The Siren’s Song

      “Jamie said I might find you here.” Catherine announced her presence with thorough amusement.
      
      Vincent spun, causing the water he was engulfed in to form a vortex. He found Catherine perched
atop a boulder, watching him with a grin. For a moment he panicked, looking down to make sure that he
was fully clothed. How had he not sensed her approach? He must have been so absorbed in the water,
he hadn’t even acknowledged the sense. “Catherine.” He gasped slightly.
      
      She giggled softly, seeing, sensing his nervousness and embarrassment. She hunched over her
jean shorts and wrapped her arms around her tank-top and white cotton over-shirt. “It’s so hot Above... I
thought most of the children would be down here too.”
      
      “Many haven’t noticed the heat wave.” He explained, still uncomfortable, but now because of her
lack of clothes.
      
      “So you thought you’d beat the rush?” She asked playfully.
      
      “No... no.” His heartbeat had slowed to normal and his mind sank into that comforting cocoon of her
mere presence. He swam up close to the rock the she was observing from. “The water... it’s soothing. It
helps me think.”
      
      She was immediately concerned and came down off her perch to kneel on the sand next to him.
“Have you been troubled lately?”
      
      He starred into her eyes and nearly drowned in them. They were so beautiful and caring. He could
loose himself in their depths without even a second thought. “No,” he whispered, still entranced, “I simply
needed to think.” She smiled, and he melted. His heart was claimed by that smile. His whole life would
forever be for the sole reason of seeing that smile. “Come,” he invited before he could realize what he
was doing, “join me.”
      
      He raised his arm to help her in, and Catherine was instantly aware that his whole upper body was
bare in the water. Her stomach rolled with excitement, though she tried desperately to suppress it. She
couldn’t pass up this enticing opportunity even if she’d wanted to. After all, he had actually invited her to
it!
      
      She stripped off the over-shirt and draped it on the rock in haste, and quickly took his hand before
he could change his mind.
      
      The water was cool... almost cold. But the scorching heat of New York City was beginning to
penetrate the beloved tunnels and the water was a welcome relief. The pool was much deeper than she
had expected and she struggled at first to keep herself afloat. So, Vincent held her up, to his chest, her
body pressed against him for support. Countless times they had held each other like this, and each and
every time the heat and intensity would build between them, their body’s so intimately close, but never
touching. But now, though she still wore her thin tank-top to cover her, his bare chest met her bare arms.
Fleshed moved with flesh in the water. And for a moment, Catherine and Vincent were transfixed... lost
in each other, in their touch. Fantasies flared in their minds, each one more passionate and complex
than the next.
      
      Was it the heat? Was it the years of trying to lock away their feelings from each other? Maybe the
hatred of all of those others who had tried to stop their relationship. Or maybe it was just as minuscule
as the simple touch that they shared.
      
      Lost in his eyes and relaxed in his arms, Catherine felt Vincent’s soul inside her. She felt his heart
race against her own. His mouth dropped open slightly and she inhaled quietly when the torch light
reflected off of his exposed canines.
      
      “Catherine-“ he nearly pleaded.
      
      “Not now.” She whispered half to him and half to the heavens. “Please!” Her gaze held true to his
face, that golden glowing visage entrancing her heart.
      
      Her honey silk hair fell long in her face, and brushed against his shoulders as if entice him to touch
it. Her face was red, matching the fire and passion in her eyes. Vincent hesitated. She wanted this. He
could feel it inside her, he could see it in each of her shallow breaths. But he wondered if she really knew
what she was getting herself into, as she said she did. He wanted her... with everything in him. With
every fiber and breath in his body, he needed her. But there was so much... ‘oh god!’ Her breaths were
just shallow heaves now, rubbing and pressing her breasts against his chest.
      
      “I don’t...”
      
      “Vincent... please. Don’t think. Just don’t think.” Her breath danced across his face, and her words
enticed him closer.
      
      “If someone were to find us...” he desperately tried to rationalize.
      
      “What? Will the world collapse... from just one kiss?” She whispered, her lips drawing ever closer,
hungry for his. “Kiss me. Please.”
      
      He tried so hard to hold on to rational thought. He couldn’t do this, so many things could go wrong.
What if he wasn’t able to stop himself? But, oh dear god, those lips! Those full lips that had seemed to
beckon to him from the first moment she spoke his name. They were drawing so close to him, there was
hardly anymore space between.
      
      He wondered how her lips would feel against his. What would she taste like? Would she be
offended if he did something wrong and he didn’t know it? What if he couldn’t stop himself?
      
