miércoles, 31 de octubre de 2012
martes, 30 de octubre de 2012
domingo, 28 de octubre de 2012
A story based upon the characters of “Beauty and the Beast”
by Nancy Lynn Knauff * Artwork by Sonia Mª Corral
Vincent looked up from his journal entry, pondering what he felt from the bond he shared with Catherine. He felt a profound fatigue. That in itself wasn’t unusual- he knew that she had been working hard at her office recently on her latest cases. However, this exhaustion wasn’t the kind he felt from her when she worked too hard. It felt more like…
The past few months Vincent had been even more diligent about protecting Catherine from harm. During his recent breakdown Vincent’s vision had shown him what his life might be like without Catherine. Although the details here hazy, its message was clear. He would not survive intact without her. Any slight flutter of emotion from her set him on edge for hours. Right now the fatigue he sensed from her set his own heartbeat racing.
Finally unable to stand it, he quickly shut his journal and lighted from his high-backed upholstered chair, quickly snagging his cloak with one hand as he left his chamber.
Catherine snuggled deeper into the cotton robe she was wearing and looked out over her balcony. For late summer there was a definite chill in the air. Fall was not far behind. Catherine sipped the herbal tea from the mug she held, cupping her fingers around it to absorb its warmth. For some strange reason she could not get warm today. Even her earlier shower had failed to keep away the creeping exhaustion into her bones. She shrugged. I’m just working too hard, she thought. I can’t wait for the weekend.
That brought a smile to her lips, brightening her entire self. She had no plans Above and she was planning on spending most of it Below with Vincent. There was to be a concert Saturday evening, a rare choir concert in the park. She had found out from her late father’s friend Kay that one of the pieces to be performed was Vaughan Williams’ In Windsor Forest. Catherine was ecstatic. She couldn’t wait to see the look on Vincent’s face as he recognized some of Shakespeare’s verse in the piece from their secret music chamber.
But Saturday was three days away and Catherine was feeling the frustration. She still had a mountain of paperwork at the office, and two cases that Joe would be bringing to trial next week. She was also holding out that Moreno would give her the Lenox case to prosecute. She had worked long and hard on that one, and it would give her immense satisfaction to finish the job in court.
She was so absorbed in her musing that she didn’t notice Vincent as he landed on the balcony. He watched her from a distance for a moment, always taken aback by her strength and beauty. She was, as always, a vision, and Vincent was always amazed that this incredible woman could actually love him.
She had closed her eyes, breathing in the night air. Vincent, feeling slightly foolish for staring at her, announced himself. “Catherine.” Her eyes opened quickly to glance in the direction of that musical voice. When her gray-green eyes met his sapphire ones she greeted him with a smile.
“I was just thinking about you,” she told him as he took a step towards her.
Vincent returned the smile with a small one he knew she could see. “I know.” He looked out over the balcony at the night skyline before them.
“I haven’t seen you for a few days. Is everything alright?”
He continued to look out over the night but Catherine felt that there was no distress within him. Still, she thought that he looked almost as tired as she felt. When a small wave of concern washed through her, he shifted in his gaze from over the city to where she was behind him and to his left, obviously feeling her emotion through the bond. “Yes, all is well,” he assured her. “There has been much work in the lower chambers recently. There was also a leak from Mouse’s recent aqueduct that needed repair. Three people had to be evacuated from their chambers.”
Catherine grimaced. She remembered Vincent once telling her about the last large flood Below almost two years ago. “No one was hurt?”
He shook his head, his long locks from his blond mane softly and lightly swinging around him. “Thankfully, no.”
“Good.” She reached around to the back of her neck to massage her suddenly tired muscles. Vincent didn’t miss it. “I’m alright, Vincent,” she said to his frown. “I’m just tired. It’s been a long day.”
“I should leave,” he said. He still wasn’t quite sure what exactly had drawn him to her. He only knew that something wasn’t right. It wasn’t rational, but them again the bond they shared seldom offered explanations.
“No,” she murmured, putting her cup down on one of the nearby chairs. “We spend so little time together as it is.”
“True.” That admission brought both joy and sorrow to him. As pleasant the stolen moments they shared were, they were never enough. They probably never will, Vincent thought to himself.
A sudden shiver went through Catherine. She tightened the folds of her robe around her. Vincent silently came forward to wrap his cloak around her, offering his own body warmth. She sighed and snuggled into him, glad to have him near. Two strong arms enveloped her, holding her closer to him. Vincent leaned his head onto the top of her freshly washed hair, taking in her scent, the scent he held so dear.
But something was indeed amiss. Vincent noticed almost immediately. He pulled back from their embrace to look down at her. He noticed that her face was flushed, even more so than usual. The air was crisp, but not enough to cause the rosy look about her skin. His heart jumped in concern. He raised a furred back of a hand to her forehead. It rested there for only a moment.
“Catherine, you have a fever,” he said, concern filling his voice.
“Don’t be silly, Vincent. I’m just cold.” She glanced in surprise as he looked at her in disbelief. That look was usually reserved for the children he watched over Below.
“You should not be out here. You should be inside.” Catherine tried to object again, but Vincent had already opened the terrace door to her bedroom before sweeping her off her feet into his arms to carry her inside.
Moments later Vincent had settled her into her bed. He tucked in the sheets snugly around her before shutting the terrace doors. This surprised Catherine, for it was rare for him to be in her apartment. During the summer, in the midst of his breakdown, she had nursed him here for several days. As Vincent had recovered and began to come back to the balcony, he had only entered once during a sudden intense thunderstorm. The subsequent blackout had been an added bonus. Thank God I had those candles… She suddenly closed her eyes for a moment. Her mind was wandering. Where is my head?
He glanced back at her for a moment, frowning at her sudden confusion before heading into her bathroom. A minute later he returned with a thermometer in his hands and sat down at her side. She tried to protest again, but he popped it into her mouth with a practiced hand.
“Under the tongue, Catherine,” he said, in a voice she knew would tolerate no defiance. She obeyed as another wave of exhaustion washed over her. Vincent felt it as well, as his face deepened in concern. They stared at each other for a few minutes waiting for the result. A small voice inside Catherine whispered how strange and funny this might be someday. But for now, she could only gaze into those soft blue eyes currently drinking in her own pools of green intently. Vincent’s eyes were full of concentration and concern for her well-being. She couldn’t help but be touched by his devotion to her.
When he finally took the instrument from her, she gave up any protest when he spoke the reading. “One hundred one.” He looked at her. “You’ve been tired all day, I felt it.” Catherine watched him as he shook the thermometer down.
“I thought I was just tired because of my workload.” She had really hit the pavement recently. Now it seemed that it had finally caught up with her. She yawned, trying to hide it behind her hand. “Really, Vincent, I had no idea.”
Tourmaline blue eyes softened as he listened to her. “Alright. Rest now.” He got up from his seat on the bed, as if to leave.
“Please, don’t leave Vincent,” she softly pleaded. Already she could feel sleep calling to her, making her eyes droop, but she wanted him to stay. She hadn’t seen him for several days, and was loath to let go of him so fast. Strange, she thought. It was almost as if she couldn’t let him leave her yet that night. That same voice whispered of her need to have him near.
He gave a small sigh, feeling it all in her and into himself. How could he resist? “I won’t leave, Catherine. Sleep now.” He picked up her spare blanket to drape it over her, then sat back on the bed and took her hand in his furred own. She didn’t hear him or feel his touch; she was already asleep.
Vincent watched over her throughout the night. He had hoped that she would sleep through whatever she was suffering from. But when she woke up again and again after midnight, he knew she was very ill.
Her fever didn’t go down, and she shivered despite the added blanket. Vincent could feel the ache in her body, and the tightening of his own throat he could only associate with Catherine’s own soreness there. He felt helpless. So many times he had come to her, drawn by her sudden fear, when she faced certain danger. He had protected her from so many evils, had even tried to protect her from himself. But there was no way to battle a demon from inside a body, a danger that attacked from within. All he could do was sit with her, holding her hand. He felt he had to do something, but what?
It was only a few hours from dawn when Vincent finally made up his mind. Catherine was finally in a deep sleep, after tossing and turning for hours restlessly. He left her there and softly walked into the living room. He found her address book by the phone, picked it up to thumb through it.
He had never had any use for this particular device, but had seen it in use many times; he knew how it worked. Still, this was highly unusual for him. Fully conscious of possibly exposing himself, no matter how small a chance that might be, he glanced back into the darkened bedroom. No, he felt he had no choice. Catherine needed more than he could give her. He found the number he needed, swallowed the lump in his throat, took up the receiver and dialed.
His highly sensitive ears did not appreciate the high-tone broken shrill coming from the earpiece, so he was quite relieved when he heard a familiar, if groggy, voice on the other end.
He paused for a moment. Then he took a long breath. “Peter?”
It took a second for Peter Alcott to register whose voice he was indeed hearing on the other end. “Vincent?”
“Yes. Peter,” he broke quickly, before his friend could interrupt further. “Catherine’s not well. She’s running a high fever.” He was thankful that Peter quickly got over his shock of hearing his voice on the telephone.
“Alright, I’ll be over there as quick as I can.” There was a pause on the other end. “You are at her apartment?”
