an immense sound of cracking bone in his ears, and the next thing he knew for split seconds as he expired was the ability to look back at his headless body and know that he was dead.

Geraldine looked down at the body. She kicked it. Still she hated him. Would always hate him. Yet she felt no satisfaction at his death, she had not enjoyed killing him, it was just something that needed to be done. She hoped now that his death would bring an end to all the senseless experiments that crossed a man with a beast, and that no-one would ever suffer again as she had done.
Yet he told her someone was hurting her mother. Were they really? This time she would not rush in until she was sure. Sniffing the air, she stepped over Strasser’s body and made her way quietly along the perimeter fence.

*** *** ***

Father was worried about Vincent, he had become insecure again, yet Father simply could not understand the reason behind it. When they had first learned of the purpose behind Devin and Catherine’s long absence, from Charles message, Vincent had sat quietly in his chamber absorbing the news for some days, eventually confining his feelings to Father, and together they had sat down and talked through all the possibilities. Those relating to Devin and Catherine bringing back with them the knowledge of Vincent’s existence along with the possibility of their also bringing home some family member of his.
And Vincent had come to accept that whatever or whomever Devin and Catherine brought back with them, they had done so under great risk to themselves.
So Father could not fathom Vincent’s unrest, neither did his son come forward with any explanation, he only knew that day by day, Vincent’s eyes wore an agonised expression, which Father wished he could wipe away.
Only Vincent knew the reasons behind his distress. He knew from the onset that Catherine had gone with Devin to help him, and he knew that they both loved him, but he also knew for a certainty through the Bond that Devin was being drawn towards Catherine in some way, so subtly that even she was unaware of the pull. And then for a brief tantalising moment, he had felt her joy and also felt her respond to a fleeting kiss, which ended as abruptly as it had began, but had left her feeling breathless and confused. And as the length of time they were away increased, Vincent could not shake off the doubts that had crept into his mind, stemmed from his past feelings about the two of them.
He could only wait and agonise day after day, and hope that he was wrong.

