written by Karen Philpot
Art by Sonia Mª Corral
Alex was in this apartment for the first time in nearly four years, since she and Jenny Aronson had removed all of Cathy's belongings. She was very surprised when she discovered that Cathy had left the option on the apartment to her. Alex had sublet the apartment since that time, but the couple had decided against staying anylonger - they needed a larger place for their growing family. Alex was glad that she had this place; she was uncomfortable staying at her mother's, especially now. Alex knew Jenny thought she was insane for keeping this place, maybe she was. After all, this was where Cathy's body had been found all those months after her disappearance. Alex turned on the lights and the radio. Alex always turned on the lights and radio as soon as she entered her home; she hated quiet, dark rooms. It hadn't always been that way, she thought. But that was before he came into her life. A lot of things in her life had changed since then.
Alexandra Campbell had known Catherine Chandler, and her father, Charles, all her life. Her mother, Marilyn Campbell had worked with Charles Chandler since before Alex was born. Even though Catherine was several years older than Alex, they had been like sisters. 'Like sisters,' Alex thought, with a trace of bitterness. All those lost years! If only she had known! The last few days whirled past Alex once again; her mother's illness; the deathbed confession. Her mother, the woman that raised her from birth, was not her mother at all! Her father had been Charles Chandler. Cathy was her sister! They had always been close, but now Alex felt robbed of all that might have been had she and Cathy known of their connection.
Alex flashed back to the phone calls from her mother...from when Charles had passed away, and when Catherine had been found murdered. Because she worked for the Red Cross, Alex spent much of her time out of the country; she chose the job specifically for that reason. Both times the calls had come she had rushed home; feeling a sense of loss that she couldn't explain...until now, that is. Now she understood why Charles had treated her so kindly and generously, why he had spent so much time with her. It also explained the generous amount he had left her in his will; she and Cathy had just attributed it to Charles' usual charitable nature.
She walked through the apartment. She had changed some of the furnishings since Cathy had gone. The glass curio cabinets were gone, as well as the glass dining room table. Alex preferred more practical furnishings to some of Cathy's elegant pieces. 'Too much glass to clean,' Alex thought with a grin. 'I don't know when Cath had the time.' She had changed the bedroom furniture as well, considering that's where Cathy had been found. Alex had purchased a sleigh bed the first day she had been back in town and it had been delivered only this morning. Maybe she was insane for keeping this place - did the good memories outweigh the bad? 'Well, I don't have time to deal with finding a new place right now, anyway. Providing I even decide to stay in town...if it's even safe for me to stay in town.'
The knock at the door broke her reverie; she turned and went to the door. "Joe!" she cried at the sight of her old friend, "It's so good to see you!" Joe Maxwell was standing uncomfortably in the doorway. "Alex, I'm so sorry about your mother. I came as soon as I heard. I was told you were staying here." She noticed him glancing around the room as he hugged her. She wondered if he'd ever be able to enter this apartment and not think of Cathy. "I haven't really had a chance to unpack yet, so let's find a place nearby and get a cup of coffee. There's a lot I have to tell you," she turned him toward the door quickly; sparing him from overwhelming memories she was certain he was feeling. Joe Maxwell had been Catherine's boss for three years before she had been murdered. They had become close friends and Joe had fallen in love with the beautiful attorney. Cathy had known about Joe's feelings for her; she had cared deeply for the then Assistant DA, but there had been someone else in Catherine's life - someone whom she had written to Alex about in the last year of her life. Vincent. Someone Alex felt connected to - for reasons she couldn't explain.
Vincent paced apprehensively in the sub-basement of the apartment building where Catherine had lived. 'Why am I here?' he thought to himself. Many months had passed since the last time he had stood in this very place. Countless memories of Catherine flooded his brain; their son, Jacob, was the bright spot in his life these days. He wondered if he would ever be able to find love again. There was Diana; he cared very deeply for her, but it was not a love like he shared with Catherine. He wondered again at the unknown force that had brought him back to this spot. Memories of Catherine often invaded his thoughts; yet it was not Catherine that had brought him here, but something intangible. He knew, once he had come this far, that he was helpless to stop himself from climbing to her terrace once darkness fell. He had gone there once before and found a family living there. He wondered if they still lived there now, and if they knew of the woman who had once dwelled within those walls.