“Okay, I’ll be right there.” Peter hung up the phone so fast Vincent flinched from the abrupt sound.
It seemed to take an eternity before Vincent heard a knock on the door to Catherine’s apartment, then his friend’s loud whisper. “Vincent?” After a quick glance at them, he undid the locks and deadbolts of the door, then swung it open. He stood behind the door as Peter came in, allowing no one to see him. The door swung shut behind the elderly doctor, and Vincent emerged from his hiding place.
Peter looked rumpled, looking out of place in jeans and a pullover, a change from the usual suit and tie. There were circles under his eyes, but he still managed to give Vincent a small smile.
“Neither one of you will give me a decent night’s sleep, will you?” he teased. It had the desired effect. Vincent relaxed a little, his shoulders losing some of their tension. Peter tossed his coat onto one of the sofas and shifted his grip on his black doctor’s bag. “Now, my boy, let’s see what’s going on here. Where is she?”
Vincent escorted him to the bedroom. Catherine was still asleep, and made no move as Peter placed a cool hand on her forehead. “Mm-hm. Did you take her temperature?” he asked.
“It was one hundred one at 10:30, but I’m sure it’s gone up since then. I gave her two aspirin to try to bring it down.”
“Any other symptoms?
“Sore throat, aches. She had a headache the last time she woke up.”
Peter frowned as he thought. “Get a cold washcloth for her. We’ll start there. Don’t worry, Vincent,” he said, seeing the tension in the younger man’s face. “She’ll be fine. It’s probably just a cold.”
Nonetheless, Vincent was worried. In all the time he had known her, she had only been sick once. She had caught a small cold after she had almost drowned last April, but it hadn’t kept her down at all. Besides, anything that caused distress to her was unbearable to him. He couldn’t protect her from an illness, and that one fact was eating away at him. He turned around and headed into the bathroom to wet a washcloth. * She knew this feeling well, yet at the same time it felt so unfamiliar. One minute she felt normal, but the next a kind of wet blanket seemed to envelop her. Worse, she had the strangest sensation of her head being too big for her body. Her limbs felt far away from her, heavy and limp. She hadn’t felt this bogged down since she was a little girl.
What was worse, someone was talking to her, saying her name. Swimming up to consciousness the wet blanket followed her, much to her annoyance. “Catherine,” the voice repeated. Inwardly, she frowned. Hadn’t Vincent been with her when she had fallen asleep earlier? The tone was familiar, but it wasn’t Vincent’s smooth velvet voice.
She opened her eyes to see the face of Peter Alcott looking down at her pleasantly. What the… she thought, her mind stalling for a moment. How did he know I- Then it hit her. Only one person she knew would have gotten Peter here if he was worried enough. Vincent. She wasn’t mad; it was impossible to be mad at him, but she wasn’t exactly thrilled either. Oh, great.
She groaned in frustration. “Peter, what are you doing here?” she half moaned.
“Making sure you’re okay,” was the reply.
She looked around, but couldn’t find any sign of her other half. “Where’s Vincent?”
“He had to go, honey. Believe me, he didn’t want to- I made him. He’ll be back tonight, I’m sure.”
Her body felt as if it weighed a ton, and her head was still pounding. The impending dawn coming from her terrace doors didn’t help any either. Still, she was curious. “How did-“
Peter was ahead of her. “He used your telephone to call me.” She frowned at that for a minute. That didn’t sound right; Vincent didn’t have a need for a telephone, nor did he have one Below. She was really too groggy to let that sink in.
Peter sat down on the bed next to her with his stethoscope. He helped her up and examined her for a few minutes. “Well,” he said, putting the instrument around his neck, “It’s what I thought when Vincent left. You, Cathy, have the flu.”
“The flu? In the summer? It’s too early.”
He shook his head. “There have been quite a few cases of it popping in the area hospitals already this time of year. I’m not surprised. You’ve been running yourself ragged recently. You forget,” he admonished, “I know your boss and those Below.”
“Busted,” Catherine conceded. She flopped back down on the bed like she did when she was a little girl, unable to let her head rest on her sore neck a minute longer than necessary. “So, what’s the prescription, Doctor?”
“Bed rest, lots of liquid, and sleep. Sorry Cathy,” he hurried in when she opened her mouth to object. “You are going to have to stay in bed for a few days. You keep this up, and it’ll turn into pneumonia. Vincent’s already concerned enough. He made me promise I wouldn’t leave until he sent someone up to stay with you.”
“Vincent doesn’t need to do that.”
“He felt he did. He’s very worried. Yes, he might have overreacted, but I don’t have to tell you how devoted he is to you.” Peter smiled and brought up the blankets around her again, replacing the cold washcloth on her forehead. “Now, you relax. I’ll call Joe Maxwell and let him know you won’t be in for a few days.”
As Peter moved into the living room to make the call to her office, Catherine closed her eyes to snuggle in her cocoon of warmth. She was still shivering from cold, and she felt awful. He’s probably right, she admitted inwardly, although her stubborn streak would never let her admit it to Peter. Even if Vincent hadn’t of intervened, she probably would have called in sick this morning herself. She closed her eyes, tossed the blankets over her head to block out the infernal sunlight, and consigned herself to rest.
As the day progressed, she felt worse and worse. She started coughing in mid afternoon, making her headache become a steady migraine. Her whole body ached as well. Jamie came earlier that morning with some tea and homemade soup from William. She stayed with Catherine until Lonnie, a fellow Helper came that afternoon with some Chinese herbs from Dr. Wong’s shop. Catherine didn’t know Lonnie too well, only meeting her at last year’s Winterfest. But that didn’t matter to the short curly jet-black haired Scot.
“When one of our own is sick, Cath’rine, we take care of ‘em,” she said when Catherine had tried to apologize. “When I was goin’ through the chemo, I had Helpers and Tun’lers alike wit’ me, almost twenty-four seven. Vincent himself would write me everyday. Tha’ helped as much as the treatments.” She picked up a glass to get some more juice for her. “You jist sit back and relax, ‘cause you’re gettin’ pampered for the next few days. An’ besides, you’re a special case.” Lonnie winked as she left the room.
Despite the care, Catherine still felt like she had been hit with a Mack truck. She only managed to snag a nap at dusk, totally missing Vincent’s arrival.
It was a good thing, because Lonnie let him have it. “That’s how you git up here?” she half whispered to him as he eased into the terrace doors into the dining area. She was also grinning at him like a Cheshire cat. “You’re either the bravest man alive, or completely daft.” She wiped her hands on the dishtowel over her shoulder.
Vincent only gave her a sideways glance for her teasing before looking into the darkened bedroom. “How is she?” he asked.
“Poor thing’s feeling miser’ble. Her fever went down for a while, but now it’s back up.” She noticed Vincent’s fallen posture, and placed a hand on his arm. “You’re really worried, aren’t ye?”
He said nothing. “Aye, Vincent, she’ll be fine. Don’t worry none. She’s strong as an ox, and a fighter. Not to mention, as stubborn as you.” Her jibe managed a silent chuckle out of him.
But he was worried. He sat with her that entire night, and the next, only leaving her at the last possible moment. Catherine’s fever was going up and down like the proverbial yo-yo, which had surprised Peter when he checked up on her that Friday afternoon.
What was worse, Catherine lost her voice from all her coughing. The persistent cough also wouldn’t let her have more than a few hours of sleep. She could only stammer out a weak “Hi” as Peter came into her bedroom.
“Well, this might help,” he said, giving her a dosing cup of Nyquil. She inwardly groaned. She hated Nyquil passionately. “I got the cherry flavor,” Peter told her. “That and William’s chamomile tea ought to put you to sleep.”
“Thanks,” she squeaked out after making a face from the awful taste. She had hoped that this would run its course quickly so she and Vincent could still go hear the concert on Saturday, but that hope was fading fast. It was Friday, and she still felt horrible. So much for Vaughan Williams. Dammit, she thought, mad at Fate or whoever had given her this evil thing. Why can’t my plans ever go through, she thought bleakly.
She tried to apologize to Vincent that evening when he came, but he also would hear none of it. “Catherine, you cannot help it if you are ill. Think nothing more about it. No,” he insisted when she tried to object, “You should only concern yourself about getting well.” He rested against the headboard with her curled up in his arms. He rested a long furred finger against her lips, not letting her abuse her strained vocal chords.
Another feeling of disappointment and fleeting anger flew through her, adding to the frustration present. I wanted this concert to be special. It’s just not fair, she thought.
Obviously in tune with her mood, and almost as if Vincent had read her very thought, he spoke once more. “Catherine, every concert we attend is special. They are, because we share them together.” She buried her head further into his chest, still not convinced. He could feel that stubbornness within her, and his heart filled with more love for this woman, if that was possible. He knew that she had been looking forward to it, and he felt the disappointment she felt run deeply through her. “You have given so much of yourself, Catherine,” he told her, “ but now you must think of your own health. Rest now, please. For me.”
She brought up her head at the plea in his voice. He looked down at her with a look of pure concern. He continued. “You haven’t slept, your fever has not broken, and you are worried about a missed concert.” He shook his head, stroked her tousled hair back from her tired face. He said no more, but his unspoken message finally got through to her.