      “Kiss me.” That voice tempted again. A siren’s call, luring him to his death.
      
      “Catherine...” his last failed attempt at coherent thought.
      
      She closed the gap between their lips before he could oppose one more time. There was no
fumbling or hesitation, their mouths fit perfectly together. Catherine wrapped her arms up around his
neck, pulling herself higher and tighter against his body. His form was so solid and tense against hers.
The kiss was a shock obviously, but she couldn’t let it go now... now that his hands slid down to the small
of her back. She had to remember that Vincent was unsure of how or what to do, so she took the next
step as well and invitingly opened her mouth.
      
      Vincent had frozen up at the initial shock of her mouth pressed against his. But, when she pulled
herself closer into the kiss, he had simply reacted and pulled her tighter as well. He was hesitant for a
second until her mouth opened to him, and his curiosity and passion overwhelmed him. He wanted to
taste her. He wanted to know how it felt to have her in his mouth. He took a chance and hoped beyond
hope that it was the right thing to do as he opened his mouth and immediately began searching her
mouth with his tongue.
      
      She gasped slightly, a little surprised that he had so quickly taken over the kiss. But she wouldn’t let
him stop now. His rough tongue ran along the roof of her mouth, sending waves of shivers and chills up
her spine. She was losing her breath as he sucked at her mouth. Was this happening? She was lost in
the power of this kiss, in the power of him, that she was forgetting to breath. He was heaving deep
breaths now which made his body rock against hers, as he drank her in deeper and deeper. She
needed to break away and breathe for a moment, but she didn’t want to loose this. If she broke away
now, she wasn’t sure if he would come back to her.
      
      But, it was Vincent who pulled away, breaking the kiss suddenly and looking up past Catherine. She
caught her breath, and though she was a little worried that he was having an inner struggle, she thought
it best to simply rest against his chest. She wouldn’t push this anymore, she would merely rest her head
and let him know that she was content... more than content.
      
      But Vincent wasn’t still, as she had thought he might be trying to regain control, but was agitated and
looked around frantically. “What is it?” She brought her head up and followed his gaze. She tried
stroking his arm to calm him, but he groaned in frustration, and she felt him grow against her thigh. She
stopped, and again followed where his eyes searched. “Vincent?”
      
      He breathed heavily; he hadn’t wanted her to stop, but he had needed her to at the same time.
Voices were drawing nearer. “The children.” He answered quickly. Immediately, Vincent set Catherine
back up on the sand, and pulled himself up onto land as well.
      
      Catherine took a step back and watched him pull himself out of the water, using all the muscles he
had to lift himself and his water-logged clothes out. She bit her lips, forcing her excitement down. She
wanted his body curved against hers again, she wanted another kiss!
      
      “Quickly.” He told her, grabbing his own shirt off a nearby rock, and indicating for her to do the
same. He took her hand and dragged her around the small lake, to an exit opposite the one the children
were coming through in mass. He pulled her along as he ran expertly through the tunnels, guiding her to
duck or jump when necessary.
      
      She called to him repeatedly, trying to make him stop. “Vincent! Why are we running? Vincent!” But
he never answered. But though she had no idea why she was racing through the tunnels with Vincent, or
where they were going, she found a strange thrill in it. She laughed uncontrollably as she ran, which
slowed her down. But Vincent wouldn’t slow... and he wouldn’t let her go.
      
      Finally they were in a part of the tunnels that Catherine recognized, and he suddenly pulled her
around a sharp corner and released her into his chamber. She fell back against his desk, nearly
knocking over the bottle of ink, and laughing so hard that a stitch was forming in her side. She was
panting, gasping for air, but she couldn’t stop laughing. “What was that?” She finally let out. When there
was no response, she found Vincent’s eyes.
      
      They were dark. Darker than she had ever seen them. He was not laughing, or even smiling for that
matter. His demeanor was not what she had expected to find there, but intense, wanting, and unwilling to
wait any longer. It took her a moment to calm down from her laughter, but his eyes were sobering her up
quickly. Then, as if a hawk devouring prey, Vincent swooped in and molded her body to his in another
deep kiss.
      
      He pulled her up almost off the ground. It was like a dream, lost in each other, caught up in the
passion and scent of one another until it was nearly too much. But they couldn’t stop, neither of them.
Their kisses just went deeper and deeper, and they pulled and swayed with each other in such a way
that neither could ignore their body’s responses.
      
