Part 2 of the Oblivion Trilogy
Vincent could feel that something was wrong, long before he actually felt the pain.
*** *** ***
He, Devin and Gerry were putting together more of their holiday plans, when Vincent felt a grip of fear rush through him, and knew at once it was from Catherine. The moment he felt it, it had passed, so he was on his feet and hesitant as the first pain hit him. A searing burning pain through his right arm, another through his right shoulder, another through his leg, and the thump, thump, thump of blows to his stomach and chest. Reeling under the onslaught he crashed to the floor, writhing in pain.
“Vincent! What on earth?” Devin rushed to his side, kneeling down to grasp his hand, and feel for a pulse. Vincent’s heartbeat was erratic and his eyes, mere slits, were etched with pain.
“I’ll fetch Father,” Gerry called out to him, already running for the door.
Vincent struggled to get up, “No!” He cried, “this pain, it is not mine, its Catherine’s, I think she has been shot.” His voice caught in his throat, disbelief showing in his eyes.
“Shot, No! Where, Vincent can you see where?” Gerry shook her brother, “Come on you’ve got to think.”
“In the park, I can see her, not far from where I first found her. Come, we must go to her.”
“I’ll still fetch Father”, Gerry told them, “You two go to her, and hurry.”
There was no need for her to have said it, already as if on wings of eagles, Devin and Vincent were flying through the tunnels, stopping at nothing, rounding the corners, and scraping their skin upon the rocks without feeling the pain. The desperation in their hearts causing the blood to pound, the fear to mount, the realisation of Catherine’s need pounding through their minds.
The door was slow to slide back, and Vincent literally tore it from its hinges, in his haste. It didn’t matter about sunlight, didn’t matter about people seeing him, he had to go to her. Devin tried to stop him, full of a lifelong request from his father, never to let Vincent go Above in daylight, but Vincent flung his arm away, “She is my life, Devin, of what use is my life without her. I must go to her.” he was running, feet pounding on the frosted grass, slithering, Devin close at his side, breathing coming hard and fast, lungs pierced by the onslaught of the rasping cold air that plunged down their throats, and caused them to stumble.
Vincent saw her, lying on the grass, her orange coat em-blazed across the silvery green, her body motionless, and blood already caked from the cold, in a pool around her.
His eyes misted over with tears, as he fell to his knees, sobbing. “Who would have done this to her.” he spoke, whispering her name over and over.
Devin looked down at the lifeless form; his heart was breaking too, “We have to move her Vincent. Come on, we have to carry her inside.” Nervously he looked around him, there was, miraculously, no one in sight, but for how long? Had anyone heard the shots? “Come on Vincent, pick her up, we have to move her and quickly.”
“Stop thinking about me, Devin. We shouldn’t move her, we should get help, she needs to be in a hospital.”
“There’s no time. Come on, if you don’t carry her, I will.”
He made to bend to pick her up, and Vincent stilled him. “No, I will carry her, she is my wife.” He looked at Devin for what seemed hours. Eyes locked, and Vincent knew what he had always known, what Devin had tried to tell him once, that Devin loved Catherine too. Despite how he felt about Gerry.
Carrying Catherine and striding purposefully forward, Vincent heard the sirens, as he turned into the tunnel entrance, and met Gerry and Father coming towards him.
Devin loitered beside the pool of Catherine’s blood. He knew how he had given himself away. Though he had told Vincent once, that in another life, he could have loved Catherine, he realised suddenly what he should always have known, but had denied it, that he loved her in this life, and he loved her deeply. The knowledge tore him apart.
Slowly, each step like lead, he headed back to the tunnel entrance, where Gerry was waiting anxiously for him.
Seeing his tortured look, her words that she was about to utter, froze, and instead she took his arm, and together they walked miserably toward home.
Devin’s wounds took a lot longer to heal than Catherine’s, for while Catherine’s were embedded in flesh, his were embedded deep within his heart, and no amount of surgery could heal him.
How could he have denied it, how could he have let it happen? And not known of it. Sitting beside the mirror pool, he sobbed and sobbed for days on end. At night he would crawl back to his chamber, where Gerry waited with tortured eyes, but said nothing, allowing Devin to find his own place, knowing as only a wife who loves her husband can know, that with patience and love she can bring him back to her.
Vincent never left Catherine’s bedside. Peter and Father, along with Mich’ael had worked long into the night, extracting the bullets, watching over Catherine while she remained unconscious, yet Vincent’s pain went deeper than his grief for Catherine. The grief for the loss of his brother. And the pain of the knowledge that Devin loved Catherine too. He did not know what to say to him. That he had seen the love for Catherine in Devin’s eyes, hurt him deeper than anything he had ever known, cut through him like a two edged sword, down to the marrow, and the pain that went with it, was by far the worst pain he had ever known.
*** *** ***
Peter made regular visits to Catherine’s bedside, and after three days, declared her to be out of the danger zone. Still she remained unconscious.
“How long Peter, how long will she be this way?” Vincent asked him.
“She should be awake soon. There is no reason why she shouldn’t fully recover, she was a very lucky young lady.”
“Yes, I cannot thank you enough for getting here so soon Peter.”
“You should be directing your thanks to Father too, and Mich’ael but for their help, it may have been another story.”
“ The shots she received weren’t only the cause for this unconscious state, were they Peter? I felt her fear before I felt the pain from the bullets.”
“Yes, she has received some kind of shock, I would say just prior to the shooting. Someone she knew perhaps, we can only wait until she comes around before we can do anything about it.”
“But what then, what can be done. We cannot call the police out now; they would want to know where she has been. So whoever did this, gets away free.”
“Yes, it would appear so, I’m sorry Vincent, but there are probably a lot of people up there with a grudge against Catherine, the only way you are knowingly going to keep her safe, is never to let her out of your sight.”
Vincent sighed, “This I do know.”
Hearing that Peter had arrived, Father hobbled into the room, “Arh Peter, there you are, how is she today.”
“Better Jacob, though still out cold. I think she will pull through. But if it wasn’t for that chocolate cake....”
Vincent looked up, suddenly, “What do you mean?”
Father smiled, “This is the only time, Vincent I have been glad of your passion for chocolate cake. Catherine was carrying a bag with a tub of ice cream and a huge chocolate cake inside. Fortunately when her assailant blasted six rounds into her, three of them went straight through that tub of ice cream and lodged inside the chocolate cake. You could say that your passion for chocolate cake saved Catherine’s life.”
“I did not know this.” Vincent stated simply.
“No, we thought it best not to disturb you with humorous things, while you were so worried. You know Vincent, now that Catherine is out of danger, you would do well to build some bridges with Devin, I don’t know what happened between you two that day, but he has hardly left the mirror pool, since this happened, and hasn’t eaten properly in three days.” Father told him gently.
“No, it is not I that needs to build bridges with Devin, Father, it is the other way around, he knows where to find me. Why he hasn’t even been to see Catherine since it happened.” Vincent told him.
“It’s almost as if you blame him for this, for your grief.” Father told him.
“For this no, for my grief yes. Devin knows why Father, it is enough that he knows, he has to come to me first.” Vincent was adamant, and Father did not miss the coldness of his tone.
Leaving Vincent to sit with Catherine, he and Peter made their way back to Father’s chamber, “What do you think is wrong with the pair of them, Jacob, do you know?” Peter asked, “They were such good friends, recently so close one would have to prise them apart.”
Father shook his head sorrowfully, “ I don’t know Peter, something is awfully amiss here. Gerry walks around with red and puffy eyes, and says nothing, Devin spends all his time at the mirror pool, I cannot begin to imagine why.”
Entering the chamber they found Gerry trying to concentrate on some medical books, she rose to leave when they entered.
“No”, Father stopped her, “Don’t go on our account, stay and talk, it is sometime since we have had a chat. What were you reading?”
“I was looking to see how deeply grief affects a person and why.” she stated simply, then as fresh tears gathered and fell, she ran into Father’s arms, “Oh Father,” she sobbed. “I know that Devin loves me, but I can’t help feeling that he doesn’t want me anymore.”
“Whatever makes you say this?” he asked her gently easing her away to look into her face.
“I can feel it through the Bond, Father. Devin loves another.”
“No, then your Bond lies to you. Who else would Devin...lo.ve.” Slowly Father began to realise, “Catherine,” he whispered.
“Yes.” Gerry told him, “Catherine.”
“Oh Gerry”, was all he could say, as he pulled her back into his arms and hugged her tightly.
“Does Vincent know of this?” Peter asked her gently.
“I don’t know, perhaps.” she told him. “Why?”
“Haven’t you been to see Catherine either?”
“Yes, I look in on her often. Usually Vincent never even seems to hear me come in, and I try not to disturb him. How can I, knowing what I know.”
“We believe he knows this also, really the two of you should comfort one another, talk about how to come through this, this revelation, and someone should speak with Devin.” Father told her tenderly.
“Yes Father. I’ll go now.” Gerry intended on going to Vincent, but as soon as she got outside Father’s chamber, she found her feet taking her in the other direction towards the mirror pool.
Devin was sat beside the pool, idly skimming stones, when he heard her approach. She could tell by his hunched shoulders how tired he was, and her heart went out to him. Sitting alongside him, she slipped her hand into one of his, and said nothing. For a long time he continued to flip the stones across the surface of the water, and Gerry watched in fascination as the pebbles bounced, once, twice, three times, four times, five times across the water’s surface, before plopping beneath its depths on the six bounce. “That’s really good, Devin, “ she told him, “Can you teach me how to do that?”
Turning pain filled eyes toward her, he said simply, “You know don’t you?”
“That you love Cathy, yes.” she told him, simply.
“Oh Gerry, I’m so sorry.” he told her, letting go of her hand.
