Secret Garden

Secret Garden

From an idea by Kindra King - USA

Wouldn't it be wonderful if Vincent could see the colours of flowers, Kindra King asked when she emailed me with another story idea. She went on to say, 'Mushrooms grow in damp and dark conditions, just imagine if they could be produced in all the colours of the rainbow'. I explored this idea for some time. Checking Internet sites on horticulture I finally stumbled across something that I thought would be brilliant in bringing this story together, to the benefit of Catherine as well as to Vincent and everyone else living below in the tunnels. I hope you will enjoy this story and my sincere thanks go to Kindra King for setting me along this path. I learnt a great deal from the research I put in and enjoyed myself thoroughly.

Note: Simply put Hydroponics is the science of growing plants without soil – often beneath artificial lighting. Designed to grow more plants per square metre, Hydroponics has been used commercially since the 1970’s and is a highly efficient way of growing plants for the world’s agricultural production for harvesting higher yields.


Secret Garden

It was never a dull moment living beneath the streets of Manhattan Island that was for sure. Survival was the name of the game and making do with whatever was available in a honest as possible way was also one of the many laws that the inhabitants of the tunnel world had to follow.

Protection was a necessity too, but everyone that lived beneath the tunnels around the area of Central Park felt considerably more secure having Vincent Wells living with them, then perhaps those people that made their home beneath the streets around Brooklyn and Queens.

Vincent Wells was a legend in his own right, a gentle man beast that helped a good many people, but would be prepared to kill to protect those that loved him. And all that begin to read this story will appreciate the sort of person Vincent was and in our hearts continues to be.

There are a good many stories about this noblest of men and there will, I hope, be a good many more in years to come, because Vincent’s story was made to live on.
Vincent had a dream and through us that dream continues to thrive, and through the other inhabitants of the world below the city streets of New York that came to know Vincent or to know of Vincent, his story will live on. But there are many other people whose lives Vincent touched that are worthy of mention and none more characteristic as the young fellow known simply as Mouse.

It was thanks to Vincent that Mouse came to live in that magical world beneath the city streets, a world that holds our hearts. Vincent discovered Mouse foraging Above and befriended the youth with his patience and love, until Mouse trusted Vincent enough to go with him into a life in the tunnels, to find a family that came to love this dearest of young men, and a Father that came to tolerate him!

For Mouse was an inventor, a dreamer, but then aren’t we all? And some of Mouse’s inventions were good ideas and actually worked to an extent that they benefited the people that made their home in Vincent’s world, while some of his inventions left a lot to be desired, and some a lot of worry upon dear Father’s shoulders.

Like the time Mouse brought a Grand Piano down into the tunnels piece by piece that he had ‘just found’ Above. After all there were two of them, who’d miss one?
Father almost had a cardiac when he discovered Mouse had ‘found’ this piano beneath the bandstand in Central Park!

Mouse had been reprimanded many times about his foraging expeditions Above. Father had tried to instil a good conscience into the youth, that stealing was wrong. But Mouse seldom saw it that way. If something was left lying around and he took it then it wasn’t stealing it was taking. To Mouse there lay the difference and there was no wrong in taking stuff that others had just left ‘lying around’.

In time Father’s patience grew thin, and Mouse was subjected to ‘The Silence’ a punishment Below, that prevented anyone from speaking to the offender for a designated period of time. Even so, Mouse was Mouse, and Mouse was an inventor, and nothing was going to stop Mouse from inventing something once he had set his mind to it.
However Mouse did begin to realise that to get Father’s favour toward his inventions, it was better if there was a valid reason for the invention and Mouse’s latest invention really needed such a reason.

Mouse knew that his new idea would benefit those Below, but he also knew off by heart Father’s view on the matter. In his mind he could hear Father say;
“Now Mouse you simply cannot take what doesn’t belong to you, no matter how wonderful your idea may seem to be.”
“Now Mouse, you know that our helpers Above provide everything that we need to get by down here, we do not need frivolous things, and there is no valid reason why we should need (whatever it may be) down here. We will simply get by without it, just like we always have done.”

Mouse meant well, his heart was in the right place, even if at times his vision was not, but Mouse’s latest idea was a ‘good one’ and it would benefit so many. But in Father’s book it wasn’t a necessity and they could get by without it. So Mouse needed a reason, a very good and valid reason, and then he was certain that Father would approve.

And so begins our story;