      Suddenly Vincent’s mouth was gone, he had pulled out of the kiss, but his body lingered, his
hands... ‘her hands’ keeping her pressed into his body. Catherine moaned a bit at the loss of those silky
lips, but he was quickly sucking at the base of her neck, nibbling and kissing her there. Her heart racing,
her mind soaring, and her body positively aching for him to do this to every other inch of her body; she
opened her eyes and gazed around the room. This was Vincent’s room. They were in the tunnels. The
children were down at the waterfall. Father was not far away. She had come back to reality from that far-
off, erotic wonderland she had been lost in.
      
      “Vincent.” She whispered softly, not really wanting him to stop, but knowing that it was necessary.
      
      It was as if his own name was the catalyst of his downward spiral to Earth. He immediately stopped,
slowly pulling himself away from her delicate and vulnerable neck. His arms loosened their grip and he
took a single step back. “Catherine.” He responded blankly, his eyes seeming to be searching his mind,
trying to remember what had just happened.
      
      But that one step was already too much. “No.” She held his forearms, keeping him close to her.
“Don’t run. Please don’t run from me.”
      
      He breathed heavily. His eyes never left hers, but he took in every ounce of the bond until he was
sure that she was not harmed in anyway. In that moment, holding her feelings captive inside him, he
found the most extreme want and passion that he had ever known. He found erotic images there, hopes
and wishes and dreams no longer suppressed. They were now out there in the open for him to
experience. Finally he spoke. “I don’t want to run.”
      
      She smiled a little, breathing in relief. “Are you alright?”
      
      He seemed to be searching for the words to describe himself, trying to piece together something
intelligent. To tell her that he was afraid for her, for himself even; and that he couldn’t stop now. He didn’t
want to suppress this anymore... and he could feel all of that in her at the exact same time. “I...” he tried,
and then just came out with, “I don’t know what’s going happen.”
      
      “Good.” She smiled wider. “Because I don’t know either.” She breathed heavily still, her breasts
heaving against his diaphragm. And then his beautiful siren opened her mouth and sang for him again.
“Kiss me again.”
      
      He heeded her call without hesitation. But, though he kissed her deeply, she came back with even
more force; determined to take control of this one. She ravenously licked and sucked at his canines,
coaxing out that wild and dark beast with everything in her. He felt that; he felt her; searching his soul for
that demon, daring it, luring it out to play with her. He had to stop her, this was dangerous! Such a
dangerous game they played now! But something in him wanted her to pull that beast out; to let all of
those wild passions out at last. No! This was wrong... he would harm her... something would go wrong.
      
      She was kissing him with such force now that she was pushing him backwards. When his mind
came back to reality he was backed up against his bed. Anymore pressure from Catherine and his
knees would give way; they’d both end up in his bed... together.
      
      “Cather-“ his garbled speech insisted, trying so hard to reach her.
      
      But no, she was lost in her passion. Even when she got the hint that he wanted to speak, she still
nipped and sucked at his poutey lower lip, coaxing him further and further.
      
      “Catherine... this is dangerous.” His breathing labored even more as she moved her kisses feather-
light down his throat to where she concentrated at the base of his neck. “I might... I don’t know what’s
going to happen.” He unsuccessfully attempted to suppress the groan of pleasure as she strategically
stroked his arms as she had before, moving her kisses down his chest and painfully teasing one nipple.
      
      “We’ve already established that.” She breathed hot against his chest, making everything stand on
end, including the impatient bulge in his soaking wet jeans. “You taste so wonderful!” She whispered,
kissing the one nipple she had been working on. “So exotic!”
      
      “Oh, Catherine!” He clutched her close, terrified of the consequences, but stubbornly unwilling to let
her go. “This is so dangerous!” He couldn’t fight the ironic passion in that sentence.
      
      She wrapped her arms around his naked torso, holding him close to her, and looked up into his
eyes. In a moment of sanity, she spoke her truth, for there was nothing else to hold back now. “That’s
why I want it.” The siren called for the last time. She wasn’t sure if it was the right or wrong thing to say,
but it was the truth, it was herself and that’s all she had to give him.
      
      He still seemed uncertain, though he never eased his grip on her. They had gone too far now... past
the point of no return in Catherine’s mind. So she teased and egged him on shamelessly. “I want you,
Vincent. I want to feel your body against mine. I want to taste your sweat. I want to know what you look
like stripped of every restraint you’ve ever laid upon yourself. I want to know you better than anyone ever
has.” And then the truest statement of all, the one that sent him over the edge into oblivion. “I want to feel
you inside me, Vincent. The warmth and caress of you inside me. And I want you to claim that place
inside me. I want you to claim all of me; body, mind, and soul... now.”
      
