Would You Be Mine?
By Gale Varga
“Vincent, you know I love you, don’t you?” she asked.
“Yes, I know,” he replied in an almost-whisper.
They were sitting together in her apartment, enjoying the glow from the fireplace and just being with the other. “I am thinking about going to my cabin in New England for a few days. I would like some time alone to relax and unwind.”
“You could probably use the peace, quiet, and rest.” He tried to sound as if he weren’t concerned it was because of him.
“You know me well. If I stay at home, I will be bored and probably sneak Below. And if I spend it Below, well, we know quiet and rest doesn’t usually happen there. So I thought the cabin would be perfect.”
“Will you be going alone, or will one of your friends be joining you?” He was always thinking of her safety.
“I will be going alone. There is a phone, and I have good neighbors who always watch out for me. I will be just fine”
“When will you be leaving?” He was starting to panic a little. He hated when she was out of his reach if she needed him.
“I think I’ll leave this weekend. I’ll call up there to have the pantry stocked and some firewood delivered. I will ask Gertrude and her husband Mike to open the cabin and get things ready.” She was starting to look forward to this time alone. “Vincent, there is a phone at the cabin, and if there is an emergency, we can reach each other. Peter has my number. There is no need to worry.”
“But you know I will. I hope you have a nice time.” And I hope you hurry back.
It was approaching 11 o’clock, and he could feel how tired she was.
“I think it is time for me to return Below. You could use the rest.”
“Yes, I am tired. Be careful on your journey home.” She sighed. She wanted him to stay, but inside she really wanted to be alone. “Good night, Vincent. Please say hello to Father for me. I will see you when I return.”
They embraced a little longer than usual, but this time she pulled away first. Vincent put his cloak on and, with one last look, left over the balcony. He was not sure why, but it felt like she was in turmoil, and he had a feeling their relationship – or lack of – was the reason. He hoped he would find out when she was ready to talk.
Catherine was tired, but decided to pack some of the things she wanted to take. In the morning she would make phone calls to prepare the cabin for her arrival. She sat for a moment to think about her life. Maybe it was time to leave the DA’s office and do volunteer work, or possibly start an office for people who could not afford legal help. I love helping people, and with my money and skills, I could help the ones who really need it. Just that thought made her smile. It made her think of those Below and what she could do for people who just needed a little help. Tomorrow she would have a talk with Joe. It was time for her life to change. She felt as if a large weight had been lifted from her shoulders. Packing could wait for now. She needed sleep.
Vincent made his way home and stopped by Father’s chamber. He knew Father didn’t sleep well until he knew his son was home and safe.
Father was sitting at his desk reading when he arrived. “Vincent, how was your trip Above? Is Catherine well?”
“Yes, she is well.” He was trying to sound as if nothing were bothering him. “I am going to bed; I will see you for breakfast.” He was trying to escape Father’s scrutiny.
“Good night my son, sleep well.”
“Good night Father.”
Vincent put on his nightclothes and sat at his writing table. He opened his journal and just stared into space. Something was wrong, but he wasn’t sure what it was. He tried to write down his thoughts, but they frightened him. He went to bed hoping sleep would come quickly.
Catherine woke with a mission. She showered and got dressed for work. She called Gertrude and asked if she and her husband could get the cabin ready. She called the local grocery store and called for firewood. With all that done, it was time for work.
She arrived at work and went straight to Joe’s office.
“Cathy, good morning. What can I do for you?” He was concerned. He knew that look, and it was not going to be good news.
“Joe, do you have a moment?” She was trying to prepare herself for his reaction to her news.
“Have a seat and just tell me. It will be easier that way. You know, like pulling off a band aid quickly.”
“Ok, I’ll just say it. Joe, I’m quitting. I don’t need to work and would like to do something more with my life than sitting in this office for hours on end.” She took a deep breath and waited for his reaction.
“It’s all right Cathy. I knew this day was coming. When are you leaving?”
“Joe, I don’t have any new cases, and I am caught up on everything. Would you be able to accept my resignation effective today?” She prayed he would say yes.
“Ok, Cathy, you’ve got it. You know I will miss you, right?”
“Joe, I will miss you too. It’s not like I am moving away. Just moving on.” Cathy stood and walked over to Joe to embrace him. “It’s been great working with you, Joe.” She felt the tears start. Joe was not just a great boss; he was also a great friend.
She went to her desk and wrote out her resignation. She cleaned up her desk and gave Joe her resignation, and, with one last look around, left. She would pick up some dinner, then go home and finish packing. She was feeling excited. She was free from the dangers of her job and could start something new. What that would be she wasn’t really sure. But now she didn’t have to rush back home for work, and she could stay at the cabin as long as she wanted.
Vincent was Below working with a crew on a new chamber. He could feel her emotions through their bond. He felt that she had made a major decision, that she was a little worried and a little sad. After all that, he felt her relief and joy. If he could manage it, he would visit her this evening. Maybe she would share with him what had happened today. He went back to work, trying not to worry.
Catherine sat down to eat her dinner and just think. No more long hours. No more dangerous interviews. Yes, life was looking better. Then she sighed. But what about her relationship with Vincent? No, I’ll wait until I am away and relaxed to think about that. No need to make any decisions now without doing some serious soul searching. She would send a note to Vincent through a helper. He needed to know that she might be away longer than the weekend. She turned on the stereo to a station that played oldies. She smiled and danced around while making sure all was in order for her trip upstate. When she finished, before she went to bed, she wrote the note for Vincent.
I told you I was going to the cabin for the weekend only. My plans have changed, and I felt you needed to know as I know you would worry. I have decided that my trip might be a little longer than just the weekend. I need time to relax and regroup. You will know when I am returning, and I will see you then. Please don’t worry.
My love always,
With that done, she was able to fall asleep peacefully.
Vincent arrived on her balcony to find her fast asleep. He watched her sleep for a few moments. He knew it would not be right to wake her just to find out about her day. With one last look, he returned Below.
Catherine woke with a clear head and started to review her to do list. She took the note for Vincent and put it in an envelope. She would drop it off with a helper to be delivered. She packed up the car and stopped by the closest helper’s business.
“Stan, how are you doing?” She saw him smile when he saw her enter his store.
“Catherine, it is wonderful to see you. I am doing fine. Thank you for asking. What can I do for you?
“Would you please make sure this note gets delivered to Vincent?”
“I promise it gets delivered,” Stan said.
“Thank you. I am going out of town and need to get on the road. I’ll see you when I get back.”
“Catherine, may I ask where you are off to?” Stan was trying not to sound nosey.
“Just heading to my cabin in New England for some down time.”
“Have a good time, and I’ll take care of the note.”
“Thanks. Good-bye Stan.” Catherine got into her car and headed north, leaving New York City behind her.
Vincent was in his chamber when Geoffrey delivered the note from Catherine.
