Remember The Mission

     “Hi, Catherine.” Mouse meekly peeked into the guest chamber. “May I come in?”
     
     “Of course.” From her position on her stomach, she sat up on her knees and set her book aside.
     
     Mouse stepped cautiously and a little awkward. “How are the twins?”
     
     “Asleep.” She nodded confidently, and then second guessed herself. “At least I think.” She leaned over
the side of the bed where the cradle was hidden. She nodded in affirmation and tucked her book back
into the drawer next to her. “Sometimes it’s so hard to tell. ‘Viola’ is so quiet when she’s with ‘Sebastian’.
If she wakes up she won’t cry until he does.”
     
     Mouse smiled coyly, still awkward in his steps closer, but trying to see over the bed into the cradle.
“Knows not to wake up little brother.” He joked.
     
     Catherine laughed quietly, then crossed her legs and set her hands in her lap. “What can I do for you,
Mouse?”
     
     He fidgeted for a moment and then couldn’t contain his excitement anymore. “Going to find Vincent!”
He burst.
     
     “Shh!” She put her hand out to quiet him. “You’ll wake them.” She watched him blush and put his finger
to his lips in a promise. “Now, what’s this all about?”
     
     “We’re finding Vincent.” He spoke in an exaggerated whisper.
     
     “Who’s ‘we’?” She was only half interested, but politely continued the conversation.
     
     “Me, Jamie, Pascal, Cullen, Kanin... lots of us!” He bounced with excitement, working his hardest to
not let his voice go above a whisper.
     
     “Mouse,” she began sweetly, “this really isn’t necessary. Vincent will be home soon. Just be patient.”
     
     “Needs to come home now, Catherine.” His zeal quieted and he sat next to her, comforting and more
confident. “Can’t stay away so long.” He insisted. “Shouldn’t stay away from you.” He added
compassionately. “Vincent doesn’t know Viola and Sebastian. Needs to come home, Catherine. Now.”
     
     She took in his words and only when he was finished did she allow her two weeks long fantasy break.
She sighed heavily. She didn’t like the idea of Vincent being dragged back to her when he wasn’t ready.
But Mouse was right. She missed him terribly and he needed to know about the twins. He needed to know
that there were people waiting for him to return. Secretly, she hoped they would drag Vincent home with
them, just to make him see all those who had missed him and the new ones who were waiting.
     
     “Alright. When are you leaving?” She consented with a smile.
     
     “Tonight!” Mouse came off the bed, beaming. “Won’t even tell him, Catherine! Twins will be a surprise!”
     
     Mouse bolted out of the chamber before Catherine could protest.
  



Hidden in the Shadow of the Past

     “That was the story, and they were as pleased with it as the fair narrator herself.” Catherine,
nestled comfortably at the foot of her daughter’s bed, read aloud. Jacob slept next to Anna contentedly.
The children were long since asleep, but Catherine continued to read, maybe to fend off any anxiety of the
approaching confrontation. But for these precious moments, there was nothing but them. Nothing but
Catherine and her twins asleep before her. For a few minutes the world hushed to hear the children’s slow
and methodic breathing and the constant rhythm of their mother’s voice. Catherine smiled as she read the
next line aloud.
“Everything just as it should be, you see. Off we skip like the most heartless things
in the world, which is what children are, but so attractive; and we have an entirely selfish time,
and then when we have need of special attention we nobly return for it, confident that we shall be
rewarded instead of smacked.
     
     “So great indeed was their faith in a mother's love that they felt they could afford to be
callous for a bit longer.
     
     “But there was one there who knew better, and when Wendy finished he uttered a hollow
groan.
     
     “"What is it, Peter?" she cried, running to him, thinking he was ill. She felt him solicitously,
lower down than his chest. "Where is it, Peter?"
     
     “"It isn't that kind of pain," Peter replied darkly.

     “"Then what kind is it?"

     “Wendy, you are wrong about mothers."
     