"Cathy's sister?!?!" Joe couldn't hide his astonishment at Alex's announcement. "How can that be? Are you half-sisters? Did Chandler have an affair with your mother all those years ago?"
"You make it sound as if I'm ready for a cane and walker, Joe," Alex remarked dryly. "If you think this is difficult for you to comprehend, imagine how I feel." She sighed deeply. "Okay, if you've got the time, I'll give you the whole sordid story - at least what I know of it." Alex took a sip of her tea; she wasn't a coffee drinker, by nature.
Joe looked compassionately at Alex; this can't have been easy for her, he thought. He suddenly noticed resemblances to both Charles and Catherine Chandler that he had never recognized before. He was usually much more observant -why had he never seen? The noses were similar, and the eyes bore into him much the way that Cathy's used to. The hair was the same in texture, although, Alex's was more of an auburn shade than Cathy's blondish-brown.
"Joe?" Alex's voice broke through his thoughts.
"Yes, I have time...if you really want to tell me."
"I need to tell someone. And you are one of my, and Cathy's, dearest friends." She took a deep breath, "Marilyn Campbell...my mother...I don't even know what to call her anymore. She explained to me the circumstances of my birth and how I came to be her daughter. As you probably know, Catherine's mother had been ill for some time when she had passed away," Joe nodded. "What you don't know - what Catherine didn't know - is that she was pregnant that last year...with me. Charles didn't want her to have the child because he knew what a strain it - I - would be on her health. But she knew what it was like being an only child, and she wanted more for Catherine; she really wanted a son for Charles as well. She went into premature labor...they kept her alive just long enough to deliver me. Charles Chandler's wife - Cathy's mother - died because of me, Joe." As his mouth opened to protest, she stopped him. "Oh, I know, she had been ill. Perhaps she would have died anyway, but I definitely shortened her life. And I truly believe that is why Charles Chandler gave me away - because he couldn't bear to raise the child that had killed his wife."
"C'mon, Campbell, you're smarter than that. There has to be another explanation. After all, he kept you close by. He was always nearby to make sure that you were okay, that you were taken care of. You told me that he was always very kind to you and spent countless hours with you - you thought of him as a surrogate father."
"A surrogate father, yes...but he was my father, Joe! And he abandoned me. Okay, maybe not completely, but...oh, I'm just so confused. I don't know what to believe anymore!"
Joe sat quietly for a moment. "So where do you go from here? Back overseas with the Red Cross? What on earth made you run off and join the Red Cross anyway? You had such a promising career ahead of you. You were working on a degree in law - you know we can always use...you have Cathy's apartment. Will you be living there? How can you stay there, knowing that's where...where...?"
"Joe, you know that Cathy did not die in that apartment. She did NOT die there! I know it's difficult for you to be in there - which is why I suggested we come here. But I have a great many happy memories in that apartment with Cathy...and Charles. I feel closer to her there. And maybe it will help me resolve all the feelings that are racing through my mind and my heart right now. As for what I'm going to do now...I wish I knew." She paused a moment, wondering if she should ask about Vincent. "Joe...Cathy had written to me about someone. Someone who was very important to her."
"Yes. Do you know him?"
"No, I've never met the man." Joe paused. "Alex, how much do you know about the search for Cathy's murderer?"
"I was out of the country for most of that time, Joe. I know very little. Diana Bennett solved the case, correct? Was this Vincent involved?"
"In her murder? No. But, there are some things you must know." Joe took a deep breath. Alex already had much to deal with; should he add to that heavy load? "Your sister, Cathy, gave birth to a child right before she was given a fatal dose of morphine. The child was taken by Gabriel, the man who had abducted Cathy..." Joe paused when he saw that Alex had grown very pale.