“Thank you, Geoffrey.” He smiled at his young friend as he accepted the note. He sat down and opened the envelope to read the note. As he read the note, he felt like life was changing, and he did not know how it would affect him. He didn’t understand what was going on in her head. Was she going to make changes that did not include a life with him? He would just have to wait until she returned. But was he really ready to hear her plans for her life? He clutched the pouch around his neck and prayed she still wanted him in it. He concentrated on their bond. He could feel her moving away, but she seemed happy. This would be a very long wait until she returned.
As Catherine arrived at her cabin, a loving smile spread across her face. The scene in front of her was the same as when she was a child. So many wonderful memories flooded her senses. Memories of summers with her parents when she was young, then memories of her and her father, all joyous and precious to her. This was her place away from the world, just nature and herself. This is exactly what I needed.
She noticed Gertrude and Mike’s car. Well, she was here earlier than she had indicated. She grabbed her suitcase and headed inside.
“Cathy, you are here early. Did you need the peace and quiet that badly?” Gertrude asked curiously.
“Hello to you too.” She gave her friend a hug. “Yes, I needed to get away from the big city.”
“Well, you know this is the best place to get away. I was just finishing up and will get out of your hair.”
“Why don’t you stay for a cup of tea? I haven’t seen you in ages.”
“Maybe I can before you leave on Sunday,” Gertrude said. “Mike is waiting for me.”
“I think I will be staying longer than Sunday, so we will have time for that cup of tea.”
“Ok, Cathy. Give me a call if you need anything.” She smiled as she headed for the front door.
“Thanks for getting the cabin ready. I appreciate it.”
“Not a problem at all, Cathy. See you soon.”
Catherine grabbed her suitcase and headed upstairs to unpack. As she stood at the entrance to her father’s old bedroom, she felt his presence. Daddy, you knew I needed you now to guide me through some decisions I need to make about my life. It gives me peace to know you are here in my heart. I love and miss you so.
She unpacked her clothes and toiletries and headed downstairs. The food and firewood she requested were there. I love the people here. They always treat me like family.
She ate a light snack and headed outside for a walk. She walked down to the lake to enjoy the sunset. It was as beautiful and peaceful as she remembered. She knew she had made the right choice to come here. There were no distractions or responsibilities. After the sun had fully gone below the horizon, she headed back to the cabin.
Vincent had been quiet all day. He was working with a crew on a chamber, but wasn’t really saying much. He was keeping their bond open and trying to figure out what was happening with Catherine. He could sense that she was happy and relaxed, but he still wished she were at home so he could go to her and spend some time with her.
“Vincent, are you all right?” Kanin asked, worried about his friend.
“Yes, I am fine. Thank you for asking.” He really didn’t want to discuss what was bothering him, but felt the need to be polite. The crew knew he would not talk about what was bothering him. They all went back to work and left him to his thoughts.
After the day’s work was done, he headed for the bathing chamber. He wanted to clean up, eat, and be alone with his thoughts. Maybe he could get his thoughts written in his journal.
At dinner Father noticed his son was quiet and kept to himself, but this was not the place to ask. He would visit his chamber later and try to find out what was bothering his son.
Vincent changed into his nightclothes and sat at his writing table with his journal. He checked the bond with Catherine and sensed she was asleep. Then he realized Father was at the entrance to his chamber.
“Vincent, may I come in?”
“Yes Father, please come in. Was there something you needed me to do?” He was not in the mood to talk, but he knew his father was probably worried about him.
“Are you all right? You have been quiet, and I just wanted to see if I could be of help.”
“Yes, I am fine. There is no need to worry about me.” He knew that statement would not be enough.
That told Father nothing, so he tried a new route. “Is Catherine well?”
“Yes, Father. Catherine has gone to her cabin in New England. She needed some time to relax and just get away.”
Jacob knew that his son was not ready to talk. “Okay, my son. I leave you to your thoughts. Good night.”
“Good night, Father.” He was relieved his father wasn’t going to grill him for more information.
He knew she was safe and happy. He put his journal away and crawled into bed. Hopefully he would be able to get a good night’s sleep. Before he fell asleep he said a small prayer. God, please watch over Catherine for me and keep her safe.
Catherine woke, dressed, and headed downstairs for breakfast. She made a pot of coffee and had toast and fruit for breakfast. It was time to do some serious thinking. She grabbed a notebook and a blanket and headed outside to one of her favorite places.
She sat down with her notebook. What do I really want my life to be? She started to make a wish list.
1. Vincent as my husband.
2. Move into my father’s brownstone.
3. Open a small office to help those who need legal help but can’t afford it.
4. Have children with Vincent.
5. Request a tunnel entrance to the basement of the brownstone.
She looked at her list. Number three would be easy enough. Two and five were doable. It was one and four that she wasn’t sure would ever happen. How do I make him understand that we were meant to be together? That was the thousand-dollar question. I know he loves me, and he knows I love him, but I think our ideas of love are totally different.
She lay back on the blanket and watched as the clouds floated by. She didn’t have any answers. Daddy, please give me the answer I am looking for. She stayed outside until her stomach reminded her it was lunchtime. She headed back to the cabin. As she was walking back, she realized she had not told Jenny she had quit her job. If she showed up on one of her surprise visits, she would be hurt that Joe would be the one to tell her and not herself. She had to call her.
The phone rang three times. “Hello.”
“Jen, it’s Cathy. How are you?” She knew this was going to be a long talk and got comfortable.
“I’m fine. What would you say about getting together for dinner?”
“I’m sorry, but I am up at the cabin. I have made a change in my life and needed to let you know before someone else told you.” She took a deep breath. “I quit my job.” She waited for Jen’s reaction.
“You did what? Cathy, are you all right? What happened to make you quit?”
“Let the questioning begin.” She was trying to lighten the mood.
“Come on Cathy. What is going on?” Jenny was trying to ask seriously.
“I just decided that I was tired of sitting in an office for too many hours a day when I really don’t have to. I am tired of the danger and need to move on.”
“Well, I, for one, am happy about that. So what are you going to do now?”
“I am thinking about moving into dad’s brownstone and maybe open an office to help those who can’t afford legal help. What do you think?”
“What can I do to help?”
Catherine smiled. She could always count on her friends. She felt blessed. “When I get back we could go to the brownstone and see what needs to be done so I can move in.”
“Hey, Cath. What will you do with your apartment when you move?” She loved the apartment and would love to live there.
She laughed. “Ok, you can move into the apartment. It’s paid for, and you will just need to pay the maintenance fees. Would you be able to handle that?” She knew her friend well.
“Oh, Cath, are you serious? I can afford that and would love to live there. Please tell me you are serious.” Jenny held her breath waiting for the answer.
“I would never kid with you about something so important. It’s yours if you help me with the brownstone.”
“I’ll help you pack, move, paint, and decorate. Anything at all.” Jenny was so excited.
“Calm down, Jen. We will talk when I get back. While I’m here, why don’t you start packing, and I’ll call when I get back.” She was happy she could do this for her best friend. “Jen, would you do me a favor?”
“Of course, what do you need?”
