Love and Impossibilities

Nefereu

 

"In dreams and in love, there are no impossibilities."
Janos Arany

 Devin paused outside the door to Catherineís apartment, wondering for the hundredth time if he was making a mistake. Heíd only been back in the tunnels for a day when heíd heard the strange gossip that Catherine hadnít been to see Vincent in almost a month. A visit to his morose brother had confirmed the rumor; but it had also gotten him little information. Devin had been shocked at Vincentís unkempt appearance and apathetic manner. Predictably, he had refused to talk other than to say Catherine had sent him away. Heíd droned on in a melancholy tone about how Catherine would be happier without him; free to have a so-called "normal life" and how it was all for the best. Devin wasnít buying one word of it.

Unfortunately, no one else seemed to know anything. Even Mary and Father were in the dark about the reason behind this twist of events. Finally, Devin had decided to get to the bottom of things himself; thatís what brought him to Catherineís door. Tentatively, he knocked.

What he saw when it opened only deepened the mystery and made him more determined to get some answers. Catherine looked almost as bad as Vincent. Deep shadows under her eyes spoke of too many sleepless nights and she looked noticeably thinner. Gone were her usual stylish clothes. In their place, she wore jeans and a simple t-shirt. Her hair was pulled back in a severe bun and her face was free of any makeup. She also didnít look very happy to see him.

"Hello, Devin." She greeted him quietly as she barely opened the door more than a crack.

"Hey, Chandler!" Devin replied brightly, hoping charm her. "Long time no see."

"What do you want, Devin?" Catherine replied without much warmth. "Did Vincent or Father send you?"

"Those two stuffed shirts?" Devin bluffed. "No way! I just thought Iíd drop by to see you. Canít I visit an old friend? Arenít you going to let me in? I promise I donít bite."

That earned him a ghost of a smile and she reluctantly opened the door. The first thing Devin noticed was the open boxes stacked in various locations; this didnít bode well.

"Going somewhere, Chandler?" he asked lightly.

"Maybe." Catherine replied defensively. "I havenít decided yet."

Devin blinked, digesting that comment. "Hey, how are things at the District Attorneyís office? Howís oleí Joe?"

"Everything was fine and so was Joe the last time I was there. That was three weeks ago."

That bold statement had Devin gaping in shock. "Oh," he commented, trying to sound nonchalant. Now he was sure there was something seriously wrong.

"Howís Charles?" Catherine inquired, trying to change the subject.

"Heís fine." Devin replied. "Weíve been living in Montana. Itís beautiful there. He stayed behind with a friend of ours while I came home for a visit."

"You must enjoy it," Catherine kept making small talk, but she wasnít fooling Devin.

Dropping all pretext, Devin decided to get to the bottom of things. "Okay, Chandler. Weíve done the small talk. Now itís time to come clean. Out with it! What did that rock headed brother of mine do thatís stirred up all this trouble between you two?"

"What makes you think somethingís wrong?" Catherine stalled.

Devin rolled his eyes. "Come on! Vincent looks like he just crawled up out of the Abyss and you resemble an extra from a zombie movie. I think that indicates something is amiss, donít you?"

Catherine sighed heavily. "But what makes you so sure Vincent is responsible?"

Devin snorted derisively as he looked intently into Catherineís eyes.

"Vincent is just a man, no matter what Father says. Sure he looks a little different, but heís as human as I am. I donít care how much literature heís read; by the sheer fact of being male, he can also be an ass. Besides, I know you too well. Youíd forgive Vincent anything, even if he stole the family silver. Look, I may not be able to quote you lines of Shakespeare, but I can listen."

This time, Catherine did smile. Sighing again, she motioned to the couch. "Youíd better sit down. Iíll make us some coffee. This may take a while."

She soon brought in the coffee and took a seat. Devin sat down as well, but didnít say anything right away. Wisely, he decided to let Catherine lead the conversation.

"How much did Vincent tell you about what happened?" she asked.

"Nothing." Devin replied. "He didnít even say there was a problem; just that you sent him away."

Catherine laughed, but to Devin it sounded hollow and brittle. "Why am I not surprised? He wonít admit to himself that there is something wrong; let alone face it! Heaven only knows what heís convinced himself of by now. Heís probably decided heís doing something noble and itís all for the best rather than coming here to actually talk to me."

Uh oh, V. Boy, has she got you pegged! What dumb nonsense has the old man been pumping into your head this time? Whatever it is, it must be a dandy if itís caused all this! Devin thought.