"Gabriel? Did you say Gabriel? And what has become of this man? Is he in prison? Has he been caught? And where is the child now?" Alex reached for her tea, but her hands were shaking so badly that she was afraid to lift the cup to her lips, for fear Joe would notice.
Joe wondered about her preoccupation with Gabriel. Almost as if...no, she's just concerned for the child and wanting to see justice served, he thought. "Gabriel was found murdered in his home, lying next to an empty crib. Diana Bennett shot him, through the heart. We never have found out the exact whereabouts of the child...you might want to talk to Diana about this. I'll give you her phone number, if you'd like."
Alex tried to control her breathing...Gabriel??? Surely it can't be the same Gabriel? Even so, Joe said he was dead now...he could no longer hurt her, or anyone else close to her. "Joe, it's been a really long day and I really am very tired. I think I'm going to go back to the apartment, take a nice long shower, and crawl right into bed."
Vincent was surprised to see Catherine's furniture on the terrace - almost as if she were still living here, he thought. Most of the furniture in the apartment was different, but was arranged similarly to Catherine's. Vincent could almost see her, standing there, waiting for him. The past few days, he had felt stirrings such as he hadn't felt in a long time. So many feelings coursing through him at once and he couldn't place where they were coming from. Not Father, not Diana, and certainly they weren't emanating from Jacob. Where were they coming from?
Suddenly, light flooded the front room of the apartment. Vincent backed into the shadows and watched the woman who roamed through out the place. There was something oddly familiar about her. 'Perhaps it's just the setting,' he thought, 'that makes me think I know her.' He felt intrusive, but was unable to tear himself away. He could hear her humming along with the radio as she unpacked a suitcase in the bedroom. Just as he was about to turn away, he heard her utter his name.
"Vincent. Who are you and just what was the link between you and Cathy?" For a moment, he almost thought she had seen him and knew who he was. But, somehow he knew that had she noticed a figure on the balcony, her first reaction would be fear, and he sensed many emotions emanating from her, but fear was not one of them. Emanating from her?? Could she be the person whose feelings he has been experiencing?
Alex punched the keypad on the telephone. "Diana Bennett? Ms. Bennett, this is Alexandra Campbell. I'm a...I was a friend of Catherine Chandler's. I've just returned from a stint overseas with the Red Cross. Joe Maxwell suggested that I call you. Would it be possible for us to get together? There are a few things I'd like to ask you, if that's all right? My connection to Catherine Chandler? Well, this may sound incredible...I'm having a tough time believing it myself...it seems that Catherine Chandler was my sister."
Vincent reeled back at the revelation of this woman's link to his beloved Catherine, stumbling over a plant ashe did so.
Alex paused in mid conversation, hearing the noise on the balcony. She reached into her purse for the gun she always kept close at hand. "Ms. Bennett, I really can't get into this right now. Can we meet tomorrow morning? I'm staying in Cathy's apartment - well, it's mine now. Thank you. I'll see you tomorrow."
Vincent could feel her fear as she peered toward the balcony doors. He was torn between wanting to reassure her and vanishing before she could see him. He had little time to react, as she quickly strode to the doors and opened them carefully. He was standing fully in the shadows, so he knew she could not see him, bu the sensed that she knew he was there. He sensed her fear. It was then that he noticed the pistol in her hand.
"Who's there? Gabriel? Julian, if that's you, I swear I won't hesitate to use this gun. Why can't you leave me be? I'm tired of running and I refuse to run anymore." Her voice wavered slightly.
Gabriel??? How does she know of him? Perhaps it is someone else...but the coincidence is too great. Vincent spoke quietly from the shadows, hoping to assuage her fears. "Do not be frightened, Alexandra. I will not hurt you."
