She’s My Sister
A warm peaceful
slumber was disturbed by the abrupt ringing of the phone. Catherine
rolled from Vincent’s arms to reach for the receiver and noticed the
time on the clock – a little past . “
“Catherine, what is it?” Vincent asked as he rose and put his hands on her shoulders to steady her. He could see tears pooling in her eyes; their Bond unexpectedly filling with fear. He enveloped her in his arms to calm her as she tried to explain.
“It’s Rebecca!” she stammered. “She was beaten and robbed in the park. The officer who found her said she uttered my name before she lost consciousness. He knew me and called right away. She’s on her way to the hospital. I’ll get dressed, Vincent and go there now.”
“What was she doing out this late, and in the park? She knows how dangerous it is!” Vincent said, releasing her. He started to pace as she hurriedly dressed.
“Please Vincent, don’t worry. Don’t tell Father yet. I’ll find out exactly what happened and how badly she’s hurt.”
He was beside himself with fear for Rebecca. And he felt an intense rage building in him at whoever would do this to her. Rebecca was his sister! They had grown up together in the tunnels and were very close. She, Devin, and Vincent had always managed to get into trouble together. Father said they were like three peas in a pod.
There was a knock at their bedroom door. Charles had heard the phone and knew something must be wrong. “Mom, Dad, what’s wrong? Mom, tell me, where are you going?”
“Something terrible has happened to Rebecca. She’s at the hospital,” his mother said, quickly pulling on her shoes.
“Charles, go with your mother. Please…for me,” Vincent softly requested.
“No, Vincent I can…”
“Catherine, I can not go with you. You are not going out alone at this hour!” This was clearly a statement not open to debate.
Charles ran up to his room, threw on some sweats, and continued out for the car.
Catherine pulled Vincent into her arms, holding him tightly, sending and receiving strength through their Bond before she left. He paced the hall, went to the kitchen for tea, and continued to pace while the water boiled. At times like this his differences were like a knife ripping into his heart. Not being able to go to those he loved Above was one of the rare times he regretted what he was.
After what seemed like hours, although only ninety minutes had passed, the phone rang. He picked it up on the first half ring. Vincent usually treated the phone as if it didn’t exist, much to the amusement of his family and friends.
“Rebecca’s awake now. That’s really good news, the doctor said.” Catherine spoke quietly to help calm him. “She was out visiting an elderly helper, and had fallen asleep herself while reading to her. When she woke, she didn’t realize how late it was and started for home. She decided to go through the park because it was quicker.” Catherine paused before continuing. “Vincent, they beat her badly. Her arm is broken and she has a concussion. The doctor needs her to stay awake because of the concussion. I’ll stay, and keep talking with her. Charles is doing that now. They’ll keep her overnight, and we can bring her home in the morning. We’ll stay right here with her until she is discharged. Vincent, she’ll be all right,” she reassured him. “She’s more upset for causing everyone to be worried; especially you. Rebecca said it was really dumb. She should have stayed with the helper, and come home in the morning.”
“Catherine, did they catch the men who did this?” he calmly asked.
“No, I don’t think so. At least I haven’t heard from the officer since we arrived. Please Vincent, try not to worry. They’ll get them. She gave them a good description; and said she scratched both of them. Rebecca told me she fought like a wildcat - her words not mine - but there were two of them.”
“Where in the park did this happen?” he calmly asked.
She felt through their Bond he was suppressing his feelings, and she knew what he wanted to do.
“Vincent, please. I need you to promise me you won’t go into the park tonight,” she quietly solicited.
“My love, there are too many officers out there looking for these thugs now. I need you to stay home, and try to sleep. When we bring Rebecca home in the morning, then Charles and I can sleep and you can care for her. Ok?” she asked him.
She sent love and patience to help him cope until she could hold him in her arms and surround him physically with her love.
“Catherine, it seems as if you have read my mind. You know I can not break a promise to you, and now you use it against me.”