“For what? Cathy is a wonderful person, I love her myself.”
Devin looked at his wife, saw the compassion in her beautiful eyes, and reached for her hand again, “You are a remarkable woman, Geraldine”, he told her, "I don’t deserve you.”
“Yes you do, Devin. Do you remember that day we first met, in that villa on Sonn Alp? You were holding Catherine’s hand, and I asked if you and she were lovers. You two looked so right together, I was surprised when Cathy told me that you certainly weren’t, had never been and never would be, and I saw the hurt in your eyes at her words. I have always known Devin, what you refused to recognise, that you loved Cathy, and when I came to know her so well, I understood what drove you to think of her that way, for I grew to love her also. Not in the same way of course,” she saw him smile and her voice softened even more, “ but I could understand why you felt for her as you did. As you do.”
“ I did love Cathy, right up until the time she was shot, I loved her and denied it, and when I saw her lying there in the park, and thought she was dead, it hit me. And I felt so helpless and so overwhelmed with grief that I knew, as I have always known, since first I met her, that I loved her with all my heart, yet I still loved you as much. Can you understand that, Gerry?”
“Not really. I have only ever loved once, and that is you. I couldn’t contemplate ever loving another till the day that I die, but because I love you so much, I can help you through this.
You say that your love for Cathy is in the past, now, is that true, or are you just saying that, because it is out in the open now Devin?”
“Because its true. Had you of not come into my life, perhaps not, I may have taken my love for her secretly, down into my grave, but you have come into my life, and I couldn’t now live it without you. I came to realise this, when I imagined it were you who lay lifeless on that frozen ground that day, and contemplated life without you, the grief was ten times worse than the grief I felt for Cathy, I love you so much Gerry.”
“Then why, haven’t you been to see Cathy at all?”
“William keeps me informed when he brings me food, and tries to coax me into eating. I cannot go there.”
“Because of Vincent?”
“You know everything?”
“Yes, is it because of Vincent then?”
“Yes, what can I say to him. He saw my love for his wife in my eyes that morning. I feel as though I have betrayed him so much. What can I say to him?”
“I understand that Vincent is feeling as much pain about this as you are. No doubt he thinks he has lost a brother, as well as almost losing his wife. If I were you, I would go and comfort him, and let him see that this is not the case at all, Devin.”
“You think I should go now?”
“There is no time like the present, Devin. Do you want me to come with you?”
“Only as far as our chamber, I’ll go to his alone.”
Though their chambers were not far apart, Devin found the distance as a mile, thoughts ravishing his mind, as to what to say, how to say it. Yet as he pushed open the door and saw Vincent’s bent back, huddled in a chair at Catherine’s bedside, Devin knew only one thought.
Going over to Vincent, Devin put his arms around the shoulders, and leaned his face upon Vincent’s back, in a gesture he hadn’t used since they were children. It was a gesture he had reserved solely for Vincent, a gesture that simply said sorry when words failed.
Vincent sighed and closed his eyes, relief, washing through him like a warm tide. “Hello, Devin.” He told him softly, just as he had always answered, “How are you?”
Devin pulled up a chair, and sitting on it beside Vincent, stared ahead at the steady rise and fall of Catherine’s breathing, lost for words.
Tilting his head to look at his brother, Vincent placed his hand on Devin’s chin and turned his face so that their eyes met. Devin lowered his gaze, unable to meet Vincent’s eyes, but Vincent would have none of it. “Devin, look at me.”
“I cannot. My heart is so heavy that it is forcing my eyelids down.” Devin told him.
Vincent chuckled, “That’s rather melodramatic coming from you.” He told him.
Gradually, Devin raised his lids, surprised at the compassion and love he saw within Vincent’s ocean blue depths. Devin felt himself drowning in a whirlpool of brotherly affection, and throwing his arms around Vincent, he hugged him tightly, “I’m so sorry, I love you Vincent...” he sobbed. “I love you so much.
In a voice cracking with emotion Vincent whispered, “And do you love me more than you love my Catherine?”
Sitting back into the chair, Devin looked at his brother, and told him truthfully, “A few days ago, I would not have known how to answer that, to you. But now, now I know the answer, I do love Catherine, but not as much as I love you, or as much as I love Gerry.”
Vincent reached forward and hugged him tightly, “I’ve missed you these last few days, Devin, really missed you. I can understand why you love her. No don’t say did, I know you. Given the chance, or as you yourself once said, in another life, you and Catherine would be lovers, this I know, have always known, and in a way it gives me great comfort, to know that another heart beats for her, and you will always care deeply for her. If I should ever die, I know I can do so, comforted by the fact that you will always keep her safe for me, as only you can.”
“Thank you Vincent.”
“You two are really cracking me up, you know that.” A plaintive voice croaked from the bed, and both Devin and Vincent turned to see Catherine wide awake, a bemused expression on her face, having caught the tail end of their conversation.
“Catherine” they cried ecstatically, in unison, and it was difficult to tell which of the two kissed her ‘welcome back’ first.
*** *** ***
Mich’ael listened to Catherine telling of her recent experience with interest. “I think I know this man you speak of.” He told her.
“How can you, this happened a long time ago. I convicted him of the rape of two little girls aged seven and eight, and he went to prison for...”
“For sixteen years, and now he is out on parole, in LA,” Mich’ael, finished for her.
Catherine stared wide-eyed at him. “You do know this man, but how?”
“It is the same man then, you think?” Mich’ael asked her, he needed to be sure.
“Oh yes, definitely, though if you could describe him, that would help.”
Mich’ael gave her the description, and Catherine’s face showed him, that it was the same person, even before she confirmed it with words, from the look of horror upon her face, and the way she shuddered at the description.
“Do you know where to find this man?” Catherine asked him.
“Oh yes, definitely, that is if he has returned to LA. What is his name, he wouldn’t tell it to Han’s or I.” Briefly he came to tell her how the two of them had met and why.
“His name is Drayton O’Connor,” Catherine told him. “I expect he will think that he killed me. I doubt he will bother to come here again.”
“Nonetheless, Catherine, it will be as well you don’t go Above in future, by yourself. Not until we know how he feels for sure. He had people looking out for you, if one of them should see you... Need I say more?” Catherine shook her head; the horror of the words would not form to answer him with.
Mich’ael patted her hand, “Don’t let it worry you Cathy, Look, I propose that I go to LA, and see what he has to say for himself, see if he truly believes you to be dead.”
Catherine smiled weakly, relief flooding through her at his suggestion, “Okay, if you don’t mind, I’d really appreciate that, thank you Mich’ael,” she told him. It seemed amazing somehow, that once she had ran from Mich’ael Reidel, and now here he was helping her. One never really did know people from what they saw of the outer person that was for sure.
Leaving it at that Catherine and Gerry went off to find Vincent, while Devin loitered at the table, thinking hard. “When you go to LA, Mich’ael I would like to come with you.”
“Oh I don’t think that would be a good idea Devin, you see this man knows you.” Mich’ael told him.
“Yes, master of disguises he referred to you as. Doesn’t his name mean anything to you?”
“I can’t say that it does. I lived in L.A. for a time, perhaps he knows me from there. No matter I will still come with you, I can watch from across the street. He can’t get away with what he did to Catherine, Mich’ael.”
“My thoughts exactly, what do you propose to do Devin. Kill him?”
Mich’ael was horrified, “You’re not serious? You’ll never get away with it.”
“Yes but that was different. Catherine was in a lonely park, the place this guy frequents is in a busy street.”
“So I’ll follow him home. I can wait, but I tell you Mich’ael I will kill him.”
“Have you ever killed before?”
“Then how can you be so certain you could carry this out?”
“Because I am doing it for Catherine, and for Vincent.”
“Then we must make a thorough plan, so that you do not get caught. If you need a gun I have one.”
“When do you plan to leave Mich’ael?”
“Is tomorrow too soon?”
“No, its perfect, the sooner this guy is wasted the better I’ll feel.”
*** *** ***
As it turned out Mich’ael and Devin’s plans were delayed by the announcement of the fixed date for the naming ceremony of the babies, which Devin wouldn’t have missed for the world. It was one of the special occasions, that the tunnel dwellers turned into a real party, and with having four babies to name, they knew that it would be an extra special day.
Vincent and Catherine had thought long and hard about the names for their babies, and felt that they had chosen wisely in the end. Jacob had been named after Vincent’s adoptive Father, and his middle name, Charles, after Catherine’s own father, and so continuing along those lines, Catherine and Vincent hoped that those closest to them would be very happy.
The naming ceremony, was not a christening. It did not welcome the children into any one religion, but it did welcome the children into the community to be known by everyone by the names their parents bestowed on them that day, in front of all the tunnel dwellers. To the people that lived Below, it was traditional, and required the up-most preparation, and people dressed proudly for it, as one invited to a wedding. All the helpers from Above were also invited.
For Vincent and Catherine it was more special than most, because their love was something that had never been, and their marriage and their bringing forth of children was a dream come true that could not be surpassed.
Father enjoyed these occasions immensely. Though he kept a record of all those he had hosted for this grand occasion, without actually counting through the list, he could only say that the amount of times he had actually stood on the platform of the Great Hall, and bid the tunnel dwellers to welcome into the community some new member, was too numerous to mention. For not just babies were welcomed during this ceremony, but also lost souls who had come to live Below, and wished to be known by a new name.
So as he waffled proudly through his speech, keen eyes never leaving his face, until he at last drew attention to the proud parents of the now to be named babies.
Catherine handed Vincent their firstborn son, after Jacob that was, and looking directly at Devin, Vincent told everybody, “This our son, from this day forth will be known as Cannon Devin Wells.”