Alex peered once again into the darkness. She could see the shape of a man in the darkness, a man of impressive size. "Who are you? How do you know my name and why are you here?" It occurred to her that all her fears had vanished the moment she'd heard his voice. Just because it isn't Gabriel, doesn't mean he isn't dangerous, she thought to herself. She wondered, 'Could this be him?' "Vincent. You're Cathy's Vincent."
"Yes." His voice was soft and oddly soothing to her.
"Why are you here? Do you visit this place often? Why do you stand in the shadows? How did you get out here? Come into the light, so I can see you. I would like to meet the man responsible for Cathy's happiness those last few years." 'Quit your babbling, Campbell,' Alex told herself.
"She spoke of me to you?" Vincent asked, incredulously.
"Just that you were someone special in her life - someone she cared very deeply for. She would write to me about you."
"I overheard you speaking on the phone, that is how I knew your name. As to what has brought me here tonight...I wish I could answer that. Something drew me to this spot." He paused; then spoke, almost to himself. "I can't believe that Catherine never mentioned a sister, not once."
"Please don't think she was keeping things from you, Vincent." Alex took a deep breath; this new found knowledge was still bewildering to her. She can't imagine how Cathy's friends would feel about it. "She didn't know...Cathy and I were very close friends; my mother worked with Charles Chandler and I was raised around both of them. It wasn't until my mother took ill recently that I learned the truth." She broke off, suddenly remembering all her mother had said.
Vincent could feel the torment this young woman was going through. 'Why is that,' he wondered. How did this bond with Alexandra come to be? They had never met before; he'd never even known of her existence before tonight. "And why did your mother tell you now? What was her reasoning for keeping this from you?"
'Ahh, if only I had those answers,' she thought. She looked out onto the city below. "I suppose she wished to ease her conscience before she died. If only she had told me years ago...even if she had told me after Charles had passed. I missed out on so much." She marveled at the fact she felt so totally at ease with this man. There was such a soothing quality about him and not just his voice. "When Charles Chandler's wife died, Charles had his hands full just taking care of the firm and Catherine. He had no time to give to an infant, much less one that had caused his wife's death."
As she spoke of how her life had begun, Vincent, like Joe, saw similarities between Alexandra and her sister. But what he saw was not so much physical, but emotional, psychological similarities. The way she carried herself and the lilting quality of her voice. There was, at once, a softness and strength there.
"Vincent, please. Step out of the shadows so that I may you."
"I do not wish to frighten you and I fear my appearance would do just that."
"But how can that be? Surely you must be beautiful for Catherine to have loved you so."
Vincent tried to find the right words. "My face is not that of an ordinary man. Most people, when first viewing my face, are startled by it. Catherine was startled at first, also."
"But she was able to look past your appearance and see the man inside. Why do you think I would be any different? I can't explain it, but I feel as if I know you - as if I've always known you."
"I know." His voice was barely above a whisper, yet he knew she had heard. "When you walked out those doors, you were frightened. You called out to someone named Gabriel. Gabriel was the name of the man that murdered Catherine. How do you know him? And why did you call him by the name he called my son?"
"Your son? Cathy's son? Cathy's child was a boy? Where is he? Is he okay? May I see him?"
"Gabriel had taken him, stripped him from Catherine and was raising him as his own. He had given him the name Julian. It was months before I was able to locate my son. I named him Jacob. I scared Gabriel - he even sent an assassin to hunt me down. He was unsuccessful."
"Snow!" Alex whispered. She paled and grabbed at the chair before her as her knees gave out. Her mind was racing with all that she had been dealt in the past few days; her vision blurred. As she swayed, Vincent leapt forward to steady her, without thinking. She gasped at the sight of him, half man and half beast. 'It was a gut reaction,' she thought, 'and I've hurt him.' As he tried to fade back into the shadows, she grabbed his hands to stop him. She took a long look at this man - the man whom her sister had loved with all abandon. His hair was golden and fell halfway down his back. His features were most decidedly leonine, an intoxicating mixture of man and lion. His hands were covered with what could only be called fur and his pointed nails were longer than hers. Deep blue eyes locked with hers, silently seeking acceptance. Looking into those eyes, it seemed as if she could see straight into his soul.