*** *** ***

The way Marie had intended to take Catherine and Devin was to the place where she repeatedly escaped from. It had been a cause of great concern to Strasser, he never managed to find out how Marie did it, for she was very cunning.
One day she had noticed a small ray of light at the foot of a tunnel along the buggy rail, and bending to investigate, had found that she could hollow out a gap large enough to allow herself to slither through into an unexplored gallery beyond. Once inside she had jumped from ledge to ledge until she found a way out, up near the ceiling, breaking through onto the mountainside itself. All she had to do was conceal the gap each time she used it from the other side, and no-one ever discovered it.
Looking at Catherine and Devin, Marie was certain that Catherine at least would be tiny enough to be able to slither through the gap, and out into the tunnels that eventually led to Geraldine’s cell from the inside, however, just as she was contemplating the idea Marie heard the siren go off again. Knowing from past experience what it related to she waited with nervous excitement outside the villas, while Catherine and Devin raced back inside to pack their belongings. Devin finished packing first and came across to Catherine’s villa, only to find himself being pushed inside by Marie, roughly from behind.
“Aren’t you coming in too, “ he bade her, as she made to close the door behind him. Marie put a finger to her lips, and closed the door firmly in his face. She had heard Geraldine’s roars, the bloodcurdling cries of Strasser, and until Geraldine could be reasoned with, Marie wanted these two people safe and out of sight.
Catherine opened the door slightly, “Marie come on inside.” she pleaded.
“Me safe”, Marie told her pulling the door shut again. Unconvinced, Catherine made her way to the window with Devin to look outside.
Marie was pacing back and forth in the moonlight, sniffing the air, when they saw her suddenly step out of sight.
Geraldine approached cautiously, it was very dark beneath the canopy of trees, yet she could smell them. She recognised her mother’s scent and that of two others she did not know. She could not see them, but she knew her mother was close by. “Mama where are you?”, she called softly.
Marie stepped from the shadows, back into the light of the moon, and relief flooded through Geraldine, when she saw that her mother was unharmed. Running across to Marie, she pulled her close and hugged her tightly, it was the first time in years that they had made such close contact. “Strasser told me that you were in trouble”, Geraldine told Marie.
Holding her daughter at arms length, Marie looked into her eyes, “No.” she replied softly, “Me safe, friends here.” then she led Geraldine across to Catherine’s villa and opened the door, bringing her inside.
Catherine and Devin watching the scene from inside, moved slowly back against the far wall, as Marie snapped on the light. “No!”, Devin pointed to the camera. Marie shook her head, “No matter”, she said “Camera dead”, she smiled mischievously. She had spent the entire day crushing as many cameras as she could find, and breaking all the connecting circuits in-between. Devin stepped back against the wall, tensing as Geraldine stepped into the villa. His breath caught in his throat, she was absolutely stunning!
Catherine watched the two of them, it was like watching a play unfolding.
Looking at Geraldine, Catherine saw little resemblance to Vincent. The shape of her nose, the mouth, the eyes were the same, yet with her ivory complexion she was totally different. And the shape of her head was feminine. Yet it was her hair that made Catherine gasp, beautiful long silken hair that reached almost to her waist, in ripples of black, amber and ivory, just like the stripes of a tiger. And her height! She was well over six feet, Vincent’s height! Watching them with a keen eye, Marie sensed the desire within her daughter for this man, as Geraldine padded softly across the room to stand before him. Devin found himself glued to the most fascinating amber eyes he had ever seen, tinted with green and edged with tiny little strokes of black beneath the lids and upon her temples. He was spellbound by her presence, and unable to move. A creature so like Vincent, yet so unlike Vincent, almost as if he had been thrown into the middle of a delightful dream. Automatically he reached out a hand to greet her, and Geraldine took it within her own to sniff at it. Sensing his friendship Geraldine draped herself around him in affectionate greeting, purring softly. Devin felt the rise of desire swamp his senses, and was rewarded with a chuckle from Geraldine as she sensed how she had affected him.
Suddenly, she noticed that Catherine still grasped Devin’s other hand tightly and Geraldine’s eyes narrowed into defiant slits, as a low slow growl rose from her chest.
Recognising the signs, Marie grasped her daughter, pulling her away, “No”, she shouted at her, “friend, friend.”
“Please don’t be afraid”, Catherine spoke, and then smiled as she remembered those very same words that Vincent had spoken to her so long ago, “We are not here to harm you, we came only to set you free.”
Geraldine listened and reasoned before answering, “Are you two lovers?” she asked nodding in Devin’s direction, needing to know the answer to this more than anything.
Catherine laughed out loud, unable to stop herself, “No...we are not, and never will be”, then as an afterthought told her, “I am in love with your brother.”
Marie drew in a sharp breath, “My son?” she queried.
Catherine nodded, feeling tears prick her eyes, “Yes, and we have a child too, a son. Your grandson.”
Marie clapped her hands with glee, and seemed to notice Catherine for the first time. She had already known that she was beautiful, and now as she remembered her son, with his cat-like features, Marie was overjoyed to know that this woman possessed also an inner beauty that had allowed her to love him, and bear him a child.
“What is his name?” Geraldine asked.
“Who?” Catherine replied.
“My brother. What is his name?”
Catherine smiled, “His name is Vincent, and our son is named Jacob. We would like very much to take you and your mother to be with Vincent. Would you come with us?”
“Will we be free?” Geraldine asked hopefully.
“Yes. You will be free.”
“Then we shall come with you.” she replied happily.
“First let us introduce ourselves properly,” Catherine continued, “This is Devin. Vincent and Devin grew up together as brothers. And my name is Catherine. I met Vincent over four years ago now, when he saved my life.”
Geraldine listened intently, she was particularly interested in how her brother had saved Catherine’s life, but did not ask at that moment.
“My name is Geraldine, though I would prefer to be called Gerry. Strasser named me Geraldine, and I have no wish to be reminded of him ever again.” She reached for Marie’s hand, “He will not harm us ever again Mama, I killed him.”
Marie nodded, “I know. I heard.”
“We must go then,” Devin spoke at last, “Before his body is discovered and they come looking for you. Do you know a way out Gerry?”
“I can make one.” she replied impishly. Liking the sound of his voice.
“Now why doesn’t that surprise me.” Catherine laughed.
Devin squeezed her hand, “Come on Cath, let’s get these two home.”