I can’t think about this when he’s worried about me, she thought to herself. Almost as if he could hear her very thought, he brought his head down to rest against her own. God, he must be out of his mind. She had forgotten that he still harbored memories of the awful nightmares he had suffered from through his breakdown that summer- nightmares that had been of her own possible death. I’m sorry, Vincent, I’m so sorry, she told him silently, wrapping her arms more securely around him. Again, as if he could read her mind, he wrapped the blankets more snug around her and held her close. She relaxed against him, wishing her clogged sinuses could let her partake of his virile candle smoke and musky scent, and letting all her love and devotion for him surpass her disappointment.
The medicine Peter had given her was finally working; she fell asleep quickly and finally slept through the night, much to Vincent’s relief. He was even more relieved when he rested a hand to her forehead later that night and found no fever burning through her. He held her tighter to him, listening to her slow rhythmic breathing and feeling the strong beating of her heart both in her and him. She would indeed be well again. And so would he.
That morning when Catherine opened her eyes to the sunshine, she actually felt better than she had in several days. The sleep had been much needed. Her head felt clearer. She was still coughing what she thought was equivalent to a lung, but she was no longer so cold. The constant ache was gone as well. She still had no voice, so calling for Jamie, who had probably come sometime that morning, did absolutely no good at all.
To her surprise though, some one did come to her almost immediately. “What are you still doing here?” she practically mouthed, unable to make much sound. “What time is it?”
“Almost ten,” said Vincent unerringly, not even glancing at her bedside clock. “And I couldn’t leave you.” He produced a steaming cup of tea for her; exactly what she had wanted. “Your fever broke last night, much to my relief.”
She was full of questions. Father? The tunnels? How- when could Vincent get home? She only stared at him in disbelief. He was in her apartment in the daylight without a cloak or vest! Seeing him in only cord pants and a light green cambric shirt was a shock to her sleep-fuzzed brain.
“I sent Geoffrey with a message when he came with more supplies. It is Saturday,” he said, almost as an afterthought. “We had planned on spending the day together.” Was he reading her mind again? She shook her head at that, but she smiled weakly up at him. There was no way for him to return until the evening now, the sunlight streaming from behind the closed curtains of her bedroom. The fact that he would sacrifice the safety of his home and Father’s possible wrath for her spoke volumes of his love. And his state of dress told her of his comfort with the situation. How could she argue with that?
He managed to cook a pretty good breakfast, despite the fact that Vincent knew next to nothing about a gas stove. She slept most of the day, a feeling of contentment washing through her. It felt so good to have him here with her, she just wished that she felt better to fully enjoy it. Still, she didn’t dwell on it too much; it was almost as if he was some fairy god who would disappear into the very walls if she pondered his presence too closely. He heated some of William’s soup for her lunch that afternoon. When a thought of nostalgia washed through her, he smiled back warmly, and she knew he was thinking the same thing. His memories of those first few days they had known each other were as strong as hers.
As evening fell, she assumed that he would leave as soon as it was dark enough. To her surprise, he didn’t. At some point he carried her from the bedroom into the living room where he had set up a cozy little nest on one of her loveseats. The lights were dimmed, a few candles were burning strongly and the radio was playing as Vincent settled the two of them onto the couch. Catherine felt snug in blankets and his own body warmth. He was still only wearing the one shirt and the effect of his strong hard chest under her was very alluring.
She tore away from the tantalizing thought, hoping he wouldn’t notice through the bond, and concentrated on the rest of the room. What’s going on, she though. She fidgeted, trying to figure out what Vincent was up to.
“Shh. Just listen,” was his only reply when she looked up at him questioningly.
She suddenly heard a voice announce a few things and an orchestra warm up their instruments. After another few minutes, music softly started from the stereo. She glanced up at him in surprise. That was choir music she heard! He looked down at her, his blue eyes sparkling with love and mischief.
“Your friend Kay left a message on your answering machine that the concert would be broadcast live on an AM radio station,” he told her. “I seem to have found it.”
If she could have, she would of laughed out loud. Somehow, instead of going to the concert, the concert had been brought to them! She wanted to shout to the world and announce that Fate had for once been in their favor. Instead, Catherine gave him a fierce hug, then both settled in to hear the concert in comfort and warmth from the room and with each other.
The morning sun has yet to rise Above, and I am once again home, here Below. Catherine is safe, snug and slowly becoming well in her apartment Above. I look back at our time together there now with awe. I stayed with Catherine today, in her world. I watched the sun rise over the city like a watchful mother from her apartment. I actually risked my own safety to stay with her! One part of me is thrilled, for a moment it was as if our dream had come to be. The last time I stayed in that apartment for more than a few hours was a time I half-wished I could forget. How sweeter is this memory. Together, her and I, we, even now I cannot help but be overwhelmed by the feelings this generates in me. I feel from Catherine, then and while she still sleeps, a feeling of contentment. All during the concert I felt that from her, and even though she couldn’t speak the words, I knew she was saying “thank you”.
Father was furious when I returned an hour ago. He didn’t say anything- he didn’t need to. I could see it in his eyes, the worry and fear I caused him when I didn’t return. He was in my chamber when I entered, said only that he would see me in the morning. I know I frightened him, even though I sent word of where I was. He has a right to worry. And worry he does, as any parent would for a child, even when they are grown. And yet, even now, I ask myself, how could I leave her?
But another part of me questions my motives in staying with her. Was it wise? I risked everything to stay- my life, my home, my family and friends. This place I have sworn to protect, with my last ounce of strength if necessary. The people here count on this sanctuary, as has Catherine. Many times I have denied myself from staying with her, Above or Below because of those risks. What made this any different?
I have only to look to myself for that answer. She was ill, more ill than I have ever seen her. When Dimitri brought the plague Below, she risked her own life to help us. Not just me, but the community. She told me later that she had felt helpless, that she couldn’t just stand by and wait for news. These last few days, I’ve felt the same. But there’s another feeling within me. Not helplessness, but fear. It is deep within me, almost hidden, but nonetheless, it remains with me. I still wake in the night, haunted by images of that horrific nightmare vision. I’ve managed to keep that from Catherine and Father, but it cannot continue. Many a night I have stolen to her balcony, just to watch her sleep. My heart pounds in dread whenever I feel her emotions even close to fear. Each time, I think ‘is this it? Will I lose her tonight?’ The answer to that is something I dare not dwell upon.
This emotion I feel is only from myself, not from Catherine. And I believe that the true answer lies only within myself.
It was another beautiful starry night to Catherine a few nights later. It was back to being seasonably warm, and she was glad for the central air in her apartment. Nonetheless, there was a breeze tonight, and she was determined to make the most of it.
Opening the curtains from her dining area, she walked into the night air. Leaning against the balcony wall, she took a deep long breath, the first in quite a few days. Her run with the flu was just about over. Her voice still wasn’t one hundred percent, but when Joe had stopped by earlier that day, he had told her when she returned to work on Wednesday she’d still have the Lenox case prosecution of she wanted it. It was good to know that some things were still going her way.
A stirring from the corner of her eye brought her head around. “Vincent!” she softly exclaimed. He had been sitting cross-legged against the far wall of the balcony. She walked over to him and offered her hands to help him up, which he took. “What are you doing hiding back there?” she asked.
“I didn’t mean to disturb you, I’m sorry,” he said, letting his volumous blond hair shade his face from her view. “You should still be resting,” he softly admonished as he peeked between his bangs.
She shook her head. “I’ve been in that bed or resting for days, I’m about to crawl out of my skin.” She looked out over the balcony at another wonderful glance at the many illuminated buildings in view. “Besides, it’s a beautiful night. I wanted to see it for myself.” She looked back at him, her eyebrows sliding up in humor. “And you didn’t answer my question.”
Vincent nodded, one of his small smiles playing across his leonine face. There was no getting around it. He didn’t answer for a minute, trying to gather his thoughts. “What is it, Vincent?” Catherine prompted. She used one of his trademarks; it always worked. “Tell me.”
He walked and leaned against the balcony as Catherine had done minutes before. “I was trying to understand something,” he finally told her.
A great sigh left him as he continued to gaze over the city. “Understand why I felt the way I did when you were ill.”
Here it comes, thought Catherine. She had been expecting something like this. Why does he always feel guilty over his feelings? “Vincent, it’s perfectly natural to feel frustrated when someone you love is ill. You did everything that you could, and then some.”
“It’s not that,” he replied. “I did feel helpless, but I’m not speaking of that.” He turned from his position to look at her. “I’ve been thinking this since Saturday night.”
Catherine let her mi
nd wander back to that particular evening. It had been the first evening she had felt remotely better, and Vincent’s surprise of the broadcasting of the concert had been a tremendous joy. She had watched him in delight as he had recognized some of it. “It was wonderful to sit there and listen to it with you,” she reminisced.
“For me as well,” he said. A moment passed as he took a breath, then continued. “You give me so much, Catherine. You shower me with your presence, your love. And I have so little to give you.”
“Oh, Vincent,” she sighed, standing by his side. “What you give to me is beyond anything I could ever possess. You give me your heart, your soul.”
He turned away from her. “But you bring me into your life. You share your hopes, your dreams with me. I cannot.”
She pondered that for a moment. “Why not?”
He looked back in surprise. “Because- because of what I am.”