Catherine stared for a long moment into her coffee cup and finally spoke at last. "Vincent kissed me." She spoke so softly, Devin wasnít sure he heard her correctly.

"What was that?"

Catherine sighed. "I said Ö Vincent kissed me." With another heavy sigh, she began to relay the events of that fateful night several weeks before.

It was a warm night and Catherine and Vincent had been taking advantage of the unseasonal weather to share a few blissful hours on her balcony. The book they were reading was a gift from Jenny to Catherine of modern love poems by an up-and-coming author. As they gazed intently into each otherís eyes, desire rocketed through Vincent like a flash fire. Instantly, Vincent lifted Catherine bodily and put her onto his lap, covering her mouth with his own, unable to resist the powerful emotions coursing through their Bond. Haltingly, she lifted up her hands to his face, almost unwilling to believe this passionate kiss was real. For a single moment, she was in heaven.

This wild desire caught Vincent completely off guard, blindsiding him with a power that threatened to almost sweep him beyond reason. Immediately, he panicked. With the control of a lifetime, Vincent ruthlessly beat back the feeling and forced himself to pull away from Catherineís intoxicating kiss.

With the greatest care, he lifted her gently off his lap and placed her next to him, smoothing her robe over her slight frame as he rose to his feet.

Bewildered and hurt, Catherine looked up at him, her eyes filled with confusion.

"Vincent?" she whispered brokenly, unable to hide the pain his rejections caused her any longer.

Sighing heavily, Vincent drew into himself as he always did whenever Catherineís desires surfaced. Temporarily, he closed off their Bond, helpless and unable to acknowledge the deep needs he felt emanating from her.

Catherineís brows drew together in a frown as she realized what Vincent was doing. This time, she wasnít willing to let the matter simply drop. Trying once more, she leaned closer and put out a hand in supplication to him.

"Vincent, please!" she pleaded, begging shamelessly. "I love you! Donít do this to me again! I need you!"

Vincent turned away, ashamed at the wave of desire he felt and unwilling to look at the need on Catherineís face. Behind him, Vincent didnít see her recoil, almost as if she had been struck. He might have been kinder if he had. For Catherine, Vincentís rejection at that moment was like plunging a knife into her that cut out her heart, if not part of her soul.

Sitting up, she drew her knees to her chest, resting her forehead there for a second as she gathered herself. At once, something in her snapped and an Arctic like wind blew through her whole being. It chilled her anguish with its power and numbed her pain temporarily as it stiffened her resolve. When she lifted her head to regard at Vincent, her face was a mask of icy calm.

"You need to go, Vincent," she said flatly, her voice a monotone.

"Catherine, youíre upset. Iíll stay. We can ..."

"No," she interrupted emphatically. "You need to leave. Now."

This time, it was Vincentís turn to be bewildered and hurt. Reluctantly, he did as Catherine asked. As he slowly departed, Catherine went inside and closed the French doors behind her with an audible click. Vincent paused briefly as he realized to his sorrow that Catherine had turned the lock.

"And you havenít spoken to him since?" Devin inquired, still not sure he understood.

"No." Catherine confirmed.

"What about the Bond you two have?" Devin asked.

"Itís been silent for a month now. At first, it was me shutting Vincent out; now I think heís too afraid or stubborn to open it again. I miss our connection, but thereís not much I can do about it."

"Couldnít you two just meet and talk things over?" Devin couldnít help stating the obvious.

Catherine sighed heavily. "Itís not that simple. Iíve been trying to get through to Vincent for almost four years, Devin. Four years! But, Fatherís got Vincent convinced that heís incapable of having a normal relationship of any kind. Heís got Vincent head so twisted around that he wonít even try," she concluded bitterly.

Devin blinked in shock as the true meaning of Catherineís words completely sank in. "Holy Cats, Chandler. Four years?! You mean you two havenít ...?"

Catherine shook her head. Devinís eyes got wider. "You mean Vincentís still a ...."

Catherine nodded harder. Devin shook his head in disgust. No wonder Catherine was so upset! She was probably frustrated beyond belief. Devin couldnít even imagine what poor Vincent was going through. Father had certainly managed to foul things up for the two would be lovers. Devin realized that someone needed to straighten out the mess between Vincent and Catherine; obviously, it was going to have to be him.

ĎWhat did you do after he left?" Devin asked.

"Called my friend, Jenny Aronson." Catherine replied.

Jenny, it turned out, had proven to be just what Catherine needed. She had charged in like the Allied landing at Normandy on D-Day, sweeping Catherine into her wake as she made tea and dragged much of the events of that night out of her friend. Without too many details, Catherine found herself telling Jenny about Vincent and what had happened between them.