*** *** ***

Chapter Nineteen

Peter was reading some documents when the telephone rang. Idly he lifted the receiver to his ear, “Hello,” a breathless voice came down the line, before he’d had a chance to speak, “Peter is that you?”
Peter recognised the voice at once, “Cathy! Where are you? Are you well, we have all been so worried. Is Devin all right?”
“Yes, yes and yes. Peter look, we desperately need your help. Can you get a message Below for us, and meet us at the airstrip tomorrow evening after dark, in your limo with the darkened windows?”
“Of course Cathy, anything. On the wanted list are we?”
“Possibly. Devin and I have just stolen two priceless gems.” at his sharp intake of breath, Catherine laughed, “No not really Peter”, and as she heard him sigh, with relief she couldn’t resist saying, “The theft is of something more priceless than gemstones.”
“Catherine...” he spoke in his stern fatherly voice, “What have you done?”
Her tinkling laughter drifted down the line, as he waited for her to explain, wondering if she had been drinking.
“Don’t worry Peter, I’m not about to be shot at dawn, but we do need your help. Peter are you sitting down?”
“Yes.” he didn’t like to think what was coming next.
Catherine took a deep breath. It was one of those exciting moments that hung in the air, something that desperately needed to be said, yet the deliciousness of withholding the knowledge surpassed the telling.
“Peter...Devin and I...are bringing Vincent’s mother and sister home with us.”
There was silence.
“I’m still here Cathy.”
“Did you hear me?” Catherine couldn’t believe how her words seem to have gone down like a lead balloon. “Peter? I’ll explain more when I see you.”
Peter regained his senses at last, and the room had stopped spinning, “Catherine are you sure. If you are wrong about this, you could do Vincent irreparable damage.”
“I am positive Peter. Not only does his mother look somewhat like him, but the story matches, and his sister resembles him too. They have both been cruelly treated Peter, they need a lot of patience and understanding. Love too.”
“Then they are going to the right place Cathy. I’ll go and tell Jacob myself, right now.”
Peter couldn’t believe how nervous he was feeling, as he made his way down the steps into Father’s chamber within the hour. It just did not seem possible! Not only that there were others like Vincent, but that it had been Catherine and Devin that had found them.
Father was dozing in a chair, and Vincent had just entered from having tucked Jacob into his crib for a nap, when Peter came into view.
“Peter!”, Vincent crossed the room in a few easy strides, holding out his hands, “How good it is to see you. Please, here, let me take your coat, can I get you some tea?”
Peter shook his head, handing the coat to Vincent, and taking the comfy seat gratefully.
“Jacob?” Peter queried, “are you well?”
“Yes, yes, please don’t concern yourself, I am just a little tired that’s all.” Vincent smiled, “Father has been educating the children with his favourite game, and he has over done it somewhat.”
A half smile rose to Peter’s lips, which Vincent was quick to notice, “Peter is there something wrong?”
Peter shuffled in his seat. He began to feel a little of what Catherine had felt earlier when she had told him her news, except that Peter found that passing it on, made him tense.
Sitting opposite him, Vincent and then Father became concerned when Peter obviously had difficulty in speaking.
“I bring a message...” he got out some of the words at last.
“A message from whom?” Father asked him softly.
“From Catherine.”
“Catherine?” Vincent repeated slowly. A tiny hand of fear plucked at his heart. Peter nodded, “Yes she rang me not an hour since. She and Devin are on their way home.”
“Now!” Vincent shook away the fear as his heart soared on wings of joy.
“Yes they will be home late tomorrow evening. I have to meet them at the airstrip.”
Vincent’s face radiated the sunshine he so longed to walk beneath, and his body felt weak with relief. Catherine was coming home. Home to him.
Yet Peter was holding something back, and what was it he had said about having to meet them?
“What is it Peter?” Father encouraged him again, “Why do you look so troubled, are Catherine and Devin well?”
“Yes, at least I think so, no its not that. Catherine told me something that I find so remarkable that I am having difficulty believing it, let alone relating it to you.”
What was Peter trying to say? Vincent’s heart hammered in his chest, as he got up to pace the room, his breath seemed to be locked tightly in his lungs, had his fears been right? Had Catherine and Devin found love between themselves after all?
Peter took Vincent’s arm, “ Sit down Vincent, this may come as quite a shock.”
Vincent was rooted to the spot, he could not sit, he could not stand, his legs felt too weak to carry him, he leaned heavily against the table. Catherine loved someone else, she loved Devin, his own brother, he could not bear to hear the words, yet he could not move away.
Unaware of what he was putting Vincent through, Peter opened his mouth to speak, and found no words would come. Stammering he forced them out, “Cath...er..ine and Dev..in” he began. Vincent knew it, here it comes he thought wretchedly.
“They er, they have...”
“Have what - fallen in love? Was that it?” Vincent’s thoughts ran riot through his mind.
Sensing Vincent’s obvious discomfort Father intervened, urgently, “Peter what about Catherine and Devin, they have what?”
Peter seemed to shake himself, he had slipped into a void, a wonderful void, where he did not have to utter the words he had come here to say.
“Not what Jacob, but who?” he said at last.
“Who?” Father and Vincent exclaimed as one.
“Yes,” he regaining his composure, Peter went on faster now, more sure of himself, “Vincent, Jacob, I bring word from Catherine that ...she and Devin...”
“Oh no, please no” Vincent’s mind screamed.
“ are bringing home with them, Vincent’s mother and sister.” he finally finished.
Suddenly Vincent needed that chair and fast, and fell into it with a look of utter disbelief on his face.
“How Peter, did she tell you how they managed this?” he asked at last, his words barely audible.
“No Catherine said she would explain it all to us, but she is convinced without a shadow of a doubt that these two are your family Vincent. Apparently the story matches what we already know, and your mother and sister look something like you.”
Father stood up, using the same table for support, and crossed the room to place his arm lovingly around Vincent’s shoulders, “Then we must make plans to welcome them, huh, Vincent, and this will be one of the finest celebrations we will ever have had.”