“I am going to call the local grocery mart and have some things delivered to the brownstone. Would you go to my apartment and get the key to the brownstone and let the delivery boy in? I want to have some food there.”
“Yes, just have them call me and let me know what time they are going to make their delivery. I will be there to meet them. And I’ll even put the stuff away. Now, aren’t I the best?”
Cathy giggled. “That you are, Jen. Thanks.”
“Ok, Cath. Enjoy the peace and quiet. I’ll talk to you when you get back.”
“Good night, Jen.”
“Cathy!!!” Jenny cried, trying to get her attention before she hung up.
“I love you, Cath. Thank you so much.”
“I love you too, Jen. Good night.” She hung up with a smile on her face. “Well that takes care of number two.”
She ate lunch and went upstairs to put on some shorts and a tank top. She always loved the way she looked with a tan. She went to find a fishing pole and headed down to the dock. She had always loved fishing with her dad and wanted to feel close to him. And maybe, just maybe, she would have fresh fish for dinner. A short time later, with two nice-sized fish in hand, she headed back to prepare them for dinner with a salad.
She sat in front of the fire and stared at the flames hoping she would see the answers there. She loved Vincent in a way that she didn’t think was even possible. She wanted so desperately to be more to him. She wanted to be his wife. She wanted to be with him every day for the rest of her life. She tingled all over just thinking about waking up wrapped in his arms. Let’s not go there. It won’t do you a bit of good at this point. She concentrated on their bond. Maybe she could let him know she was thinking about him. She closed her eyes and took deep breaths as she sent her message out through the magic that was their bond. Vincent, I miss you. I love you. If only she could know if he felt her message. The next moment she felt warmth around her heart. He knew! The smile on her face radiated through her body. To feel him like that was magical. Wasn’t their bond proof enough that they belonged together? So you would think, but this is Vincent. Not the usual man. She had to laugh. That was an understatement.
She spent a few days exploring the grounds, enjoying the beauty of the nature all around her. One day she went swimming in the lake, then lay out on her blanket to dry off and catch some sun. She felt the warmth of the sun through her body. How relaxing. Then she thought she heard movement to her right. She glanced up and saw one of her childhood memories. Three deer were walking past. The largest one stopped and glanced her way. She and the deer held each other’s eyes for what seemed like eternity. He bowed his head as if wishing her good day, and they were on their way. At that moment she knew it was time to go home. She sent a message through their bond.
Vincent, I am coming home tomorrow.
She would leave tomorrow and time her journey so she arrived home when it was still daylight. That would give her time to unpack, shower, and change. She knew as soon as it was safe Vincent would be there.
Vincent felt her message and smiled. He felt her love and joy. She was coming home. Maybe now that she has had time to think, she will be ready to talk. But he knew he had to wait until tomorrow. He headed off to meet the work crew for the day’s assignment.
She packed and cleaned up. After she packed up the car, she had to call Gertrude. She hoped she and Mike wouldn’t mind closing up the cabin.
“Hello,” Gertrude answered cheerfully.
“Gertrude, it’s Cathy. I just wanted to let you know I am heading back to the city. Would you and Mike be able to close down the cabin?” She was anxious and nervous about going home.
“So you had enough peace and quiet. Ready for the crazy city again?”
“Yes. I have a lot to do and need to get started, so it’s back to the real world.”
“Mike and I will take care of it. Don’t worry.”
“I will leave the food, and you can take it home with you,” she said. “Anything you don’t want, you can just throw away.”
“Mike would have a fit if I were to throw away perfectly good food.” They both laughed.
“Thanks for everything. I’ll call you from the city to let you know I’m home safe.”
“Be safe, Cathy. Hope you come back soon.”
As she drove home she tried to think about anything but Vincent. She knew if she thought too deeply about him she might have an accident. She thought about the things she would have to do to make her move to the brownstone. Then she thought about Jenny’s move. She would ask her if she wanted the furniture in the apartment. It would never match the décor of her brownstone. She smiled; she liked the sound of that – her brownstone.
Before she realized it, she was almost back in the big city. She had stopped for a break outside the city and called in an order for dinner. She picked up her dinner from Henri and Lin’s restaurant and headed home. First things first. She ate her Orange Chicken, showered and changed. Then she pulled out a note pad and started her list. This should keep me occupied until Vincent arrives.
Vincent stopped at Father’s chamber before heading above.
“Father, I am going above to see Catherine. I will stop in when I return.”
Father smiled. “I am so glad she is back. Please tell her I said hello.”
“I will, Father.” He turned around and quickly made his way to her threshold. Catherine was sitting on the sofa with her note pad in hand. She was deep in thought when there was a tapping on the balcony door. She smiled and jumped up to meet him. He held open his arms, wanting to hold her. “Catherine welcome home.”
“I missed you. It is good to be back.” She wrapped her arms around his neck and held him tight.
They held each other longer than usual. It was obvious that each was missed by the other.
“Would you consider coming in? I have a lot to tell you,” she asked, hoping he would.
He hesitated for a moment. “Thank you.”
She was surprised, but showed him in through the door by the dining table. She pointed toward the sofas. “Have a seat and I’ll get us some tea.”
“Thank you.” He took off his cloak and sat down. He noticed her note pad, but knew it would be wrong to try to read it.
She had prepared everything before he arrived, so it only took a few moments. She brought out the tray and sat on the opposite sofa. She poured the tea and handed him his.
“Thank you.” He took his cup and sat it down on the coffee table. “How was your trip to the country?” He had to start the conversation somewhere.
“It was relaxing. I even had a chance to fish. Would you believe I caught some for dinner?” she declared proudly.
“I am glad you enjoyed yourself.”
“Thanks. I need to talk to you about a few decisions I have made. Do you have time?” She had to tell him at least a few things to start with.
“I have a much time as you need. What do you need to tell me?”
She took a deep breath. “First thing I need to tell you is that I quit my job before I left for the cabin.”
He cocked his head to the side, a little confused. “Why Catherine? I thought you loved your job.”
“I did at one time. But I want to live my life differently, and that does not include sitting in the DA’s office for hours on end, not to mention the danger. I want to live a peaceful life.”
“Have you decided what you want to do?”
“Yes, I think so. I want to open a small office so I can help those who can’t afford legal help. I feel like that would be more gratifying than what I was doing.”
“It sounds like you have thought this through. I will help you in any way I can.”
“Thank you. I would appreciate any help I can get.” She picked up her tea, trying to get up the nerve to tell him more.
He could feel she had more to say. “Catherine, tell me.”
She looked at him, trying to judge if she was ready to tell him of the move. “You know that I never sold my father’s brownstone after he passed. I am planning to move there. I have offered Jenny my apartment. She has always liked it here and is excited to move in.” Wow, that was a lot of information.
To say he was shocked was an understatement. He took a sip of his tea. He wanted to make sure he didn’t say the wrong thing and hurt her feelings. “These are big changes. Are you sure this is what you want to do?”
“Yes I am sure. I don’t have to work. I still want to help others, but in a different way. I want to move into the brownstone so I will have a lot more room and maybe …” She looked down at her cup.