“All’s fair in love and war, my love,” she countered.
“Why would someone do this? She had nothing of value to them. I wish I could be there for her. Please tell her I love her and will be waiting. We will care for her here in our home until I know she is well again,” he said.
Catherine always got a warm feeling whenever he referred to it as our home.
“Catherine, I wish…” Words failed him.
“I know, Vincent. I can feel your pain. We’ll be home in a few hours. Please be patient and, my love, don’t wear the floors out pacing! I love you,” she told him.
He took his tea to the study and tried to read, sleep was out of the question. He couldn’t concentrate. He checked on his teenaged twins, Jenny and Joey; they were still asleep. Good, I’ll tell them when they get up; there is no sense in everyone loosing sleep this night.
Back in the study, he started pacing again. He stopped, smiled, and remembered her plea. My love, you know me all too well; then he dropped on the old leather couch.
Catherine continued sending a calming love to him through their Bond. Concentrating on that helped him relax. He closed his eyes and felt her warmth deep into his soul. After a little while he drifted into a light sleep.
The sound of the front door opening brought him back to full alert. He hurried downstairs to see Charles carrying Rebecca in the front door.
“Charles, put me down please. I can walk!” Rebecca said.
Charles was actually a little taller than his father. All three of their sons were tall and broad shouldered, much to the delight of many females Above and Below.
“Sorry Aunt Rebecca, I can’t. I’m in my father’s stead, and he would definitely be carrying you in,” he said with a smirk.
“My son is correct,” Vincent said reaching the bottom of the stairs.
Charles transferred Rebecca into his father’s powerful arms. Vincent carried her up to the spare room next to the study. He felt some of his tension ease now that she was safe in his arms, and his home.
“Vincent, please don’t be angry with me. I know it was…”
“Rebecca, I’m not angry with you, I would have come…”
“I know…” she whispered to him as her tears started falling; then pent up sobbing wracked her battered body.
He held her close, rocking her as he would a frightened child. He held her tight until the sobbing ebbed and she relaxed finally in his arms.
Rebecca looked small and delicate as he put her into the bed he had prepared for her. Her eye was swollen shut, her lip was split, and her arm in a cast and sling.
Catherine had followed behind them, turned down the bed, and helped her to get reasonably comfortable.
“Rebecca, I’m so sorry this happened to you. Why didn’t you stay or call me? I would have gladly come, to see you safely Below.” Vincent asked.
“Vincent, I know you would have come. Remember, you have a family now, and I didn’t want to disturb you.”
“Rebecca, you are my sister and family too…” he said tilting his head.
“You can’t protect everyone all the time. Guess I must have gotten my stubbornness from my…big brother.” she whispered, trying to make him feel better and put a smile on his troubled face.
“He’s right Rebecca, you are part of our family. You’re the sister I always wanted, never forget that, please,” Catherine interjected.
“Catherine, you and Charles should sleep,” Vincent said as he turned to them and hugged them to his chest with relief. “I’ll sit with her.”
“I sent Jennifer and Joseph to tell Father and Mary about what happened,” he said. “I promised to keep them informed. Joseph has a way with Father, and will help keep him calm. Jennifer and Mary are getting some of Rebecca’s things to make her more comfortable here. Needless to say Father will be up to check on her.”
“Thank you Charles, for taking my place,” he said to his son as he put an arm around the young man’s shoulder.
“Hey Dad, it was my honor. You do so much for us every day.” He hugged his father proudly. “Please, wake me if you need anything else,” he added as he went up to his room.
“Vincent, I am a little tired,” Catherine said. “Remember to wake me if Rebecca needs me?” She took him in hers arms and placed a tender kiss on his lips. The night had been long and exhausting; sleep came before he finished tucking the comforter around her. He tenderly kissed the top of her head and returned to Rebecca’s room.
Rebecca had drifted off to sleep. He read and kept watch over her. A little later he heard the tunnel door and knew Father was on his way up from Below. He went downstairs and met Father, along with the twins and Mary, in the kitchen.