Her heart broke at the anguish she heard in his voice. Then she took her own breath. “What you are is the most loving, devoted, and caring being I have ever met in my life. What you did for me these last few days go beyond love or concern. My God, Vincent, you used a telephone!” she slightly chuckled at that, but went on. “You sent your friends to take care of me, you yourself risked your own safety, not to mention Father’s wrath, to watch over me. You even figured out how to bring a concert that I wanted to bring to you!” Catherine took a step toward him and placed a hand on his broad shoulder. “You are all I ever want or need. Just you, Vincent, the way you are.” She turned him around to face her. “Your love is all I need.”
He couldn’t look at her at first, but she lifted his chin up to gaze at her. That love, the devotion that she had grown to love shone in the pools of crystal blue eyes. Then, unable to hold back, he reached for her to envelope her in a tight, warm embrace. She wrapped her arms back around him. He leaned his head against her own and held her for a long time.
“What I felt,” he finally said to her, whispering softly into her ear, “was fear.”
She looked at him, a frown crossing her features. “You were afraid?”
“Yes,” he told her, breaking away from her. His large furred hands gripped the edge of the balcony wall. “I did feel helpless. Helpless that I might lose you.”
“To the flu?” She didn’t understand. “Vincent, I was never in any real danger.”
“I know that.” He shook his head, looking out into the night. “This- fear- isn’t rational. But it still grips me, every time I feel the slightest change from you. Catherine,” he turned to face her, his true love’s eyes flit back and forth across his unique features. “I cannot lose you. I love you.”
Her own heart pounded in her chest. For as strong, as formidable as he was, Vincent was still so vulnerable. So unable to realize that he was capable, was more than worthy to be loved as she did. She took his face in her own small hands and looked as deeply as she could into his eyes. She could almost feel his gasp as she penetrated the windows to his soul. “You will never, never lose me, Vincent. I am in your life, now and always. I love you, too.”
She fused her emotions into him, still gazing into his eyes. The love and devotion she held for him was as strong as the first time he woke up from his coma and felt the Bond return to him months ago. It was amazing, and he realized then that it was the truth. She could not live without him, the same as he needed her in his life to survive.
She slid one back of a hand across his cheek. “Now, share a dream with me.” That took a while, but eventually, he did. They talked into the night and the early morning about dreams, hopes, everything and anything. Vincent found out that Catherine had never learned to swim, and she learned that he had wanted to learn baseball as a child, but had never been able to. Catherine dug into her closet and given him her father’s old Mets cap, which she thought he looked darling in. But most of all, she listened to him, finding more about this wonderful and complex man before her. He spoke at length about how his differences kept him apart from his peers growing up. Catherine’s heart felt his pain when he realized that the world Above and its charms would be forever denied him, how he had always felt that he was unworthy or unable to share in so many things Catherine herself took for granted. He revealed how much her very presence had forever changed and was still changing that perspective.
Finally, though, all words were said. A comfortable, and glowing silence swam above them. Green eyes held blue for a spell from where they both sat.
Vincent broke the unspoken communication. “It’s almost dawn,” he reluctantly told her. Indeed, the sky was beginning to show a tinge of pink when Catherine glanced over the balcony.
Vincent got up from his position and straightened his cloak. He gracefully stretched his muscles as Catherine yawned. “I’ve kept you up too long.”
“That’s okay, I still have one day of rest before going back to the office,” she told him. “What about you?”
“I have more work in the lower chambers, but I will be alright.” He stepped toward her slowly, then loosely wrapped one arm around her waist. “Thank you, Catherine. Thank you for listening.”
She smiled up at him. “I’m glad that you felt that you could trust me.”
“I have always trusted you, Catherine. I knew that from the beginning, when you trusted me.” The look of love that shown in her face at that statement struck Vincent deeply. Her whole face lit up as she recognized what he had once told her so long ago when he had brought her Above the first time. It radiated from her, the devotion, care, and soul that she freely offered him. It was angelic and incredible, and it held him close in its gentle grip.
His gaze suddenly settled on Catherine’s lips as she continued to smile at him. She loved him! Her- a vision, even in an oversized sweater and tousled hair from the wind. A woman who loved him! How could this be?
He had never kissed her, certain that it was a barrier he could not cross. She had, once; a short simple kiss in gratitude for once helping her grieve her father’s passing.. He had not responded to that kiss, the shock of actually feeling her lips brush against his almost too much to comprehend. But now, as she gazed at him lovingly, he could not help but remember those lips on his own.
Before he could stop or talk himself out of it, one furred hand brushed against her smooth cheek. She watched him, her eyes searching his unique face. Slowly, he brought his fingers- carefully- under her chin to draw her face closer to his. Finally, he slowly lowered his head to hers, closing his eyes a second before pressing his lips to her lightly. Her own eyes fluttered closed at that first touch of his kiss.
He reveled in the feel of her lips under his own. The softness of her mouth was incredible! He had meant for this to be a short kiss, but at the feel of her against him he deepened the kiss, opening his mouth to taste her sweetness. Oh, it was heaven! She let him hold the kiss, giving him the lead in their first physical display of love. When he finally parted from her, her eyes held such a complex array of emotions even he had trouble discerning what exactly she was feeling.
From the Bond he could feel at first surprise, and then elation from Catherine. As they gazed at each other, he felt a small amount of relief surpassed by an all-encompassing love and passion he had never felt from her before. “Oh, Vincent,” she whispered, wrapping one hand behind his neck to disappear underneath his golden mane. “That was lovely. Thank you so much.” She was still there, here, with him! She wasn’t repelled by his display, or frightened by him at all! She really wouldn’t leave him, he realized as all fear left him.
Catherine’s eyes held a small spark of mischief as she leaned closer into him. Oh, she was so close to him! “But I would be negligent if I didn’t return your kiss,” she said before guiding him back to her.
This second kiss was much more passionate, and Catherine much more sure of herself this time. Her other arm went around his neck as Vincent wrapped both arms around her slender waist to bring her even closer to him. She opened her mouth under him, and he tasted her sweetness more fully. He held her tighter, his body shuddering at the intensity of all of their emotions spiraling up into the heavens. She shook as well with desire, ever so slightly, and it only registered somewhere in the back of both their minds. There was nothing in the world but Vincent and his Catherine, and the feel of their mouths together as if they had never known anything else.
After what felt like forever, Catherine broke the connection. Vincent’s eyes were still closed before her soft words broke through his mental fog. “You have to go.”
He looked up from her to the skyline. When had it grown so light? He had to hurry to return to his world. Oh, if only he could truly stay! His heart almost broke at his parting from her, but part he must. He reluctantly pulled himself away from her and made toward the end of her balcony. Almost there, he turned around to see her still staring at him.
“Catherine,” he asked and bowed his head, suddenly shy. “May I kiss you goodnight?”
It was probably 5 or so in the morning, but Catherine didn’t care. “Vincent, you can kiss me anytime, anywhere, for whatever reason,” was her whispered reply. He acknowledged that with a quick but sweet kiss before he left her and the balcony in a swirl of cape.
She watched him go in a daze. He had kissed her! He had actually kissed her of his own accord! She almost cried out a “Yes!” if her throat hadn’t closed off on her. So only a whispered one carried on the wind to him. That heartfelt response filled her entire being with love, relief, passion, and throughout it all, a contentment she had never felt before, almost as if a blanket of despair of unfulfilled dreams was suddenly lifted from her. There were possibilities for them, and she smiled to the impending dawn, tears of joy misting her eyes from the view.
He heard it, felt it in his own heart before leaving the roof of her building. His memory of her touch, the feel of her mouth against his was nothing he could, would ever want to ever forget. He was hers, and she was his, and as he returned to his world, for the first time in his life, he turned his thoughts to dreams he once believed never to behold.
"MOVE TOWARD LOVE" belongs to Nancy Lynn Knauff 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
sábado, 27 de octubre de 2012
Además del relato recién posteado hoy comparto un fan-video que vi en en el canal de Youtube https://www.youtube.com/user/videoam1ture y me ha gustado. :)
A short story based on the characters of "Beauty and the Beast"
by Nancy Lynn Knauff
In his arms, all was right with the world.
The song ended, and so did their waltz. Catherine almost didn’t notice. She was so wrapped up in the feeling of dancing with Vincent. He had such a grace about him that thrilled her to no end, and his footing was always sure. Not to mention his strength, just below the surface when they were close to each other. She was captured by his very presence.
The Winterfest celebration was always an experience unlike any she had ever witnessed or participated in before or since. But this year was special. This year she was indeed celebrating. She- actually, everyone, not just her- were celebrating the continuance of life. To be specific, the life of the man she loved above all else.
Vincent’s satiny voice broke through her revelry. "Catherine? The music has stopped."
She shook her head, lightly chuckled. She looked up into pools of breathtaking blue eyes. "Oh. I almost forgot. My mind was elsewhere."
He turned his head to one side, characteristically for him. She never tired of that look he gave her. It was a look that shone in many different ways, with many different emotions. Right now it spoke of bemusement with a hint of the love he always held for her. He slightly smiled, one that only she could truly see. "Elsewhere, Catherine?" he spoke, just short of a teasing tone to his voice. One arm let go of their dancing embrace. She couldn’t help but notice his reluctance to move anywhere away from her. The other arm moved to encompass her back, as he steered her through the mass of friends. "Come."