“And maybe what?”
She looked at him, not sure she could tell him more. She drank the last of her tea and reached for the pot, but he picked up the pot first and refilled her cup. He sat it down and looked at her again.
“And maybe what, Catherine?” He was starting to get anxious.
“And maybe I would be allowed to have an entrance to the tunnels made.” She looked at him with pleading eyes.
He thought for a moment. “Yes, Catherine. If it is possible, we will build you an entrance.”
Her face lit up. “Thank you.” She felt like she should leave it at that. I don’t want to push my luck.
“So how is everything Below? Is everyone well?” she asked, desperate to change the subject.
“All Below are well.” He looked at her and knew there was more. “Tell me please, I know you have more on your mind.”
“No, that was it.” She never thought she would lie to his face.
He got up and came around the table to sit next to her. He put his arm up on the back on the couch and silently invited her to join him. She snuggled up against his side and put her head on his chest. He kissed the top of her head. “Tell me, please.”
“Do you love me?” she asked in a whisper.
“Please look at me.” He gently lifted her chin to look her in the eyes. “Yes, Catherine. I love you.”
She put her head back on his chest and held him tight. “I love you, very much.” She whispered into his chest.
He held her tight still wondering where this conversation was going.
“Vincent I have something to ask you, but I am frightened.” She was shaking a little.
He held her tighter. “You are frightened of me?” He couldn’t imagine her ever being frightened of him.
“No! No, I am not frightened of you. I’m afraid of your answer to what I want to ask.”
“Please, just ask.” Now he was frightened.
“Would you join with me and be my husband?” She couldn’t believe the words actually came out of her mouth.
He tensed up immediately. “Catherine, you know that is not possible. I am not a normal man.” He felt how much that statement hurt her.
“I don’t see it that way, but I can’t make you do something you don’t want. Please forget I even asked.” She was trying not to cry, but it wasn’t working. She couldn’t look at him, and her heart was breaking. “Will you excuse me for a moment?” She got up and headed for the bathroom.
Vincent sat there not believing the conversation they had just had. He knew she was hurt and didn’t know what to do. In his confusion and terror, he grabbed his cloak and was over the balcony in a heartbeat.
She came out of the bathroom after she had composed herself to find herself alone. She wasn’t surprised, but it still hurt. She sat down and picked up her wish list. She read it once more and, with tears running down her face, ripped out the page. My wish list will never be complete. She sat there holding one of the throw pillows and cried.
As he made his way below, he could feel her pain. He didn’t know what to do. He would never hurt her like this deliberately, but did she really know what she was asking? He knew deep in his heart the answer was yes. She did know what she asked for. She loves me and I love her.
Father had heard the message on the pipes that Vincent was back. He knew he was supposed to be Above. Something was wrong, and he had to find out what it was. Father cautiously entered his son’s chamber. “Vincent, are you well?” Father asked, trying to test the water, so to speak.
“No, Father. I have hurt Catherine deeply and do not know how to fix it.”
“What did you do that hurt her?” He knew he would never hurt her.
“Catherine asked me to be her husband. I told her no.”
“Why would you say no? I know how much you love each other.”
Vincent looked at his father as if he could not believe those words had just come out of his mouth.
“Don’t look at me as if I have gone mad. You and Catherine belong together. Can’t you see that?”
“Yes, Father, but what do I have to offer her? If I were her husband, that would include being intimate with her. What if I hurt her in a moment of passion?”
“I don’t believe you would hurt her. You have had times when no one could reach you but Catherine. If you did not hurt her then, you would never hurt her. Vincent, think hard about this before you just let her slip away. I love her, as does everyone Below. I was beginning to believe that you two could have a happy life together. The bond you share is there for a reason. Don’t waste it. Please take time to really think this through.”
Vincent sat up and looked at Father, as if looking for all the answers to all the questions in life. “Father, do you believe in your heart of hearts that I could make love to Catherine and not hurt her?”
“I do not think you could ever hurt Catherine.”
He just looked at Father as if waiting for him to say more.
“I will leave you with your thoughts my son. I will be in my chamber if you need to talk. Good night.” Father gave his son a kiss on the forehead and, with one last look, returned to his chamber.
Vincent was still awake when he realized it was morning, and out of habit he reached for their bond. He knew she was awake, and the pain in her heart was still there. Had he been wrong all this time?
Father was sick with worry. He knew Vincent would never want him to interfere, but something had to be done. This unique, magical love between Catherine and Vincent was meant to be. Father thought a great deal of what Vincent had told him. He knew he himself had played a large part in this whole mess. He was always discouraging the relationship between his son and Catherine. He had to find a way to make this right. But how? He couldn’t sleep. Watching his son in turmoil was too much. He set out to find Vincent and have a talk. He found Vincent at the Great Falls.
“Vincent, are you well?”
“No. I feel her pain, and I know I am the one who caused it. My heart hurts as if it were her heart in my chest.”
“Have you ever thought that maybe you have been wrong about not having a full relationship with Catherine?” Vincent opened his mouth, but Father held up his hand to stop him. “Please just listen. You have this special bond with Catherine. There has to be a reason for its existence. You need to find it within yourself to overcome your fears and give each other what was meant to be. You won’t hurt Catherine in a moment of passion. I believe this with my whole heart. Just think about my words. Your love for each other is worth everything Vincent.”
There was a knock at the door. Catherine looked through the peephole. Father? She unlocked the door, opened it and stood there totally confused. Father realized he should have sent a note ahead of time.
“Catherine, I’m sorry to arrive at your door unannounced.”
“It’s fine, Father. Please come in.” She showed him to a couch and took a seat on the other.
“How is he Father?”
“He can feel how deeply he has hurt you. He is at a loss.”
“Please tell him I am sorry. I should have never put him in the position I did. I knew he wasn’t ready … he probably will never be.”
“Never apologize for loving someone. He does feel blessed to be loved by you.”
Her face crumbled. “Then why won’t he let me love him?”
Father got up and sat next to her. “Catherine, my dear, please don’t cry. Vincent does love you. Please believe me. I don’t think he was prepared for someone to love him as you do.”
“How do I face him now? I feel foolish for asking him to join with me. But I can’t stop how I feel. Father, please. What do I do?” She held Father, begging for answers.
“I blame myself for discouraging your relationship. I should have never interfered. Your love for each other is unlike any I have witnessed in my life. And to be honest, it frightened me.”
“What do I do now, Father? Please help us. He deserves to have a life as any other man.”
“I know my dear. Please give my son a chance to find it in his heart to accept what he deserves. And that is you.”
She began to cry. “Father, thank you. Please help him to see what can be.”
“I will. I promise you I will. Now it is time for me to go. I have a very important mission to accomplish.”
She walked him to the door. “I love you. Thank you.”
He kissed her cheek. “I will see you soon, Catherine. Don’t give up on my son.”
“I would never give up on the best man ever to enter my life.”