“Everyone is asleep at the moment,” Vincent said. “Come … I’ll put water on for tea. I see you brought a basket from William, it will be much appreciated,” Vincent said taking the heavy basket in one hand and hugging Father with the other.
“Vincent, tell me, how badly is she injured?” Father asked, concerned.
“She has a broken arm and a mild concussion, along with some minor cuts and bruises. The doctor said she will make a full recovery,” he said pouring tea for everyone.
“Father, I want her to stay here until she recovers,” Vincent continued. “I’m afraid she may have nightmares for a little while. I want to be here for her. It’s all I can do for her. I can’t go out to find these men. I promised Catherine I would let the police handle this,” he said.
“Yes, of course Vincent. I know Rebecca is special to you and I know she’s in good hands. I’ll come by to check on her every day. It seems Mouse found an old wheel chair and put, I believe he said, balloon tires on it,” he added. “This way I don’t have to walk the whole tunnel to here. Joey promised to push his old grandfather both ways, didn’t you my boy? Tells me it good exercise for sports, helps build up his leg muscles,” he said smiling and reaching for his tea and a blueberry muffin.
Vincent smiled. Yes, Joseph does know how to handle his grandfather.
He turned his head with a warm smile a bit later. “Ah…Catherine’s awake and coming down now, I believe.”
“Well good morning, or is it afternoon? Guess I was a little more tired than I thought,” she said coming up behind him and putting her arms around his neck. Catherine smiled and kissed his cheek. Father smiled, remembering when any show of affection was not allowed by his stubborn son. How their lives had changed…and the change was wonderful for all, thanks to Catherine.
“I think coffee would be a good thing about now, I need to wake up a bit more,” she said trying to stifle a yawn.
“Catherine, you’re still tired. You should try to get more sleep,” Vincent said running his hands along her arms and kissing her hands.
“I will, later. I checked on Rebecca, and she’s still sleeping…”
At that moment a terror-filled cry could be heard from Rebecca’s room. Before anyone else could react, Vincent was halfway up the stairs. He found her tossing in her bed as if she was fighting off her attackers. He sat on the bed, enclosed her in his arms to stop her thrashing and help curb her fears. She slowly stopped struggling, and started crying into his vest. He spoke quietly to her, helping to allay her terror from the attack.
“You’re safe now; I won’t let anyone hurt you again. Please try to calm yourself. I’m here Rebecca, don’t be afraid…please believe me,” he entreated.
He continued to hold and speak to her until she relaxed. She finally drifted back to sleep. It tore at his heart to see her not only physically, but psychologically injured. He fought to keep his rage at these men under control. He had promised Catherine he would not go into the park to look for them. This keeping his outrage in check was beginning to create tension again.
Catherine came up behind him and put her arms around his waist. She buried her face in his back as he stood looking down at Rebecca.
“Vincent, I know what you’re feeling. Our Bond is filled with anger and rage at this senseless attack. I just spoke with Joe and he asked that you be patient. He knows how strongly this is affecting you. He said he would feel the same way. He also would want to go out to find them himself if this was his sister.” She took his hand, tugging him into the study and partially closing the door. “Please, my love, let them do their job. Joe will let us know if anything comes up.” Guiding him to the old leather couch, she pulled him down beside her. “Remember, she needs you here more than out there. I know I need you here with me.” They simply held each other close to try to calm the emotional uproar in their Bond.
When the phone rang, Vincent responded for the first time that Catherine could remember and she smiled as she went to answer it.
Catherine turned to face Vincent. “Our son is well. He picked up the rush of emotions in your Bond with him. Even though you tried to shield him, it was too intense. He sends his love to all and asks if you’d do him a favor.”
“Of course, what does he need me to do?” Vincent asked.
“Please give Rebecca a hug and kiss for him,” she said, knowing it would help ease his stress.