"So," Jenny offered casually after Catherine had calmed down a bit. "Iím guessing that Vincent has ... What? A medical condition or something?"

Catherine had looked over at Jenny, her mouth open in shock. Jenny just rolled her eyes.

"Come on, Cathy!" She protested. "I may not be a hot shot lawyer, but I do have a brain! Sometimes it even works," she joked. "You tell me youíve been in love with Vincent for four years; yet Iíve never met or even heard you mention him before now. You say he rarely goes out; has a problem with intimacy, and then top it off by telling me he walked away from you tonight after only a kiss! It doesnít take a genius to figure out the guy must be different in some way."

"Yes." Catherine admitted. "He is."

"But you have to give him some credit." Jenny consoled. "He loves you, right?"

"I know, Jenny." Catherine replied. "But tonight, when he turned away, it was like something snapped in me. I just couldnít stand the sight of him after that."

"You threw yourself at him, he rejected you again, so, you got pissed!" Jenny shot back.

Catherine had smiled for the first time that night. Trust Jenny to put boil things down to the simplest elements.

"So what do I do?" Catherine had asked her friend.

"I canít answer that." Jenny replied gently. "Only you can. But, I can tell you what I am going to doótake you home with me for a few days! It will do you some good to get away from everything. Iím willing to bet that the D.A.ís office wonít go under without you and you need a break. I wonít take no for an answer. Besides, itís almost dawn anyway."

To her surprise, Catherine discovered Jenny was right. In short order, Catherine dressed, packed a bag, called her office, and impulsively left to spend a few days with her friend. Frankly, she was looking forward to it.

For almost a week, Catherine stayed with Jenny. The two spent their days wandering through art galleries, flea markets, and haunting the local coffee shop. Jenny even managed to convince Catherine to abandon her "legal eagle" power suits as she called them and indulge herself with some plain old stonewashed jeans and cotton t-shirts. Catherine adored it. It had been years since she had actually let herself be so carefree and open. It did Catherine a world of good. The problem had come when she tried to return to work.

"It was awful, Devin." Catherine told him. "The work just seemed so pointless and I felt positively useless. Even Joe noticed. In the end, I realized I wasnít doing anyone any good in the shape I was in, so I took an extended leave of absence."

"So what happens now?" Devin asked. "Is that it for you and Vincent? You just give up and walk away; game over?"

"I still havenít decided what to do, yet. I was waiting in case Vincent came here to talk, but that hasnít happened and I donít think I can bring myself to go Below. Iíve been fighting Fatherís influence for four years, Devin, and Iím tired. Iím not sure I have the strength to do it anymore," she murmured brokenly.

"Will you leave?"

"Maybe. Iíve always wanted to travel. With no job, thereís nothing to stop me. Thereíll never be anyone else for me; Iíve come to accept that. If I have to be alone, so be it. But, it will be on my terms if I do. You wonít find me hanging around for the next thirty years dancing attendance to Vincent, hoping vainly for some tiny crumb of affection."

Realizing how bitter she sounded, Catherine apologized to Devin."Iím sorry. You know I love Mary. But ..."

This time, it was Devin who sighed. "Itís okay, Cathy. I understand. Frankly, I think the only person who doesnít know Mary is in love with him is Father himself. Heís just too damn blind! Look, just give me twenty-four hours. If I canít fix this mess by then, you can leave with my blessing. Hell, Iíll even go with you, Chandler! You can come visit me and Charles in Montana. Okay?"

"Okay." Catherine replied. "But, no promises. Deal?"

Devin smiled brightly. "Deal!"

All the way back to the Tunnels, Devin had contemplated what to do about Catherine and Vincentís problem. Considering how hard headed his brother could be, he seriously doubted that discussion would get him anywhere. No, what his furry brother needed was a good old dose of icy cold reality. Nothing else would break through all the nonsense Father had been pouring into Vincentís head over the years.

Wisely, Devin decided to enlist Mary in his scheme. A quick talk with her had him discovering she was well aware of the tension between the two lovers and more than eager to help. Devin smiled as Mary left him so she could search out and occupy Father for a time. Maybe heíd work on those two next; that is, if his current scheme didnít get him killed. Devin wasnít quite sure how Vincent would react to what he had planned. Just like a nice cold dip in the Mirror Pool, little brother. Here goes nothing.

