The tunnel children set out to prove just how much they love Vincent.
“Father what’s a myth?” Benji asked during an English lesson one afternoon.
Father frowned, how could he explain? “Its a story in a way, but a story which has no foundation. There is no proof that it is true.”
Benji rolled the answer around in his mind, chewing it over, searching for logic. “Are mermaids a myth?” he asked at last.
Father put down his book, so that was the reason behind the question. He thought Benji’s mind wasn’t on his lessons, “You are talking about the story Vincent read to you yesterday aren’t you?”
The child nodded his bonny blonde head vigorously, his big blue eyes filled with delight.
“Well, yes some do say that mermaids and mermen are based on a myth, but who is to say, after all people have claimed to see them, some even say they have been rescued by them at such times as shipwreck or drowning.”
“Are mermaids the only myth there is?”
“No, there are many different myths. Fairies are another.” Appealing to the other children for help, he went on, “Can anyone tell me what other myths there are?”
“The Loch Ness Monster, Dinosaurs, Jesus, Santa Claus, Evolution, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” The various answers stunned him. Laughing he told them, “Well now, that is quite a mixture, and not all are myths. Jesus for one, was a real person, a very important person, one we owe our very lives to, in that he provided the perfect balance that the first man Adam lost, and the Dinosaurs were also real. Maybe even the Loch Ness Monster, for some feel that she was a descendant of the dinosaurs trapped in the loch for millions of years. As to the others, there is no proof that these things exist, and as to Snow White, well that is just a fairy story.”
“Are fairy stories real Father?” Helena asked then, her red curls bobbing upon her head.
“No. Sadly they aren’t.”
Helena’s eyes opened widely, “But they must be, I know they are.”
“How do you know?” he asked her softly a touch of humour in his voice.
Helena scrowled at him, “Vincent is real.” She told him defiantly, “So’s Catherine.”
Father smiled, “Well there’s no disputing that, but I’m afraid you have lost me my dear. Can you explain?”
“I once heard Elizabeth tell Narcissa that Vincent and Catherine were a typical Beauty and the Beast story. I know that story. The beast does look a bit like Vincent, I suppose, and the beauty is very pretty, but not as beautiful as Catherine. So that means they aren’t a myth, they are real.”
Father drew in a long breath. There was no denying what she was saying, alas how to explain, that was the problem, however, before he could continue, he heard Benji say to Helena, “Then that’s it isn’t it!” his eyes lit up with happiness, “All Catherine has to do is fall in love with Vincent and kiss him, and then Vincent will become a prince.”
“Hmm”, thought Father, this is getting difficult. “That only happens in fairy tales.” he told the child gently, “If only it could come true it would make Vincent very happy. Sadly, the way Vincent is, is the way he will always be.”
“That’s sad.” Benji remarked, meaning it with all his young heart.
“Doesn’t Vincent like being a beast then?” Helena asked now.
Father looked at her sternly, “You must never let Vincent hear you call him that my dear, but to answer your question, no he doesn’t. It upsets him greatly, that he can never be like you or I.”
“But we love him the way he is, don’t we?”
“Yes Benji we love him the way he is.”
“Does Vincent think about it much?” Jamie who had been listening in, suddenly wanted to know. Being older than the other children, she could understand now some of the feelings adults had.
“Yes Jamie he does. Sometimes I think the longing he has to be fully human, consumes him. Especially since he met Catherine. No matter how much she tells him that she loves him, he can never quite believe that she sees him as beautiful. If only there was some way of making him believe that were so, not just by Catherine but by all of us.”
Jamie nodded slowly, as if she had something thoughtful in mind. “I think Vincent is terrific just the way he is. Its a pleasure living here with him. He makes this place special.”
Father nodded, “Yes he does. A lot of people are thankful for Vincent being half man, half lion. If only we could get him to believe how important he is to us all, and to accept that the way he is brings us security.”
“Perhaps he needs a daily reminder. You know a comparison to convince him?”
“Other than seeing our gratitude every day Jamie, what more could we give him?”
“A gift perhaps, something that makes him realise that when he sees it, we view him and myths as poles apart. For that’s what some would have say he is, isn’t it Father, they would say he was a myth, and he isn’t, he is very much real, and very much our friend, I wouldn’t like to ever think of our world without Vincent.”