Father smiled because he knew in his heart she meant every single word.
She closed the door, leaned against it. She smiled. There was still hope.
Vincent went in search of his father. He needed someone to talk to, but Father was nowhere to be found. If anyone knew where he was it was Mary. He found her in the nursery.
“Mary, do you know where Father might be?”
“Yes, he went above to see if Catherine was all right.”
He looked confused. Father never interfered! “Mary, are you sure?”
“Yes, I am sure. He is concerned. He loves you both.”
“But Father never goes Above unless it is an emergency.”
“Maybe he felt yours and Catherine’s happiness is that important.”
He was shocked by that comment. “Do you have a moment to talk?”
“For you I always have time. Please have a seat.”
“Mary, do you really believe that Catherine and I are meant to be together?”
“Yes, I do, and I know you would be happy together. What has brought this on?” She looked confused.
“Catherine asked me to join with her and be a husband to her.”
“Congratulations, my boy. That is wonderful.”
“You do not understand. I told her no. Mary, I am not a normal man. What do I have to offer her?”
Mary sighed; it hurt when she heard him refer to himself as not normal. “First thing I want you to do for me is never tell me you are not normal. You may be different, but you are definitely a man. Vincent, I know Catherine thinks of you as a man, and she loves that man very, very much. The love you have to offer her is all she wants and needs.”
He sat taking in her words. “Mary, do you really believe I could be a husband to Catherine and that she would be happy?
“Yes, you would be a wonderful husband, and the two of you would be happy together. Please listen to me carefully. I know in my heart of hearts that you would be a wonderful husband. And I know she would be proud to be your wife.”
“But I fear I might hurt her in a moment of passion. You know that would destroy me.”
“Think about the times when you were out of control and no one could reach you. Remember the time Paracelsus drugged you? Not even Father could reach you. Catherine did, and you never hurt her. That was a negative situation, but making love is a very positive and wonderful one. You will only love her, and she you. Please believe me.”
“Mary, I do want to believe you. She is so hurt that I told her no. It kills me to feel her pain and know I caused it.”
Mary sat next to him and cradled him in her arms. “My dear boy, you can fix that and make Catherine very happy with just one word.” She paused. “Just tell her yes. It is that simple.”
He held her a little tighter. “Thank you, Mary. I love you.”
“I love you also.”
Vincent headed to his father’s chamber to wait for his return. He probed their bond to make sure Catherine was all right. He could feel that she was not hurting as much as before and that there was hope. Father must have had a talk with her. Oh, I hope she still wants me as her husband.
Father returned to his chamber to find his son waiting for him. “Hello. Are you waiting for me?” He knew he was, but just felt the need to ask.
“Yes. How is Catherine? Please tell me,” Vincent said.
“Could you wait until I have changed before we start this conversation?”
“Of course, Father. How rude of me.”
Father laughed. “It was not rude. I know you are anxious.”
He returned from his sleeping chamber dressed in his tunnel clothes. He could almost laugh at the look on his son’s face. He sat down before the questioning began.
“How is she, Father?”
He sighed. “She seemed to be a little better after we talked.”
Well, that told me nothing. “Father, please just tell me.”
“When I arrived the first thing she had to know was that you were all right. She apologized for putting you in that situation by asking you to be her husband. She asked me to tell you she was sorry.”
A tear slid down his downy cheek. “Father, what do I do now? Please help me.”
“Do you love her enough to join with her?” He had to know his son’s feelings.
“Yes, I do. But with marriage comes intimacy.”
“That it does, but you could never hurt her physically. And I know in your heart you know this to be true.”
“But how can you know this? I do not know the ways of love. I could only be clumsy at best.”
Father sighed. He knew this was also his fault. He had never thought Vincent would need to know these things. “You need to believe in the love that you and Catherine share.”
Vincent lowered his head and whispered. “I do, Father. I do. Please help me to understand what I need to know. I don’t want to disappoint her after she has waited so long to have a life with me.”
Father and Vincent talked late into the night. After many hours of sex education with Father, Vincent had much to think about. Vincent lay on his bed wondering how it would feel with her in his arms. The thought of seeing Catherine again scared him like nothing had scared him before in his life. Vincent got up and sat at this writing table. He would send a note to Catherine asking if he could come to see her tonight. He could send one of the children to deliver his note. Maybe, just maybe, she would say yes. Please, let Catherine find it in her heart to let me see her.
Catherine heard a knocking on the door. Vincent? She opened the door. It was one of her favorite tunnel dwellers.
“Hi, Geoffrey. Is everything all right?” she asked, trying not to sound panicked.
“Yes, Vincent sent me here to deliver this note.” He handed the note to Catherine.
She noticed that Geoffrey seemed to have something to say. “Tell me.”
“Catherine, we all miss you.” Geoffrey smiled.
“I miss you all as well. Thank you for bringing the note. Would you like some cookies and milk while I read the note? It might require a reply. Can you wait?”
“Of course I’ll wait.” Geoffrey looked around in awe. “Your home is beautiful.”
Catherine smiled. “Thank you. When I move into my brownstone, you will always be welcomed. I will have a tunnel entrance. There will be plenty of books, TVs you can watch, and a computer you can use.” Geoffrey lit up. He sat, eating his snack and waited for Catherine.
Catherine walked to the other room to read her note.
My Dearest Catherine,
Please forgive me for the pain I have caused you. I can only pray that you still feel love for me and are willing to give me another chance. If you will allow it, I would come to see you tonight. Please say yes. I await your reply with a heart full of hopes and dreams.
Always and forever yours,
Catherine read the note a second time with tears streaming down her face. Did the note mean what she prayed it meant? Well, I’ll give him a second chance and pray it means what I have been hoping for.
Geoffrey noticed the tears and was immediately upset. Catherine was very special to him, and it hurt him when she was upset. Catherine wiped her face and smiled.
“Geoffrey, I am just fine.” She gave Geoffrey a hug and a kiss on the cheek and handed him her reply. Geoffrey headed home with Catherine’s note and a heart full of hope that all would be well again.
Vincent was in his chamber, pacing as only he could. What was taking so long? Geoffrey should have been back by now.
Geoffrey paused outside Vincent’s chamber. This was probably the most important note he had ever delivered. Geoffrey stepped inside to deliver her reply. Vincent accepted the note and thanked his young friend. Geoffrey scrambled out the entrance leaving Vincent with the note that would either destroy him or make him complete.
My beloved Vincent,
I would be honored to have you come to me tonight. I have missed you so, and I do love you. You of all people deserve another chance. I will be waiting for you with an open heart and open arms.
Vincent was on cloud nine. She still loved him and wanted to see him. God help me make this right again. We belong together. It feels so good to finally believe it.
Vincent realized that he had a few hours before it was dark enough to go Above. He took a long soothing bath and dressed just for her. He wore the linen shirt she loved. He put on his thigh high boots. He put the pouch with her mother’s rose in it around his neck and grabbed his cloak. He stopped to see his father before he left.