Devin blushed, “Really? Well I guess it did kinda stick, though I must say it sounds awfully nice, especially with the Devin bit in the middle, thank-you Vincent. Thank you Catherine.”
Devin turned eyes to them both as he spoke their names, lingering that bit longer upon Catherine’s radiant face, and he could not help his heart from leaping. No matter what he told himself, he would always love her, and that Vincent was aware of this made him tremble beneath the onslaught of those knowing blue eyes. Devin wondered if he might ever feel normal again. Part of him it seemed belonged to someone who could never return his feelings, and that in turn made him feel depressed, though he loved his wife very much. Only those that had ever been in love with two people at the same time could ever hope to understand.
Sighing he held open his arms, as Catherine took the sleeping baby from Vincent’s arms and handed him to Devin. Briefly, just briefly her hand touched his in passing, and Devin felt burned. He swallowed hard. Since that day she had been shot in the park, and his subsequent acknowledgement of his intense feelings for her, he knew he would never be the same again. He was on dangerous ground now, and the desire to flee was very strong, but he could not, for Gerry had to live Below, and he could not leave her. He felt thoroughly wretched, and miserable, and did not know what to do about it.
Vincent eyed him keenly. He knew Devin was having difficulty gaining mastery over his emotions, and in many respects he felt for him, remembering the time he too had to gain mastery over the intense feelings for Catherine that led him as a slave. Vincent did not feel angry at Devin’s emotions, only sorrow that he knew such pain, but that it was worse for Devin, because his feelings were for one that could never be part of his life unless at the risk of hurting all those others that he loved. Nonetheless, Vincent knew that they had to confront the problem again and soon, possibly even bringing Catherine into it, no matter how much that hurt Devin. The situation saddened Vincent greatly, because he knew for a certainty that while Devin continued to harbour these feelings for Catherine, their life as the four of them had known it could never be the same carefree life it had once been.
As Vincent’s gazed continued to hold Devin’s, Devin could take no more, and bowed his head to hide his eyes from that penetrating blue gaze. Tears pricked at his lids, and threatened to overflow, and Gerry ever knowing of Devin’s feelings touched his arm, just briefly, and whispered, “Let it go, Devin.” she told him tenderly, so tenderly that his heart broke. “Your feelings are driving a wedge between the friendship the four of us have, so let it go, my love, and return to me. I can heal you.”
Devin’s eyes turned towards Gerry’s face. Her beautiful greeny, gold eyes full of love and concern for him, and he whispered back to her, “It is a wonder you are not jealous Gerry, look at me, acting like a love-struck teenager, I do not deserve your continued affection and love.”
“Oh yes you do Devin, you are hurting, through no fault of your own. Sometimes the heart leads us in ways we know to be wrong. Nonetheless the pull is great, and we are not in control. I want to help you Devin, because your pain is my pain, and I know your discomfort, and we can come through this together, all the stronger for it.”
Father had finished his waffling, and was now waiting expectantly for Vincent to name the second baby, while all eyes were focused excitedly upon him. “We thought long and hard about naming this son. And had many a disagreement, I can tell you,” he winked at Catherine, “but we always made up afterwards so beautifully.” Everybody laughed, and Catherine actually blushed.
“Eventually we came to an agreement, and we would like this son to be named, Connor Vincent Wells. The final disagreement came when I thought the name would remind Catherine of the man that shot her, but Catherine, being Catherine convinced me otherwise, as she has always loved the name.”
Passing Connor to Geraldine, Father spoke some more words, and then Mary passed the firstborn little girl to Vincent. Looking down into her beautiful feline features and green eyes, so like her mother’s, Vincent’s heart swelled with love for her, and in a voice tight with suppressed emotion told everybody, “This little girl, our daughter, has Catherine’s eyes, and because of that naming her was so easy. Friends, family, I would like to introduce you to Jade Catherine Mary Wells.” A round of applause followed, showing how much everybody thought it was just perfect.
After a few more words from Father, the final baby was handed to Vincent. Her eyes were blue green, and her feline features so like his, filled his heart with pride. “This little girl, “ he told everybody, “ surprised us by her birth. We did not expect her. And she was so tiny. Yet these past few weeks she has blossomed as a flower. And shown a remarkable strength to fight the odds, and catch up with her sister and brothers in weight and size, so much so that we have been nothing short of impressed by her will to do so. We name this daughter Jasmine Marie Geraldine Wells, and would like you all now to raise your glasses to toast Jasmine, Jade, Cannon and Connor to a long and happy future.”
With tears flowing as fast as the champagne, everybody raised their glasses.
*** *** ***
Two days later, Mich’ael and Devin’s plans were almost complete. Now fuelled by the longing to avenge Catherine’s wounds, Devin could think of little else, yet every time his eyes rested upon her, he could not forestall the tug on his emotions, and he would swallow hard, and let his eyes follow her every movement like a love-struck teenager.
Geraldine was very patient with him. She did not know what it was like to be pulled in two different directions, but she didn’t doubt his love for her, and knew that it was some phase he was going through, from which he would come out of, all the stronger for it. Devin knew he couldn’t have Catherine, for he loved his brother and his wife too much to hurt them in this way, yet he could not for the life of him, stop the trembling at her closeness. In many respects he felt he was going mad, as if some demon had grasped hold of him, and every time Catherine were near, it whispered into his ear, ‘look at her, look at her.’ For like a magnet his eyes were drawn to look at her, and he seemed to have no control over his members.
Vincent too was very trusting, yet on occasion, when Devin’s longing had got the better of him, and he had to leave the room, lest he shame himself, Vincent would watch him go warily, sighing great sighs, as to where all this would lead. Something had to be done about it and soon.
Of them all Catherine at first knew none of it, until the little things began to build and she began to put things together. Devin’s reaction to holding her on Sonn Alp, followed by his kiss. Her brief response to that kiss. The words between Devin and Vincent that she had come around to after she had been shot, and the tension that erupted every time the four of them sat together working on their holiday plans. Then Catherine could sense the unrest in Vincent for his brother, and she began to realise just what was taking shape. For all their sanity, she too knew that a confrontation was the only way forward.
And the confrontation came quite unexpectedly one evening. The four of them were playing one of Catherine’s favourite board games, Scrabble. All sat around the table, laughing at the various stupid spellings, when Devin having assured the other three that tinsy winsy was actually a word, passed the bag of letters across for Catherine to replace her letters and their hands touched. Devin snatched back his hand as a flash of lightening coursed through his hands, and Catherine looked searchingly into his eyes. Briefly she saw his unmasked longing for her, and then eyes blinkered once again, he tried to make a joke, that came over very badly, and no one laughed. The air was fraught with a tension that was hard to deny, and Vincent shuffled in his seat, his face betrayed the annoyance he was beginning to know, now that Devin’s feelings were becoming all too obvious.
Gerry tried to get the game back on track, desperate to ease the invisible electric current that seemed to be passing between Devin and Catherine now, causing Devin to shift this way and that with embarrassment, as Catherine continued to stare disbelieving at him.
Finally unable to take the strain any longer, Devin pushed back his chair, and made to leave, when Catherine’s voice stopped him in his tracks, “Devin Wells, get your butt back here.” she called to him.
He turned to her with a sheepish look upon his face, and bowed his head, unable to look at the three expectant faces around the table. Oh that the ground would open up and swallow him, to his shame his aroused state was all too obvious. Catherine felt through the bond Vincent’s rising fury, and putting out a hand she placed it over his arm forcing him to sit still and stay quiet, and then she spoke to Devin.
“Devin”, she said softly, almost too softly, for the caressing tone, only heightened his senses. Knowing this Catherine spoke louder, “ You and I need to talk. This can’t go on, Devin, look at you.” she tried desperately to put humour into the situation without hurting him further, and when he lifted sorrow-filled eyes to hers, it was as if it were only the two of them in the room, and Catherine knew that she had lost. Turning from her, Devin left the room, almost running.
“I’m so sorry Gerry, Vincent.” Catherine pleaded with them to understand, “It is nothing I have encouraged, how long has he been like this?”
“I don’t think it was anything he was aware of until you were shot.” Gerry told her, “And since he has, it is eating him up.”
“I have known for over a year that he had these feelings, when the two of you came back from Sonn Alp. Devin confessed as much to me, but promised it was something he had control over, now I can see he has lost the control. I have been patient with him, but now he is beginning to try that patience.” Vincent told her.
“Don’t be annoyed with him Vincent, I do believe he can be trusted, he loves you and Gerry too much to hurt you like that.” Catherine told him weakly.
“Tonight was the first time I have felt him go from me, Cathy. I have known his turmoil, have seen him fight it within his members, yet just now, when he looked at you, he cast both Vincent and I aside. I don’t know how to handle it anymore, it has grown out of proportion.” Gerry said her tears flowing. “I fear that nothing can be the same between the four of us ever again, and that we have lost something very precious.”
“I too feel this way. Both Gerry and I have spoken to him at length over this, but it would seem that your presence around him keeps fanning the little flame into a fire, and there is nothing to extinguish it.” Vincent told her truthfully, his eyes filled with sorrow.
“Then if the two of you have failed, then I must go to him.” Catherine stated flatly.
“No”, Gerry and Vincent cried in unison, and Vincent continued, “To go to him now, Catherine, in his state could only bring something you will both regret, something we would all regret. I know. I remember when I wanted you so badly, while you were in Europe, that had you stepped within my circle of vision, then my feelings would have been lost to me. So intense were they that at that time, it would have been dangerous for you to have been near me. Please my love, let him get himself under control before you embark upon this folly.” Vincent implored her.
“I’m sorry Vincent. I have always been led to believe that you should never let the sun set with you in a provoked state. I am going to him now. Do either of you know where he might be?”