*** *** ***

“Father have you seen Mouse?” Vincent came down the steps of his father’s chamber with lightness of step and that smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, that told he had just witnessed something very cute and something very interesting indeed.
Father looked up from his reading, and stared at Vincent as if he might see right through him, right through the tons of rock and straight into the chamber where that young culprit lived. “No, is this just a general question, or do you know something that I don’t?” Vincent’s lips twitched, Mouse was his friend, they ‘hung out’ together, and he wasn’t about to ‘tell on’ Mouse, as much as he loved his father.
“No nothing really, I just wondered if you’d seen him.” Vincent picked up the book his father had been reading, “Macbeth. I thought you read this last week Father?”
“I did, and don’t change the subject.” Father prodded Vincent’s chest “You know something. Give.”
“Know something? About Macbeth?”
“I’ll give you Macbeth!” Father retorted.
“That won’t be necessary Father I have my own copy, you know that.” Vincent spoke innocently.
Father glared at his son. He might have known he’d get nothing out of him. When it came to Vincent and Mouse, it was like trying to prise brick away from mortar. They were as thick as thieves especially in this frame of mind.
Father continued to glare at his son, whose lips, he would swear, were pursed to prevent a smile or a chuckle breaking loose. “Then if you won’t tell me, I suppose I shall have to resort to other methods at my disposal. Does Jamie know anything?”
“About what?” Vincent looked up his face completely expressionless.
Father’s glare intensified.
“If I find out you are withholding information about that little numb-skull I’ll...”
“Yes Father, you’ll what?” Father felt flustered and backed down. They had come a long way from the time he could black mail Vincent into telling on his friend. A long way indeed. In fact many were the time Father would never have believed that Vincent would ever have the life he led now. Thanks to Catherine.
Once upon a time a well-aimed bribe would have been all that was needed to get Vincent to negotiate his loyalties towards either party, and Father would have known everything. But since Catherine had come into his life, his son had become very devious and unrelenting, almost cunning. Yes very definitely the mind of a lawyer was rubbing off on him these days!
Vincent was very much a changed man since he had known Catherine, not that Father really minded. Except for times such as these. "You're really loving this aren’t you?" Father asked him now.
Vincent raised his blue eyes to his parent, relenting just a little. After all none of it was actually about Mouse. He’d heard something that was all and was using it to his advantage. That would do nicely to wipe the gloating look off Father’s face since he had won three rounds of chess against him on the trot.
Vincent refused to answer that question, “How about a game of chess Father?” he asked innocently. Father’s hand shot to his brow, ‘Of Course!’
He smiled, now he understood. This was just a game to Vincent, well he’d show him who was the master of games around here!
“Of course. Come take your seat, you have three games to make level you know?”
Vincent’s teeth glinted just a little in the glow from the candlelight, but he refrained from answering. Father chuckled with a hand against his mouth to hide the sound, but Vincent noticed his eyes dancing nonetheless.
‘I’ll show you’ he thought to himself, setting the pieces onto the board.
A battle of wits followed that lasted almost two hours, neither were giving in to this one. Both wanted blood.
Finally Vincent made the winning move and Father backed down graciously, “That was a good game my boy.” He made to stand, “Tea?”
“Yes thank you Father.” Vincent leaned back in his chair, a smile playing around the corners of his mouth. He had enjoyed the battle immensely, but concentration had been thirsty work. Tea would be marvellous.
“Will you be seeing Catherine tonight?” Father asked as he poured hot water from a jug into a kettle to place upon the stove.
“No not tonight.” Father detected his son’s sorrow. He raised a questioning brow.
“Joe has given her so much to do. She will be working late into the evening.”
“At home?”
Father looked at his son shrewdly.
It had been three and a half years since his son had met Catherine. In the earlier days he had disapproved of the relationship, but it had stood the test of time, and Father well knew that now neither of them could live without the other, but their different lifestyles was becoming a problem. His trained doctor’s eye told him that there had to be a solution or one or both of these two would become ill.
But Vincent would not allow Catherine to give up her work, and although he had relented to Catherine coming to live in their world he knew that the temporary time she had tried that it had not worked out. Simply working by candlelight on the type of files Catherine brought home resulted in such eyestrain that she couldn’t do her job properly in the day. Reluctantly they had agreed that Catherine had to live Above for as long as she needed to work. And with Vincent insisting that her life should not alter or she should not wear glasses just because of the way he was, well that was the end of the matter. They would go on as they were.
Vincent sipped the tea that Father passed to him, in silence. It was obvious to Father that by ‘that look’ his son was dwelling on Catherine.
That made Father feel immensely sad and he wished he could say something that might help.
Catherine’s love for his son was a miracle and he knew that they had embarked upon a deeper relationship not so long ago, though he had no way of knowing just how deep, because neither of them had told him of it. But actions spoke louder than words and the way they were around one another now told him many things.
They touched one another more, and he had seen them kissing. And not your run of the mill peck on the cheek either. What he had witnessed had been, well in layman’s terms, a real snog!
At the time the sight of this had been an absolute world shaker, and Father had found his eyes rooted on them and unable to turn away.
Afterwards though he was filled with gratitude that Catherine, dear sweet Catherine had given this to his son, for from that day Vincent had literally blossomed before his very eyes. He seemed to walk taller when he wasn’t floating on cloud nine that was. He showed more confidence. He seemed older, wiser if that were possible, and Father recognised him on a new level. No longer were they merely father and son, now he sensed that they were one. Funny how a real kiss can elevate a person like that.
Continuing to watch his son Father wondered not for the first time where the relationship with Catherine would end. Or begin. For so long it seemed they had reached stalemate, but this latest turn of events had to signify changes were in the making. It just grieved Father that neither of them seemed to know the way forward. Both pussyfooted around each other afraid of making moves it would seem.
“Perhaps you should pop up and visit her later.” Father suggested speaking his thoughts out loud.
Vincent looked up. His expression was unreadable, and he shook his head wordlessly.
“I just thought…” Father paused, what did he think? That to see Catherine would make the problem go away? Perhaps to see her would only intensify it.
“Vincent would you like to talk?”
“About Catherine?”
“Yes. Or is there anything bothering you?”
A deep sigh escaped Vincent, “Nothing out of the ordinary.”
Father was compelled to say ‘it’s been a long slog hasn’t it Vincent, and still no result,’ but he didn’t know what Vincent would make of that. But it was true. Three and a half years of a relationship that had deepened to the extent that these two were so very close and in love that a blind man could see it, but...
But what?
What would come now?
“Are you depressed Vincent?”
For a moment Vincent’s face crumpled and Father was sure that his son would cry. It was something he hadn’t seen in a very long time, and it grieved him dreadfully. “Vincent please tell me.” It was unlike Father to pry, but this was his son and he loved him so very much. Vincent drew in a deep ragged breath letting it out again with the words “There’s nothing to tell.”
Father was patient sitting with his hands steepled beneath his chin, he waited and watched his son’s face for any expression that might give him a clue.
“I love Catherine.” Father was surprised by that omission. This was something he knew, but Vincent had never said it with such tenderness before, or such, such desperation.
“I know you do Vincent.” Father replied gently. His son inclined his head so that his gorgeous mane of hair shadowed his eyes.
Vincent was silent again, as if the omission had already revealed more than he was prepared to give away.
“What is it Vincent? Are you afraid to want a life with her?”
Vincent looked up then, his incredulous eyes meeting his father’s. “You always led me to believe that such a life envisaged was not for me?” It was a statement but a question hung there. Father nodded, “Once perhaps. But Catherine has proven over and over again how much she loves you, and when she came to live down among us I had hoped…” he paused watching his son’s face for a sign. If Vincent appeared agitated he would stop and change direction. But Vincent’s blue eyes bore into his own as if he was drawing life-sustaining nourishment from his father’s words.
“Well I had hoped that it might have worked out between you too, that together you would find your happy life.”
Vincent’s eyes grew wider as if hearing his father say such a thing was the last thing he had ever expected to hear him say, and probably it was, and it was also words that he had hoped for within his own heart.
“But Catherine couldn’t see to read the documents in candle light Father.”
“I know and I wish there was something I could do to help Vincent, I really do.”
Vincent sighed, “No doubt it will sort itself out Father, don’t worry about me.”
But Father did worry about his son, and no doubt the problem would resolve itself, but how long would that take? How many more years would Vincent and Catherine be forced to live their lives the way they had for the past three and a half years?
Surely there was something, some way to lessen the time?
If only Father could think of what.

*** *** ***

“Must have a reason. Must have a reason.” Mouse trotted happily to the kitchen, his mind totally absorbed in his latest invention. “Gizmo great, will work. A little here a little there, run some wires, make switches. Bingo have light.” Mouse muttered to himself as he sat down at a table to munch on the food William had set before him.
“What you chattering on about now Mouse? Lord you are getting just like that racoon. Chitter chatter, chitter chatter, mumbling to yourself all the time. It’s the first sign of madness you know that?” Mouse looked up briefly. He had hardly heard a thing William had said, but the word racoon penetrated well enough. What had Arthur done now?
Mouse stared blankly at William, who shrugged and went back to his pots and pans bubbling upon the stove. Mouse was obviously in an invention mode it was the only thing that sent him do la la.