“I’d be happy to do that for him, and I’ll check on her while I deliver his message,” he said.
Father and Mary went Below after checking on Rebecca one more time. Joey went with them to see they got back safely and to help with the tunnel community’s questions. Catherine had noticed how calming and diplomatic their youngest son could be when he wasn’t up to normal teenage mischief.
Jennifer prepared dinner from William’s basket. Her non-cooking skills mirrored her mother’s. But she could always organize what William sent up. None of them had realized how hungry they were until they all started eating. Even Rebecca was happy to eat almost a full dinner, much to Vincent’s relief. Charles was really happy that William had provided plenty of food. His parents just smiled along with Rebecca watching him devour his meal.
“Catherine, I don’t know how you feed these men of yours, they’re definitely their father’s sons. Vincent, as I recall, was always hungry with a healthy appetite,” Rebecca said, trying to grin with a split lip and cringing.
Vincent looked up with his best innocent grin and shrugged.
“Aunt Rebecca, I used up a lot of energy carrying you in from the car this morning,” Charles said looking indignant.
“No more carrying me. You two men need to let my feet touch the ground. How will I get my strength back if you carry me around like a baby?” Rebecca said wagging her finger at them with her good hand. “Cathy you have to help me out, these are your men and you need to keep them under control.”
“Rebecca, you’ve known Vincent much longer than I, you lucky devil,” Catherine replied. “Tell me, were you able to do any better than me?” she inquired with a very wide grin.
“Guess not. Still, it’s your job now! I tried,” Rebecca said with finality.
Laughter came from all them, tensions were easing. There was gratitude for, as bad as it was, things could have been worse.
“Charles would you help me, not carry me, upstairs?” Rebecca asked. “I think I’d like to read for a bit before I go to bed,” she added, getting up gingerly.
“No problem, I’ve got studying to do anyway, Aunt Rebecca,” Charles said, reaching for another cookie.
Rebecca and Charles slowly went up the stairs arm in arm and smiled back at their observers.
“Vincent, are you all right?” Catherine asked. “You look a little flushed.”
“I’m fine, my love, just tired. I suggest we all could use some sleep,” he said putting his arm around her and heading up to their room.
Daylight was filtering through the study windows and shining on the new day. Jenny and Rebecca were down in the kitchen. Charles was still sleeping and Joey was in the shower. Vincent and Catherine were sitting in the den talking quietly about all that had happened.
The door bell rang, and Vincent and Catherine could hear a familiar voice as Jenny answered the door. After a few minutes they heard someone coming quickly up the stairs and knocking at the study door.
“Come in Joe,” Vincent said as he opened the door.
“Morning Vincent, man you look like something the cat dragged in. Are you ok?”
Vincent smiled at Joe’s reference. Over the years they had become close friends, almost brothers, and Joe’s ease with him was a wonderful, unexpected gift.
“Good morning to you too, Joe. Do you have any news for us?” Catherine asked.
“Sure do, they got them! The creeps were trying to get into a shelter and the attendant noticed the scratches on both of them. He called it in and the cops came and got them. Between Rebecca’s description and the scratches she laid on them, they gave up and confessed. You can believe they won’t see daylight for quiet a while,” Joe said smiling and dropping on the couch.
“Thank you, Joe, for coming and telling us the good news. It puts our minds at rest that these men will not be able to harm anyone else.
Would you like to stay for dinner? I believe William is sending up one of your favorites,” Vincent asked with a slight grin.
“Vincent, anything William sends up is my favorite as far as I’m concerned. As long as Cathy didn’t cook, I’ll be happy to stay,” he said laughing and watching his friends join in the fun.
Having Joe as a friend was an wonderful gift to Vincent. Catherine had indeed expanded his world. At times Vincent and Joe would get into debates on many subjects. These debates were sometimes intense but always ending with respect for each other.
Catherine would smile thinking how lucky she was that her wonderful exotic husband and her crazy best friend could be friends.