      And he was gone; over the edge... literally. He had fallen backwards into his bed, where he now sat
and watched hungrily as she took a step away from him. With no agenda or strategy, Catherine stripped
off her tank top and simply dropped it at her feet. She smiled seductively as he lurched forward, now
sitting on the edge of the bed. She came toward him slightly, teasingly within his reach. Slowly and
deliberately, she began to work her sopping wet jean shorts down her thighs.
      
      Though it didn’t take long at all for her to be free of the jeans, it was maddening for Vincent to watch
her; her lithe movements, her dark and seductive stare, her soaked hair slapping against her ivory skin
forming a sort of tattoo splayed across her shoulders. The smell of her assaulted his senses. He wanted
to taste her again. He wanted to touch all the skin that was now exposed to him; to know if that skin
tasted any different from her mouth. He saw her breasts just waiting, aching to be free of the strapless
bra that held them captive... and he wanted to free them! He gave her only enough time to step out of the
shorts before he captured her willing body again.
      
      His soft and strong arms wrapped around her middle and arched her into him as he licked and
sucked at her belly. His rough tongue teased at her belly button sending uncontrollable shivers through
her, through the bond. She rocked with his breath, wanting more and more, deeper and deeper. She
tried to force him in a direction, up or down, a step further. But he stayed put, taunting her with the
possibilities, making her reel with anticipation. Soon her legs gave way and she curled them underneath
herself so that she was now sitting on his lap, straddling his hips, tightening her thighs around him and
leaning back to allow him free access. She stroked his hair as his powerful and textured hands ran the
length of her, from shoulders, past her knees, down to the heels of her feet.
      
      He ran his hands back up her tight, strong legs, trickling his nails behind when he discovered she
would gasp whenever he did so. But he stopped when one claw caught on something. He froze, terrified
that he had injured her, that he had been too rough and let his claws pierce her perfect skin.
      
      “What?” She asked breathlessly, following him into an upright position. She followed his eyes to the
source and smiled wantingly.
      
      It was her panties, flesh toned, and silken as her own skin. They clung to her as if hiding her,
guarding her against him. At this he raised his eyes to meet hers. This was the point of no return. This
was the moment, if ever, that the demon, she so claimed she craved, was unleashed. He wanted to see
her, he wanted to know that she was alright as he began his descent into his primal self. He looked into
her eyes and found her searching for that beast, calling out to him, daring him to come to the edge and
see what delights she offered him.
      
      “Let go.” She told him softly. “I’ll be alright. Just let go.” As if he were a child, she nodded her
encouragement until he was nodding along with her, dipping his head into the warm spot he had made
with his tongue on her belly. “Do it!” She whispered, leaning back again so that the top edge of her
panties were only centimeters away from his caressing lips.
      
      With only a moment’s hesitation, he trickled his hand back up to her hips. Her breaths were heavier
now, dipping her belly deep into itself and then coming back up to press against his lips. He gingerly
tucked his fingers into the center of her panties and slowly worked his fingers into the silky material. With
a barely audible rip, she was free of the panties and he had already begun his descent into that hidden
place.
      
      She bit her lips to suppress her delighted cry. She felt him go, he came to her now in that dark and
primal state. And she egged it on, happily. She was losing herself in him. In his hot breath, his deep
grunts and his teeth scrapping at the base of her hips. She was dizzy with the excitement that mounted.
He was so low now... so close to her. She bucked and thrust her hips up into him, grinding against him
in wanting.
      
      But suddenly he was gone, and his teeth grazed back up toward that place on her belly where he
began. But he didn’t stop, his lips, tongue, and teeth all moved high, further until he was inevitably
stopped again by restraining material. Catherine came up with him, her hair brushing the tops of her
breasts, dripping water down onto them in a stream. He saw those two wonderful mounds of flesh
already creeping their way out, revolting against the bra. Impatiently he searched for a thin, weak spot in
the material, or at least somewhere it would easily come off.
      
      Catherine giggled at the sight of him in such a desperate hurry to reach her breasts. Tauntingly she
leaned into his ear and whispered; “It’s going to take a lot more force to get this off of me.”
      