     Catherine stopped for a moment. Her mind ran rampant with the different ways, the different things that
Jacob and the other children Below thought of their parents. These children are the Lost Boys. She kept
reading.
     
     
“They all gathered round him in affright, so alarming was his agitation; and with a fine
candour he told them what he had hitherto concealed.
     
     “Long ago," he said, "I thought like you that my mother would always keep the window open
for me, so I stayed away for moons and moons and moons, and then flew back; but the window
was barred, for mother had forgotten all about me, and there was another little boy sleeping in
my bed."
     
     Oh Jacob! He wasn’t just one of the Lost Boys. Her son was Peter Pan. She had closed her window
on him. She had spent so many years refusing to let him in, refusing to remember him. She had given up
on him. She had simply let her child go.
     
     
“I am not sure that this was true, but Peter thought it was true; and it scared them.
     
     “"Are you sure mothers are like that?"
             
     “"Yes."
     
     “So this was the truth about mothers. The toads!
     
     “Still it is best to be careful; and no one knows so quickly as a child when he should give in.
"Wendy, let us go home," cried John and Michael together.
     
     “"Yes," she said, clutching them.
     
     “"Not to-night?" asked the lost boys bewildered. They knew in what they called their hearts
that one can get on quite well without a mother, and that it is only the mothers who think you can't.
     
     “"At once," Wendy replied resolutely, for the horrible thought had come to her: "Perhaps
mother is in half mourning by this time."
     
     “This dread made her forgetful of what must be Peter's feelings, and she said to him rather
sharply, "Peter, will you make the necessary arrangements?"
     
     “"If you wish it," he replied, as coolly as if she had asked him to pass the nuts.
     
     “Not so much as a sorry-to-lose-you between them! If she did not mind the parting, he
was going to show her, Peter was, that neither did he.
     
     “But of course he cared very much...”
     
     There was a tap on the bedroom window.
     
     Catherine was still for a moment longer, trying to pretend that she hadn’t heard it at all. ‘It was nothing.
There is nothing but Jacob, Anna, and yourself. No one could possibly ruin this moment.’
     
     Vincent tapped on the window only a little harder now, trying not to wake the children.
     
     She couldn’t ignore it now. If he tapped any louder, not only would the moment be broken, but also her
heart. Jacob would wake and run to his father. She knew he would. It was going to be hard enough seeing
him leave without rushing it.
     
     Begrudgingly Catherine climbed off of her daughter’s bed, set the book on the night-stand and
climbed onto the fire escape.
     
     The night breeze swept across her, sending a chill up her spine... or maybe that wasn’t the wind at all.
Vincent stood tall and strong, his blue eyes watching her; bearing into her. He stood near the stairs, easy
access out of the uncomfortable situation they were currently locked in. Catherine wasn’t sure what it
was... maybe it was the day she had spent with their son, maybe it was that she was so grateful to him for
that, or maybe she was just so lost in her memories of so long ago. No matter the reason, a warmth for
him filled her.
     
     Vincent’s breath caught in his throat. It was not unexpected, he had often been left breathless from her
beauty and the power about her. But then, as if no time had passed between them, she smiled at him. It
was small; hardly anything, really. But it was there. A smile. She was glad of his presence. He smiled
back, hoping that she’d see his happiness at their second meeting. He wasn’t sure if she saw him, for as
soon as her smile fell, she turned away.
     
     Starring out at the city, she tried to steel herself against her own feelings. There were so many
memories of times just like this. They were wonderful times! But, she didn’t want to be glad to see him,
because that would mean that she would want to see him again, and again. She knew that, she had
experienced it. But she had also experienced what it was like when he never came back. So, she was
back to the tactic she had always used on herself when it came to Jacob: don’t feel anything, and you won’
t be hurt.
     
     A mental wall had been thrown up between them, and Vincent could feel it. It had happened before
and it was not surprising that it had happened again. Actually, he was quite pleased. It meant that she had
seen him smile and she was trying to blockade her emotions because of it. He had made her feel, if only
for a moment... it was a glimmer of the woman he had fallen in love with in a shadowy park nearly a
decade ago.
     