"Vincent, I can see why Catherine loved you so. You are beautiful, inside and out." She sat down in the chair and placed her head in her hands. "So much has come to light in the past few days. I don't know if I can deal with all of it." She sighed. "I would like to see my nephew, if that's okay."
"Certainly. It is your right as Catherine's sister."
Alex sighed and spoke softly. "The man you call Gabriel is a ghost from my past. It is a difficult story for me to tell; that I could have been so blind to what he was. I called him Julian because that is the name he went by when I first met him." Her hand flew to her face, as if to block the image of Gabriel from her eyes. 'If my past relationship with that man had anything to do with Cathy's death, I couldn't bear it!'
"The events of the past few days have taken their toll on you. There will be other times to discuss how you came to know Gabriel." Vincent knelt beside Alex and willed her to look at him. "Alexandra, what you need now is rest. You've been dealt a terrible blow...more than one." He paused. "And there are those that have been waiting for me and worrying. I must go."
"But where? I mean, why is it that I've never seen or heard anything about you? You're not exactly the average 'man on the street' type, you know." 'Maybe it's because I've spent so much time out of the country,' she thought.
"Another time. Try to sleep well, Alexandra." Vincent turned and faded back into the shadows.
"Vincent!" Alex looked at the place where Vincent had just stood; now she was the lone person on the balcony. 'But how? Where did he go?' she thought, 'did he just fly away?' "Don't be silly, Alex, of course not. Look at me, now I'm talking to myself." She turned and went back into the apartment.
'Vincent had survived an attack from Snow?' How was that possible? She could never remember a time when Snow did not accomplish what he had set out to do. That had always been one of her greatest fears, turning a corner to find that white-haired goon glaring back at her. If possible, she was even more afraid of Snow than she had been of Gabriel. So where was Snow now, she wondered.
Father paced the library floor. 'Where could he be?' Certainly, Vincent would have told them if he were going to be with Diana. Without a word, he just vanished into thin air? Not even saying anything to Jacob. He noticed a large shadow pass his doorway. "Vincent! We were worried. You took off without a word to anyone. Jacob has been calling for you."
"I'm sorry, Father. I went for a walk. I'm not even sure how I got there, but something was pulling at me. I ended up at Catherine's building."
"Catherine's..." Father broke off in mid-question. "It's been so long, Vincent, so long. Has the pain not eased at all?"
"Father, you misunderstand. It was not memories of Catherine that took me there tonight." Vincent tried to find words to explain. "I wish I could tell you why...these past few days I've been restless; I've been feeling...things...there were emotions swirling around me from an unknown source. I know this may sound implausible to you."
"Vincent, I'm aware that you have a link with Jacob similar to the one you shared with Catherine..."
Vincent sighed. "No Father. The emotions I felt were not coming from Jacob. They were emanating from Catherine's building."
Father whirled around to face him. "Do you mean?"
"I believe I found the source of it tonight, although I have no clue as to how we became connected." Vincent paused; knowing that the next words he spoke would upset Father greatly. "I went to Catherine's terrace. The new owner was there."
"Vincent, did they see you? Do you realize how dangerous that was?"
"Father, we have had this conversation before. I am aware of the risks." Vincent paced the floor; he still found this evening's events to be unfathomable. How could he possibly expect Father to understand or believe it? "It was a young woman, several years younger than Catherine." At Father's pained look, he added, "I was preparing to leave when I heard her speak my name."
"Your name? You know this woman? And she knows of you? Are you certain it was not someone else she was speaking of?" Father began pacing the floor again.
"Father, please. The words she said were, 'Vincent, who are you and what was your connection with Catherine?' I find it hard to accept that she would be speaking of another. Besides, she then called Diana...to ask Diana about Catherine...her sister."