The couple headed toward the sidelines as the musicians prepared to take a break. There were many other couples dancing this special evening, but it seemed they were receiving more of their share of attention. Catherine knew Vincent was a bit uncomfortable with this, but had gradually relaxed enough to ask her to dance.
They found several people flocked around Father and another friend playing a spirited game of chess. Vincent studied the board from afar a moment, then shook his head as he chuckled. "Is Father winning?" Catherine asked him. "Or is Peter beating him once again?"
"Being trounced would be more appropriate." She laughed at his remark as they moved on.
Sebastian was still doing his magic tricks, much to the delight of the children surrounding him. Others were clustered in areas of the Great Hall, chatting amiably, tunnel dwellers and Helpers alike. All around them was a wave of good will and happiness that penetrated Catherine’s bones. It was a great feeling, one that Vincent seemed to share in as well through their bond.
She has so much joy in her, Vincent thought to herself as his beloved started chatting with one of their many friends. He knew that Catherine had looked forward to this year’s Winterfest- her second- ever since the summer had ended. It was a time of cheer, she had told him when he had brought her candle invitation to her. He knew what she had meant. It was a time to rejoice- rejoice in their triumph over death. He hardly suffered from the nightmares now, and when he did he would always wake to feel his precious Catherine’s presence close to him, even if she was Above. Indeed, their bond grew stronger everyday. He marveled at the miracle it was.
He continued musing as they made their rounds through the hall. Everyone it seemed wanted to chat with them. Many of the Helpers Vincent hadn’t seen since his breakdown that summer, and they all wanted to spend some time with him. It had taken forever before he had the opportunity to ask Catherine to dance. They hadn’t been given the chance last year to do so during the celebration, and Vincent was not about to give up the occasion this year. Once they had made it to the dance floor though, everyone seemed content to observe in awe and tranquillity.
Catherine and Vincent had made it to a table and had finished sampling William’s wonderful cooking when the musicians picked up their instruments again. "Would you care to return, Catherine?" Vincent murmured low in her ear.
"With you, always," was her reply. She didn’t need to say it, her beautiful grey-green eyes told him everything, let alone what he felt through the bond. He took the glass of wine from her hand and escorted her back towards the dance area. At the edge, just out of plain sight, something caught his eye, and he carefully stopped her.
Vincent whispered her name so softly she could barely hear it. She looked up once more into his expressive eyes. "Umm? Yes, Vincent?"
He gestured with a nod of his head. "Look."
She glanced in the direction he had indicated. Above them on the hanging candelabra was a sprig of mistletoe. She stared at it as her mind stalled for a moment. Did Vincent even know what its significance was? Would he attempt it? He was so reserved with expressing his affection toward her, especially in public.
Suddenly, Catherine understood. They weren’t directly under it, just off to the side. A sudden wave of disappointment washed through her. Of course; Vincent had probably noticed it before and stopped her before she walked under the sprig. Mentally she cursed. It had been a perfect evening until now.
Vincent felt Catherine’s disappointment, then her attempt to mask it. His own heart ached. Of all she had given him, she asked for so little in return. She deserved nothing but happiness, especially on this joyful occasion. He glanced lovingly at her; the simple yet elegant soft pink dress, the bodice just low enough to accent her breasts, and the way her crystal necklace nestled there just between them, moving slightly with each breath she took. She was a vision, completing this magical night. The fact that she loved him- him!- so completely, so utterly, gave him the courage to move forward once more.
An arm still around her waist, Vincent ushered her two steps forward directly under the mistletoe. Everyone else in the room vanished in his mind as he looked into Catherine’s surprised eyes.
His soft voice, low and huskier than normal, penetrated her mental fog and confusion. "Do you know the tradition?" he asked her.
Do I know?! Catherine was tongue-tied. What was he doing? She finally managed to stammer, "Vincent, you don’t have to-"
The clawed finger on her supple lips silenced her. As she watched in awe, Vincent took her head in his hands, gentle fingertips holding her chin in place. He turned her head ever so slightly and slowly leaned in toward Catherine. Her heart was fluttering, anticipating his every move. They both closed their eyes at the same time as he leaned his head in the opposite direction, then there was nothing else as Vincent pressed his unique lips to her own.
Their kiss was nothing short of electricity. Catherine had assumed this would be a short chaste kiss. Was she ever wrong. Vincent’s mouth closed in on hers passionately, full of his absolute love for her. The bond between them exploded in a whirl of emotion from both of them. She wrapped her own arms around his neck, into his beautiful mane. Vincent’s response was to bend her slightly backwards, pressing his lean body into her willing own. His breath was warm and inviting, everything she remembered and cherished from their past kisses. But this one surpassed them all. She felt herself drowning in the love and passion that was him, and it delighted her to no end.
All too soon, Vincent pulled back to look down at her again. She opened her eyes and saw a mischievous look in his unique face, shining along with the affection that never left him. Both of them were out of breath. There was silence, yet the bond spoke volumes. Then Catherine realized that they weren’t alone. Quickly, she glanced around the hall.
Everyone in the Great Hall was in shock, all eyes on the two. Father had stopped playing chess, stood from his seat and was staring, mouth slightly ajar. Peter’s eyes lit up like the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. Mary looked close to tears of joy, and all the kids around her were giggling. Jamie and several others were smiling at both of them. Poor Mouse looked so confused it was almost comical. Catherine saw in each one of them a serene happiness for both of them. There were no recriminations, no looks of disgust. Even Father after a moment, sat back down, and finally smiled. The moment was perfect.
Vincent was still watching her. She glanced back at him. "Vincent," she whispered, "everyone’s looking at us."
She saw the devilish glint in his sapphire eyes before he softly replied, "My mind was elsewhere." She giggled herself as they headed back to the dance floor. The musicians returned to their playing and Winterfest went on.
But, in Vincent’s arms, with the memory of that devastating kiss fresh in her mind, Catherine’s mind was spinning. Vincent had kissed her for the first time in public. It was a step for them a long time in coming. And it had been wonderful. She knew that he had accepted it, and felt no shame. That alone made her heart soar with pride and love. As her emotions flowed through her, Vincent responded by holding her tighter as they danced. She locked eyes with him, their love almost palpable. Yes, all was indeed right with their world.
"WINTER KISS" belongs to Nancy Lynn Knauff. Any distribution, copy, shoul be made under her consent. Thanks
"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.
viernes, 26 de octubre de 2012
written by Inês Costa
It was so cold!
But the coldness of the weather could not be compared with the coldness that Vincent was feeling on his beloved's body.
As she laid against the hard rooftop ground, she looked upwards, where Vincent and the stars fitted into one beautiful picture.
The tears were poring down from his eyes while she was fighting for her last breath. Finally, she looked at him, smiling ...
- "Though lovers ... be lost ..."
The final verses of Thomas's poem became suspended in the air, like a promise to be finished some other day, but Vincent felt the need to hear them out.
- "Love shall not, and death shall have no dominion"
The beating of her heart, against his chest was fading and fading, until...nothing. Her heart had stopped at one final beating. Her body relaxed in a such a way, that her hand was no longer gripping Vincent's cape. Fighting a tremendous pain, he pulled her close to his chest and cried.
-...and we welcome this child in our community, by giving him a name.
After a few moments of reflection, the answer became obvious and instantaneous; for a moment, Vincent thought that Catherine was standing beside him, whispering the name at his hears.
Diana smiled, not only because of the name that Vincent had piked for the child, but also because of the true feeling of union, sympathy and love that community had for that unique man, that was caressing his child like there was no other above this Earth.
But she also knew that, day by day, she was becoming more and more in love with him, a love she knew she had to cherish in silence: Vincent could not let go the image of Catherine.
* * * *
- We've got some news from Staten Island ... Gabriel was knocked off.
A tall and rather old man raised his head only for a second, the news almost distressed him, but the feeling didn't pass over the simple sign of discomfort. Sinking his gaze to the monitor, he continued watching the screen.
- And the child?
- They took him.
The man blew a puff of smoke from his cigar and waved to the guard that was standing at the door.
- Well, that's the last time that I'll ever attend to a Gabriel's whim. I hope he'll rot in hell.
- Sure, sir, you can't say that about your own ...
The man hit his hand on top of the table, causing the cable monitor to disconnect itself.
As soon as the exhilaration and redness of his face was submerged, he resumed conversation.
- That boy was evil, like his mother. I don't know what came pass through his mind, giving all much trouble just because of a baby? And now, look at this! - said he, pointing at the monitor - What in blazes am I going to do with them?
The "foreman" approached the screen and watched carefully the scene. After a few moments of reflection he had an idea.
- We have something on our favor, sir ...
The old man twisted his ancient ring with the aid of the other hand and waited for the brainstorm of his employee to finish.
* * * *
Opening her eyes, she didn't recognized the place. It appeared to be a very large white room. Reaching for any sense of contact with that place, she extended her arm, announcing that she was awake.Rapidly a white vested woman came running down a huge corridor and immediately tucked her in. She was scared, but the woman gave her a friendly smile at caressed her soft hair.
- There, there, it will be all right.
She seemed disoriented. Raising her hands to her head, she tried to remember any trace of memory that could have leaded her there ...
