In helping a friend, Vincent also helps himself
“Well in the circumstances perhaps Vincent would accommodate you. Vincent?” Father regarded his son carefully.
His son’s silence only added to his discomfort, and Father began to hold his breath expecting an outburst at any moment when Vincent actually smiled, “Well I suppose it wouldn’t hurt.” He replied letting Father feel genuine relief at his acceptance.
Terence looked at the two men delighted by this piece of news, “I assure you it would be doing me a great favour, and Vincent it wouldn’t take long, and I promise not to offend you in any way.”
Vincent waved the younger man’s assurance away with one clawed hand, “It would be a pleasure. And I know it would save face for you.”
“Yes. Thank you Vincent, that it would. There is no way on this earth that I could afford a trip to Africa and there is no way the zoo in Central Park would allow another student to paw, excuse the pun, their lion again in a long time. I just didn’t know what else to do and I thought it over a long time I can tell you before coming down here and suggesting that you might help me.”
“Well what are friends for?” Father interrupted, “And I’m sure you will make a very fine vet and will pass your exams with flying colours.”
“Hmm maybe,” Terence wondered about that. “I’ve a lot of time to make up for. Being involved and laid up for weeks after that car accident certainly took its toll. I’ve managed to swap notes and pinch a lot of papers off the other students, but I was so angry that I missed the trip to the zoo. Being able to observe while the lion was sedated was apparently a very rare experience for the other students, and I wish I hadn’t missed it, but there it is.”
“And this final exam has questions about the finer points of a lion’s make up. Well Vincent has, as you well know many similarities, but we both know that the fewer references you can make to that fact the happier Vincent will be, I’m sure.” Father shot a sympathetic glance in his son’s direction, happy when his son didn’t appear too perturbed about the affair.
“It’ll be fine Father, don’t worry. Terence, I’m sure would never do anything to offend me.” Then turning to their visitor he asked, “When would you like to start?”
“Is today too soon? That is in the next hour or so?” Terence asked almost nervously.
“No, today would be fine. Father, if you would rearrange my class…”
“Oh please, don’t do this if its inconvenient, another day, this week would be all right, the exam is on Monday, I’d still have time to put it all together even as late as Friday.”
“And spend the weekend working on it flat out and be tired for the exam no doubt. No, its fine, don’t worry Terence, if Vincent says today then today it will be. Would you like to use the hospital chamber?"
“Well if you’re sure…”
“I’m sure.” Father and son spoke together and Vincent rose intending to make his way there without delay.
Taking his cue Terence stood up, thanking them both sincerely, and declining the offer of assistance from Mary. He felt he had put these good people out enough without disrupting their routine further. Being able to study a ‘lion’ at such close quarters was to all intents and purposes the only thing that Terence really needed to pass his final exam.
“Well when I’m free, I’ll pop along.” Mary told the departing men. “I might be of some assistance I’m sure.”
*** *** ***
They’d been at it for about an hour, when Terence straightened from looking beneath his microscope and announcing that he needed absolute silence to be able to concentrate. He was grateful, of course he was, but throughout the first hour, Vincent had done nothing but question him. Questions Terence was sure were asked for Vincent’s reassurance that he was in fact more man than lion but even so Terence’s patience was growing thin.
“Please, Vincent, if you could just be quiet, it would help. We can talk about my findings afterward.” But though he tried Vincent could not keep silent. Every time he saw Terence extract something, or measure something and go across to his journal or his microscope Vincent wanted to know what he had found.
Finally, thoroughly exasperated Terence was left with no other option, “Vincent I shall have to blindfold you.” He laughed when he said it, trying to make light of it. Fortunately Vincent understood. “I’m sorry.” He told his friend, about to promise not to speak again, and then knowing the impossibility of that he conceded with a nod of his head and the words, “All right, but not for too long huh?”
Terence agreed, and reluctantly placed his own scarf around Vincent’s eyes, relieved when he began working once more in silence this time.
And so the examination continued, and it would have gone relatively easy if, Catherine had not decided to visit, and with Vincent so absorbed in what Terence was doing he had not detected her arrival via the Bond that they shared.
Hesitating at the hospital entrance where Father had sent her, Catherine smiled exceedingly amused and very interested in the sight presented to her. There lay Vincent, a glorious partially naked Vincent and a sight worth seeing to her hungry eyes.
Slowly her gaze travelled over him, from his face to his throat, down over his finely muscled chest with crisp tawny curls hiding the almost golden skin beneath. A flat strong stomach with an arrowhead of darker thinker curls pointing to the treasures she knew would be lower down and very much out of sight by the leg he held bent upon the table and the thin cotton sheet that covered his lower half.