“The sun set a long time ago, Cathy, but if you are certain, you will find him by the mirror pool.” Gerry told her.
Vincent said nothing, but Catherine could feel his anger. And tried to comfort him, “Vincent I heard all that you said, but I have to do this, and I have to do this now.”
“Then do it Catherine, but remember I am only a heartbeat away if you should need me.” Vincent wasn’t convinced, but he had to give her his blessing. Perhaps there was a possibility of her turning this thing around where the pair of them had failed.
Catherine could have approached the problem in many different ways, but when she saw Devin huddled over himself at the edge of the mirror pool, it touched her heart, and she decided there and then not to pussyfoot around it, but to jump straight into the deep end. Much as Devin himself would tackle any situation. To meet fire with fire.
Approaching, he looked up as she lowered herself down alongside him, saying nothing until first he did.
He turned pain filled eyes to her and his voice shook with emotion, “Cathy” he said softly, “I knew you would come.”
Catherine took a deep breath, she hoped that she hadn’t misjudged him, her words could so easily have the undesired effect. Licking her dry lips, and keeping her voice steady showing no emotion, she asked him, “Devin, if I were to take all my clothes off and lay down naked here beside you, would you make love to me?”
Devin could hardly believe he had heard her right. Staring open mouthed at her, his eyes wide with disbelief, he saw the fun in her eyes, and suddenly everything dropped into perspective. He laughed and reaching out he hugged her hard, “Oh Cathy, you are priceless. Thank you. You have just saved my sanity.”
“So is that a yes or a no?” She asked him, her gay laughter tinkling through the cavern.
“It’s a no,” he told her, “A definite no. Though one day I might kick myself for refusing.” he laughed with her, and hugged her some more, loving her as a brother would a sister.
It was amazing in a few short minutes his emotions had taken a complete turnabout and he had to keep shaking his head with disbelief that she had the power and the compassion to have done it.
“Come on then Devin, do you think you can rejoin the others, and continue the game, I was winning you know.” Catherine told him brightly.
“I would say, Cathy that you have already won.” He told her seriously.
Vincent and Gerry heard their approach as the sound of laughter reached them before the arrival of Catherine and Devin. Vincent smiled, and a sigh escaped him, and it wasn’t until it did, that he realised he had been holding his breath. Devin had just told Catherine a joke, and pushing him through the doorway, she told him, “You are seriously disturbed, you know that.” Then turning bright eyes to Gerry and Vincent, she told them gaily, “Look you two, I’ve found the old Devin, help me with him will you, his jokes are cracking me up.”
Holding out his arms to Gerry and Vincent at the same time, both went across to him, and he told them, “I’m only going to say this once. I need to apologise to you both for my behaviour of late, I sincerely regret hurting you both so, it will not happen again, I promise, from this day forth it will never be brought to mind again, if you can forgive me.” He told them sincerely.
“I forgive you my darling, “ Gerry wound her body around her husband.
“Whatever did you say to him, Catherine?” Vincent wanted to know.
Devin and Catherine exchanged looks and burst out laughing.
“I don’t know that you would want to hear that Vincent.” She told him softly, as suddenly her feet looked awfully interesting.
“We can only step out from this and forward if there are no secrets between us.” Vincent told her, lifting her face to his, to look deeply into the green depths.
“I agree, Cathy.” Devin told her. “Tell them.” he said his eyes full of mischief. Catherine took a deep breath, “You’re really enjoying this aren’t you Devin? Okay.” She said, then in an oh so quiet voice she began, “I asked Devin...”
“Louder Cathy”, Devin butted in, “What you asked me, saved the situation, and that you asked it, slapped my face, and gave me the cold shower I so desperately needed. I owe you one. Don’t be afraid to tell Vincent and Gerry how you saved me from ruin, saved all of us from ruin.”
Vincent tilted his head to look at Catherine, waiting for her answer. Whatever it was, it had done the job, could it be so bad, that she could not utter it? “Catherine?” He questioned her, gently.
Catherine reached out and took hold of Gerry’s hand in one of her own, and Vincent’s in the other. Then looking directly at Devin, she challenged him again, “I asked Devin, if I were to take all my clothes off and lay down naked beside him, would he make love to me.”
A simultaneous gasp came from both Gerry and Vincent. To say they were shocked was the understatement of the year. And then as Vincent imagined it, he began to laugh and laugh uncontrollably. With tears running down his cheeks, he asked interjected through laughter, “And. how. did… you…answer...Devin?”
“That’s it Vincent. I flatly refused.”
Vincent doubled over with laughter, “Oh Catherine you‘re priceless,” he told her, hugging her tightly to him.
“My sentiments exactly.” Gerry was in fits of laughter. She could just picture her husband’s shock at hearing the question, put to him so bluntly, so coldly, so matter of factly. It was the funniest thing she had heard in a long time.
“So how about this unfinished game then?” Devin asked everyone, grinning sheepishly and making to sit at the table, “Who wants to play?”
Slowly the laughter faded, as the air became fraught with passion. Vincent looked longingly at Catherine, and Gerry snaked her arms around Devin’s neck, nuzzling his throat. “I want to play, darling,” she purred beneath his ear.
Devin turned in her embrace, and lifted her face to his, kissing her lips, his arousal becoming once again all too obvious, but now oh so right, unashamedly for his wife.
Catherine watched them through half closed lids. A tiny piece of herself would always belong to Devin and him to her. For both knew that deep in the passage of time, in another life they would have been together, and the love that they now shared for one another, though platonic, in this life, would in another be as two hearts that beat as one.
Vincent and Gerry knew this through the Bond and accepted it. There was nothing more to be achieved by dwelling upon it, and neither could any thing they did alter it. It was as much a fact of life as the sun would rise every day. Yet it was something that each found great comfort in, knowing how very precious it was, and how very tender the feelings were that existed between these two. Stronger than friendship, deeper than love, it cemented the relationship between the four of them for all time.
*** *** ***
So came the day that found Mich’ael and Devin striding through the LA airport with one thought in mind, to confront Drayton O’Connor, and give him what he deserved.
Devin had told Catherine quite honestly, that he owed her one. This, he felt was it. Standing across the street, face hidden behind a newspaper, Devin’s eyes scanned the coffee bar across the road, and watched as Mich’ael gave him the thumbs up sign behind his back, showing that their quarry was indeed inside.
Drayton O’Connor was surprised to see Mich’ael, and came to his side at once, as he came in through the door, “Gee Mister, you’re a sight for sore eyes. Don’t you read the newspaper?”
Mich’ael raised questioning eyes to the man, and O’Connor went on, “Catherine Chandler, surely it went into the New York Times, though I don’t get it myself, did you see it?” he asked Mich’ael.
“No,” Mich’ael told him, I’ve been away, just returned here today, what on earth are you talking about?”
“Gee, but you’ve a short memory. Don’t you remember I told you if you were after that Chandler bitch, you would have to get past me first, as I was at the head of the queue.”
Mich’ael nodded, “Well I got to her first, see.” O’Connor told him proudly.
“Got to her?” Mich’ael queried, “How so?”
Drayton O’Connor raised his eyes to the ceiling, “Man, are you dumb or what? I blew the bitch away. Bang, bang, bang, twice over, six rounds at point blank range, couldn’t miss. Gee you should have seen her face. It was a real picture.”
“And you got away with it!” Mich’ael asked seemingly incredulous.
“I came straight back here, didn’t loiter, know one would guess it were me. Probably conclude it was that Devin Wells she hung around with. Man what I would give to do it all over again.”
Mich’ael bulked at his obvious pride in that he thought he had killed Catherine and told him, “So, I see I have wasted my time, could have saved myself a journey then.”
“Sure could. Say where’s that loopy mate of yours?” O’Connor asked.
“He’s dead. Killed by a wild animal, and I’d rather not talk about it, if you don’t mind.”
“Hey, hey, don’t mind me, its none of my business, its just when I saw you walk in here, I thought, here comes my meal ticket again. Actually, joking aside, you can take part blame in Chandler’s death” he told Mich’ael seriously.
“If it weren’t for that five hundred dollars, I would never have had the money for the air fare to go get her, I used some of it for that. So you can take some of the credit.”
“My colleague can. I didn’t want Catherine dead.”
O’Connor, ran the tip of his tongue over dry lips, nervously, “You didn’t. I thought that’s what all this was about. You sure as hell made it sound that way.”
“No, Catherine was a friend, I just came here today to see if it were you that had done it, in order to avenge her death.”
“Hey man,” O’Connor shifted nervously, “you kidding or what?” Seeing Mich’ael’s serious expression told him the answer, and in an instant he was heading for the door, and as Devin saw him exit, he folded up the newspaper, took in Mich’ael’s curt nod, and followed O’Connor down the street.
Mich’ael fell into step some distance behind Devin, and they followed O’Connor’s quick footsteps through the busy main street, into an area less crowded, eventually into an almost deserted street, and on into a derelict building, whereby they had to hang back some way, lest he saw them.
Catching up with one another, Mich’ael told Devin everything that had transpired, and Devin felt an emotion rise within him that surpassed anger so strongly that he felt strengthened by it. Putting a hand on his arm, Mich’ael encouraged him, “We don’t know this area, or how many other people are in that building with him, should we wait or go in?”
Devin shook his head, “ I know this area and I know the people in it, they would sell their soul to the devil if you offered them enough cash for a fix, we have him trapped by his own devices. All we need is some sucker to hand him to us on a plate.”
They waited. The street was deserted, save for a few rats, and eventually their patience at waiting was rewarded, when an unshaven, smelly young man came around a corner towards them, his eyes reddened and his limbs trembling.
“He’ll do.” Devin told Mich’ael.
“Hey you.” Devin called out, the man shifted nervously, not knowing whether to flee or stay. Devin hurried on, “Want to make a fix?”