Her mind was totally empty of any recollections.
Trying to calm herself down, she tried to remember her name, she searched and searched, but nothing was certain.Gradually, panic took control over her, and she started to cry desperately.
- Oh, I know, don't cry! Here she is!
Lifting her head up, she saw the woman that greeted her so warmthly, descending over her, placing a moving bundle on her lap.
- She spent all night crying! I'm sure she was missing her mother.
Her hands were trembling, but she reached for the tip of the white blanket, and uncovering it, she saw the most beautiful creature alive.
* * * *
The air around him was tightening more and more, as the nightmare progressed. The hand that he reached was unable to cover the void of separation ... he could see Catherine far away, but she was unreachable. Nevertheless he twisted his mind, in fury, to force the dream to proceed, to unfold, but for two months it stayed the same. He would come to a rift, a huge abyss that seemed to part them. Catherine is at the other end, still, without moving...she seems absent, white-hot any conscience of his presence. He screams, calls her name, but then the darkness engulfs her, and she disappears.
Vincent wakes up to found his bead in a torment of sweaty sheets and body heat. He reaches his hand to his forehead, cleaning the sweat. He fears that this dreams are a prelude to something more terrible: the further awakening of his dark side, and he now knows that without Catherine, he cannot fight it. His fears are putted aside when he hears Jacob in his little crib, also having bad dreams. His little body shivers, and his hands also reach the unreachable.
I wonder if he dreams with his mother? I hope that he doesn't have my nightmares.
Two tiny blue eyes snap open and Jacob starts crying hopelessly. Vincent rapidly reaches for his son and rocks him a little against his chest. This produces a good effect, and soon Jacob stops crying and entertains himself playing with his father's gold mane.
- What is it son? What is wrong with us? Could it be that we have the same nightmares?
Jacob's blue eyes tremble, it seems like he understands every single word his father is saying.
- I only hope that you can catch your mother...I know I can't.
The memories are two painful.
Hugging his son close, Vincent starts crying compulsively.
* * * *
- So, are we feeling better? It's two a.m., you should be sleeping, dear!
The woman nods with her head and passes the baby to the nurse. She kisses the little one on the head, and looks at the nurse.
- So, have you remembered something? Anything at all? A name, perhaps? Your name?
She nods negatively.
- Well, you had no identification so ... I guess we'll have to issue you a new one, temporarily, until you remember again ... we'll take care of that first thing in the morning, all right? I'll call deputy Mitchell, he'll know what to do. Now you better go to sleep, your baby is tired.
The nurse turned around and smiled.
- You're welcome dear.
The woman layed down in her bed, which was next to the window, and contemplated the stars. Suddenly, she extended her hand and spoke.
She drew the imaginary line that connected the stars in the air, and glad that she had remembered something, she pulled over the blankets and drove into sleep.
The next morning, deputy Frank Mitchell went over into the hospital's facilities to talk to the woman that was mysteriously left unconscious, with her new born baby, in a empty road in the middle of the forest. He was approached by nurse Adams to take care of the case since the woman had no recolections...she was suffering from deep amnesia, so strong that not even the psychiatrist could help. It was decided that it was for the best that the woman should be relieved from the hospital, but still she had to attended for a mental check- up every month. But for her to leave the hospital, she should have a ID, so that was the task that the deputy had in his hands. Nurse Adams approached him with a smile, when he knocked slightly on the window.
- Good morning Frank! I'm glad you could come in such short notice!
- I couldn't say no to my favorite nurse in the world! After all you are the one, beside my wife, that has been privileged to see my naked rear end!
- That was only when you were born, and you were much more disciplined back then!
They laughed in a cheerful way. Then the nurse took the deputy along the corridor.
- So, any news?
- None. Nobody saw a thing. It's like she has dropped from the skies!
- Well, I'm sure that whatever time she passed, it was a tuff one, because she was dehydrated, full of bruises ...
The nurse pulled over the curtain leaving the woman at full site of the deputy: she was nursing the baby.
- Oh, I'm sorry! - Said the deputy, turning the other way.
- Oh, Frank, stop it! Like you haven't seen your wife nursing your three kids!
The policeman reluctantly looked at the patience, that was laughing and buttoning her blouse again. The baby was putted on her crib, placed along side with her mother's bed. Frank pulled over a chair and sat next to her, taking from the briefcase that he was carrying some forms and a pen.
- Well, miss, the doctors have confirmed your amnesia, so we know that your not faking anything.The problem is that we can't release you if you don't have any ID, so we will give you a provisory one and some money, so you can go about your own business. The only terms is that you must stay near here, so you can attend regular check ups every month here in the hospital, all right?
- Yes, officer.
- Well, let's start with your name ... have you got one picked up?
- I never thought about it! I was picking one to my baby ...
- And what was it?- the nurse asked.
- I was thinking on ... on ...Mary.
- Mary is a beautiful name! Any reason?
- It was the first thing that came to my head.
- But does it have anything to do with you? Can it be your own name?
- No, I don't think so. It has a ring to it, but it isn't my name, I'm sure.
- Spear her, Frank... the memory will come, with time, and if she wants it to.
- All right, the baby will be registered by that name, Mary. But she must have a last name too!
- You remind me so much of my granddaughter, that I think that you should call yourself Laura ... Laura Smith! I think that she won't mind! My granddaughter as a heart of gold, she will be very honored ... I'll present her too you soon.
- All right, Laura Smith it is.
* * * *
Time passed by. Laura was relieved from the hospital and begun her new life in a little town near Yelowstone national park, in Montana. Everyone was extremely nice since the beginning; nurse Adams offered her a job at the hospital, aiding the nurses with the babies at the nursery. She had done that for two reasons: one was because she liked the company of that strange and sweat lady and of course, to keep an eye on her in case she could remember something.
But she didn't want to remember.
She didn't wanted to because of the few scraps of memories that arrived at her head, in the first night she had come to the hospital: she had been too scared of them to report it to the deputy, because they were horrible, horrible dreams! She remembered an intense light over her, then a sudden pain, a coldness ... blood. Whoever she was in her past life she didn't wanted to know. She just wanted to raise her daughter in a safe place, without any kind of danger.
Life went on, with the obvious quietness of Montana's living.
It was a beautiful little house on main street, surrounded by a white picket fence. A brunette figure stood in the middle of the small garden, and wiped the sweat from her forehead, smiling at the work done. Three large vases showed the most magnificent Daisies ever to set foot in that town, and Laura knew it. She simply adored flowers, and sometimes, she even let her mind wonder if it had been so in her former life ... with the years, and despite her reluctance to remember, some shades of a past life inevitably surfaced from her subconsciousness, and she could remember a balcony, which had plants and flowers ... but it wasn't just that: she could remember a feeling something in the terms of ... impatience?
She could not tell.
A car horn abruptly ended her train of thoughts , just as she was about to remember something, and a mildly blond hair, slim figure appeared at the end of the garden. Laura looked at her eighteen year old daughter: how lovely she looked, with her painted T-shirt of a wolf, that she had done when she was only fourteen years old, with her gold, and rather rebel, hair soaring over her wide shoulders. Her big green eyes were glowing in happiness and Laura instinctively thought that she reminded her someone, but who was it? She didn't wanted to know, she simply adored that strange warmth that filled her up inside when she thought of it.
A beautiful name for a beautiful creature .
- Mom! Mom!
She was out of breath. The reddish of her face was a huge contrast with the green emerald of her eyes. She ran to her mother and gave her a hug.
- What happened sweetheart? - said Laura, unable to reply her daughter's embrace, because her hands were covered with dirt.
Then she noticed that her daughter was holding an envelope.
- It's here mom! The reply of the NY academy of arts!
- And? Tell me!
- I'm in!
Laura clapped her hands, in happiness, laughing.
- That's wonderful! I knew it all along!
But Laura's face held a little bit of regretless. Although she was happy for her daughter, she knew that was a trip that she had to take for her own ... she couldn't leave Montana. It was too scaring.
- What's wrong mother? Why your face turned all gloomy?
- It's nothing, dear. I'm tired, that's all. It has been a fight, arranging these vases, you know?
- That's not it, you can't fool me Laura Smith!
Laura smiled with hurt beneath it, and shrugged her shoulders.
- It's because you´re so grown up! And you're going to such a far away place!
Mary smiled and held her mother in her arms.
- Oh, mom, don't worry! I'll come back every weekend that I can dispose, I promise. I love it here! You know, I can't find any other place that gives me such an inspiration ...ooops! It's almost dinner time. Can I order pizza, pleeease?
- Check the oven, you'll find a surprise there, said Laura, drying her tears.
Mary ran inside the house, leaving Laura busy with the flowers. Five minutes later, she was next to her mother again, holding another envelope.
- Another one, hum
- Another what dear? - Laura turned around and saw the envelope in her daughter's hand. She putted on a tired look and sighed.
- How much was it, this time?
- A couple of thousand dollars ...
Mary looked at her mother, with her mouth opened in amazement. Then she pressed for more urgent and real matters.
- Mom! This is going on for too long ...there's someone who knew you and knows that you are here! Don't you even want to know who's sending you this?