Food was an unfortunate necessity and a complete waste of time, and so as soon as Mouse had crammed his dinner into his mouth and had swallowed fairly successfully without choking, he was darting out of the kitchen again. William watched him go, “Like the speed of light.” He chuckled to himself. “Wonder what that boy has up his sleeve this time.” Unwittingly he had already answered his question.

Mouse ran through the tunnels, he had to find a reason.
Like his namesake he darted into chambers along the way, peering inside, much to the amusement of every resident, mumbled something, looked around and darted out. The only words anyone seemed able to decipher were “Must have a reason.”
Many smiling faces followed him on his way, and eventually as was the way of things Mouse found himself outside of Father’s chamber.
He hesitated voices were coming from within. Low and quiet. Mouse heard the soft gravely voice of his friend Vincent, and the beautiful name of his friend Catherine mentioned, but not the reason for their discussion. Pity really, that would have been his answer, and cut months off his plans.
Mouse thought about going in, but decided against it. Eavesdropping was another no no Below. If he stayed he could be accused of that, and he knew that he should not interrupt unless he had a valid reason, and though he thought he did, he knew well enough that at this stage the longer the idea was kept from Father the better.

So he spun on his heel, muttering, “Need a reason, need a reason.” Making everyone that heard him go by laugh at his antics.

Somewhere in his mind Mouse made room for the fact that he hadn’t seen Jamie all day. That was unusual. Preoccupied he might be, but he would have noticed Jamie. In fact even if he hadn’t she would have made darn sure that he had noticed her.
Once the thought had arisen, Mouse shelved his earlier problem and set upon that one, asking the first person that he came to, “Where’s Jamie?”
It was Mary. “Didn’t you know? Jamie has gone with a group of children and a helper on a trip above. Actually they should be back soon, they’ve been gone all day. Is there something I can help you with child, or do you want to wait until Jamie returns?”
“No.” Mouse replied making to walk away.
Mary caught his arm, “No what Mouse?”
Mouse misunderstood. “No please. No thank you.” He made Mary laugh out loud. She released his arm and he shot off oblivious to her humour.

He wasn’t really bothered where Jamie was or when she would be home, he had just wondered where she was that’s all. Now he knew his mind returned to the other problem at hand, and he wandered off exploring every nook and cranny intent on finding a reason before the night was out.

*** *** ***

When the group of children led by Jamie finally made their weary way home, one of the party ‘just had to’ go and see Mouse. There was simply something that she just had to tell him.
The moment Jamie had delivered them all to the kitchen, Jamie dismissed herself from her charges, and taking a plate of food and some milk she disappeared in the direction of her chamber to spend a quiet evening.
Lorna on the other hand was full of beans, and as soon as she could she left the excited chattering of the other children behind and made off in the direction of Mouse’s chamber. Disappointment befell her as she arrived and found that Mouse was out, but she stayed anyway. The long walk home and the added walk down to Mouse’s hidey-hole had about tired her out.
Arthur entertained her with his relentless scampering and endless chattering, and Lorna spoke to him for a time, before her attention was caught to the ever-present Aladdin’s cave of treasure as was Mouse’s domain.
Gadgets and gizmos lay everywhere, many of which seemed to be half done, and between them all lay ‘How To’ books with their pages sprawled open at the page showing the diagram on how to make the item it lay beside.
It must have been at least an hour before Lorna’s ears detected the sound of Mouse’s return, and she would have hidden herself and shouted Boo, if she did not know from past experiences that such actions would cause Mouse to disappear and not be seen for days. So she waited where he would see her the moment he stepped into his chamber ready with a big smile upon her face.

Even so he didn’t see her at first because his mind was still screwed up on needing a reason, and frustrated that he hadn’t been able to find one, and it wasn’t until Lorna spoke his name that he visibly jumped and acknowledged her presence.
“Hello Mouse. I was waiting for you.”
“I’m here now.” Mouse sounded irritable.
“What’s wrong Mouse? Has Father told you off again?”
“No not seen Father.”
“Well I’ve got something to tell you, can you guess what it is?”
Mouse looked at her questioningly. He hadn’t a clue.
“I’ve been Above today Mouse.” Lorna replied proudly.
“With Jamie?”
“Yes Jamie came. But Mouse you should have been there, you would have loved it.”
Mouse was mildly interested. Right now nothing was more important than his reason.
“Mouse?” Lorna queried, “Can we make Vincent a garden?”
That got his attention.
“A garden? For Vincent?”
“No impossible. Flowers need sunlight, rain, warmth. Don’t have that down here.”
“No they don’t Mouse.” Lorna looked at him her excitement growing while bursting with the things she knew.
“Do so.”
“No, can use Hydro…Hydro…pot…a knacks.”
“What’s that?” Mouse had never heard anything like it in his life.
Lorna explained. “You get some pretend light and some water and some of those Styrofoam pots and put in the seed and float the pots and the plants will grow. We could make Vincent a garden so he could see the colours of the flowers.”
Mouse stared at her. He was especially interested in that word she had used. Light.
“What sort of light?”
“Er Arty... arty... ficial.” Lorna beamed with pride she had been remembering that word all day. She had remembered it by thinking of Arthur needing a facial to jog her memory on its pronunciation.
“Does Jamie know?” Mouse asked.
“Yes, but I do too.” Lorna pouted. “It could be our secret.”
That was probably true Mouse decided. Jamie might tell Father.
“I brought you a brochure.” Lorna beamed as Mouse’s eyes lit up, watching at Lorna pulled a glossy book from her back pocket. “Here. This will tell you all about it. Will you read it?”
Mouse took it from her. His eyes bulging with excitement. “Yes.” He whispered, clearing a space to place the brochure and starting to read.
Lorna hovered by waiting for him to speak, when he did not she asked, “Shall I come back tomorrow Mouse?”
There was silence.
Mouse raised a hand and waved goodbye. Lorna knew she had been dismissed but she did not feel unhappy. Mouse was avidly reading the book she had brought him, and that was good enough for her.

Completely and utterly absorbed Mouse hadn’t read anything this exciting for a long time. It answered so many of his questions and so many of his problems including and most importantly his current one. NOW HE HAD HIS REASON!
And Lorna’s idea was a terrific one, and Father would be pleased, because Father was happy when Vincent was happy, and this would certainly make Vincent happy.
Delighted Mouse set about putting his invention into action.