The man’s mouth spread into a smile, showing unkempt, broken teeth, “Sure”, ”he replied, “What’d’ya, want me to do?”
“You know a guy called O’Connor?” Devin asked him.
The young man eyed him warily. “You got any money?” he asked him.
Mich’ael smiled, the same old exchange he and Han’s had with O’Connor rising through his mind.
Devin fished into his pocket, pulled out twenty-five dollars, and held them out to the young man. As he made to take them, Devin pulled the money back, “Information first.” He told him.
“Okay. O’Connor you say, that would be Drayton O’Connor, right?”
“Yes.” Devin told him.
“Yeah, I know him. Lives over there, but I’m sure you know that. Want me to fetch him out for you?”
“You’d do that?”
“Yes, why not, at a price. What are we talking here, dead or alive?”
“Dead”. Devin told him.
The young man whistled, “That’ll cost ya.”
“It’ll be worth it.” Devin told him. “You show me where I can do it, and let us get out of here, and you will have everything you want.”
“For real. Do we have a deal?”
“Yeah, if you have the money. I want five hundred for bringing him out, and another five for showing you where, and another thousand for making sure you get away safe.”
“Its a deal”, Devin told him.
“Show me the money first.”
Devin put his hand inside his pocket and extracted a roll of notes, counting them out; the young man’s eyes lit up, when he saw how much Devin carried. “Gee man, you want to go careful carrying that lot around with you.”
Devin did not miss the implication. “If you do this for me, you can have it all, there’s about three and a half thousand dollars here.”
“Sure thing. You step back into the shadows, and I’ll bring O’Connor to you.”
When he was gone, Mich’ael looked at Devin nervously. “Was that wise, showing him all that money, Devin?”
“Probably not, but I had no choice. He would have set us up, had someone waiting to rob us, best this way I think, though we are still taking a chance, he may tell O’Connor what we are on with. Look, see that building over there, that’s it the one with the yellow wall, as soon as we have killed O’Connor, make sure that’s where you run to, trust me, I do know this area.”
At least half an hour passed, before they saw movement across the street, and were relieved to see the young man, coming out with O’Connor at his side.
The plan went so smoothly that for years afterwards Devin marvelled at how easy it was to kill another human being, once the desire was borne and the means to carry it out put in place, nothing or no-one could prevent it.
Drayton O’Connor walked unknowingly into the required position, and Devin stepping out from the shadows, aimed the gun at him. Sensing that his companion had stopped walking, O’Connor turned just in time to see Mich’ael with Devin beside him pulling back the trigger, and too late to run, felt the first bullet hit his shoulder. The second hit his chest. The third hit his neck. The forth passed straight through his brain, the fifth in hot pursuit, and the sixth through his heart. O’Connor sank to the bloodied ground, and save for a few nerves that twitched, moved no more.
Quickly, Devin put the gun back into his pocket, grabbed the money from his pocket and throwing it at the young man, fled with Mich’ael, across the street and into the building with the yellow wall.
Pausing only for a few short breaths, Devin led Mich’ael down to the basement, where beneath some crates that Devin pushed slightly aside lay a man hole cover. Sliding it open Devin beckoned Mich’ael to lower himself inside. Following him, he closed over the cover, and the two of them waited silently below. Sure enough within minutes the sound of running feet could be heard in the room above, and the sound of many voices.” ”Where’d they go, you see ‘em?” Much shuffling was underway, and Mich’ael holding his breath, helped Devin to silently thread a large wooden pole through the handle to protrude either side of the cover, preventing it from being lifted from above.
“These crates, they bin moved.” someone cried, and sure enough many hands tried to lift the manhole cover to no avail. “Na, they couldn’t have gone this way, tried maybe, but it won’t budge. Come on let’s try upstairs.”
When Devin was satisfied they had gone, he extracted the pole, and replaced in onto the floor, then guiding Mich’ael through the darkness, whispered, “Best to leave it open, you never know when I may need it again from the other side. Come on, hold on to me, I know the way out.”
Mich’ael felt he was in a sense of unreality, walking with Devin in a dreamlike state, reminded him so much of his walk with Han’s through similar tunnels not many months previous, and it seemed to take some time before he could find his voice.
Finally, when he could stand the silence no more, he spoke, “You happy now?” He asked Devin.
“Yes, I’ve laid the ghost.”
“That’s a strange statement to make, Devin.”
“Believe me, Mich’ael the killing of O’Connor went a lot further than you would know.”
“You did it for Catherine?”
“Yes, Vincent too. If Vincent could have done it he would have.”
In the darkness, Mich’ael nodded. “This I understand.” He told him. “But that you were willing, to do it, to kill a man in cold blood as you did, shows your great love for these two people, may God bless you Devin, even though you took a life.”
“A life for a life Mich’ael, as far as O’Connor was concerned Catherine was dead, and if it hadn’t of been for Vincent’s love of ice cream and chocolate cake she would have been.”
“Arh the chocolate cake, may we never look upon this simple delight in ever the same way.” Mich’ael chuckled to himself.
“Yeah”, said Devin, “And do you know what that damn cake was called?”
“No, tell me.”
Devin burst into nervous laughter, and as the shock of what he had just done, started to sink in he told Mich’ael seriously, “Death by Chocolate.”
*** *** ***
To be continued in Chapter Twenty-One - click on 'Next' below:
"Above all things have intense love for one another."
(1st Peter 4 v 8)
That Devin was subdued again became increasingly obvious to Vincent and Catherine, as they ate their dinner within his absolute silence. Vincent raised questioning eyebrows in Gerry’s direction, and she shook her head, miserably, she did not know what was wrong either.
Leaning over towards him, Catherine touched his arm, “What is it Devin?” she asked him nervously.
Devin lifted numbed eyes to hers, and Catherine was stunned by the hollowness of that look. “Devin?” she asked him, “Tell me?”
Pushing the untouched food around his plate, Devin shook his head, “I cannot,” he told her. For the simple truth of the matter was, that while fired by his desire to kill O’Connor, he had been bold and confident, now that he had actually carried out the deed, he felt remorseful. Not because he had killed someone who deserved it, but that he was capable of carrying it out. And it had been so easy to do. The thought frightened him, made him feel dirty, animalistic.
No-one but Mich’ael knew what he had done, and when Mich’ael followed Devin home a few hours later, having stayed in New York City tying up some personal loose ends, no-one was any wiser that Devin had gone to LA with him. Catherine had wanted to know what had happened that day, but Mich’ael seemed reluctant to speak of it, and she did not press him, believing he would tell her when he was ready.
“Devin”, Vincent implored his brother, “Is it the old problem?”
Devin lifted his gaze to Vincent’s concern, “No. Don’t worry it is not that. It is something I have done it shames me. I can’t believe I actually did it.”
“Tell us?” Vincent begged him; “We want to help you.”
Devin looked around the table. At Gerry, whose hand lay upon his arm, encouraging, comforting, at Catherine and Vincent’s love and concern. No one else were in the room, even William had gone out to deliver meals to the indisposed.
“I killed a man.” he stated bluntly. “In cold blood, I killed O’Connor, emptied six rounds into him, just as he did to Cathy.”
He heard Vincent and Gerry suck in a deep breath.
“He’s dead?” Catherine asked in disbelief, “You did that for me?”
“For you, for Vincent, does it matter, I took his life, do you know how that makes me feel?” He asked them painfully.
“It should make you feel like a hero.” Catherine told him seriously, “That man was scum. A lot of people are going to thank you for what you did.”
“Its not that I regret killing him, Cath.” Devin tried to explain, “It’s the fact of how easy it was to do it, and the fact that I was able to do, it cuts me up.”
Vincent nodded, “This too I know. The first time I killed to save Catherine’s life, it ate into me for weeks. But I guess it is different, as my killings were never pre-meditated.”
“Exactly Vincent. I knew what I was going to do, Mich’ael went with me, and we set him up together, but I pulled the trigger, and I took his life, it was so darn easy, it was unreal. That’s the bit that gets to me, just how easy it was to get away with, it brings it home to me how vulnerable we all are. To think that once some woman loved and cherished him as a baby, and for what, to have him killed in cold blood at my hands.”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself Devin. Actually, as a baby Drayton O’Connor, was abused and beaten, carted from one foster home to another, you would have thought it would have taught him compassion, but it didn’t. He grew up hating the world, traced his own parents, and had them murdered, married three times, and raped all his wives, got involved in drug dealing, street gangs, and theft. Then he went on to the raping of little girls and boys, you need any more on him?”
“No. As I said Cathy, that he needed to die is not the problem here, the problem is that I found that I was capable of doing it, and how easy it was to carry out, it terrifies me.”
“Why, because you are afraid you’ve got a taste for it now?” Catherine asked him.
He looked at her for long moments, “No, Cathy,” he told her quietly, sincerely, “I had to kill him, for what he attempted on you. Do you know he believed you were dead? We let him continue to assume this. I stayed in the street while Mich’ael went to speak with him in a bar and Mich’ael told me he showed no remorse, and wished he could do it all over again, just to see the look on your face again as he did it.” Devin’s voice grew angrier and angrier, as he let out his feelings, pausing he added, “I owed you one Cath, but it was more than that, if ever he found out you were still alive, he would have stopped at nothing to attempt it and enjoy it all over again. I could not let that happen. Un-yet, having said that, I went over there with the intent to kill him, I took the gun, made the plans, knew I could do it, but his words to Mich’ael incensed me to such a degree that I knew I had to do it. I couldn’t take the risk that he would try to kill you again someday. I did it for you, Cath, but I know that Vincent would have done the same if only he could have got to him first.”