     Catherine was the first to speak. It was pointless to delay the inevitable. “Would you like me to wake
him, or do you want to?”
     
     “I...” Vincent stumbled for a moment, grasping for words, “I... want to know something first.”
     
     She turned to face him slowly, the pair now watching each other from opposite ends of a metaphoric
chasm. “Yes?”
     
     “Did you say anything?” Vincent struggled for the right words when Catherine wrinkled her brow at him.
“Did you tell them... about us?”
     
     She was quiet for a moment. ‘Us’... they hadn’t been ‘us’ in so long. What a wonderful feeling that two
letter word instilled! She took a breath to calm herself. “No.” She finally answered. “I didn’t want to tell them
until... we had gotten a full grasp on this situation.”
     
     Vincent nodded, relieved that at least one confrontation had been avoided.
     
     “Besides,” Catherine continued, “I’m not sure if I want them to know.”
     
     That immediately caught Vincent’s attention and his head snapped up to meet her stare. “Catherine...
we have to tell them eventually.”
     
     “I’m not so sure about that.” She looked away again, unaware that Vincent still knew all of her give-
aways; she wasn’t being sincere. “I think they could live perfectly fine this way. Let them go on being
friends like this. It’s simple and innocent.”
     
     “You don’t want Jacob to know that you are his mother,” Vincent whispered harshly, “because it’s
inconvenient for you?!”
     
     “No, Vincent,” she verbally charged right back at him, “I just don’t want our children to have to go
through this mess that we’ve made for them!”
     
     There was no come-back for that. She was right, plain and simple. But there was more. There was
always more. “I agree that this is a terrible mess that we’ve made, but...” how could he express a desire
that has no name, “there’s something more, Catherine. This isn’t just about us, about what happened, is
it?”
     
     “What have you been telling him?!” She suddenly turned in a fury. “What have you been saying about
me?! What have you allowed others to say about me?!” She actually advanced on him now, backing him
up close to the edge of the metal gate. “My son, my own son, believes that it’s best to simply believe that I’
m dead because of all the things that he’s heard of me! My son thinks that I’m dead, Vincent!” She turned
away, sparing him a moment of her flaming eyes. “And what happens if he finds out that I’m alive? What
then?!” There was a strange choke in her voice. She was trying to swallow her tears. “What will he think
when he knows that I’ve been here the whole time? Will he hate me? Will he dismiss me because I wasn’t
there to see his first step; to hear his first word?” She turned back to him, her meaning conveyed
completely in her eyes. “Will he push me away because I wasn’t there when he needed me?”
     
     At a complete loss for words and stunned by this news, Vincent simply gaped at her. “I didn’t know...
Jacob never asked... I had no idea that he thought you were dead.”
     
     “Well, he does!” She took a moment to quieted herself. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to
say. It’s been seven years, Vincent. What’s left to say?”
     
     He gave her a minute to think, but quickly jumped on the situation. He knew exactly what needed to be
said. “Catherine, I spoke to Father.” She watched him, waiting, with a strange indifference in her eyes. “I’
m not satisfied with his answer.” Still she only starred at him, making him squirm slightly. “I want to know...
about the children... about why you left.”
     
     She gave him a grimace of pure disgust. “Father’s talent for lying isn’t what it used to be, huh?” He
offered her no response, only an acknowledging silence. She sighed, wrapping her arms about herself
and attempting to form a wall for herself. “You want to know what happened.” She stated in an eerily dark
tone. “Alright. But, know this... here and now... you will take everything I say. Every accusation, every
horrible detail, you won’t dispute it. You want the truth... I’m going to give it to you. Because if I’m going to
re-live that here, tonight... with you; I won’t sugar-coat it just because you don’t want to hear it.”
     
     “That’s all I’m asking for.” Vincent answered her quickly and gratefully. “Please... tell me.”
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