*** *** ***

Catherine pushed the pile of documents aside and lay her head upon her arm. She was oh so tired. Not just physically, but mentally too.
Everything seemed to be too much trouble these days. Not that she was old, far from it, she was only thirty-four but she would have given anything to have taken time out for a couple of years and retired.
Many of her friends were doing just that. Some to raise a family, others to be the dutiful housewife for all intents and purposes but really just enjoying a year off work to recuperate and assess their future. But that wasn’t the entire problem as far as Catherine was concerned. Just lately she had been more than aware that her biological clock had been ticking louder than normal.
It had all started with Nancy ringing to say that she was pregnant again, and then Jenny ringing to say that she might be pregnant too, but that had turned out to be a scare. Still those two events had set Catherine’s mind thinking, and now everywhere she looked, women seemed to be expecting babies. Funny how that happened. See an advert on television that people wore beige Macs and it would appear that everyone was wearing one. Something you didn’t notice before was when brought to attention appearing everywhere. But at this rate there would be a baby boom next year.
To Catherine it was a depressing topic. She loved Vincent. That was the be all and end all as far as she was concerned, but Vincent was adamant that she should not give up her life Above. How could she make him see that she wanted to, not just for him but for herself? It was her time. But if she could make him see that, could she make him accept the other?

Their relationship was moving ahead now. Just a little true, but in her mind the hopeful speed of its advancement left her quite breathless, and she had to clamp down hard on those feelings lest Vincent discover them through their Bond. Sometimes Catherine smiled wickedly to herself wondering what his state would be if she gave him any inkling at all to the way that her mind was working.

Right now though she needed him desperately. The sense of comfort and security he infused in her when he enfolded her in his arms was a tonic to her system, and she would have given anything to see him this night.
On the other hand though in her vulnerable state perhaps to see him would be risky. Not only was her biological clock sounding loudly in her ears but her body was also wanting. It had waited for three and a half years now for the intimate touch of a man, and Catherine was well aware that those close embraces of Vincent’s were highly stimulating. That was the real reason for her depressed frame of mind. The need to be in his arms, but the need to be more to him than she had ever been to him before, and not knowing how he would take to that.

Recently they had kissed. Well she had kissed him. It had been spontaneous at the time, but when she had leaned in for another he had met her half way, and they had not been able to draw apart.
Memories of that kiss kept her alive in her darkest moments. Fire and ice pulsing through her blood as her lips had clung to his, and everything, everything that they felt for one another manifested itself in rising glory the moment that their mouths had touched.

Catherine shuddered, drawing her head from her arm to gather the documents into a pile suppressing the desire to throw them all over the balcony wall and watch them flutter to the street Below.
Catherine smiled. She would probably be fined for trashing the streets. Even that amused her.
Suddenly a shadow caught her eye.
Catherine gasped. Her heart hammering in her breast.
Vincent had come!
They were not going to meet tonight.
Panic flew through her. Had he sensed her feelings? Had she been careless? Did he know?
She watched him pace the length of her balcony. He had not tapped upon the glass, and she could see his agitation.
Something was wrong, and he would know that she had seen him. So something was doubly wrong.
Catherine rose from her seat walked the few feet to the balcony doors and opened them slowly. “Vincent?” she queried, her heart stilling for the sight of him. He turned. “Catherine.” As always the sound of him uttering her name did strange and wonderful things to Catherine. She stared at him.
“Am I disturbing you?” He asked somewhat pained.
“No. Vincent I didn’t expect to see you tonight. I thought...”
“That we’d agreed to see one another on Thursday...” He finished for her. He stopped his pacing to watch her face as he spoke, “Catherine I couldn’t wait untill then.”
Something was happening, Catherine was sure of it. Her breath caught and held, “What is it Vincent, what’s wrong?” The words squeezed through tight lungs and were exhaled on a breath.
Vincent turned to face the city lights, his hands gripping the balcony wall, and Catherine remained in the doorway watching him intently.
Something she had said to him a thousand times and meant them rose to mind. Never had she spoken them and have them mean so much as she heard herself say “With love Vincent anything is possible.”
He spun around, his eyes haunted and asking questions he dare not utter. His breathing accelerated, and Catherine could see the difficulty he was having to stay but nothing could force him to go.
And she didn’t know why or at least she didn’t know how she could possibly know but something told Catherine the reason for all of this, something told her there was only one way forward and it was now, it had to be now. Or they would part and this thing, this restless, relentless thing would torment them until it made one or both of them ill.
Catherine stepped toward him, seeing the rapid rise and fall of his chest at her closeness and whispered in a voice rich with desire “Make love to me Vincent.”
Oh the joy! Warm waves rose and fell through Vincent’s body as they did Catherine’s. Their eyes fixed and held and neither could move. Vincent was fighting the final barrier but before her very eyes Catherine could see it crumbling. Hope seared her soul as she waited.
It could go either way now. She had offered herself. He would either run away and she would never see him again, of that she was certain, or he would crush her against him and he would spend the night with her as she had so often dreamed that he would.
He was trembling, Catherine knew it as a good sign, and he could not run from her in that condition but she wanted so much to reach out and hold him to her until his trembling stopped, but she dared not. She had made the first move now it was up to him. She wondered though if she should issue him with a question. He seemed unable to know what to do next. Taking pity on him, Catherine whispered, “Vincent will you spend the night with me?”
That seemed to unleash his problem. For mere seconds he continued to stare at her and then he reached out his hand for her to take, “Yes.” He told her squeezing her fingers as their hands made contact.
Catherine detected the trembling stronger now, but rather than encourage him into her home, she drew herself towards him, releasing his hand from hers to slip her hands around his waist and cuddled him close.
Catherine had always loved the smell of him. The pervading scent of candle wax, old books, night air and a musky scent that she detected was purely his. His trembling eased at her closeness, despite the knowledge of what this night would mean to them both, having his Catherine close made Vincent feel whole again. And it was so good to be close to her.
He buried his face beneath her hair, nuzzling under her ear, something Catherine had always found pleasure in. In the past she had assumed he was absorbed in traces of the scent she had worn that day, but this night she remembered that she did not wear any. In a flash of shining light, it hit her that he derived as much pleasure from the scent of her as she did from the scent of him!
This night though he grew more adventurous nuzzling further down beneath her ear almost to her shoulder, before coming back up and tracing the line of her jaw. His intent flew through her mind the instant his hold tightened upon her, and Catherine held her breath as his mouth came closer to her own.
She ached, literally ached to feel his mouth on hers. Once they had shared this and that several weeks ago now. The memory was nothing in comparison to the feel of his mouth against hers again. As his lips touched and with the knowledge that tonight they would be lovers Catherine let fly all of her love for him.
Within the kiss Vincent’s eyes flew open, stunned by the wealth of feelings flying from Catherine’s heart to his via their connection.
His mouth stilled for a mere instance and then with a groan he gathered her up into his arms and stepped forward into the bedroom beyond.

It was bliss.
To have him love her was nothing short of bliss.
Both cried softly. Tears for the love that they shared, tears for the joy that they felt, tears for the disappearance of the final barrier and tears of knowing that each had someone they could utterly trust never to hurt them ever and forever.