That last statement got the expected response. Father looked up at this man he was proud to call his son. "Sister?? Surely if Catherine had a sister, she would have told you."
"Catherine didn't know. It was something kept from both of them."
"Am I to assume by your last statement that you actually spoke to this woman? No, don't answer. I can see by your face that you did." Father sat down in his favorite chair. "Well," he sighed, resignedly, "tell me the rest."
"Her name is Alexandra; Alexandra Campbell. I was thinking that perhaps Peter Alcott knows of her. Naturally, when she told Diana who she was, I was startled. In my shock, I stumbled, and she heard me out on the terrace. I knew she could not see me, but she knew I was there."
"Did she know who you were?"
"Not at first. She was frightened. She had a pistol in her hand."
"A pistol! Vincent, she could have shot you - you could have been killed!" Father gripped Vincent's hand, as if that could make him understand the enormous risk he had taken.
"But she didn't, Father. I'm here, and I'm fine. I spoke to her and told her to not be afraid of me. She wondered how I had gotten there and who I was, but only for a moment. It was almost as if Catherine had told her, for she then asked, 'Vincent, is that you?"
"Catherine spoke of you to her?"
"She had been raised by an associate of Charles Chandler's. Their mother had died in childbirth. Apparently Charles Chandler felt he couldn't take care of two small children and his law firm, so he entrusted Alexandra's care to a dear friend and colleague. The woman who raised her told her the truth on her deathbed. I sensed so many emotions radiating from her - sorrow, pain, and anger. An immeasurable sense of loss; not only did she lose the woman she had always thought of as her mother, she also lost Catherine and Charles all over again."
"Vincent, did she see you? What does she know of your...relationship with Catherine?"
"Yes, Father, she saw me. When I was speaking to her of how her nephew was born, her face drained of color; I thought she would faint. So I stepped forward to steady her. It was then that she gazed upon me for the first time." His mind flashed back to her reaction to his appearance. While she was shocked, she did not seem as startled as others had been. Even Catherine had shown more of a reaction than her sister did tonight. Only Lena had shown less of a reaction. "She was surprised, naturally, but overcame it so quickly. Quicker than anyone else I can remember. Perhaps because of her work..."
"Her work? What does she do? Vincent, are you sure she really is who she says she is?"
Vincent sighed. Father would never cease worrying about him until his last breath. "Father, I can't explain it, but I believe with every breath of my being, that she is Catherine's sister. She is remarkably like Catherine in many ways. She has been abroad for several years, working to help those less fortunate -I believe she mentioned the Red Cross to Diana."
The timbre of Vincent's voice sent chills down Father's spine. He had not heard his son speak in such a way about any woman but Catherine. Not even Diana had elicited such emotion, such passion. Jacob Wells loved all of his 'children' - the people who dwelled down in these tunnels with him - but Vincent was his life, more so than even his own biological son, Devin. He was torn, happy that Vincent could be able to have such feelings for another after the devastation of losing Catherine; and yet, he was so afraid of Vincent being hurt once again. And there was also Diana to consider - he was fond of the independent redhead. "So, she knows of Jacob as well?"
Vincent hesitated. "Father, there is something else I should tell you. Alexandra once knew the man who killed Catherine. She knew Gabriel."
To be continued
Recognizable characters in this story are the property of Republic Pictures. No infringement is intended on rights to the series, its characters, or its story lines held by Witt-Thomas Productions, Republic Pictures, Ron Koslow, or any other rights-holder to Beauty and the Beast. However, the ideas and new characters expressed in this story are original and copyrighted.
"RAINBOW'S END" belongs to Karen Philpot. any distribution, copy, shoul be made under her consent. Thanks
All artwork you see here are property and were desing by Sonia Mª Corral, Any distribution, copy, shoul be made under her consent.
"Beauty and the Beast" and its original characters are the creation of Ron Koslow and is owned by Republic Pictures and its owners. The stories shown here are written strictly for the enjoyment of fans, and no infringement is meant in any way