Whispering the words, almost to herself, but so that everyone heard nonetheless, Catherine told him, “You did that for me? So you do love me.”
Sensing Vincent’s piercing blue eyes upon him, Devin paused before answering. Then taking Gerry’s hand in his while leaning across the table to grasp one of Vincent’s, hoping they would still understand, Devin looked at Catherine, keenly, tears smarting his eyes, “Yes,” he told her, “Always,” then smiling weakly, he whispered, “But I would never try to make love to you.”
It was a wonder that Gerry still thought upon Catherine as a dear friend, for any other woman hearing her husband’s declaration for another, not once but over and over again, would perhaps not have behaved so graciously to that other woman. That Geraldine could not find it in her to blame Catherine in any way was truly remarkable. And to Devin this was more than he could have dared hoped for. The only thing that bothered him was that so far Vincent had not said that he had forgiven him this time. And it was important to Devin that Vincent did so.
Yet the walls upon the foundation of the relationship the four of them shared, was built up again and cemented firmly into place by their undying love for one another, and everybody in the tunnel world benefited from it.
*** *** ***
Not having to keep this second holiday a secret meant much joy Below, as friends embarked on suggestions for things to do while there, and things to take with them. The four recipients accepted the advice good humouredly, knowing full well what they would be doing once there. And when alone they enlarged upon their plan to kidnap Father.
“We are going to have to steal his clothing, in order to get it packed.” Gerry told them one evening, as they sat around the table, while playing another game of Scrabble.
“I can buy him some new ones, things like swimming trunks, and shorts, T-shirts and some sandals, if someone can get me his sizes.” Catherine told them.
“And where do you think you will get these things from Catherine, for I do not think you should go Above alone.” Vincent told her.
“No problem, I’ll go with her,” Devin said without looking up from his letters. It was a test, thrown into the hat, would Vincent allow Devin to accompany his wife on a shopping trip together, just the two of them.
Vincent hesitated. Tension filled the air, as Devin made a show of spelling a good word, his eyes never leaving the board.
Catherine waited too, knowing Vincent had never actually told Devin that he had forgiven him, for admitting to still being in love with her.
There were a lot of things Vincent could have said, for really using the excuse of Catherine not going Above because she would be alone, was his way of making certain that she stayed within the safety of his world. Now that Devin had offered to go with her, his refusal could be taken that he still did not trust Devin, and did he?
It was an awkward situation, and Catherine found that she was holding her breath for Vincent’s reply, which was taking unbearably long in coming. Devin toyed with his letters, and placed them on the board, Catherine glanced down at them and could not help laughing, “ that’s not how you spell chemist, you idiot, its a C.H not a K.” she told him.
“I didn’t think anyone would notice.” he told her, smiling sheepishly and Gerry burst into fits of laughter, and Devin shot her a bemused look, his lips twitching with humour.
Vincent relaxed, if Gerry could make light of the undercurrent, then so could he. “All right Catherine, when you are ready to go Above, Devin can accompany you.” he told them.
“Gee thanks Bruv.” Devin told him, “Do I take it that I am forgiven also then?”
Vincent’s concentrated stare, seemed to burn right into Devin’s own challenging eyes, and with a smile that gently lit his blue eyes, Vincent nodded. “Yes,” he told Devin honestly, drawing Catherine to his side, “And I truly feel that we have gone over this ground so many times that it is well and truly trampled.”
Devin smiled, as he recognised a saying from his and Vincent’s past, when they had taken a long time to make up over some trivial thing.
“So now its time to keep off the grass, and let the lawn grow again then.” Devin told him, in the age-old answer, they knew so well. Vincent nodded, “Yes, but at least its saved having to mow it.”
Catherine and Gerry looked at one another and shrugged their shoulders, as Vincent and Devin clasped hands, drew each to the other, and hugged one another tightly.
*** *** ***
Waking to look at her beloved wall depicting the scenes of Austria, Catherine sighed. It was one of her greatest treasures Below, this scene painted so lovingly by Elizabeth’s hand, and put there so thoughtfully by Vincent. Each morning when she woke to the scene, Catherine would visualise herself being on her favourite mountaintop, writing the letter to Vincent. And though he obviously were able to transport himself there, by the words in her letter, still she wished she could take him there, and despaired that she never would.
Vincent slept peacefully beside her, and she looked down into his restful face. His eyelids closed firmly over his beautiful blue eyes, with his tawny hair framing his face, Catherine thought he was a vision of loveliness, and could never resist putting out a hand to stroke the downy fur upon his cheek and on the bridge of his nose.
Despite waking beside him for so long now, she found that waking to his being there every morning still awesome, after the length of time he had fought against a physical relationship, between the two of them. And for the rest of her life she wanted nothing more than to open her eyes to each new day and find him there.
Sometimes she thought about death. There had been many occasions when they had almost lost one another to it, and Catherine knew that whenever that day came for either of them, the other would not be able to maintain their sanity by their grief for their lost love. Catherine could not contemplate life without Vincent, he was the very core of her being, and life without him would be too unbearable.
Reaching out now to stroke the face she adored so much, he smiled as her fingertips caressed and tickled his lips. Even in sleep he uttered her name, and Catherine was swept along by an overwhelming tide of love for him, and could not resist putting her lips to his. He woke then; putting his arms around her, and returned her kiss hungrily. To think that before her he had never kissed another the way he kissed her thrilled her. And to think that, though many men had kissed her in the past, and few had made love to her, she had never really known a kiss and had never known lovemaking until she shared these things with Vincent. In many respects, she felt as if Vincent had been the first person in her life to have loved her, really loved her, and it had been him that had taught her how to love, rather than she, the more experienced one to have shown him.
He knew her thoughts of course, and as her thinking ran along these lines, he marvelled that she could feel this way about him. He felt pride that, to her, he had been her first lover, and he would be her last.
Looking into one another’s eyes, Catherine’s gaze held him spellbound, and he stopped the kiss to ask her, “What?”
“I was just thinking Vincent, ‘How could I ever get through life without you. And how could I have come as far as I did without ever knowing you. To think you existed in your world below mine, and I did not know of your existence is painful to me, I missed so much of you.”
“Yet we are making up for it now, my Catherine.” he told her, happily.
Catherine shivered, “I love it when you say that.”
“Calling me, my Catherine. I feel possessed by you, as if I am your sole property, it thrills me.”
Vincent smiled at her, “ It comes so naturally to call you mine, for a long time I could not believe that you would stay with me, and since you have, I find that using that term of endearment, helps to convince me that you do truly belong to me.”
“I love you Vincent.” Catherine told him, tears welling in her eyes. “One-day death will part us, what then will I do without you? Or you without me?” Catherine’s heart was heavy, and Vincent was tugged down by it into a misery of his own. She was right, to lose her, would be to lose part of himself, the best part, he could no more live without her than he could live without fresh air. It may have seemed a morbid conversation, but as no one ever knew when death would strike, it was a conversation that both needed to have.
“If I told you Catherine that we must make the most of what we have, to store up the memories, in order to dwell on them when such a tragedy strikes one or either of us, how would you answer?”
“I would know it to be true, but Vincent I know I could not live without you. These memories would be poignant to me, bitter sweet, and I don’t know if I could re-live them without you to share them with me. And then there is the physical release we share, you are such a beautiful lover Vincent, that I could not bear to lie alone, and know you would never lie with me again. As awful as it may sound Vincent, for our children, I have to say this that the day you die, you take me with you. I have to go with you Vincent, because I could not live without you.” Tears coursed down Catherine’s cheeks, and Vincent knew she spoke the truth.
“Then in the meantime, my Catherine we will live for the moment. Never again to be apart, and never to waste a single moment to be together. I love you Catherine, and life without you is no life at all.”
Holding one another close was enough, and Catherine snuggled down into the warmth of his body, as both went back to sleep.
A few tunnels away, in the chamber he shared with his wife, Devin thought about the last few weeks.
It was hard to believe that he had acted so stupidly, in declaring his love for Catherine. Yet in so doing he learnt a very powerful fact, that the woman who lay sleeping peacefully beside him, was not only a remarkable person, but she also loved him so much that she was prepared to see him through his attraction to another. As if it was just another minor problem.
Devin knew that he still loved Catherine, perhaps they all knew it, yet nonetheless the four of them had such a wonderful relationship, that he would do nothing to ruin it, ever.
Looking down at the sleeping form of his wife, Devin marvelled at her beautiful hair. Ripples of ivory, gold and ebony, reaching to her waist, and her gorgeous eyes, the lids edged with black, and knowing that when she opened them they would be the greenest golden eyes he had ever seen. Devin loved her so much; he could never contemplate going anywhere without her. She was so beautiful he wanted to show her the world. She deserved to see the world. Yet he knew that it was impossible, the closest they could get to freedom Above was their idyllic island in the sun, and Devin looked forward to getting back there with her immensely. Chuckling to himself, as he remembered the fun they’d had there, Devin wanted to surpass it, so each year everybody, had something more to look forward to, wondering what he was going to dream up next.
*** *** ***
Father thought he was losing his sanity. When his clean clothing had returned from Above, he had folded it and put it into his chest of drawers, he knew that he had, yet when he came to find his underwear one day, most of it was missing. Looking through the other drawers, he found some shirts and trousers gone also, even his socks, mystified he called the council together, to see if anyone else had lost anything.
Most of the tunnel people knew that Devin and Vincent along with their wives were secretly stealing Father’s clothing to pack for the holiday they planned to kidnap him to. And it was difficult keeping a straight face when he asked them about it.
“Are you certain you put it away Jacob?” Mary asked him stifling a giggle.
Father looked at her, saw the laughter in her eyes, and retorted, “Of course I am certain, I distinctly remember doing so.”