Nothing of the beast rose that night, Vincent’s lovemaking was sweet and tender carrying Catherine higher than she had ever experienced.
There had never been another to make her feel that way before, and Vincent’s loving was more than she had ever imagined it could be. His innocence was her undoing, she cried when he entered her for the simple reason of the exquisite expression of ecstasy upon his face and sharing his joy and his happiness to know that they were really as one.
“Catherine.” He whispered her name and tears fell from his eyes as they lay joined together, neither wanting to move for the moment, “Thank you.”
He took her lips again, tasting the saltiness of mingled tears and Catherine sobbed against his mouth, cradling him with her arms wrapped around him so tightly.
“I love you.” She murmured. “How I love you.”
“As I love you.” He husked and marvelled that he could embed himself so deep without hurting her. This feeling was rapture. She encompassed him and his body seemingly melted into hers, his mind spinning away by the intensity of the feelings her body was giving his. “Oh Catherine my love.”

The night was theirs but even with the dawn he could not leave her. It was impossible that they should ever be apart again.
Vincent made to leave. As the first pink and gold streaks heralding the dawn stained the night sky he left her side his intent of old to leave with the receding cloak of darkness, but he could not go. He could not leave her. He never wanted to leave her again. He was a part of her now, had been a part of her in a way he had never dared to hope. And he didn’t know what he was going to do, but he knew that nothing or no one would ever prise him away from her ever again.
If she couldn’t live Below, then he would just have to live Above, it was as simple as that. Catherine had given him everything and he was never going to leave her again.
He eased himself back into the bed trying not to disturb her and automatically Catherine huddled close. Vincent drew her against him burrowing his face deep into her neck and inhaling her scent. Catherine was truly his now and for the first time in his life Vincent knew what it was to be a man.

*** *** ***

Father was just returning thoughtfully from Vincent’s chamber, where he had found it empty, when one of the children ran down the steps and handed him a note. Father thanked the child and hobbled beneath the nearest lamp to read the contents. He smiled as he read the note.

Father, don’t worry Vincent is ‘safe’ with me.

Father chuckled, he particularly liked the way Catherine had put ‘safe’ in inverted commas. He was happy for them and a trifle intrigued imagining the night they had spent together with memories of his own.
Hobbling back to his chamber he put the note somewhere safe, sat down in his chair and let the memories flood his mind. He smiled thoughtfully ‘ah yes he could well remember the love of a woman...’

Unlocking the door to her apartment Catherine smiled as she thought on her note. Whatever Father would think to it she didn’t know, but she did know he was well aware that the relationship between herself and his son had to head somewhere now or it would soon be the end of the road. Both had wanted so much and neither had dared to make the first move. Apart from that kiss that was. She had instigated the kiss and a good job too if last night was a spin off from that. For she had never encountered Vincent so agitated, as he had been when pacing her terrace the evening before. Well now that would be a thing of the past for both of them. No more frustrated pacing. Calling softly as she stepped into her apartment and closed the door, she stilled at the sight of Vincent draped in just a towel, fresh from the shower, his hair wet and wavy down his back. “Now there’s a sight you don’t see everyday.” Catherine couldn’t help herself and said the first thought that flew to mind. Vincent turned and shyly hid his eyes from her beneath his mane of hair. Last night it had been dark, too dark for Catherine to see all of him, and he was embarrassed.
Catherine decided to pass it by, “Have you eaten? Did you find anything?”
“An apple. You live like a sparrow Catherine.”
Catherine laughed, “I’m seldom here. I’ll nip down to the deli in a while and fetch us something. I take it you will be staying today?”
Vincent looked up and saw the mischievous glint in her eye, and wasn’t sure what to say, “If I may.” He mumbled.
“Like you’d step out of here in broad daylight wearing nothing but a towel that hardly covers you.” She laughed loudly, then her laughter died as she realised the truth of her words. That towel did hardly cover anything. There was so much of Vincent to see that suddenly her lungs were starved of oxygen. “Oh God Vincent you’re beautiful.”
His head snapped back searching her eyes. The Bond told him no lies. She loved what she saw and she loved him. And though he was here, now, in her living room, in broad daylight, wearing only a towel, he thought that he must be dreaming, and everything that had happened had to have been a dream too, a glorious, wonderful dream. And he had to know, he really did whether or not that was so.
“Catherine last night…did we really?” he blushed unable to look at her.
Catherine smiled tremulously at him but said nothing. His innocence was so appealing.
“I mean was it just a dream or did we...”
“Make love?” Catherine whispered, still stood by the door, enjoying his discomfort delightfully.
Vincent took a deep breath before saying, “Yes...that."
“It was no dream Vincent, my dreams don’t come that good.” She stepped toward him now, and he trusted himself to look up at her.
“It was good for you?” He seemed incredulous as if that was so hard to believe, given his inexperience, his differences.
“You know it was. Vincent believed me I have never been loved until you loved me. Nothing of what ever went before even comes close, but then I have never been in love like this before either.”
Speechless Vincent stared at her. He knew that she loved him, but it had never crossed his mind that she might love him more than any other man she had ever known but he knew how much she had responded to his loving and he believed her. “I love you Catherine. Believe me when I tell you that no one has made me feel the way you have made me feel. I owe you everything.”
“You owe me nothing. You saved my life.”
“As you have saved mine.”
“Then we are equal. What each of us does from now on will be purely for the other, and Vincent there are so many gifts waiting for you. I want to give you everything.”
Opening his arms to her Catherine slipped into his embrace. The feel of the soft downy fur upon his torso was warm and silky, and Catherine loved every inch of it. “Mmm you’re nice to cuddle up to Vincent, I’ve always thought so, but now even more than ever.”
“You are a very strange woman Catherine Chandler.”
“I’m a hungry woman too.” Knowing he had eaten the last apple in the apartment Vincent could not follow this change in conversation. He soon did. The towel around his middle was soon whipped away. “For you!” Catherine laughed as she took his hand and pulled him gently towards the bedroom. “Come my love lets make some more dreams come true.”
“Catherine you’re incorrigible.” He laughed at her.
“So who’s complaining?”

*** *** ***

The weeks flew by and Mouse was in his element, Vincent had been away all of that time for true to his word he would not leave Catherine’s side. For now all Mouse knew was that in his large friend’s absence he was able to put his whole plan into action and get it completed before Vincent returned.
Thanks to the brochure that Lorna had given him Mouse had created something that rivalled every invention he had ever created.
The brochure was a godsend. Hydroponics* that Lorna had misquoted soon absorbed all of Mouse’s time. He learned things he never knew of and learned from those things too.
Not a new technique, Hydroponics had been in use for centuries.
The earliest known use of the technique dated back to the Babylonians with their hanging gardens. Then there was the floating gardens of Kashmir and even the Aztecs used rafts on shallow lakes to grow plants.
And even as far back as several hundred years before Christ Egyptian hieroglyphic records described the technique of growing plants in water.
Therefore Mouse did not doubt that given the technology advancement from those dates to the little resources available in the tunnels that he could not recreate something of history itself.