- I trust that's someone with a gentile soul, who took pity on me. - somehow, not even Laura believed in her own words, but the money had come in hand since the first day she got the first envelope, the day she was about to leave the hospital, with nothing in her hand, except the clothes that covered her body and a five-month child in her arms. That money had been a bless in such an hour.
But there had to be a catch ... there had to be!
* * * *
- Diana! Diana!
Diana was finishing combing her red hair, when she heard a familiar, and rather exciting, voice entering the living room.
She opened the door of her bedroom and found young Jacob trying to drink a enormous glass of milk at one time. She put on a serious looking face and shrugged her shoulders.
- Well, help yourself!
Jacob was almost out of breath when he finished the glass of milk. Then he ran to her and gave her a big hug.
- What's this? - said she smiling - Did you won the lottery or something?
He looked at her, with his blue eyes glowing in happiness. Then he waved a white envelope at her. Diana opened her mouth in wonder.
- It's here! So? Aren't you going to open it?
- That's just it. I would like to be my father to open.
- Vincent? Why?
- Well, he was the one to encourage me to apply to the art college ...
- Non sense! I think he will be happier when he receives a hug as huge as the one you gave me.
- But, what if I didn't make it?
- Are you crazy? Of course you have! Have you forgot how talented your parent's were? It's in your genes!
- Well, I'm not suited to be a lawyer ...
- But your as stubborn as your mother was ... at least, that's what I've remember them saying about her. In fact, I've got this picture here ...
Jacob got up immediately and looked at the window.
- No more tricks, Diana.
Diana lowered her eyes and closed the drawer.
- I thought if I could caught you off guard ...
- I don't want to see my mother's face. Is that clear? If even my father can't force me to see it, it sure won't be you to force me.
- I just don't understand why.
- I'll tell you why My mother's alive, Diana, I know it.
- That's non sense, Jacob. I investigated our mother's death, she's quite dead! And even if she wasn't, which is impossible, it would be pretty difficult for you to recognize her if you don't even know how she looked!
- My heart will know.
Diana wondered. Could it be that the empathic powers that Vincent had ...
- Hey! I'm in!
- What? What?
During the arguing, Jacob had tared down the envelope and the reply was affirmative: he had been admitted to the NY art college.
- I have to tell father and grandfather!
- Jacob, wait!
- Later, Diana!
Diana tried to stop him, but she was too late, the elevator was going down.
* * * *
Here it is, when the story begins.
Jacob ran through the multitude of labyrinths, turning on the right turn, jumping when it needed to. His blue eyes were glowing, his medium-long, straight blond hair was no longer fastened to it's hair band, and was following is own ups and downs. For any by standard, that young man was exactly like his father once was, running free in the tunnels. But Jacob was a mist of both Catherine and Vincent: blond hair, blue eyes, a strong and handsome face, an impressive body, a little bit like his father's, with an impressive health: he was shaped according to the life Bellow. Although with the characteristics that defined the tunnel dwellers, Jacob had always carried the dream of pursuing his dreams somewhere else. A little bit like his uncle Devin, which had become a partner of many funny adventures Bellow and a source of many strange headaches among his grandfather, and strange grins spread by his father.
He loved him very much and it would be a difficult task to leave him, and trace his path Above.
Thinking how he would approach this to him, he suddenly noticed that he had arrived to his grandfather's chamber in a blink. Vincent was sitting down, by the snail stairs and immediately removed his attention from the lines of a poem and rested his eyes on his son, smiling gladly with Jacob's arrival.
Jacob looked carefully at his father .
For what people had told him, he wasn't a single day older from the time he had appeared in the tunnels carrying him in his arms. It appears, at his grandfather's clinical eyes, that "Vincent's biological clock was ticking slower" as he aged, so he wouldn't grow old as fast as normal people. Jacob took of his leader jacket, a present of Diana's when he turned eighteen, and proceeded downstairs, kissing his father on the cheek.
- Hello father.
Vincent remained silent and never took his eyes off from his son's: it seemed he was waiting for Jacob to say something more.
- Well?- he finally pressed him - You have something more to say, son?
- Yes, said Jacob smiling. I've received the college response.
- And?- said Vincent, closing the book and forgetting where he had stopped in reading.
- I'm in!
Vincent swiftly took his child in his arms, filling his chest with a warm felling of happiness.
Oh! How I wished you could be here, sharing these moments with him!
- I knew that you would make it. You'll become a great artist, I'm sure of it.
- Let's see if I'm talented enough.
- Of course you are! I've seen you paint, your drawings are magnificent ...you can even shadow Elizabeth's paintings (just don't tell her I told you this). And your music, and your sculpture ... you have a gift, Jacob. Don't let it go to waist! You have to perfect it in order to achieve your goals. Embrace your dreams, Jacob, embrace your life It can be so fugitive ...
Of course he was talking about Catherine, and Jacob knew it. Relieving the tension, grandfather Jacob entered the room.
- Is it true? Is it true my boy? You've entered the NY college of Art?
- Yes grandfather, I did.
- Come here, boy! Give your old grandfather a hug!
As young Jacob held old Jacob in his arms, Vincent thought that it was a beautiful setting to a painting.
Unfortunately, Jacob Wells didn't posses Vincent's slow bio-clock, and eventually, the years did catch up. His grey hair subsided to a mist of white and light grey from one day to the other. His pace had become slower and his role in the council, as a leader, shared with his adoptive son.
Over the years, the tunnel folk grew older. Narcissa, William and others parted this world during an awful winter, and there was a feeling of impatience growing amongst the tunnel community. Some young men and women were leaving to pursue life Above, but a consistence and rather large group preferred on-going life Bellow, so the dream wasn't dead, but becoming stronger with each passing day. So , when Jacob decided to leave Bellow, Father was worried, but Vincent stood by his son 100%, because he knew that Jacob had the free spirit of Catherine's in his soul, and who was he to cut off an angel's wings?
- But grandpa, how did you knew?
- Diana signaled it on the pipes, she's coming down. Of course, I've always hoped that you would become a physician ...
Seeing the discouragement in his grandson's eyes, he rapidly ended the sentence.
-... but this is the next best thing!- and he hugged him again.
Squeezed in Father's arms, Jacob could let the chance too kid around a little bit.
- Grandfather, this is starting to be embarrass...people are watching?!
Vincent was extremely proud, his heart was beating very fast, emerged in a happiness he never had felted for such a long time ....
* * * *
"CONGRATULATIONS MARY", said the banner that was hanging across the living room. When the young woman entered her house that Saturday evening, before leaving to NY, the lights went on in a row and lots of familiar faces screamed , all at once:
Mary jumped, suddenly frightened, but then she laughed so hard that she just tumbled to the floor. Everyone was there, all her friends, her neighbors, teachers, everyone! All were there to wish her a safe journey and a wonderful year at college. She had two more friends going to NY, so she wasn't properly alone, but still, it was fun to discover a new city, especially to a person who had only seen tall buildings at Helena.
- Thank you, everyone! And I hope to see you all when I give my first major art show at NY!
Everybody laughed and raised their champagne glasses on a toast. Later that evening, after dinner, Mary found her mother outside, by the tree swing, looking at the night sky. She held her mother in her arms and Laura smiled.
- Come inside mother. Let's eat a piece of cake and later I could brush your hair and you mine ...
Resented by her mother's silent reply, she dear to ask what she had called "The weekly final Jeopardy".
- Have you remembered something today?
- Only flashes. Little bits of memories that I can't make out.
- Can't or won't mother? Don't block your mind! You can never be at ease if you don't know the truth!
- The truth ... at what cost?
- There is always prices to be paid. Have you thought that maybe your price is your stubbornness?
Laura looked at the sky, searching for answers.
- Orion. That was the first thing I've remembered. Not my name or yours, but a constellation.
- And don't you want to know why?
She stole silence to silence itself and remained distant. Her daughter kissed on the cheek and returned back inside, leaving Laura concentrated on the sky. Maybe there she could find some answers...some peace.
* * * *
- Well, you've got all packed up? - said Vincent, entering his son's chamber.
For some years now Jacob shared a room Bellow with a space at Diana's apartment, Above. She was almost like an aunt or a older sister too him, dew to her friendship with his father, and so, to pursuit a life Above, and consequently an education Above, he had to have some form of residence and tutor. Diana had been the perfect choice.
- Just some things. It's not like I'm going very far! It's just a couple of miles. Luckily, I can come back for supper some times, and make you company.
Jacob paused, and then he resumed talking, with a much lower voice, almost like his father's.
- I'll need your help, father. I know I will.
- Your a terrific person, Jacob. You'll never let me down.
A knot seemed to tie ever so slightly around Jacob's neck, which caused him to sob.Vincent lay a gentile hand on his sons shoulder and looked at him, worried with this sudden arouse of emotions.
- What is it? Tell me your worries.
Jacob tried to clean the tears out, but they were so stubborn! The sleeve of his red-wined sweat-shirt became moisten with the cleaning, and he hided her hands on the back pockets of his jeans. Looking down at his All-Star snickers, he knew that he couldn't run away from the question.
- I feel like I'm deserting you, leaving this magnificent world behind ... I fear that I might be doing a mistake, I don't know! Maybe I just feel guilty because of my ...
He feared for what he was about to say. He looked at his father, that was listening every word with the most understanding, open heart. Finally he just threw himself into his arms, no longer afraid of appearances.