“Are you certain it was during this week then,” she asked him, placing a hand quickly over her mouth, lest he see her smile.
Father scrutinised her face, “I do believe you are laughing at me, Mary. This is so unlike you. Is somebody playing games?”
Everybody shook their head, far too convincingly, Father thought. He frowned, whatever was going on?
“Obviously something is happening around here that I don’t know about,” he told them, “and I don’t like it.” Turning he left them all stood there, watching his retreating back, feeling guilty and turning to one another questioning eyes, asking what each should do.
Vincent stepped forward, “I think we shall have to return the clothing, Devin, its several days before we leave, and its going to put him in a terrible frame of mind.”
“Hmm, you’re right, then Cathy and I will have to go shopping after-all. We’ll have to go today though, as I am going into the mountains tomorrow to collect Charles.”
Vincent nodded, he no longer mistrusted Devin, and at least they knew Father’s sizes in clothing now, having checked the labels from the items they had stolen.
“If you keep him talking then, I’ll put his clothing back.” Vincent told him.
It was far easier than they had imagined, for Father confronted Devin on his way back to his and Gerry’s chamber, “Devin, there you are. I wanted to ask you something.”
Devin stopped walking, and eyed his father keenly, “Yes, what is it?”
“Tomorrow you are going into the mountains to collect Charles, how long do you plan to be away?”
“Charles is already packed, so I only plan to stay a couple of nights, and then return, why do you ask?”
“I wondered if you might allow me to come with you. Do you know, I don’t think in all our life the two of us have ever shared a pleasurable jaunt together, I would like to spend some time in your undivided company.”
Devin felt a warm glow spread through him, ‘was he hearing right, his father wanted to spend time with him, just the two of them?’ Devin smiled broadly, and clasped his father’s hands into his, “That would be an excellent idea, I too would love to have you come with me. But I’ll have to talk to you more about this later, as I was on my way out.”
“Out?”, Father queried, “Out as in Above?”
“Yes, Catherine and I are going shopping, there are some things we need for our holiday.”
“Arh yes, your holiday,” Father could not hide his wistful look, “Ten whole days in the sunshine, if it wasn’t for the running of this place, I could do with a holiday like that.”
“You could?” Devin was stunned.
“Don’t sound so surprised my boy, I used to have a wandering spirit too, where do you suppose you got it from? I love being here, with everybody, but sometimes I despair that they could ever get by without me, and that leads me onto another question, but I will wait until we are driving into the mountains, before I put it to you.”
Mystified, Devin could only wonder as to what it could be, then looking at his watch, told Father, “I must go now, I want to get to the shops before they get too crowded. See you later dad.”
It was Father’s turn to feel the warm glow spread through him, it was seldom that Devin referred to him as dad. Father found that he rather liked it.
Catherine knew all the right places. Shops that Devin would have walked right past, even the decor of the glass frontage spoke volumes. “We’re going in here, Cath?” he asked her, time and time again, “but look at the place, it is so expensive.”
“And when do I ever get the chance to spoil your Father, Devin, allow me some enjoyment will you.”
Devin looked down and around them at all the packages, “I only hope he doesn’t ask to see what we have bought, when he claps eyes on this lot.”
“He won’t, I plan to take them all up to the apartment. In fact that gives me a great idea. Let’s send a message to Gerry and Vincent to meet us there. Gerry has never been to my old home, and it is along time since Vincent has, come to that, you have never been there either. Let’s get some wine, some food, and entertain there, perhaps even hire a video, and the view at night from the balcony is breathtaking.”
“I’d like that. Are we far from there now, we could drop some of these things off, and come out again later.”
“Great idea, and I will send the message via the threshold before we go up to the apartment.”
It had been several months, since Catherine had been to her old home, by herself. It was used now for tunnel dwellers making the transition from life Below to life Above, and had become a very handy instrument in many people’s lives. At that moment in time, it was unused.
Opening the door, Cathy stepped inside, and sighed. Everything was just as she had remembered, and memories tumbled through her mind, one on top of the other, at the life she had lived there. The secret meetings, with Vincent on her balcony, the nights when she had longed for him to take her in his arms and kiss her.
“Oh”, she said flopping onto a sofa, “Its good to be home.”
“This is a great place Cathy. No wonder you feel that way. Is Below ever really home to you?”
“I thought so, Devin, it’s where my family are, but sometimes, I find myself hankering for what I left behind. My job, my friends, the lifestyle I led, but when I did all those things in the past, the longing for Vincent to be with me was so painful, that I could barely live that life, at least now I have no such pain.”
“Be it that you could have both though?” he asked her, his concerned eyes, not missing her wistful look.
“Be it that I could, Devin, yes.” She told him truthfully.
“I too have missed life Above. Sometimes I feel trapped, in a trap of my own making.” Devin sat down opposite her, putting down the bags, letting some of the items spread across the plush blue carpet, “I love Gerry, truly I do, but I miss being able to travel, and I do not wish to go without her. So I am trapped.”
“Yes, I know what you mean. And it makes you feel darn guilty for even thinking it doesn’t it, Devin?”
“Yes, Cathy, it does. When you think at least we can go Above and they can’t, to know that they are trapped not of their own making, and have to live Below, makes me feel so wretched, that I want things they can never even dare to have, it makes me feel terrible.”
“Perhaps we are asking too much of ourselves, Devin. If Vincent or Gerry knew how we felt, they would not insist that we live a life that makes us miserable. After all, their happiness is down to our happiness, is it not? I’ve never thought of it before, but this apartment could be useful to both you and I.”
“We could spend time here. Vincent used to visit me; there is no reason why Gerry could not do the same. You could get yourself a job in the city, live here, and go Below at weekends, like I used to do, and the four of us, could spend evenings together, here. What do you say?”
“Naturally, it sounds perfect to me, but to Gerry, would she understand?”
“Oh I think, Gerry knows you better than you know yourself, why I expect even while we are here, she is listening in.” Catherine laughed, “Vincent too, no doubt.”
“Yes probably he still doesn’t trust me with you.” Devin stated matter-of factly.
Catherine glanced at him beneath half closed lids. A slight tremble of apprehension ran through her, which she dismissed quickly before Vincent could sense it.
“And can I trust you with me?” she asked him.
Devin looked at her for long moments without a word. “You are my sister Cath”, he told her, “and I love Gerry.”
“Just so long as you keep reminding yourself of that Devin, and life will be perfect.” she chucked a cushion at him, laughing. “Gerry loves you to distraction, please Devin, don’t ever put her through anything like that again.”
Devin looked at her seriously, “Tell me, just tell me, honestly, did you never feel anything for me?”
Catherine looked down at her hands upon her lap, she never liked to lie, didn’t know if she should, “Maybe, there was a time,” she told him softly. “So brief a feeling. Like the wings of a butterfly that caresses your skin, that when I looked at you, I felt something. Something fleeting. I told myself it was because of your connection with Vincent, whom I love, with my life. Perhaps it’s just that you and I are bound together through him, and that’s all it is.”
“Yes, I know that feeling. That’s the way it was for me, but instead of dismissing it as you did, I let my mind dwell on it, believing in something that could never be. And the funny thing was, I didn’t need it to be. I loved Gerry then and now, and that’s why the intensity of those feelings toward you, nearly drove me insane. But I feel as though I’ve come through it stronger, and that the two of us have made a silent pact, in an understanding that together we have a friendship such as the world has never known. And that you have given to Vincent something I never dared even to hope for him and means so much to me. When I said I loved you Cath, I meant it. But in a way I meant it, as a brother would say it to a sister. It has a depth of all its own. More than a brother and a sister, for often this kind of relationship fails, when I think of all the brother and sister love hate relationships I know of.” Devin smiled, “This is not like that, this goes deeper, surpasses the passage of time, into infinity and beyond, and if need be I would lay down my life for you.”
Catherine felt the tears well in her eyes, never had anyone save, Vincent, spoken such things to her and meant them. Shaking her head slightly, she held onto his gaze, and then reached out her hands towards his own. Slowly he took them. No more did he feel shock waves coursing through his veins. The feeling instead that passed between them was something different. Something surreal a dynamic force that sealed the silent pact, forever and ever.
When Vincent and Gerry stepped into the apartment through the open balcony doors, after dark that evening, they were both met with the sound of infectious laughter, coming from the kitchen area. Vincent smiled, and let out a long deep breath. Catherine had deliberately closed down the Bond on many occasions during the day, leaving him only to wonder at the cause of it. Gerry too, had known the same response with Devin, and both had walked through the tunnels, discussing the possible reasons, unable to believe that anything untoward had been going on.
“You mean to tell me that’s a salad?” came Catherine’s tinkling laughter out to greet them.
“Its lettuce isn’t it?” came Devin’s answer.” ”What’s wrong with lettuce?”
“Nothing if you are a rabbit, its just fine, “Catherine answered him, “Move aside dope, you go and do something I know you are good at, like lighting the candles, and let me prepare the food. Vincent and Gerry will be here soon.”
Vincent laughed at the exchange, between these two people he loved so dearly, something had definitely gone on between them that day that much was obvious, but it was for the better.
“We’re already here,” Gerry called gaily, catching her brother’s mood, “Boy do I need a cup of sweet tea, something for the shock of having just climbed up eighteen floors!”
“Nonsense,” Devin told her, swinging her into his arms, “with the way you climb! Mmm, I’ve missed you today, say how about you and me, having a before dinner aperitif, like in the bedroom?”
“No, chance my love, I’m starving, lead me to the food, it smells delicious.”
Vincent went into the kitchen with the intention of helping Catherine carry out the plates, when her look caught him completely off guard. Tilting his head, he questioned her silently.
“Its you,” she told him, “Look at you. It is so long since I have seen you dressed up, you take my breath away.”