It pleased him to note that in recent years Hydroponics were used to feed soldiers in the Second World war in the South Pacific and so too aboard naval submarines to feed the crew fresh fruit and vegetables. This particularly intrigued Mouse, since to him the long dismal tunnels were reminiscent of those submarines even though he had never been a on board one.
And in fact the tunnels where Mouse lived provided the perfect setting for Hydroponics because the water and nutrients required for growth were readily available in the subterranean world below.

All he needed now was light.

He found just what he needed as always up top. So that his floating garden received the specified amount of light required for growth Mouse needed to set up a track system whereby a light could be pulled along. Or better still would automatically travel around and around the track ensuring the plants received the share of light that they required daily.
To Mouse this was the easy part. Having already designed a way to bring light from Above to the tunnels, all he had needed was a reason to use it. So with a few extra metres (few to Mouse – excessive to Father) of cable Mouse could transport electricity from Above to the designated level where plant growth would flourish.

There was only one person Mouse would ‘let in’ on this and that was Lorna. Between them, though Lorna was some fifteen years his junior, the pair managed to acquire some very impressive quantities of seed, not to mention towers of Styrofoam cups, which they cut down to make into smaller pots, and with a hole in the bottom dropped in a seed or two.
Lorna found this great fun and as she witnessed Mouse’s underground ‘botanical’ garden taking shape she marvelled at all that she saw.

“This is great Mouse.” She looked up at the impressive tracking where Mouse had fixed a couple of lamps eternally switched on, and which with string attached could be pulled around the track to ensure thorough light for all the floating pots.
He had also waded waist high into a subterranean lake and dammed up one end so that the remaining water was just inches deep and flowed at a mere trickle to keep it fresh.

At the end of the first month Mouse and Lorna’s secret garden was nothing short of genius. To an onlooker it appeared as a green and white floor of gently rippling plants and pots as if a gentle breeze secured their movements.
“William will love it too won’t he? We have almost everything we need here for dinner, and desert except for milk of course so we’ll still have to buy that.”
Mouse looked thoughtful. Yes with the small amount of rice he was experimenting with it was true William could make rice pudding, but they would have to buy the milk. “Could maybe get a cow?”
Lorna laughed, “A cow, oh you are funny Mouse. How would we ever get a cow down here? Besides we don’t need that much milk.”
A pity that, it would have been great to have been able to grow that too. Still one step at a time, he decided, best get Father’s approval on this lot first.
Lorna laughed some more until her thoughts returned to the sight before her eyes. She wanted so much for Father and the others to see it all.
And Mouse was delirious with happiness. Not only did the area provide beauty and a wonderful scent of plant production but also Mouse had set aside areas where Vincent could sit and enjoy the view.
“Now can we tell them?” Lorna asked as together they picked their first crop of tomatoes six weeks after production had started.
Mouse munched into the delectable fruit and with juice running down his chin and eyes bright with delight he nodded, “Now we tell them.”

*** *** ***

True to his word Vincent stayed with Catherine.
And having him with her every day and every night was wonderful, a dream come true. Catherine took a month’s leave and did all the things she had dreamed of doing with Vincent since she had known him. They hired videos and watched all-manner of movies or travel logs and explored the world together through them. At night they would leave the apartment and walk arm in arm through the park, but though Vincent sent word to Father often and though Father sent him fresh clothing too Vincent did not visit Below. This was their time, his and Catherine’s and he was making the very most of it.
The days were filled with fun and laughter, growing together, each learning about the other remembering things from the past to share, having all the time in the world to be the couple they had always needed to be, but deep down inside something rankled Catherine’s conscience. It shouldn’t be like this. Soon she would have to return to her job, and Vincent would be home alone. It would be at such a time that freedom would become a thing of the past. That her four walls would become his prison, and Catherine was determined, as much as she loved having him live with her, to return him to the world he had only ever known with the hope that he would allow her to accompany him there.

One day six weeks after Vincent had first made love to her Catherine awoke feeling unwell. Vincent sensed it in her immediately and was concerned for her. “Catherine is something wrong?” Usually when she woke she would cuddle close, but this morning she lay still staring up at the ceiling.
“Catherine?” he prompted when he got no response.
Catherine was counting dates and she was also about to be sick.
Stumbling from the bed she bolted for the bathroom, only just making it in time.
A coldness steeled through her as she sat on the floor in front of the toilet trembling violently. What on earth had done that to her? Had she picked up a bug from somewhere? If she had then would Vincent catch it? Her mind raced, calmed only by the pressure of a very large and furry hand upon her shoulder. “Catherine?”
She stood shakily, and he held her, reaching for a flannel to wipe her mouth, and the sweat from her brow.
“Must have been something I ate.” She tried to laugh it off.
But Vincent had other ideas. He worried about bringing it up and she would not meet his eyes and that worried him too. Had she thought of the same thing?
“Catherine, come sit down.”
“I don’t think my legs will support me.”
“Then I’ll carry you.”
He lifted her effortlessly and deposited her gently onto one of her dainty sofa’s sitting opposite her on the other one. Vincent took up her hand. His face was serious, grave and pinched with fear. “Catherine... Could you be pregnant?”
Catherine could not meet his eyes. That same thought had flown through her mind just seconds before she had bolted for the bathroom. Her mind had been calculating as she had lain there with her stomach queasy. It had been eight weeks since her last period. The possibility was more than a possibility.
Vincent knew he had hit a chord, and her silence troubled him. They had been so careless. Not just once but dozens upon dozens of times almost as if neither of them had considered the possibility of it ever happening. They were so different, but were they really? After all both were human, even if Vincent did display other qualities. Vincent continued to stroke her hand as she diverted her eyes, and via their connection he infused his love. He would stand by her, she had no need to doubt, but would she want to go through with it? The thought that she might not terrified him.
Catherine’s eyes rose slowly, words stuck in her throat, she was unable to voice a reply, but her eyes when they met his gave her answer. Fearful bleak and unreadable eyes broke his heart. “I’m sorry Catherine.” To do this to her, when she had so much to live for. She had a life to lead and he had halted that life in its tracks. His inconsiderate manner had taken the future from her and he not even considered the consequences. He almost hated himself.
Catherine watched his eyes, saw the very many expressions chasing through them. She loved him and yet she knew his fears, could see his doubts, but she misunderstood the reasons.
Suddenly through her own shock the sun broke through a cloud and she began to dwell upon the facts. There was more than a strong possibility that she carried his child. The thought brought her such joy, such as she had never known. “Oh Vincent!” she could not help but cry, “Could it be so?”
His eyes when they met hers now were expectant. Her words had given him hope. She had sounded so happy. Her eyes confirmed what his ears had heard as they flashed and danced with a fierce possessiveness that he had never witnessed there before.
His heart was lifted and through their connection her joy seared his soul. “You wouldn’t mind?”
Catherine stood, strength now infusing her body, “Mind!” her eyes alight with joy. “Oh Vincent to have your child, would I mind? Vincent I would love to have your child!”
Vincent could not stand. He had to sit. The room was spinning. This, this then was the very supremacy of their love for each other. The bond pounded between them, through them, within them, and there as if to guarantee that their thinking was going along the right path both stilled at the same instance, holding in a breath to listen.
There, a tiny heartbeat, distant and beautiful alongside their own and Catherine collapsed into Vincent’s arms, hugging him with her hands clasped firmly around his neck her face buried into his throat beneath his ear. “Oh my love” Catherine whispered, “Oh my dearest love. Thank you.” She sobbed happily and Vincent’s tears soon overflowed. They cascaded from his eyes and down his cheeks relentlessly like an unstoppable silver river.
This woman this beautiful woman had given him her love and now she would give him a child? It was all too perfect to be true. Vincent’s heart was deliriously and ecstatically filled with happiness.