"Hey, V!" Devin called brightly as he entered his brotherís chambers. Gone was the more serious Devin, the flippant trickster now in his place. "You still down in the dumps?"

The only reply was a vague mumble from Vincentís direction where he was still slumping listlessly in his chair.

"Hey, I was wandering around topside and guess who I ran across? Chandler. She wasnít looking too good, though." That brought Vincentís head up.

Good. Now weíre getting somewhere!

After a moment, Vincentís head again lowered.

"Been feeling anything with that crazy Bond thing between you two?"

"No, itís been silent for almost a month. Sheís probably just working too hard on some case." Vincent rationalized hollowly.

"No chance of that," Devin replied casually. "Catherine quit. Sheís not with the D.A. anymore." He hating lying, but there was too much at stake for scruples now.

 

"What?!" Vincent cried, sitting up straight for the first time.

Gotcha! Now to bait the hook!

"Hey, you know these society types, little broí. Chandler probably just got tired of slumming."

"Devin, how can you say that? You worked with Catherine! You know how important her job is to her!"

"Not anymore. She gave it up. Said she couldnít take it any more. Crazy, huh?"

Time to set the hook. Sorry, Chandler. No disrespect, but I gotta get through to the lummox somehow.

"She quit?" Vincent asked curiously.

"Yeah. But, I guess it was about time. All that death and misery. It was bound to get the better of her, sometime."

Vincent shot to his feet and began pacing restlessly. Even after four years together, he could still not bring himself to admit to Catherine just how deeply he loved her. But, it hurt him to think that she hadnít felt able to confide in him.

Devin watched the play of emotions across Vincentís face. He could easily read the turmoil there and hoped it was progress. Time to go for broke and reel this one in, Cathy. I hope this works because I donít have any other ideas.

"Hey, take it easy, V. Like you said, itís probably all for the best. Anyway, once Chandlerís gone, things can get back to normal around here for you and Father."

That froze Vincent in place. "Catherineís leaving?"

"Yes. She said something about going to Europe. Donít concern yourself. She wonít be alone for long."

"Yes," Vincent sighed wearily. "Maybe sheíll find a man to love who can give her the life she wants and a family."

"Nah, that wonít be happening. Catherineís giving up on the idea of love, having a family, too. No kids for her. I was talking about the Lotharios that are a dime a dozen in Europe. Iím sure sheíll find one to keep her company in no time. After all, sheís beautiful, desirable, and rich. Sheíll have them swarming on her like bees to honey. Maybe they wonít take her for too much of a ride. But, sheís a big girl; she can take care of herself. Besides, itís all for the best, right?"

Vincent resumed his pacing and Devin could sense the anger rising in him.

One last bit, little brother. This will either get you two back together or get me killed!

"You know, now that I think about it, Europe is kind of nice this time of year. Who knows? Maybe, Chandler, Charles, and I could go together. I could watch out for her, kind of protect her like you did. Iím sure you wouldnít object, would you? Iím mean, itís not like you two are together anymore and Catherine is very attractive ..."

Vincent suddenly roared and grabbed Devin by the shoulders, slamming him into the chamber wall as he pinned him there. "No!" he growled angrily, his canines flashing. "Catherine is mine! Mine! Do you hear me? You canít have her! No one can!!"

Devin sucked in a breath and barely managed to speak. "Thatís right, Vincent," he replied, dropping the flippant facade. "Catherine is yours. She always has been!"

Vincent paused and released his death grip on Devin as he took in what heíd just heard.

"Yes. She loves you; all of you!" Devin went over and put a hand on his larger brotherís shoulder. "Listen to me. Forget all that stuff Fatherís been feeding you. I hate to disillusion you, brother, but youíre just a man like the rest of us no matter what he says. You have a woman who loves you and needs you to be everything to her. Do you know how rare and special that is? My God, she wants to have your children, Vincent!"

"My children ..." He said bleakly.

"Oh, no. You canít use that excuse with me, V. It wonít wash! I know how much you love Catherine and how much she loves you. She knows the risks about having kids with you and she doesnít care! Do you know the courage that takes? Are you going to tell me you canít even show the same courage and be the man she needs you to beóher friend, lover, and the father to her children?"

Vincent remained frozen for a moment before staggering back and dropping hard into his chair. His breath came in harsh gasps as the stifling walls of a lifetime came crashing down within him in an instant. Soon, his face took on a look of horror and he put his head in his hands as he began to weep.

"Oh, Devin! What have I done? I failed her! Sheís leaving me! What can I do?"

Oh, Chandler! You and V. are going to owe me for this big time!