*** *** ***

Devin found the aircraft exactly where his friend told him he would leave it, and persuading Gerry and Marie on board was not as difficult as he had imagined, as fired by their eagerness to see Vincent, they would have allowed him to lead them anywhere.
And he could not help feeling ecstatically happy. From the moment he had laid eyes on Gerry, Devin had known he could love her, and began to see the sense of this Bond thing that Vincent and Catherine shared, feeling positive that Gerry had this remarkable gift too. She seemed to know exactly when he was about to speak and sensed his emotions so that he felt instantly close to her. It was as if she was a part of himself that he had never known he had lost until he found her, and then it seemed to him that a gaping hole had been filled and that she had been the one to fill it. Like two parts that fitted snugly together.
Catherine watched this interchange with fascination. She recognised the signs as Gerry’s eyes lit up every time Devin glanced her way. If love at first sight existed, this was it in the making.
Marie seemed to want to stay close to Catherine. Since learning that this woman loved her son and had bore him a child, she felt at peace being beside her and trusted her completely. If Catherine had asked her to sink herself into the abyss of a great ocean, Marie would have done it without question. Her trust was such.
The journey home was a long one. And once over Europe the Atlantic Ocean stretched all the way to America, affording everyone the chance to rest and to think.
Catherine was pleased that their assignment was over. That they had achieved what they set out to do, and they were at last going home. She thought about Vincent, suddenly it did not seem right that she should be there when he met his family. The whole thing had been Devin’s idea, and she did not want to steal his thunder. But for him none of this would have come to pass, and Catherine knew how important it was to Devin to have achieved something so wonderful for Vincent’s sake.
The more she thought about it, the more she knew that she would allow Peter to drop her off at the apartment before taking Devin, Marie and Gerry Below, and she would allow Vincent time to be with his family, without the added burden of feeling her eyes upon him, sensing her desire for him. For Catherine knew now with every passing mile the rise of her desire, the hunger for his love, his kiss, his as yet unfelt caresses on her fully naked body. She yearned for him to love her and became inflamed with a passion for him that surprised her. Only a few months ago, she had pushed him away, convinced that marriage should come first, now she did not care anymore. Only the boundless joy of being with him mattered and she longed for him with every passing mile.