*** *** ***

“Father would you come with me please?” Lorna stood at the top of the steps leading into Father’s chamber.
The older man looked up from his reminiscing. He’d been doing a lot of that recently. Ever since Vincent’s absence had lengthened week after week. He looked up startled, “What! Oh hello Lorna, did you need me for something?”
“Yes Father. Would you come with me please?”
Father smiled. The girl’s excitement bordered on nervousness, “What is it dear? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing is wrong Father, but there is something that I must show you.” Father was intrigued. He left his absorbing ramblings with his seat and rose to make his way to her side.
“Where are we going?” he held her hand as they walked conscious that she almost pulled him along.
“You’ll see.” She replied happily.
Father wondered what treat was in store. It wasn’t his birthday was it? They hadn’t planned a surprise party had they? If they had he hoped that Vincent and Catherine would be the guests of honour.

Father followed Lorna further and further away from the main hub, a little concerned when he realised they were heading for the subterranean levels.
“You should have told me we were going swimming my dear, I would have brought my bathing suit.” Lorna laughed at his words. They eased her tension, which was what he’d had in mind. Whatever it was worried her just a little.
“Can’t you give me a clue?” he asked as they walked on further.
Lorna pursed her lips together, “Okay, but you have still got to come. Promise?”
“I promise.” This worried him.
“Its something to do with Mouse.” This worried him even more.
“With Mouse?” Oh no what had that hair brain been up to this time?
“We are almost there Father. Can you shut your eyes when I tell you?”
‘And fall into a pit or some other contraption’ Father mused, ‘no way’, but to Lorna he said, “Of course my dear.” Hopefully she wouldn’t notice if he peeked.
“Then do it now Father. Close your eyes please.” Lorna told him. Her hand in his jigged with excitement. Father’s heart pounded in his chest. He had to take some calming breaths to slow it down. This might kill him if he didn’t. The thought whizzed through his mind that it probably didn’t matter. Whatever he was about to see would surely kill him anyway.
Lorna led him through what he had presumed from past experiences travelling this way to be a dismal chamber through which traces of the nameless river ran. But through peeping eyes he detected a brightness unknown. “You can look now Father.” Lorna told him proudly. Yes he detected her pride, ‘good’ he thought ‘I was going to look anyway.’
His eyes opened, and opened and opened. Never had he witnessed anything like this in his entire life. He stumbled, and became aware of supporting arms on either side of him. “Good eh?” he heard Mouse’s voice to his right.
“What is it?” He hadn’t a clue, but on first appearances it looked as if the entire botanical gardens had been transported Below, except it wasn’t just flowers, it was tomatoes, and strawberries, courgettes, lettuces and mushrooms, carrots and leeks. Everywhere Father looked something green was protruding from…the river?
“You did this Mouse?” he could not believe it. It was wonderful.
“I helped him.” Lorna told him proudly.
“But of course.”
“You like it?” Mouse asked beginning to get nervous. Nothing had been said about that yet.
“Like it! Mouse you’re a genius.”
“I am not! What’s a genius?”
Father laughed, hugging the boy into embarrassment, he wasn’t used to such affection, and especially not from Father. “Mouse its wonderful. Have you shown it to anyone else?”
“No. It’s for Vincent.”
“For Vincent you say?”
“Everyone can share it, but it belongs to Vincent Father.” Lorna explained. “We wanted Vincent to be able to see the colours of the flowers and pretend that he was sitting beneath the sunlight.”
Mouse cringed as Father looked up for the first time noticing the overhead lighting. “Mouse where did you get all that light.”
“Found it, needed it, used it.” Mouse told him slipping back into illiteracy mode. Father could tell by that that the problem was not up for debate. If it could even be called a problem as for once Mouse had achieved something thoroughly remarkable that would benefit so many.
“I’m not angry with you Mouse. I’ll turn a blind eye this time. Just don’t go rigging all the chambers with electric lights, promise me you won’t?”

*** *** ***

After Father sent word to Vincent to have him come to see something remarkable, he was surprised to find not only Vincent arrive, and not only Catherine too but several suitcases accompanying the two of them. Father’s eyes lit up as he hobbled over to embrace and welcome his son home. “You’re coming back for good?”
“Yes Father for good. Not just me either.” Father’s eyes beamed with joy.
“Catherine you’re coming too?”
Catherine looked to Vincent who told his father proudly, “And not just Catherine Father.”
Father sensed something mischievous emanating from these two, “Not just Catherine?” He looked past her expecting to see a third party accompanying them.
Vincent hugged his father tighter, watching his eyes, “The person you are looking for Father hasn’t been born yet.” He stilled and waited for the penny to drop.
Father’s jaw dropped first. “You mean?”
Catherine smiled and nodded.
Vincent nodded too.
“A baby!” Father cried incredulously. “You two, you’re having a baby?” he couldn’t get his head around this and for many moments a great degree of vying emotions raced through his mind. “And you don’t mind?” He whispered. He couldn’t believe that they wouldn’t.
“No Father. Catherine is carrying my child and we couldn’t be happier.”
“Oh Vincent!” He could find no other words but hugged his son tighter than he had ever hugged him before, and reached out an arm to encourage Catherine to join the embrace. “Congratulations to the both of you.” He told them happily, and he found that he really, really meant it.