Devin walked over and took a seat next to his distraught sibling.

"Brace yourself, brother. Youíre going to have to do what the rest of us poor male saps do when we screw up with our significant other; swallow your pride, tell her what a jerk you were, and apologize. However, in your case, I think a little hot makeup sex might be in order. Scratch that, make that a LOT of hot makeup sex. You two have some catching up to do."

Devin winked and chuckled at his brotherís deep blush. But he could tell by the determined look on Vincentís face that he had definitely taken the advice to heart.

Reluctantly, Catherine came Below a short time later. Devin could tell she wasnít happy to be there.

"Your message said it was urgent, Devin. What is it?"

"Vincent wants to talk to you, Catherine." Even though she shook her head, he pressed on.

"Come on, give him one more chance. Donít you owe it to yourself to give what you two have a least one last shot?"

Catherine sighed heavily and Devin could see the unshed tears in her eyes. Silently, she allowed him to lead her to Vincentís chamber. Pausing in the doorway, she drew in a ragged breath and stepped inside.

"Hello, Catherine," Vincent greeted her eagerly as his eyes roamed her lovely frame, drinking in the sight of her. He had bathed and changed, dressing with deliberate care in the ruffled shirt he knew she liked so well. She surprised him a little, in her plain jeans and practical t-shirt. But, it didnít matter. Vincent merely gloried in the sight of her.

Catherineís heart ached at the sight of her beloved. Being this close to him and not running into his arms took all of Catherineís willpower, but she managed it. Ruthlessly, she tamped down her emotions.

"Devin said you needed to see me."

Catherineís cool tone caught Vincent off guard. There was no welcoming warmth in her eyes and their Bond remained as closed as it had since that fateful night.

Distressed but undaunted, Vincent spoke again as he moved to take her hand.

"Iíve missed you." He offered simply. To his consternation, Catherine deftly avoided his touch and crossed the room to the bookcase. Only when sheíd moved safely out of his reach did she turn back to him.

"What do you want, Vincent?" she asked bluntly without an ounce of feeling in her voice.

Vincent stared at his own outstretched hand and his mind flashed back to the night they had parted. Instead of his own hand, he saw Catherineís reaching for him; her face a mask of desperation, her desire fully revealed.

That powerful image broke the last of Vincentís fragile control and he dashed across the room to haul Catherine into his arms.

"Oh, Catherine," he whispered brokenly as he buried his face in her hair. "Please, please forgive me! I never meant to hurt you! Youíre my reason for existence. I love you; I need you! Please donít leave me!"

Vincentís pleas moved Catherine beyond words and she threw herself onto him with a sob. Desperately, he kissed her and she returned his ardor with four years of pent up passion. Wordlessly, he swept her up into his strong arms and headed for the bed as their Bond reopened and their mutual passion whisked them away.

Out in the tunnel, Devin leaned against a wall and smiled at the noises coming from Vincentís chamber. Out of deference for their privacy, he moved a little down the tunnel, but still maintained his post. There was no way he was letting anyone near that chamber for a least another hour. Smiling, he settled back for a long wait.

Yep, little bro, you and Chandler are going to owe me extra big for this one.

Belatedly, it occurred to him to wonder how Mary was faring in her task of distracting Father.

"Really, Mary," Father blustered. "Was it necessary to drag me down here to this storeroom just to survey some damage? Surely, Cullen or Mouse could have attended to this. I was right in the middle of rereading The Illiad."

"Donít worry, Jacob. This wonít take long."

Father entered the remote storeroom following Mary. The moment the two stepped inside the heavy door slammed with a distinct clang. This was one of the few rooms that had one. Luckily, the lantern Mary held prevented them from being plunged into total darkness. Alarmed, Father rushed to the door and vainly pushed.

"Mary, weíre locked in."

"I know, Jacob," came the quiet reply.

"What ...?" Fatherís words were cut short as he took in the scene before him. Two chairs had been set up side by side next to a crate that held one of Williamís trays with all the fixings for tea. Mary herself sat in one of the chairs, her face a mask of calm serenity.

"What is going on? I want an explanation immediately!"

"Itís really quite simple, Jacob. Iím keeping you here long enough for Devin to get Vincent and Catherine back together and hopefully allow their love to take its natural course," she said gently.

"Have you taken leave of your senses? I demand to be let out of here at once!"

"Iím afraid thatís not going to happen, Jacob. Iíve given Mouse strict instructions not to come back to release us until dinnertime. You might as well sit down and be comfortable."

