by Rusty

It was almost midnight; the last log lay burning in the fireplace. The glowing embers cast soft golden shadows across the study. The intermittent crackling sounds seemed to echo all around him. It soothed him as he waited…for her. 

She was on her way home…to him. 

He put down the book that he was reading and smiled. No, he wasn’t reading; he was merely looking at the words. He sat with his long legs stretched out and his arms folded across his chest. He leaned his shaggy head on the back of the chair and introspectively closed his eyes. His thoughts moved like a kaleidoscope, each turn in his mind giving sounds to the words. 

Words…what are words? They are the meaningful sound or combination of sounds that is a unit of language. Words can bring a concert of emotion, happy and sad, good and bad. 

Words had opened a whole new life to not only her, but to him, who had put sound to them. A whole community would be forever changed and blessed from the results of those words spoken in love and compassion. 

"You’re safe…you’re safe now. No one will harm you. Don’t be afraid…please don’t be afraid.” 

Those were the first words he spoke to her. Words that were meant to allay her fears and help comfort her wounded body and spirit. Yet those simple words started a dream beyond anything they had ever imagined. 

“These hands are my hands.” 

Words meant to save a wounded spirit, said with undeniable love and true compassion. Thoughts spoken aloud to give relief, to take away the pain that tortured a gentle soul. Never did he dream that words coming from her lips could be as a balm to sooth the burning pain from the guilt he had felt for so long. She gently took his hands into her small soft hands. She brought them to her tender lips and kissed each one in turn, then claimed them as her own. Her love enclosed him with her words and bound them together forever. 

“Vincent, to me you are beautiful.” 

‘How could someone so beautiful look upon this face, these hands, and say they are beautiful? She has seen what I am capable of. There was no beauty there, only ugliness. Isshe blind? Does she not see that I am not a normal man? I can not be the answer to her desires. I can only cause her pain, steal the future she is meant to have, only to bind her to something such as myself.’ 

His mind raced with those thoughts. Her words had torn down all the impregnable walls he had built. Together now, they have a life of love and happiness undreamed of by anyone. 

There are those who have few words to convey what they mean, or how they feel…their words limited. Nonetheless, so much is said by the owner of those words…one in particular. He used words as if they were fine gems, just enough to express his thoughts. 

"Vincent’s Catherine.” 

A simple statement that tells all, that his best friend has found the love that will guide his life forever. 

“I’m here…always. 

Always. He will never leave her; he will watch over her, protect her, and love her till his last breath. He will wrap his love around her and keep her safe, just as the womb guards and nourishes the precious life within. He gave her back her life when he found her, and now they give each other a life never imagined. 

“How could anyone not love her?” 

Her heart is full of love, many kinds of love, which she gives freely to all around her. She has given her love to him without question, without rejection for what he is. She sees only beauty in his body, mind, and soul. For him to receive this, he only needed to open his arms to her and gather her to him. He embraced her with a love he will never understand, and they became one forever. 

“I will stand watch and pray for both of you.” 

Father finally understood the depths of their love for each other; he understood her risks to love his son, and marveled at the courage his son displayed in loving this woman. Never again would he deny their love as a tragic mistake for both of them. They deserved everything the gods of fate had to offer them. He stood on their side of the river and prayed for their safe passage. He saw them cross that river to a happy life. 

“I need you…I need you,” 

These words, begged to him in her grief, burned in his heart. Having her so close in his world terrified him; he had to steel himself and be there for her. She asked so little; she needed to be comforted in her pain and loss. Only he could give her that comfort. He gladly did anything she needed, surrounded her and guided her with the love he could not confess to her for the fear of frightening her. How could she have understood his love for her? He was not what she deserved; he was not the man she should be with. But he led her through the darkness of grief and back into the sunlight with love. Then she returned to her world in peace. He was strong for her, and did not let her fall. 

“I’m sorry, Vincent, it’s not your decision. I’m going to marry him. I have to marry him!” 

These words burned his mind, his heart, his soul. She was sacrificing herself for the tunnels, the people, but most of all for him. How could she do this, give herself to someone she didn’t love as anything more than a friend? Elliot wasn’t capable of loving her the way she should be loved, the way she deserved to be loved. Her courage would allow her to walk away from the only man she could truly ever love…to a man who didn’t know what love truly was. This was her way of proving her love for him, without even realizing it. At that moment he believed her love for him was genuinely real, the purest thing he would ever know. 

“There are some risks worth taking.” 

It still astounded him, for two people from opposite worlds to have found each other, and together to have taken the greatest challenge either could ever imagine. To have risked everything, only to have received everything in return. To have a love neither dreamed of having. To be loved beyond all certainty. To never doubt their love in each other was a gift from the gods of destiny. It was meant to be…forever. 

“Catherine…is more…than a helper.” 

With these words, quietly expressed to his brother with eyes that glistened with happiness, he told Devin his world was changed. He was changed. He no longer walked in his aloneness; he no longer dreamt impossible dreams. He loved and was loved by this beautiful woman. She loved him for who his was, not what he was. She was his life, and he was hers. Together they shared each other’s light in a world full of unlimited possibilities. 

“It wasn’t courage, Vincent…it was love.” 

The mist of uncertainty that had covered her heart was now gone. It became clearly defined that what she felt for him, who she thought of as a beautiful human being, was love. It was certain in her heart and soul; she loved him! There was no doubt, there was no question. For her there could be no one else, only him. 

"Your mother wanted you to have a happy life.” 

He recalled her telling him of her father’s words long ago. How could anyone have known that the worst night of her life had brought forth the fulfillment of her mother’s dream for her? Their undeniable love for each other had brought forth the fruits of marriage and children. 

“Leave me now…please.”

“I love you.” 

He pleaded with her to go, but softly she spoke her last words before walking away. Why did he send her away? He needed her now more than ever before. She was as the air he breathed, how could he send her away! She had seen him lose himself, and yet she still said she loved him. Her words healed him, yet he sent her away…why? Was he trying to protect her from himself, to force her into another life where she would be free of the ugliness of his rage, of his body? Yet, in spite of all she had seen with her own eyes, she could still tell him she loved him. He was a fool to push her away. Why could he not accept that unbelievable gift from her? His mind told him to let her go, but his heart cried out to call her back to him. 

His mind was reeling from all these words, so many words. 

A metallic click; his eyes opened, the front door opened…she was home. 


One word…was all that he needed.