- I just miss my mother so bad, dad! I wished...I wished I could find her for you, for us.
Stroking his son's hair, Vincent felt through each word, each sob, each tear, like it was his own: and in deed it was.
- Son, your mother is no longer in this world, but I know that wherever she is, she's watching you, and smiling at you, at us.
- No father - said Jacob, assuming a strong and determinate look, cleaning the tears and looking straight into his father's eyes - She's alive, I know she is. And when I find her, happiness will rule this world once again, like it did before. She will make it all right. She will.
How could not he even feel a residue of hope, growing in his chest over the years, with his son's beliefs? And he, of all people! Who had carried the love of his life, lifeless, to her apartment? Who had staid with her all night and all day, watching her?
How could he?
* * * *
It was 11 am of a beautiful Sunday morning.
Diana's car pulled over next to the drive way, shipping out the bundle of three restless teenagers, Jacob and his friend who had also entered the NY college of arts: Jeff.
Jeff was a sort of "pretend-to-be-jock", but he had an artistic persona that didn't quite matched his father's ambitions of a football prodigee. Gathering the last sense of nerve he had ever had, Jeff entered the university race, and the results came out against what his father had wished for. But Jeff was incredibly excited.
- So, kids, you're delivered. Can you handle your way around campus? Or do you kneed some extra help?
Jacob looked at her with a hint of irony and Diana started chuckling. Obviously the chuckle became a large laugh, and at the end, everybody was laughing.
- Oh, boy! If you could see the look on your faces! Well, Jacob, I'll pick you guys Saturday ok?
- Ok, repeated a group of three loud voices.
Diana's car became a red point on a very long street, when Jacob and his friends stopped waving. Then they looked at each other, and then at Campus.
- Here goes nothing!
- Where should we go first?
- It's better for us to go find our rooms ... this is huge, man!
The buildings were fresh new, but the university Campus had a hint of old and decay very suitable for art experts...you might even say that it held something magical. The two friends took their first steps inside the university, and soon enough they had found they're quarters. Luckily, Jacob and Jeff were sharing the room.
- This is so cool! - said Jeff jumping up and down on his bed.
Jacob was standing by the window, watching the greenness of the lawn and found himself seeing the faces of all his family Bellow: Mouse, Jamie, Pascal Kipper, Samantha, Cathy, Father ... and Vincent, of course.
While he was thinking on the intimate last moments he had shared with his father, a blond figure, dressed with a long pale blue skirt, that seemed to rustle very slowly with the wind and with an adorable knitted, white, jersey, captured his eye.
With her back facing him Jacob could see that she had the most luxurious long, gold hair that reminded very much his father's gold mane, although her's was much more straightened.
Her head was bending over, and she was, what appeared to be, enjoying the warmth of the sun. Some other students were filling up the lawn, but Jacob was so captured by her that it seemed that she alone was on that field.
Then a couple of other girls arrived and she ran to them, hugging them and spinning around and then ... he saw her face.
Oh, yes! She was beautiful! Her face glowed with joy and happiness ... Jacob thought that she was the most wonderful creature he had ever laid eyes upon.
- Jacob...Jacob...JACOB, MAN!
- What? What?
- Finished unpacking ... let's check out this place.
Jacob turned to look for her in the field... but it was too late: she was gone.
- What is it, bro? Cat got your tongue?
Jacob faced his friend and smiled, burring his hands in the pockets of his jacket.
- I think I just got struck by lightning, that's all.
* * * *
- Say, Mary, that's a wonderful jersey you're wearing!
- My mother knitted it for me ... I think it was the first thing she knitted when she learned.
- Well, she has done a hell of a job!
- I can't believe that we are actually here! - said Vanessa one of Mary's friends and her new room mate.
- All you ever wanted was to leave Montana!
- Don't even tell me about it! I hated there!
- Well, au contraire de vous, má chérie I loved Montana ... that landscape, the trees, the sun the open meadows, the valleys, the creeks ...it's the most wonderful place on earth.
- That's why you brought your paintings with you?
Mary was hanging her Montana paintings on the wall, next to her bed, while Vanessa had just finished hanging a cool Andy Warholl poster and another one of Klimt's " The Kiss", showing well her wide variety of art "taste".
Mary sat on her bed and looked at the paintings, with a long and profound look. A violin tune came to her hears and she remembered the afternoons on her porch, just scrabbling a drawing pad with everything that would come to mind: a boy riding his bike on the driveway, her mum cooking something delicious inside, the children that played elastic on the grass of they're tidy gardens. But what Mary really liked was to go to her own secret place, down near the river, where a wonderful beam of light would illuminate the gorge where the water would slide.
It was so like herself.
Some days, she would be very still and wait for the animals to approach. No one knew about her strolls down the river, and she held the memory of the smell of dry earth after a nice rain shower so close, that she actually almost heard the Meadowlark singing his beautiful scheme of chirps.
She was briskly awaked by her room mate, impatient to see what else the campus could offer them.
* * * *
-What is it? You are awfully quiet.
Vincent was sitting on his big chair, next to where Diana was sitting.
-It's Jacob , isn't it? The boy's fine Vincent, there's nothing you should worry about.
He closed the book before he had even started to read it. It had been a kind offer of Diana's, but he simply wasn't in the right mood for enjoying it and in his mind, a good book should deserve a more nicer treatment. Diana took off her glasses. As the years went by she realized she was wearing them more often, and sometimes she would not realized that they were on until she lay down to sleep ... but looking at Vincent, it was so amazing to see that, in him, the years would only roll by in his eyes, that grew weary, loosing his deep blue until they would reach a more grey tone.
Diana knew what was the cause of that subsiding color: Catherine. It was always Catherine . Although she had tried to divert Vincent's attention from the memory of her "rival", she was a constant in every thing that Vincent did. He had even once confided to her that she was permanently in his thoughts, that sometimes he could hear her voice, turn around...and there was nothing there.
And Jacob! Jacob grew to be a complete union of both Vincent and Cathy, and you could see the joy in that father's eyes, every time that his son appeared to great him, to give an embrace...even when he behaved irrationally with Devin.
-Jacob had a talk with me last night. He blames himself for his mother's death.
-That's absurd! What did you do?
-Comnfort him the best way I could.
-One thing you can take out has positive though: he's finally realizing that ...you know.
-Yes. It was hard for me too.
Diana reached for his hand and waited for him to reach it too. He did it, looking to her with shameful eyes.
-Diana , I'm sorry for...the pain that I've...
Diana reached his lips, and covered them with her fingertips, in hoping that he would quiet down.
-Don't say it. I regret nothing.
It was almost three o'clock and the dorm was filled with lots of teenagers running around, freshmen and "veterans", some playing pranks, others checking the board, and there were still people arriving. Mary had just stepped off the cafeteria with some friends and she was now standing in the lawn, playing frisbee with them and a strain dog that was considered to be the mascot of campus. It was a Belgian sheep dog, with his golden years trapped along somewhere in the past, but he still jumped!
The frisbee flew past Mary and landed somewhere near a large oak.
Her brunette friend just shrugged her shoulders and laughed, taking his hand to her new bought Yankees cap, adjusting it to her forehead: the sun was very strong, and she didn't measured her strength well. Mary ran to the oak and searched for the frisbee, but it was nowhere to be found.
-Damn! Where is it?
-You're looking for this?
The frisbee was being held by a delicate, but strong hand. His voice was low and very gentile, like a tuned base, that caused chills over Mary's spine. A lock of her hair fell over her eyebrow and Jacob thought that she was the most beautiful being he had ever seen.
Mary didn't emitted a sound. She just stood there, speechless, has her hand automatically reached for the frisbee, and her eyes never left his.
"So blue!" she thought "So blue ..."
She grabbed the frisbee and turned around, running in her friend's direction.
"Stupid, you didn't said thanks!"
But when she turned to look for him, he was gone. So strange that glance was! So deep and emotional. So tender...so mysterious.
-Mary, are you thinking of yesterday?
She looked to the oak and then turned around to pass the frisbee once more. Although she waited to see him again, he didn't came.
-Oh , man! And you didn't asked her name? That's pretty lame, don't you think?
-But I do know her name: Mary.
-And tell me ...is she, you know! Good looking?
-Sometimes I wonder how do you love poetry so much, talking the way you do.
Jeff stopped teasing his partner and turned around, sitting on the bed. He wasn't used to fight or argue, but those words seemed to affect him more hardly than any, since the passion that he had for writing was misunderstood under his looks of a sport's playboy. Jacob, of all people, knew of those sentiments, and how much it hurt him.
-I'm sorry Jeff! I didn't mean too.
-I know you didn't Jacob. But I'm sorry if I can't act more like an artist or a writer does. I'm just me, man!
-And you're a great you.
Jeff laughed and threw away a cushion at his friend's head. Jacob laughed and then he turned away to the computer: every room in campus had one, for any report or written work that the students might come to have. When he turned it on, there was a e-mail icon flashing at the top corner. Jacob clicked it: it was a snail e-mail, announcing that there was going to be a party at the campus bar: an Irish pub.
-There's a welcome party tonight at the pub.
-Yeah, I've heard about it at the cafeteria ... we're there, buddy!
"REUNITED" belongs to Inês Costa 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. Thanks