Father saw him standing in the entrance and smiled. There was no mistaking where he was heading. “Vincent, come sit for a moment. I have something I think you might want to take with you Above.” Father went to his desk and removed a small box. He sat next to his son. “I want you to take this with you and I pray you will find the need for it.” He handed the box to his son and waited for his reaction.
Vincent opened it. The box contained Margaret’s wedding ring. With tears in his eyes he looked at Father with a question on his face.
“I am not saying you have to ask Catherine, but I was hoping you might want to. I know Margaret would love for you to give this to her. She knew in the little time she spent with you two that you belonged together. Now go to her. I hope it all works out, as I know you want it to. Go with love and my blessing, son.”
Vincent could say nothing; he just gave his father a kiss and turned to leave. Hopefully he would not be back home before dawn.
Catherine dressed with Vincent and her hopes in mind. She would not wear a beautiful nightgown. She didn’t want to scare him off before he entered the door, but she wanted him to look at her in awe. She took a shower. She blow-dried her hair until it looked so soft that he would not be able to resist the urge to touch it and run his fingers through it. She wore very little makeup. She used a touch of her favorite perfume. She went into the closet to choose the right outfit. She had a long, soft, beautiful skirt and a blouse that was cut low in the front and very low in the back. Under her skirt she wore only a pair of very sexy silk panties. Maybe, just maybe, he would see them.
Catherine was so nervous that she felt a glass of wine was in order. She prayed Father had been able to talk to him and make him see that a life together was possible. Catherine knew she would always love only Vincent. Father, I hope your talk with Vincent makes all the difference.
As Vincent approached Catherine’s balcony, he could sense that she was anxious to see him. You can do this. You would never hurt Catherine. You love her. He started to think about the talk he and Father had and his manhood started to respond. No ... not yet. I can’t show up on her balcony with an arousal! Well, maybe I could. He reached her balcony, took a deep breath and tapped on the door.
Catherine felt Vincent’s presence before he arrived on the balcony. Quickly, she put her wish list back in the notebook and laid it on the floor beside the sofa. Putting down her glass of wine and taking a deep breath, she approached the door. She looked up at him. Oh, my God, what a wonderful sight. That face, that beautiful face. Oh, how I have missed you! “Please Vincent, come in.”
Vincent looked down at Catherine with tears in his eyes. She looked lovely, and she was giving him another chance.
“Catherine, I am so sorry. Please forgive ...” He didn’t get out the rest of his apology. Catherine lovingly placed her hands on his face and gently pulled his lips to hers. He was shocked, but very quickly let go and kissed her as he had always dreamed of. After what seemed like a lifetime, the kiss ended. They held each other from head to toe and everywhere in between. Heaven could be the only word to describe this moment. Finally, she led him into the living room.
“Vincent, would you like a glass of wine?” she asked, trying to get herself together.
“Yes, thank you.”
She went into the kitchen to fix his drink. Vincent looked around. He noticed the notebook on the floor and picked it up to place it on the coffee table. A page fell out. He picked it up and noticed his name on the first line. It was her wish list, and the first item nearly broke his heart. Her first wish was to have me as her husband. He turned as she returned.
She noticed what was in his hand. Oh, God. No. She lowered her head.
“Don’t, Catherine. Please look at me.” He took the glasses of wine and set them on the coffee table. He sat down, bringing her onto his lap.
“I love you. There is something I must ask you. Catherine, if you will have me, I will devote what time we are blessed with loving you and protecting you with my last breath ...” He lowered his head and whispered, “And hopefully, one day, we will be blessed with a child or two of our own.” He took a deep breath. “Catherine Chandler, will you honor me by agreeing to be my wife, my lover, and soul mate for always?”
Catherine looked into Vincent’s eyes with a smile that could have lit the entire city.
“Yes, Vincent. I want you as my husband, my lover, and soul mate, and hopefully, one day, the father to our children.”
Vincent reached into his vest pocket and removed a small box. He opened it and removed the ring.
“Catherine will you accept this ring as a symbol of my love and devotion?”
“Yes. Oh, Vincent. Yes.”
Catherine woke with the feeling of warmth against her back from head to toe. She glanced over her shoulder. It was the most beautiful sight – Vincent naked, holding her close. She smiled and then realized how badly she needed to use the bathroom. She slid from under Vincent’s arm, trying not to wake him. She slid into the bathroom to relieve herself. Oh, my. Did I have to go. As she returned to the bedroom, she realized he was awake.
“Vincent, I think we could both use a shower. Care to join me?” she asked over her shoulder, as she turned to go back to the bathroom. She grabbed a stack of towels and set them by the sink and stepped into the shower. He followed her and looked around. He had never seen a shower like this before. She looked at him with a question in her eyes.
“What is it, Catherine?” he asked, a little panicked.
“Vincent, may I wash your hair and bathe you?”
He gave her a wicked smile and replied, “Yes, Catherine, as long as I get the chance to do the same for you.” She just smiled and reached out of the shower for a towel and placed it on the floor of the shower.
“Please kneel here.” He did as he was asked. She held the back of his neck. “Lean back so I can wet your hair.”
She reached for the showerhead and slowly wet his head of luscious hair. She reached for the shampoo as he wrapped his arms around her waist and leaned against her breasts. She proceeded to wash his hair with such tenderness. He just held onto her. He had not had his hair washed for him since childhood. And nobody did it like Catherine. He felt so loved.
She put her hand behind his neck for support. “Close your eyes, love. I would hate for anything to hurt your beautiful eyes.” She rinsed the shampoo from his hair and then reached for her conditioner. Vincent looked at her, confused.
“It’s a conditioner; it keeps your hair from tangling and makes it easier to manage.” She applied enough so that she could run her fingers through his hair. Ringlets started to form down his back and around his face. He looked adorable.
“We need to leave the conditioner in for a few moments. While we wait, may I start bathing you?”
He looked up at her with such an intense look of love. He stood, and she took the soap and started to bathe him. She washed him with all the love she possessed. She reached up to remove the showerhead from the wall and started rinsing the conditioner from his hair and the soap from his body.
“Oh, Catherine, I love you so.” He did not think life could get any better.
“I love you too, Vincent.” He gave her a smile that was as wicked as she had ever seen.
“Now it’s my turn.” He showed all his love in the way he washed her hair and washed her body. By the time they had finished bathing each other the hot water had come to an end. Vincent picked up Catherine and carried her out of the shower. They dried each other off and went back into the bedroom.
“Vincent, I have a robe for you. Would you like to try it on?” It fit perfectly.
“Thank you for the thoughtful gift Catherine.” He smiled at her with so much love. Catherine pulled her robe on.
“Vincent, let’s go to the kitchen and see what we have to eat. If I’m hungry, I know you must be starved.” As Catherine started toward the kitchen, there was a knock on the door. Vincent stayed in the bedroom to wait. Catherine opened the door and there was Geoffrey with a large basket of food.