“Neither would I Jamie. Do you have something in mind?”
“Yes I do actually. But it is expensive. I saw the perfect gift in a shop window just yesterday. Perhaps if we all chipped in...”
“That is an excellent idea. Vincent doesn’t get many gifts, except from Catherine, it would do him good to know that so many people cared about him enough to do this, especially if you explained this afternoons discussion along with the presentation of the gift. Can you tell me what it is?”
“I’d rather like for it to be a surprise, but I know Vincent will love it.”
“How about you running it by Catherine then?”
“No, for Catherine will insist on paying for it, and I don’t want that. I think everyone Below would prefer it if we bought it between us.”
“Then I will leave it up to you to arrange everything, but may I be the first to chip in?”
“Of course Father.”
“So if Vincent isn’t a myth and he is real, what does that make him?” Benji asked at last.
There was only one answer to that, and Jamie and Father seemed to know it together, “A friend.” they told the boy, as Father echoed, “A very good friend.”
Once Jamie had collected enough money for the gift she went along to the store and purchased it. It was so beautiful, she had desired it for herself, but giving it to Vincent was so much better. He would really take care of it, and it would be a symbol of the love everyone had for him. The shop assistant placed it carefully in a box, with loving hands, telling Jamie, “This is a very authentic piece. You have chosen well. Each one of these pieces were given a number, there were only a thousand made, and that is all around the world. This is number 357, and every single horse has been lovingly hand crafted, you would do well to insure it, as in a few years from now, it will be worth twice as much. Then in a few decades quite a fortune.”
“Four hundred dollars seems a fortune to me now. Its for a friend, who is very dear to me.”
The shop assistant winked at her, “Boyfriend huh?”
Jamie blushed, “No. Not at all, he’s a friend of many people. We have all chipped in to buy him this. He is a very special person.”
“Then he should know just how special when he sees this gift, it is very precious.”
Jamie took the parcel from him, and hugged it to herself, visualising Vincent’s face when he unwrapped it, and took it straight down to her own chamber, to attach the card that everybody had signed. Happy with everything, she then took the gift along to Father’s chamber.
“Have you got it?” Father asked her, the moment she stepped into his chamber, she smiled, “Yes. Its in here. Is Vincent in?”
“Yes, did you want to wait until Catherine gets here.”
“Does she know?”
“I haven’t told her have you?”
“No, but someone may have. She wouldn’t want to miss it. She is one of us now, and she loves Vincent probably more than all of us put together, and so that’s a lot. Father, should we contact her?”
“No, she said she will be coming down here after work. I asked her to come to see me, not telling her of course the reason why, but if you wanted you could give it to Vincent before she arrives.”
“I am eager to, but I think everyone would like her here. When are the other’s coming down?”
“As soon as I put out a message.”
A couple of hours later, after Jamie had fidgeted with excitement and anxiety awaiting the time, Father put out the message for all the tunnel dwellers to assemble in his chamber, which was quite a squeeze, and then when Catherine and Vincent walked in hand in hand some time later, they were both startled, and sat down to await for whatever it was they had been summoned. Waiting for Father to speak, both were surprised when Jamie, stepped forward and started to speak instead.
In her outstretched hand she held a silver and gold gift wrapped box bound by a large red ribbon, “Vincent” she began, “This gift is for you. All your friends and family Below, wanted you to have something from us to show how special you are to us. For everything that you do for us. You give us security and we feel protected, and even the little ones love you for who you are.”
Father came forwards then, “A few days ago, Vincent, the children and I were having a discussion about myths and fairy stories. It seems the children were saddened by the fact that you wish to be completely human, and never will be, yet when we talked about it, they told me that they wouldn’t have you any other way, they love you as you are.”
From Father Jamie took up the narrative, “And we decided we would like for you to have a special gift that shows the comparison between myth and reality, so that every time you looked at it, you would know that to us you are real, more than real, and we love you the way you are. You are a unique person Vincent, and we are so happy that you live here with us. Everybody has chipped in to buy this gift for you. And there is a card with all our names on it. The gift is very special and will one day become a collectors piece. There were only a thousand of them made all around the world, and it has been hand crafted. It is a very special piece Vincent for a very special person. I hope that you will love this symbol of our love for you.”