      Taking it as intended, a challenge, Vincent gripped the material at her back and tore it apart with
one yank. The bra discarded, Catherine was forced to giggle again when she watched him debate
which to pay attention to first. Suddenly he had a hold of her shoulders and was kissing her again,
deeply; probing his tongue into her mouth. Leaving her rocking and breathless, his voice was near a
growl, and his dark eyes telling her he was in control now, warning her. “No teasing.” He trailed his
kisses down her neck and back to her breasts where he decided on the left one, taking her nipple into
his mouth as a baby would, biting and sucking at it.
      
      With coy and sadistic glee, Catherine scooted her way up, running her hands innocently over every
inch of his body. She bided her time, waiting for that moment when he was lost, concentrated only on his
task of memorizing ever detail of her breasts. And when that moment came, when she could feel his
defenses weaken, she let her hands drift beyond his waist.
      
      He never noticed the buckle unhook, or even the material loosen as the zipper was undone. Only
when she had grasped him in her hands did he care to realize where Catherine was in the middle of all
this. He slowly brought his eyes up to meet hers. Her eyes had gone dark now, dark and smokey; now
they looked more like an impending storm rolling over the green sea. His pupils had widened, as an
animal’s would as it stalks it’s prey.
      
      “Hello.” Catherine spoke a single word with different meanings within it. Was she reminding Vincent
that she was still there, waiting? Or was she greeting the new creature that had emerged in this heat?
      
      Either way, he only nodded his acknowledgment. He couldn’t have moved if he had wanted to, the
most delicate part of him held captive in her hands. So, surrendering to her control over him, he ever so
sweetly captured her lower lip, kissing and sucking at it.
      
      She let him surrender to her for just a few moments, before dipping her head into the kiss that
awaited her. That salty sweet kiss, full of dangers and joys, sorrows and strength. Their entire
relationship, their lives summed up in that kiss. This complicated kiss ran as deep as their emotions.
The bond was wide open between them, so much so that they couldn’t tell whose emotions were whose.
They were so near telepathic that it made them want to drink each other in; deeper and deeper until they
really could read each other’s minds.
      
      She heard him... she could hear his emotions drumming at a increasing rate in her ears. Pounding
faster and faster. He couldn’t hold on much longer, his orgasm threatening to take over. In a mutual flow
of motion, Catherine’s hands left him to wrap around his neck, deepening that kiss even further.
      
      Vincent’s arms circled her waist and pulled her up off his lap. She inhaled sharply, already knowing
what was coming, her heart racing with anticipation. He brought her down, hard and fast on his erection.
For a second or so there was discomfort and pain, and the kiss was frozen in shock. There was no
preparing for the size of him within her, especially when he seemed to grow even larger now that he was
actually inside.
      
      He was buried in her. Lost in her. In her scent, in her moans, in her taste, in the strength of her thighs
tightening around his hips, in her warm wetness that welcomed his throbbing erection. That
overwhelming joy, that sense of home transferred back and forth between the bond. He knew of her
discomfort, but she seemed to recover quickly, and she was lost in the same erotic haze as he.
      
      Her hips thrust and rolled against his, grinding him deeper and deeper within her. His kisses trailed
down along her jaw, and he eventually sucked at the base of her neck and shoulder.
      
      The expanse of him moving inside her set her mind in a frenzy. She tried to keep her eyes open,
she wanted to watch him, but she couldn’t even manage that. Her eyes were shut tight and she gulped in
deep breaths in an instinctual response to try to think clearly. With her mouth wide open and her eyes
squeezed shut, she looked as if she were screaming, but it would have been a feat for her body to
perform any task other than the rocking against her lover that kept her from coming out of her skin.
      
      “Catherine...” how he managed speech at this moment was beyond her, “I’ve been holding on for so
long...”
      
      “Let it out!” She managed to release between gasps. “Just let it out!”        
      
      She bit down on his shoulder as he exploded within her. Small squeaks escaped her as he
released his life within her. She took deep, sharp breaths as they rocked together, his orgasm seeming
to last a lifetime. He growled her name, over and over again into her neck. Her name... she loved the
sound of her name on his lips. His lips... she wanted to kiss him. She wanted his mouth again.
      
      Softly, gently, she removed her teeth from his shoulder, sucking and kissing away any injury she may
have afflicted. She was elated to see there was none. He thrust and rocked inside her. Her
indestructible lover!
      
      She was so delicate against him, and yet this fire that burned in her belly seemed stronger than he
ever could be. Her erotic cries of joy, she had bitten into his shoulder, her wild passion had only inflamed
him more. He wanted more of her. He wanted to taste more of her. He wanted to feel her hair between
those gentle and deadly fingers that she so loved.
      