Marie looked down at the few lights from passing ships on the ocean far below. It was a dream come true. She was going to be re-united with her son. She had never thought it possible, had not even known where he was. No-one knew. The knowledge that he was truly alive and well cheered her heart and soul, and she cherished the thought that he had a son of his own. Her life was only just beginning now, the past and all its misery were over, from now on she would have all her family around her and she would be free!

Gerry’s head nodded wearily. It wasn’t just the journey, or the motion of the aircraft, it was the bliss of knowing that she had freedom, and that she was in love. She eyed Devin thoughtfully. From the moment she had set eyes on him, she had felt a bonding with him. She could sense his feelings, his emotions and knew that he felt towards her as she did him. She had read about such love, yet she did not believe it could be so.
She wondered if it could be because he was the first man she had ever been attracted to, yet no, it was more than that, from the moment her eyes had looked into his, it was as if she had known him all her life, that he had been born for her, and she for him, and she knew without a shadow of a doubt that they would be together now for the rest of their lives.

Devin tried hard to concentrate on the control of the aircraft as he became aware of Gerry’s eyes burning into his back. He knew what she was thinking and he had to pinch himself. It had all happened so suddenly and Devin had never felt so attuned to anyone in all his life. The feeling was new to him. Perhaps it was something to do with his connection to Vincent, in spending his childhood with Gerry’s half brother, perhaps some magical spark had rubbed off on him, and Gerry had been drawn towards it. As his thoughts turned to Vincent he wondered about his reaction to meeting his mother and sister. Devin had wanted this so much, yet he could not have done it without Catherine’s help, and though he owed her his gratitude, he wished he could be alone when he took Marie and Gerry to meet Vincent. He felt somehow that he should be the one to do this. It was important to him, to do something right for once.
He so desperately wanted to do something that would show Father and mainly Vincent, just how much he loved him.
Glancing at Catherine, Devin smiled, she too was deep in thought. “Not long now Cathy.” he broke through her dreams.
She turned to look at him, “You’re getting almost as good as Vincent, knowing what I am thinking.” she laughed.
He smiled broadly, “The look gave you away. Are you going straight Below?”
She looked thoughtful, “I’ve been trying to decide that for hours. I really want to see Vincent’s face when he sees Marie and Gerry for the first time, but somehow I feel my being there will be an intrusion. Without you Devin, none of this would have been possible, and I really think it should be you, and you alone who steals the limelight.”
“You can hover in the background Cathy?” he said, secretly relieved. “No, I think I shall go straight home, rest and come Below in the morning.”
“Do you think you can bear to do. After all you and Vincent have been apart for so long. If it were me, I couldn’t wait to be back with the one I loved.”
“A few more hours won’t hurt, but yes you are right, I do long to hold him in my arms. I feel as though my whole body is melting at the thought of him, with each passing mile.”
Devin smiled knowingly, he had seen the hunger in her eyes, knew how she longed for Vincent, and no doubt he for her, and Catherine had not noticed the skyline of New York coming into view just ahead. “Well melt no more Cathy,” he told her sheepishly, “Take a look down there, we have arrived.”