Tears coursed down Vincent’s cheeks unchecked, as he took the gift from Jamie.
“I don’t know what to say.” He told her.
“Just open it Vincent, no-body but me has seen it, and everyone is as eager to see what it is as you are.”
Carefully Vincent unwrapped the box, then very gingerly lifted the lid, to pull back the folds of soft tissue paper. Putting his hands inside he lifted the exquisite piece from out of the box and gasped with delight. It was a ten inch replica of the flying horse Pegasus, and Vincent fell in love with it on sight.
“Its gorgeous”, Catherine whispered.
Turning it over and over in his hands loving the silky smoothness of the Dresden china horse, the brilliant whiteness dazzled his eyes in the lamp-light, and the horse’s beautiful outstretched wings told of its splendour and grace as it soared through the sky.
Shaking his head with disbelief, Vincent repeated his earlier words, “I don’t know what to say. Its lovely, no, more than that, words cannot describe its beauty. Thank you all so much. I will treasure it always.”
“And remember Vincent, when you see it every day, you must not dwell on what you are not, or what you should be, only know what you are to us all, and know this that we wouldn’t change a single bit of you even if we had the chance.” Jamie told him with affection. “Here, here.” Everyone chorused, clapping happily.
Slowly the tunnel dwellers, blissfully satisfied, made their way from the chamber patting Jamie on the back for her excellent choice in gifts, until only the children remained. Each wanted to stroke the horse. Vincent held it firmly while they came to trace their fingers over the smooth satiny texture. “It is beautiful, isn’t it?” Benji told Vincent sighing deeply, his big eyes looking adoringly up at him, “But I still liked my idea better.”
Father looked up sharply, whatever was the child going to say now?
“And what was your idea?” Vincent asked Benji gently, his blue eyes twinkling with love for the child.
Benji looked from Catherine to Vincent, his eyes bright with mischief, he told them, “If you could get Catherine to kiss you, you’d turn into a prince.”
Vincent’s sharp burst of laughter trailed away, as he caught Catherine’s eye, the way she looked at him, made his heart turn somersaults. Sensing the powerful undercurrent between them, Father coughed, and excused himself shooing Benji out ahead of him, and Catherine remained rooted to the spot. If she let the moment go, it might be a long time before the opportunity rose again, and she felt her feet moving of their own accord towards him.
“Are you going to kiss me Catherine?” He whispered huskily.
“Yes.” She murmured softly.
Vincent held his breath and closed his eyes, awaiting the blissful moment he had desired for so long, as he felt the warm caress of her lips, and sighed with pure pleasure beneath the exquisite feel of her mouth on his. Bringing his arms up and around her, he crushed her to him, returning her kiss with a passion, that took her breath away.
Coming up for air, she gazed into his eyes, the love and desire she saw there stunned her, “Vincent?” She questioned.
“Have you any idea how long I have wanted to do that?” He told her.
A deep smile lit up her whole face as she nodded, “For three years perhaps, for a certainty that was a pent up three year kiss. Do you have any left?”
Vincent chuckled, “Yes.” his eyes burned into hers, with a depth of unbridled desire that she had never seen in him before. Catherine was not surprised when he scooped her up into his arms, to carry her towards his chamber.
“Vincent, don’t forget Pegasus.” She told him, looking at the flying horse in pride of place upon Father’s table, over his shoulder.
“This night my Catherine, I’ve no need of symbols to make me know I am a man, Benji was right, your kiss set free the man in me, I am now indeed a prince among men.” Nonetheless, he went back for the figurine, and placed it lovingly upon a shelf in his chamber.
And as Catherine awaited the enchanted moment for him to gather her to him once again, she knew without a doubt, that it wasn’t only fairy stories that had happy endings.
The stories found within this website have been written by and for lovers of the American television series Beauty and the Beast and no infringement upon the rights held by Ron Koslow, CBS, Republic Entertainment, Witt-Thomas Productions or any other Copyright holder to Beauty and the Beast is intended.
Furthermore all the stories found on this website belong to Wendy Tunnard de-Veryard, are protected by copyright and none should be copied, added to or subtracted from or altered in any way, without the prior authorisation of the author.