“Then I must dress up for you more often my Catherine.” He told her huskily.
Catherine thrilled at his words. That before dinner aperitif, Devin spoke of, seemed an awfully good idea to her. Vincent smiled at her thoughts, ‘Later my love later,’ he told her silently, drawing her into his arms.
It was a wonderful evening, and Gerry understood totally the reasons behind Devin’s plans to move into the apartment, on a permanent basis. “I shall miss you my love, but I have heard, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I can stay over with you, and spend time at the apartment, watching videos. I can even practice some cookery.”
Catherine realised by Gerry’s enthusiasm, that she too, had been finding that the safety of life Below had its drawbacks.
“And we can come and visit some evenings, and have some fun. It’s going to be great.” Catherine told them happily. “Much as I love you Vincent, and our life Below, I do miss being here, in the apartment sometimes.”
“I know my love, that you have given up so much for me, I cannot find a single reason why you should not be able to come here as you please, and I have to admit, I too have missed the time we spent on your balcony. It will be very special to come here, to remember, and make more memories.”
“Providing you two don’t go making any more babies, in the process,” Devin told them, a twinkle in his eyes, “the apartment is already far too small for all your family to join us here when they are old enough as it is.”
Vincent chuckled, “Don’t worry I’ll be careful.”
“You! Be careful, Huh, that’ll be a first, why I remember a time when the two of us were growing up when...” Devin continued the story long into the evening, thrilling Catherine and Gerry with his tales of his and Vincent’s boyhood, often much to Vincent’s acute embarrassment.
Then as the stories wound to an end along with the evening, a silence descended upon the four. A silence that enveloped each his lover, drawn to eyes aflame with passion, that made the members weak with longing. Devin sighed, as he looked into Gerry’s beautiful eyes, which left him in no doubt of the invitation he saw within their depths. “Perhaps we had best be leaving, now.” He whispered to her.
“Can’t we stay”, she asked him plaintively, “I’d give anything to wake up here to see the sunlight come up over the city.”
Devin looked across at Catherine, “What do you think, Cath, there isn’t room for four of us in the bed is there?” His voice held a hint of amusement. “Will you and Vincent go Below?”
Catherine burst out laughing. “Definitely not,” breaking two cocktail sticks in half, Catherine held one out to Devin and one out to Vincent, “Whoever draws the shorter stick bags the bedroom, and whoever gets the longer stick gets the living room floor with cushions.”
Vincent and Devin held their sticks side by side, and burst into laughter, “Very good Cath,” Devin told her, “both are the same length. You will have to try that again.”
Catherine deliberately broke another six, making sure that three were short and three were long, she put them all into a bowl and made Devin and Vincent close their eyes and take one each.
“Hey,” she shouted, “stop cheating”, as each felt for the shorter stick, and Gerry collapsed into gales of laughter.
“That’s not working either. Hmmm” Blowing upwards so that her hair tousled, Catherine tried to think of something else.
“Let’s race for it.” Gerry told them all.
Devin smiled cheekily. “Hey that’s not such a bad idea. Come on everybody move the furniture to each side of the room, and clear a free space, then we will all stand against the far wall, and on the count of three, the first one of either couple to touch the bed, gets the bedroom, okay?”
Giggling, the four of them, carted the furniture, and got into their places against the wall.
“Hey, Devin, feet back against the wall, no cheating.” Vincent told him. “I know, I’ll put my arm out and hold you all back, until the count of three.”
Catherine counted out loud, and on the count of three, Vincent firmly held the others back, and got a head start. Devin leaped after him, tugging at his clothing, “Oh no you don’t, you cheat. Come back here. And as Vincent touched the bedroom door frame, Devin threw himself at Vincent’s legs pulling him down, so that Vincent crashed through the doorway, hitting the bedroom floor.
Doubled with laughter, Gerry and Catherine, watched the two men, struggling with one another, rolling over and over, pinning down arms that reached towards the bed.
“Come back here you two, that was definitely cheating on Vincent’s part. If you don’t come back and have another go, Vincent will be made to forfeit his prize, and we’ll declare Devin the winner.” Gerry told them.
“Fine by me.” Devin called back.
“Not by me.” Vincent told him, laughter in his blue eyes.
Standing once again beside the far wall, it was Gerry’s turn to count. “One, two, two and a half, two and three quarters, THREE!”
Four pairs of legs flew across the room, and four bodies hit the door frame at once, “I’m stuck.” Gerry called, “Vincent move your arm.”
“I can’t, you have it wedged, somewhere.” He told her, “Hey, Devin stop trying to get through my legs.”
“I would if Catherine would let go of mine. She’s got them in a vice.”
Catherine laughed, she was the only one that could move, and stood back to survey the three stuck between the doorframe. “Vincent keep you legs shut, don’t let Devin get past, there is something I must do.”
“Hey Cathy, this is no time to use the bathroom, you’ve got to help us, none of us can move.” Devin yelled after her.
Suddenly the room was filled with short sharp bursts of blue light from behind, and then moments later in front, as Catherine went out through the balcony doors, and in through the doors leading into the bedroom, to take more photographs from the front ward angle. Peels of laughter came from her lips; “Oh you should see the three of you.” She told them gaily.
“We aim to do, with those photographs, though whatever the helper will think when he processes them, is anybody’s guess.” Vincent told her dryly.
“I’ll help you, unravel yourselves. And we shall have to try again.” she told them putting down the camera, and going across to work out whose limbs belonged to whom, “though to be honest, much more of this, and all we will want to do is sleep.”
“Speak for yourself.” Gerry told her, as she felt Devin’s hand creep up the inside of her leg.
Standing back against the wall moments later, each looked one to the other, and lips twitched with suppressed laughter. “Whatever would Father say”, Gerry teased, and to her delight, Vincent and Devin doubled with laughter at the delicious thought of it, leaving herself and Catherine free to make a run for it, on Cathy’s count of three.
“Hey, wait for us”, Devin called after them. The longer strides of the men passed the women in seconds and both Vincent and Devin hit the bed simultaneously.
Catherine stood alongside Gerry, “What do you think Gerry?” she asked, leaning against the doorframe with her arms folded.
“That it’s perfectly obvious. The both of them have the bed tonight. And you and I get the cushions on the floor.” she teased them.
“What!” Vincent and Devin cried together.
“Perhaps we can toss for it.” Vincent told Devin.
“No chance. We will have to run the gauntlet again.”
“Hey, now that’s an idea.” Catherine told them brightly. “Gerry come on, put some of this furniture back, lets make it harder.”
“Harder?” Devin exclaimed, “Harder, are you crazy. If it gets any harder, it will be the only thing that does this night. I’m exhausted already.”
Peels of laughter swept the room, as undeterred Gerry and Catherine placed obstacles in the path of the race between the opposite wall and the bedroom door.
“Now this has got to be the final attempt,” Catherine told them. “I haven’t got a stopwatch to time each one singularly, so we have to do this race together. The idea is this. To run to the table wriggle beneath it, through the other side, step stone the cushions; climb over the sofa, and into the bedroom. The first of each couple that slides onto the bed stays there.”
Vincent eyed the table critically, “There is only room for one, through that, he told her, “this is going to be impossible.”
“Okay then, anyone can go through or over the table anyway one wishes, with the rule that the whole table is touched by each person along the way.” Catherine told them all. “Right are we all ready? Okay then, here goes, One... Two... THREE!”
Gerry was first, throwing herself over the table, sliding its length, “Weeee,” she cried, as her clothing slid over the polished wood, and dumped her ungraciously over the other end. She landed astride Devin’s back who had chosen to wriggle underneath the table and shouted “Gee up Neddy”.
Catherine had followed Devin through the underside of the table, and Vincent in hot pursuit of Gerry, tossed himself right over the top of his sister, to land just past Devin’s head. Onto his feet in an instance, he was galloping towards the stepping stone cushions, as suddenly he let out a yelp. “Hey”, he cried, rubbing his leg.
“Sorry Vincent, my horse has vices, he bites.” Gerry called gleefully, urging Devin forward, then sliding off his back to help him cross the cushions alongside Vincent.
As the four of them tackled one another for each cushion, scrambling across the floor, Gerry touched the last one first and leapt for the sofa, which as her body collided with it, it moved forward on its wheels out of her reach. Winded momentarily, Catherine was gaining on her, and Gerry clambered back to first position, scratching her way upon the sofa, and throwing herself over its back.
“Let me help you,” Devin shouted from behind, making a run for the hurdle in front of him, and clearing it in one swift stride. Out of his eye corner he saw Vincent leap at the same time, and once again all four reached the bedroom door frame simultaneously
“Oh no, not again.” Catherine cried, as wham, all four bodies stuck fast! “Whose going to free us this time.”
. Just.” Gerry answered her triumphantly, and they felt her wriggle beneath their feet.
“Hey,” Catherine called after her suddenly realising; “You’ve left your clothing behind.”
Gerry’s gay laughter filled the room, “No-body said I couldn’t” she called back shedding her thick pullover, to allow her body access through the tangled web of legs in the doorway. Then standing in front of them, cried “Watch this.” Leaping onto the bed, she called back to them, “Hurrah, the victor”.
“Hmm,” Catherine told her disappointedly, “Now all you have to do, is find some way of untangling your husband so he can join you.”
“Zzzzzz” came from Devin, as he pretended to be asleep.
Vincent laughed his head off, “Looks like all this exertion has worn him out. You’ll be lucky to get any more action out of him tonight Gerry.”
“Don’t you believe it, Vincent, “she told him seductively, “I know the perfect way.”
At her words a low moan escaped Devin’s lips, and everybody laughed out loud.
*** *** ***
To be continued in Chapter 21 - click on 'Next' below:
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