“Father sent me; he didn’t want you to starve.” Catherine smiled and let Geoffrey in. Vincent heard Geoffrey’s voice and came out of the bedroom. Geoffrey handed him a note from Father.
I figured that when you did not return home this morning that all went well. I am so happy for you and Catherine. William did not want you two to starve, so he fixed the basket of food and requested it be delivered. Enjoy yourself, and I’ll see you both this evening. I send you both my blessing and all my love.
I love you both,
He handed the note to her to read and asked for a piece of paper to return a note to Father.
Thank you for all your help, support, love, and, most of all, your blessing. I have wonderful news Father. Catherine has agreed to be joined with me. Because of you, we will have our happy life. Please keep this news to yourself. We would like to make the announcement ourselves. We should be back Below this evening.
Vincent and Catherine
Geoffrey took the note and returned Below. Catherine opened the basket and discovered sausage biscuits, hash browns and fruit. She prepared their plates. She put water on for tea for Vincent and started the coffee maker for herself. Breakfast was delicious, and she was thankful she didn’t have to try to cook something that would satisfy him. She sat on the sofa sipping her second cup of coffee, wondering what changes would have to be made. She no longer had a job, so that was one obstacle that was gone. But would they live Below, or would Vincent want to live Above with her. Or could they do both.
He looked at her, wondering what was going on in that beautiful head of hers. “Catherine, what troubles you so?”
“Oh, Vincent. Nothing is troubling me. I was just thinking about the future.”
That statement confused Vincent. “What is it, Catherine?”
“Vincent, do you think you would be comfortable living part time in the brownstone?”
“As long as I am with you, it does not matter where we are.” He smiled wickedly. “And we will have all the privacy we could want in the brownstone.”
“Oh, could we now? What would we need privacy for that we can’t have below?” She looked him from his head to toe and back up to his groin.
Vincent picked up Catherine and swung her around. As their bodies touched, talking about the future suddenly left their minds. Catherine was all of a sudden picked up in Vincent’s arms and was heading to the bedroom.
Below, Father had Vincent’s note in hand and a smile on his face. So they had worked things out. He was so happy for his son and Catherine. Well, he knew Vincent wanted to keep this a secret, but he had other plans. Father called a meeting of the counsel. He read the note from Vincent to everyone. The applause was deafening. When the noise died down, he had an idea.
“I expect Vincent and Catherine Below this evening. Why don’t we plan a surprise joining for them?”
They looked at Father with confusion. They all knew Vincent wanted to make the announcement, but they also loved Father’s idea. The planning commenced. Ideas for the party started. Kanin had an idea for a new chamber for the couple. He had been working on a large chamber a short distance from the main hub. This would give the couple privacy. With help, Kanin felt it could be done in a week. He pulled Father aside with his idea. Father loved the idea and suggested a door also be installed. His son would have the happy life he never thought could be for him.
When Vincent began to wake, all he was aware of was the soft warm body next to his. She was lying with her arm around his waist, a leg over his, and her head resting on his chest. Heaven. This is truly heaven. And this is how it is going to be for the rest of my life.
She began to stir. She cuddled closer to the warmth that was Vincent. She smiled and kissed his chest. “Oh, Vincent. I love you.” She held him tighter.
“I love you, Catherine.” She looked at the clock on the bedside table. It was 2 AM, and it was safe for him to return Below, but she had no intention of letting him go without her. He must have picked up on her emotions. “Catherine, we should get cleaned up so we can head Below. You know I sent Father a note, but I don’t like the idea of worrying him unnecessarily.”
“Yes, let’s do that. I will get a shower first and start packing a bag while you take yours.”
He tried to look like he was pouting, but could never pull it off. She just laughed, gave him a soft kiss and got up to head for the bathroom. As she exited the shower, he was there waiting. He just wanted to get another look at her naked body. He offered to help dry Catherine, but she laughed, grabbed two towels and left to dress and pack. He hurried through his shower, not wanting to be apart from her any more than was necessary. When he came out of the bathroom, she was standing looking down at something. She was deep in thought and didn’t hear his approach. He gently kissed her shoulder.
That made her jump. “Vincent, you startled me.”
“What were you thinking about?” he asked curiously.
“I was looking at my beautiful ring and thinking about spending the rest of my life with you.”
Catherine pulled away and reached for the bedside table. She turned with his pouch in her hand, and he bent down so she could put it around his neck. He picked up her crystal and put it around her neck, just as he had done two years ago.
He kissed her softly. “I love you.”
“And I love you.”
He held out his hand. “Come, let’s go Below.”
It was close to 4 AM when they began their trip through the tunnels to reach Vincent’s chamber. They dropped off her bag and headed for Father’s chamber. It was very early, but they wanted to see him and let him know his son was home safe.
Father was up early. He had not been able to sleep with his son not home, and he had many preparations going through his head. Father heard their footsteps and looked up. “Vincent. Catherine. Welcome home.”
She ran into Father’s arms. Vincent watched as Catherine and Father embraced. To have the two people he loved most embracing was everything. He waited his turn and hugged his father. “Father, I hope you didn’t worry yourself too much in my absence.”
Father just smiled. “Vincent, you were in safe-keeping in Catherine’s hands. I had no need to worry.”
Vincent just smiled. Father didn’t know how right he was. “Father, Catherine and I are going for a walk. We will meet you here in a while and join you for breakfast.”
“I look forward to having breakfast with you. Enjoy your walk.” They headed for the falls. They wanted to enjoy their favorite spot.
While they were gone, Father got everything started for their surprise. He went to the kitchen to let William know their favorite couple was back. William’s kitchen crew was summoned from their beds to start preparing breakfast. The celebration would include Vincent’s favorite breakfast – pancakes. Another group of children were assigned to wake up the others. All the counsel’s plans were a go. Everyone was excited to surprise the happy couple.
When they arrived at their spot, Vincent put down his cloak to protect Catherine from the chill. He sat leaning against a boulder and invited her to sit between his legs. She rested against his chest with his arms wrapped around her. This was how it was going to be from now on.
“Vincent, I always loved this spot, but now it seems even more beautiful. Soon this will be my home.” Catherine sighed.
“Catherine, this is your home. Anywhere with you is home to me. I love you.” They held each other and enjoyed the serenity of the falls. Vincent started kissing Catherine’s neck and held her tighter.
“Vincent, don’t start something we can’t finish. Anyone could walk in on us,” Catherine reminded Vincent.
“I know, but I just cannot help myself.”
Catherine smiled and held his arms around her tighter. “Vincent, do you have a date in mind for our joining?”
He thought for a minute. “How about our anniversary?”
“But that is only two weeks away. Is that enough time?”
Vincent smiled. “It is more than enough time in my mind. What do you think?”
She smiled and replied, “Vincent, I would join with you today, if you asked. But I can wait two weeks to become your wife.” Catherine sighed. “Your wife … I can’t believe all my dreams are coming true.”
Vincent held her tighter. “It is my dream as well Catherine, I love you.” They enjoyed their time together for a while, then made their way to Father’s chamber to join him for breakfast. As they entered Father’s study, Vincent noticed Father was deep in thought. “Father, are you well?” he asked, picking up on Fathers emotions.