A movement from the doorway caught Terence’s gaze and he looked up, and smiled. He had not met Catherine before, did not know who she was to Vincent, and only assumed that Father had sent someone other than Mary to aid him.
“Hello?” He called cheerily, “If you can work quietly, you may assist me.” He followed her gaze to the blindfold, and commented, “Oh the blindfold, don’t let it worry you. Vincent has too many questions when he can see what I am doing.”
Vincent chuckled, “Come in, Mary, don’t worry. In fact your helping out should soon have me out of here.”
Terence knew the person before him not to be Mary, but decided not to mention it. If Vincent expected it to be her then so be it. It was good enough for him and would save less time in Vincent perhaps refusing the help of any other person.
Catherine was about to protest when she saw Terence shake his head, and the look he gave her seemed to say, “It’s all right what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.” Relieved Catherine came into the chamber, very much delighted at going along with that deception in light of what lay before her. Or rather whom.
Taking a deep breath to steady herself, Catherine approached the table, as Terence asked, “Would you hold this please?” And handed her an instrument that she had never seen before.
Catherine turned it over in her hand looking at it, seemingly absorbed by it, when really she was seeing everything but the thing that she held. Everything beyond was much more interesting and her gaze rested and feasted upon a sight she knew she should not be looking but she was unable to turn away.
He’d told her he was different from other men. Well he wasn’t. Hairier maybe, but Vincent had everything other men had, no - Vincent had everything other men would die for. Catherine almost giggled at that thought. She felt herself grow hot.
“What’s he doing, Mary.” Vincent asked suddenly.
“Shh, I must insist on no talking.” Terence told them as he adjusted his microscope and made an entry in his journal.
Vincent sighed, “I’m getting cold.”
“Sorry, I promise it won’t be for much longer, I’m almost done here.”
“Mmm, that’s nice Mary.” Vincent murmured, as he felt soft hands gliding over the flat planes of his stomach, “Your hands are warm.” Vincent was quickly reminded of his days as a child when Mary would ease a tummy ache with the warmth of her hands upon him knowing that his body often had an adverse affect to medicine.
Catherine delighted in touching him, feeling less and less guilty as he allowed her to stroke his fur and run her hands all over places she had ached to touch for far too long. If only part of him wasn’t concealed from her hungry eyes by the thin covering of the cotton sheet.
“Pass me that clip will you please…er…er…sorry I don’t know you’re name.”
Her hand upon him, Vincent felt the tension in her touch and he froze too.
For a moment the world stood still, and Terence oblivious to the sudden flare of friction took the clip Catherine offered to him and continued with his work.
For the first time Vincent was glad of the blindfold. He didn’t want to know, didn’t want to see Catherine’s hands on him. Wanted to remain oblivious to the fact that she had seen so much of him. He felt deeply ashamed, wanting to crawl away and hide, yet part of him revelled in the joy that her hand remained upon him, her fingers gently caressing, and amazingly soothing to his jagged nerves.
They said nothing both glad that Terence required them to be quiet, both acutely aware that the other knew the situation.
Catherine knew Vincent was fighting for control, it was viewable in every fine line of his body, tense, quivering she could tell it was taking every ounce of courage he had to remain where he was, to continue to stay put and not make an issue about the whole affair.
“Just your temperature to do now Vincent, I must say this has been awfully good of you, there are so many similarities enough to get me through the exam, but also my findings have been quite amazing. You know you aren’t quite the beast you think yourself to be.”
Vincent found his voice enough to ask, “Please explain.” Though even to his own ears it came out as a squeak.
“Well, the make up is all wrong. Really there is only the face and hands that have any bearing to anything other than a man. Its been a real bonus to me to be able to examine your claws and teeth, also some of the hair on your body is more fur than hair, but in most respects your makeup is thoroughly human. Let’s see now…”
Vincent almost died when he felt Terence lift up the cotton sheet covering his loins and heard Terence remark before lowering it again, “Yep, just as I thought very human indeed.”
At this Catherine blushed scarlet knowing full well that Vincent would not like this. She was right. Beneath her hand she could feel a growl rising and she felt entirely to blame. ‘I shouldn’t be here.’ She told herself, ‘that was too embarrassing. I should never have allowed myself to take such liberties, Vincent may never forgive me for this.’
Sadly she withdrew her hand “I should go.” She announced moving away surprised when Vincent lunged forward grabbing the air until he found her hand and clasping it firmly in his he begged her, “Stay.”