"Comfortable? You expect me to sit at a time like this is?"

"Like what, Jacob?" Mary challenged. "You mean Catherine and Vincent finally being together physically as they always should have been?"

"Mary!"

She sighed heavily. "Iím sorry, Jacob. But today, I realized Devin was right. Youíve let your own prejudice against love cloud your judgment where Vincent is concerned. He and Catherine deserve to be happy and I, for one, am not willing to sit idly by and see that love slip away. "

"Prejudice against love? Poppycock!"

To his surprise, Maryís face became quite sad and her voice echoed the emotion.

"No, Jacob. It isnít. Iím afraid itís true. I know Margaretís betrayal broke your heart, but I think it did more than that. I think it also broke your spirit. Somewhere along the way, you decided to shut yourself off from love in general. Oh, you loved Vincent. How could you not? You knew he could never leave you. But, you closed yourself off and refused to let anyone else even come close. No one knows that better than me," she finished softly.

Maryís words struck a chord in Father and the blinders of thirty years fell away.

"My God, Mary! Have I really been such a blind fool?"

For the first time, Mary smiled. "Perhaps a little. Would you care to sit down now?"

"I think Iíd better."

"Tea, Jacob?"

Dinnertime finally arrived. Vincent and Catherine arrived quite late; entering arm in arm and grinning happily. Everyone else was already seated including Mary and Father.

A hush fell over the room as Father rose and went to intercept the two lovers as they came in. For a moment, Father paused and everyone waited with baited breath.

To their collective astonishment, he moved to embrace Catherine in a fierce hug.

"Hello, my dear. Weíve missed you, Vincent most of all. Welcome back."

As he regarded the dumfounded expressions of the other tunnels, he remarked testily.

"I know Iíve been an old fool, but Iím not a complete idiot! Even I can have my moments!"

The room erupted into loud cheers and several catcalls. Both Catherine and Vincent blushed, but still held hands as they went to take a seat next to Devin.

"Well, Chandler, I hoped everything turned out satisfactorily," he teased as he put an arm around her.

"Yes, Devin. It did." She replied with a grin.

"So I guess this means our running away to Europe is out, huh?"

"It is if you want to keep breathing." Vincent interjected with a mild smile as he pointedly removed Devinís arm and replaced it with his own.

Catherine and Devin looked at Vincent in shock.

"Whoo, Cathy. You better look out. Youíve actually gotten this somber brother of mine cracking jokes. Whatís next? Running naked through the tunnels?"

Catherine smiled wickedly. "Iíll get back to you on that one, Devin."

"Vincent, Iím going to have to cancel our chess game for this evening." Father interrupted. "Mary and I have some things to discuss, donít we, dear? I trust you and Catherine can sufficiently amuse yourselves."

As the two departed holding hands, Catherine turned to Devin, wide-eyed. "You donít suppose ...?"

Devin just shrugged. "Who knows? Maybe she finally got through to him."

"Like you did with me?" Vincent remarked, smiling as well. "Devin, Catherine and I canít thank you enough for what youíve done for us."

"Hey, V. Forget it. After all, thatís what brothers are for."

"Still ..."

ĎJust forget it, bro. Besides, Iím sure Iíll need you one day."

The rest of the evening passed by in a sublime blur. Vincent and Catherine retreated to his chamber right after dinner and remained there, making love for the rest of the evening. Finally, they made their way to the bathing chamber for one more passionate interlude. By the time it was over, Catherine was positively boneless from their spent passion and her lingering fatigue. Gently, Vincent carried her back to the chamber and tucked her into the bed. Though tired, he was simply too flustered and delighted with the events of the past few hours to sleep yet.

He turned to his journal to begin writing when the sound of voices in the bathing chamber drew his attention. Though loathe loath to eavesdrop, he couldnít resist pausing to listen as he heard Father speak.

"Thank goodness. I thought those two would never leave."

"Now, Jacob. You must admit they had an excellent idea."

"Thatís true, my dear."

There was a momentary rustling followed by two soft chuckles.

"Mind your hip."

"Iím old, Mary, not dead!"

Vincent smiled and deliberately tuned out the rest of the noise. Staring at the blank page of his journal, he contemplated what mere words or phrases could possibly describe sheer rapture of the past few hours with Catherine. After pondering and rejecting numerous ideas for several minutes, he finally wrote a simple phrase.

Today, Catherine made all my dreams come true.

Regarding the sole sentence, Vincent smiled as he closed his journal and moved to join Catherine in the large bed. Some dreams were simply better when experienced first hand.