“Yes, Vincent. Just hungry. Shall we?” The three made their way to the dining hall. Vincent noticed that no other tunnel dwellers were in the passageways. Something was going on, but he didn’t have enough time to dwell on it.
As the entered the hall, everyone yelled “Congratulations!!!!” Catherine was startled and jumped; Vincent’s arms were around her immediately.
“Father, I asked you to let us announce our plans to join,” he stated, slightly annoyed.
“Vincent, you are my son, and Catherine, you are my daughter, therefore it’s my privilege. Please indulge his old man.”
“Father, you are not that old.” Catherine started to giggle, which soon turned into laughter.
“We love you Father.”
All joined in and congratulated the couple. Breakfast consisted of stacks of pancakes, sausage, hash browns, and fruit, and, of course, plenty of tea. Breakfast ended up being a celebration. Everyone was smiling, enjoying the companionship and love that surrounded all.
Everyone was happy to see their favorite couple together again, and now they were to be joined (sooner than they could imagine). Vincent stood behind Catherine with his arms wrapped around her. The excitement in the tunnels was at a level he had never before experienced. The love in the room wrapped tightly around them.
When breakfast was complete, Mary went to Catherine. She bent and whispered in her ear.
“Catherine would you join me for a moment in my chamber? I have something I would like to show you.” Catherine excused herself. Vincent looked on curiously.
Before he could ask, Father was by his side. “Vincent, would you care to join me while you await Catherine’s return?” Vincent rose from his chair and followed Father to his chamber.
Catherine followed Mary to her chamber. When they arrived Mary asked Catherine to sit. “Catherine, I know this is all unexpected, but please indulge us.” Mary opened her wardrobe and pulled out a beautiful white satin wedding dress. Catherine’s mouth dropped open as Mary held the dress in front of her. “Catherine, we all love you dearly and are all very happy for you and Vincent” She paused, not knowing how she would react. “We have planned your joining with Vincent for this morning, and this is your dress.”
Catherine looked at Mary with tears in her eyes. “Oh, Mary. I love you. I couldn’t be happier. I had just told Vincent earlier that I would join with him today if it were possible. Now I am getting my wish.”
Mary hugged Catherine and kissed her cheek. “Now let’s try this on. I hope the adjustments are right.” Catherine slipped on the dress, and, of course it fit perfectly.
Vincent was with Father in his study, and Father was acting strangely. “Father, what is going on? I am feeling strong emotions from Catherine.”
Father just looked at his son for a moment. Father went to his wardrobe and pulled out a new vest and trousers and handed them to Vincent. The ladies had worked late into the night preparing his new clothes. “Vincent, my son, you will have to indulge us. These are new clothes for you to wear. You and Catherine are to be joined this morning.”
He looked at Father as if he had lost his mind. Perhaps he had. “Father, what are you talking about?”
Father smiled a smile that lit up his chamber. “Catherine is with Mary at this moment changing into her gown.” Vincent didn’t know what to say, but he knew a good thing when he heard one. He took the clothes from Father, smiled and went to change.
“Catherine, you look beautiful.”
Catherine looked into the mirror. “Mary, this is beautiful, and it fits perfectly. Thank you.”
Mary helped her dress and fix her hair. She presented Catherine with two roses, one red and one white, bound with a piece of ribbon.
“Oh Mary, you have thought of everything.” She was overwhelmed.
Father went to Vincent’s chamber to check on him. He was dressed in his white shirt that Catherine loved, his new trousers, and new vest. Father stopped in his tracks. “Vincent, I have never seen you look so handsome.”
Vincent was a little taken back by his statement.
“Yes, Vincent, you heard me. You look handsome. I know Catherine will be pleased. Are you ready?”
Vincent nodded and hugged his father. “Thank you, Father, for everything you have done. You have saved my life and given us a gift beyond imagination.”
They left and headed back to the dining hall. When they entered, all of the breakfast food and dishes were put away. All the tables and chairs had been moved to make room for the ceremony. Vincent smiled and looked down at his father. “Father, thank you for everything. I love you.”
Father smiled and escorted his son to the front of the room to take their places. Vincent stood looking out into all the smiling faces around him. He felt such love it was almost overwhelming.
Mary put on the finishing touches. Catherine radiated with love. Mary led Catherine back towards the dining hall. Catherine held Mary’s hand tightly. She felt like she might melt from the excitement.
They stopped in the corridor. Mary released her hand and someone else took it. She looked to her side with a very surprised look on her face.
Peter smiled. “Cathy, do you think I would let you make this step without me? I am here to give you away. I know your father and mother are smiling down on you today, but I have the honor of giving you to Vincent.”
She hugged Peter with all the love she felt for him. “Thank you, Peter. I love you.”
Peter stepped back. “Cathy, I love you.” Peter slipped her hand into the crook of his arm and led her into the hall.
Everyone turned as Catherine entered. She looked so beautiful and radiant. Her smile lit the room as they made their way towards Father and Vincent. He had never seen her look so beautiful, and the tears began to slide down his cheeks. Catherine’s eyes locked with his, and there was no longer anyone else in the room, just the two of them. Peter escorted her to Vincent; he kissed her cheek and put her hand in Vincent’s.
Vincent whispered, “Catherine you are so beautiful.”
She looked shyly at Vincent. “You don’t look so bad yourself, my love.” They held hands and turned to Father.
“We are gathered here today to witness the joining of these two very special people. This is a joining that has always been intended to be. Their love has been tested time and again, but their love has always won out over every obstacle. Once they were separate, only half of themselves, until that night when fate brought them together, never to be separate again. My God bless this union through eternity. Vincent, would you like to speak your own vows to Catherine?”
Vincent smiled. “Yes, Father.” He turned to Catherine, holding her hands in his. “Catherine, you have come into my life and made me whole. You are all that I shall ever need to be happy. I love you, and I take you as my wife, my friend, my lover, and my soul mate for always.”
Catherine looked up into his beautiful face with tears. “Vincent, you have also come into my life and made me whole. You are all I will ever need to make me happier than I thought was even possible. I love you and take you as my husband.” She had to stop to catch her breath. Vincent held her hands tighter and sent all his love to her through their bond. She tried to start again. “I take you as my husband, my friend, my lover, and my soul mate for always.”
They both whispered, “I love you.” Father cleared his throat and continued.
“You have both pledged yourselves to the other. Cherish each other always. Never take the other for granted. Embrace your love and share it with all around you. In the name of God, I pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss each other.” Vincent took Catherine in his arms and kissed her with all the love he felt. They separated and Father continued. “May I present to you, Vincent and Catherine Wells.”
The hall erupted with cheers. They could not believe they were husband and wife. She looked up at her new husband and asked, “Husband, would you please kiss me again?” Vincent took her breath away with his kiss. He lifted Catherine off her feet and swung her around like a child.
“My dearest wife, you never have to ask.”