That was all she needed. How could she meet his eyes, she was grateful for the blindfold, but as she detected Terence completing his work, she knew it wouldn’t be long before that was removed.
“Vincent, I should go. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be here.” She whispered hoarsely, hoping Terence would not hear her.
“Stay.” His voice was a mere whisper too, but within that one word Catherine detected deep sorrow and shame. And she well knew the reason. If she should leave now, if they did not face this, they might never be able to face one another ever again.
“Right Vincent. You can remove the blindfold now. Thank you so much, everything is done. I don’t know how to thank you for such…well kindness doesn’t even come close…liberty would perhaps be more appropriate. And thank you Catherine for assisting me. Have you lived here long?”
“Catherine is a helper. She does not reside with us.” Vincent explained reaching behind with one hand to unfasten the blindfold, his other hand still firmly holding Catherine’s hand afraid she would run if he let her go.
“Oh, well thank you Catherine. Maybe we will meet again soon. In fact perhaps we can meet for dinner sometime?” He smiled at her his intention plain, leaving Catherine feeling fit to explain further.
“I’m not just a helper. Vincent and I are…” her voice trailed away.
Vincent added, “Close.” He too had detected Terence’s interest in his Catherine, and hastened to extract the blindfold at the same time drawing Catherine closer to him.
“Oh. I’m sorry. That would explain how easy Catherine found it in assisting me. I’m sorry I did not realise.” Fumbling with his things Terence was anxious to depart very aware now that some kind of tension was building around them.
The blindfold was off and Vincent’s eyes when they looked in his direction unnerved Terence to the core. Clearly they were warning him, clearly he could see just how close Vincent and Catherine were.
“Well thank you Vincent, I’ll see myself out. I’ll let you know how it goes with the exam.”
In a flash he had gone leaving two people, two people acutely aware of the situation they now faced very much before them.
For a long time neither spoke. And Catherine could look anywhere but at Vincent.
Watching her Vincent detected her embarrassment, and her shame, her misgivings and her sorrow, but underneath it all he detected her joy at having seen him or almost all of him bared to her eyes. And he could tell that revulsion was not apparent, in fact he had known how much delight she had found at touching him.
“Look at me, Catherine.”
She could not. Tentatively Vincent placed one hand beneath her chin and alighting from the table clutching the sheet to him with the other hand, he faced her, lifting her head to look him square in the eye.
“I love you.” He had no idea he was going to say that. Vincent was stunned. But he knew it to be true. That she could accept him and all that he was, that he now knew she did not find him repulsive Vincent was not sorry that he had spoken aloud the words of his heart.
Catherine looked up then stunned that he had spoken, rocked to the core that he had spoken those words.
“Oh Vincent, I love you!” She threw herself against him delighted when he pulled her close, joyous to feel his wiry chest hair close against her cheek. She turned her face and bestowed a kiss there, and felt him shudder at such an intimate touch upon him.
“You should get dressed, its cold in here.” Catherine told him as he continued to shudder leaving her in no doubt now that her touch was not the only reason he did so. It was cold in the chamber, and Vincent had mentioned that fact earlier.
“But you’ll stay?” He asked almost timidly.
“Yes Vincent, I’ll stay but surely not here. You get dressed and I’ll meet you in your chamber.”
Vincent shook his head. His eyes when they looked into hers were tender and brooked no argument, “No Catherine, stay.”
He nodded and whispered, “Yes here.” He told himself he was still afraid that it would be difficult to talk if she should leave and they would meet later, but in truth he knew there was another reason. Slowly he allowed the cotton sheet covering him to fall to the floor. Even slower Catherine realised his intent, especially as he closed his eyes tightly half in fear that now she would run from him.
“You are truly beautiful, Vincent.”
His heart soared and opening his eyes, he saw her smiling, and he knew that everything would be all right between them, they would have their happy life, and Catherine would never leave him.
Reaching for his clothing Vincent started to dress, “there’s a place, I would like to show you.” He told her as he donned his clothing, “Somewhere you have never been. We can talk there. There is much I have to say.”
A fissure of excitement rushed through Catherine, leaving her weak in its wake and she nodded unable to say a word.
Soon he was dressed and ready to leave and Catherine took his offered hand going gladly where he would lead.
Everything seemed so unreal, so dreamlike but Catherine knew without a doubt that from this day forth she would no longer return to her home above the city streets, for from this day they would become one just as she had always dreamed that they would.
And she knew that from now on, forever in his world she would, stay.
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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.