*** *** ***

As the day folded into evening, Vincent paced his chamber, never feeling so strange in all his life. Here coming towards him were people he had never dared hope to see, and he didn’t know whether he should wait for them to arrive, or hide some place and scrutinise them until he was sure.
Father was quite beside himself with joy, and the Great Hall was being bedecked with flowers and candles, while William, even at such short notice, had excelled himself in the preparation of refreshments for all invited.
“I wonder what they will look like Vincent?” Father managed to say with his mouth full of pins, as he helped Jamie erect the Welcome sign.
Vincent had thought of little else all day, yet words failed him. “They have to look like Vincent, Father, or Catherine would never have been so convinced.” Jamie told him, when Vincent failed to answer.
“Yes, Catherine told Peter that they did. I wonder how Catherine reacted to that when she first saw them. I’d give up chess for two weeks to know.” Father told them.
“Can I have that in writing please Father,” Vincent spoke at last smiling at the exchange between the two of them as if he wasn’t there. Father chuckled, “Seriously Vincent, tell us, what do you think about all of this, you have hardly said a word since Peter left.”
“I am not sure what to say. I find it all a dream, and I don’t know whether to be happy about it or not. Certainly learning the truth is something I have longed for, but to know that there are others like me, well it hurts to think of their lives, I can’t help wondering about that. I am sure that they could never have been blessed with what has been given to me, or Catherine would have left them where they were. I worry Father, for without your love and guidance, my dark side would have taken over, so too could theirs have done, and I worry just what we are letting ourselves in for down here.”
“Mmm you do have a point Vincent, but I don’t think Catherine or Devin would bring wild beasts into our midst, even if they did want to re-unite you so desperately. I don’t think we need worry unduly Vincent. Look why don’t you stop moping around and instead allow yourself to think of the return of the other positive event in your life, and you don’t need me to tell you what that is.”
Vincent recognised the mischievous smile that Father shot him, and couldn’t help but tease, “Do you mean Catherine, Father?”
“Who else?”
“Its so long since I saw her, and we did not part on the best of terms, even that makes me feel a little nervous too Father.”
“Are you allowing yourself to feel her through your Bond?”
“No, I am a little afraid of what I might find there.”
“Then don’t be Vincent. Catherine loves you. Look, Jamie and I can finish up here, why don’t you go to your chamber and rest. Allow yourself to reach out to Catherine, no doubt she is feeling insecure also.”
“All right Father if you are sure. Promise you will send for me, if you need my help with anything?”
“I promise, now off you go Vincent.”

Vincent left them to finish off. Father as usual had been right, he should be opening the Bond to contact Catherine, yet since he had felt something transpire between herself and Devin he had been afraid of what he might find there.
Reaching his chamber, he noticed that Jacob had woken and someone, no doubt Mary, had taken him off somewhere. Vincent did not worry, he was used to returning and finding Jacob gone.
Lying back upon his bed, he closed his eyes, forcing himself to open the Bond, and gasped as something like a thunderbolt struck him, a tidal wave of longing swept through the Bond, engulfing him with a passion that drove every doubt from his mind.
His voice heavy with emotion he whispered her name, “Catherine,” as his body arched upwards as if to meet her, and he felt her hunger devour his soul. Not expecting such desire flowing from her to him, Vincent could not control the sudden rise of his own desire, and he groaned with a longing as his body fused with hers in spirit. And suddenly he became aware of a nervousness he had not expected of himself, and he knew without a doubt that he could not face her, not yet, not after the shameful way he had behaved on the previous occasion they had met, and especially not at the same time as meeting his mother and sister for the first time. Assuming Catherine would come straight Below with his family, he decided to go to her apartment, familiarising himself with her belongings before he could feel ready to face her again.

*** *** ***

To be continued in Chapter Twenty - click on 'Next' below:



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