*** *** ***
“So Mouse has a surprise for me?” Vincent asked Father as the three of them took the weight off their feet with a cup of herb tea in their hands.
“Father I don’t know if I can take any further surprises this week.” He winked at Catherine, who almost spilt her tea to see it. Vincent had winked at her? A smile lit up her face.
“Well you will have to, for believe me my boy this one won’t wait. And I might add it is one of Mouse’s better ideas.”
Vincent was intrigued. Mouse had found favour with Father enough to be praised for his inventions? This he must see.
But first there were one or two other things that needed discussing. “Father before we go to see this surprise can we talk?”
“About the baby?”
“Yes and Catherine’s future.”
Father turned to her, “You’ll be coming Below permanently now surely my dear?”
“There’s no doubt in my mind Father, but Vincent insists that I return to my career eventually, which leads to the problem of my eyestrain. I just can’t study by candle light, so we have decided that I will just have to come Below at weekends and leave the baby with Vincent during the week.”
“Will you be able to do that? I think Catherine when the time comes you will find that you cannot.”
“I’m sure that you are right. But Father there is no other way.”
Father detected that Catherine’s news of returning to her career had not been her decision. In fact the possibility was there that she never wanted to work again. He knew his son though, and he knew that Vincent would believe he had taken Catherine away from a world she would not have ordinarily have turned her back on, but for him. “Then again when the time comes Catherine my dear I am sure you will find a great many people very accommodating, in fact I would be very much surprised if any child of my son’s is seen very often by either of you.”
Vincent chuckled, but Father noted Catherine did not. Her eyes remained very serious and very troubled. And that worried him, so for the time being he decided to change the subject. “Well whose for seeing this grand surprise then?” He made to stand, as did Vincent and Catherine, and the three made their way to the secret garden.

*** *** ***

While he pondered on an earlier idea Mouse waited for them having received word of their approach. Lorna made both Catherine and Vincent hold their eyes as they went through the chamber entrance, and when she told them they could open them, both gasped for different reasons.
For Vincent seeing the colours, the vegetables and the fruit beneath so much light was truly wonderful. He marvelled at everything, almost disbelieving that Mouse had created all this just for him. But Catherine’s eyes strayed above and Father watched her closely his heart filled with joy as he read her thoughts.
Of course!
The artificial lighting.
It was perfect and just what they needed.
“Mouse, come here a moment will you.” Father’s eyes left the ceiling to scan the chamber for the fellow. Mouse looked up from showing Vincent the flowers as something in Father’s tone unnerved him a little. “Its all right Mouse.” Father guessed the boy’s anxiety, and waited until Mouse drew level with him before he spoke again. “Mouse permit an old goat to change his mind will you?”
Mouse looked at Father strangely. ‘Old goat?’ his mind was spinning. An idea was looming.
“Yes, Mouse don’t look so amazed, even I am permitted to alter my thinking once in a while. This lighting.” Father raised his stick to the ceiling to point, “Could you fix some up in Vincent’s chamber?”
“Father!” Catherine exclaimed following his line of thinking at once. “Well it would be the answer to everything wouldn’t it my dear? If Vincent’s chamber had electricity then you could have the baby and stay with us. There would be no need for you to have to return to your apartment in the week, in fact my dear with the possibility of eyestrain removed there would be no need for you to live anywhere else ever again.”
Catherine hugged the older man tightly, “Oh Father thank you, thank you.” Then whispered so only he could hear, “I didn’t want to go anyway.” Father nodded, and whispered back, “I know.” Then he winked at her!
“So.” Father drew himself up to his full level, “Mouse, would you pleasure an old goat and do that for Vincent and Catherine?”
Mouse nodded absentmindedly.
“Mouse whatever is it? Did you hear me? Mouse?” There was silence. Father exasperated, “Lorna dear is there some code to get through to this young man’s brain? Say I don’t have to plug him in as well do I?”
Lorna laughed, “Mouse what’s wrong?”
But Mouse was making calculations again. A goat. Perfect. Smaller than a cow, would fit. Bring milk, and hey did someone just mention a baby? Babies needed milk, Father couldn’t argue with that could he? Mouse was leaving, “Gotta go.” He called over his shoulder.
“Go where?” Lorna called after him.
“Get goat.” He called back as he disappeared around a corner.
“Get a what?” Father’s voice boomed, as beside him he heard a hearty chuckle.
“Father I do believe Mouse is intending to have a farm down here.” Vincent told his parent with an affectionate arm draped around his shoulders.
“A what!” Father spluttered, “Vincent you’ve got to stop him. Go after him please.”
“I’ll go Father.” Lorna cried and ran out after her friend.
Father’s face reddened causing Vincent to worry, “Calm down Father you’ll do yourself an injury.”
“Well...what do you expect...a farm...down here...of all the stupid ideas...Vincent, I want to know…if you hear anything, anything. You got that? I want to know...if you so much as hear a goat bleet or a cow moo, or, or a pig grunt that you will come and tell me at once. Do you promise?”
Vincent was in a full fit of laughter, just the thought of it!
“Vincent do you promise?” Father well knew the antics this pair had got up to in their time, he knew very well that Vincent would probably help Mouse carry a cow down here, if ever he found one. But all Father could get out of his son right now was the giggles and turning to Catherine for support he was disgusted to find that he got no better from her either. And after he’d stuck up for her too!
Father drew himself up to his full height, took a deep breath and in as stern a voice as he could muster told his son, “Vincent I demand that you tell me of it even if you should only hear a mouse squeak.”
In the circumstances that was funny. As Vincent laughed harder and Catherine split her sides alongside him, Father’s mouth twitched with mirth. A mouse squeak, oh that was a good one in the circumstances.
Slowly their laughter subsided, “I shouldn’t worry Father. I hardly think Mouse will find a cow in the middle of Manhattan just lying around, and besides even if he did, just look what he has produced here, could we really blame him? After all he’s not done it for himself. He’s done it for everyone’s benefit.” Catherine told him sombrely.
Father sobered. “Yes you’re right my dear. He really has achieved something spectacular this time hasn’t he?” Father dabbed at his eyes where tears had escaped.
“Yes and thanks to his idea Catherine can stay living Below for as long as she wants to do.” Vincent told them both much to their delight.
“Which will be forever.” Catherine added grasping hold of Vincent’s hand. “And a nicer place I couldn’t have found in all of the world.” She told him happily.

The three stood with arms around one another overlooking Mouse’s secret garden with a sense of wonder, when suddenly Father spun around to a sound from behind.

“Moo. Moo.” Father spluttered and was unable to find his voice, as Mouse followed by Lorna came around the corner winking at Vincent and holding his hands to his mouth while making the spectacular sound of a cow.
Incensed Father glared at Mouse who came towards him with his face wreathed in smiles, “Sorry Father – good joke huh?” Father was still recovering too much from shock to answer.

Shrugging his shoulders and sniggering softly Mouse reminded Vincent and Catherine fondly of his furry namesake.
And Father had to agree, albeit reluctantly, that a certain Mouse and wonderful inventor, did occasionally, have a great sense of humour!



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.