      She turned her head, searching for that kiss.
      
      He raised his hand to capture that face.
      
      And the world stopped.
      
      She was still lost... her own orgasm still rocking her body out of her rational thought. But as she
slowly descended back to Earth, her eyes opened to a terrible sight. Vincent, frozen, staring wildly into
her confused eyes. He raised his hand between them, and the tips of his claws glistened with fresh
blood. Slowly she touched her chin and was immediately aware of the sharp, biting pain that coursed
along her jaw.
      
      They stared at each other for a long time, still intimately joined, but stunned still. She opened her
mouth to speak, but she couldn’t get any sound to escape her. Their minds whirled together, the
thoughts piling on top of each other in a complete jumble. Who’s anger was it? Who was confused still?
Whose first instinct was it to run?
      
      “You’re bleeding.” Vincent only managed in a whisper. She nodded slightly, still unsure of what to
do. But Vincent immediately set to action.
      
      He lifted her off of him, his hands slipping slightly from the sweat that permeated her body. She
shrieked slightly from the pain of being suddenly detached from him, and then moaned along with her
body at the loss of him. She tried to protest, tried to reassure, but she could hardly breath, much less
speak.
      
      He set her gently on the bed beside him and immediately removed himself from his spot. Without so
much as a glance to her, Vincent found dry clothes and dressed himself, attempting to hide what was left
of his arousal. “Get dressed! I’m going to get Father.”
      
      She was half sprawled on his bed, completely naked, and her nether region throbbing in pain. He
was already out of the chamber before she managed a quiet; “Vincent! Don’t stop...”  




Falling

      It pointed at him, as if accusing him of some heinous crime. It jabbed at him as a knife would;
threatening. The wound had healed many years ago and only a slight scar was left as a reminder, but to
Vincent it seemed red and inflamed; a testament of the reason of it’s existence. It pointed at him as if to
say, “There! There is my creator! Remove him, quickly, before he inflicts another like me on this poor
woman!”
      
      But despite the obvious guilt coursing through him at that very moment, Vincent didn’t run. And he
was proud that he didn’t. Lightly, he ran his fingers over the scar, as if soothing a defiant child. Catherine
stirred slightly from his touch. He stopped, fearing her awakening.
      
      It had been a moment. A beautiful moment, yes. They had instantly rekindled the passion of so many
years ago; she hadn’t protested, and he hadn’t worried... to each other’s surprise. But still, he stared
down at that scar, his fear attacking him suddenly, and he wondered if she would be afraid to find that
the night had not been a dream, as she had repeatedly made him promise until she fell asleep. What if
she awoke and fled at the sight of him lying beside her? He would die in that moment, that’s what. She
wouldn’t, he knew she wouldn’t. Vincent smiled in spite of himself; old fears die hard.
      
      There had been some strange change in him since she left the tunnels. As cliché as it was, he hadn’
t truly realized that she would leave until she did. He had sent her away, as he had many times before,
with the intention of separating from her, but somewhere in the back of his mind he believed that she
would always come back. All those other times that he had pushed her away, she’d come back almost
immediately. There was some security in the knowledge of that. But, then she had truly left and he wasn’t
sure what to make of that. He convinced himself that it was ‘for the best’ for the first few months. But, as
Jacob had grown older, Vincent began doubting himself.
      
      Looking back, it was easier to accept himself and dispense his fears after he’d admitted that she’d
gone. Without her there, with the Bond closed off, he wasn’t constantly worried for her. He could think
things through more clearly. He watched his son grow and he was reminded of how wonderful, beautiful,
and special his relationship with Catherine had been. It wasn’t some freak accident that they had
become attached to; it was something genuinely real. So, even though he still blamed himself for driving
her away, it wasn’t the fact that he had hurt her, but the way he’d handled the situation that he chastised
himself for. With that bit of maturity gained and a single look at his perfect Jacob, he was able to accept
that what had happened wasn’t the wrong step to take; simply the wrong way to go about it.
      
      And now the first result of this incident pointed at him furiously. The scar he had left on her chin,
though fully healed, depressed him almost as badly as when he had created it. He smiled, despite his
guilt. That one moment, eight years ago, had resulted in three equally powerful forces. The first had been
the scar that had initially ripped he and Catherine apart, and now served as a reminder of the one
moment they’d both tried to forget. The second had been Anna with her intuition and inexplicable
knowledge that Vincent and Catherine had once shared; this alone seemed to be what had drawn the
couple back to each other. And the third was Jacob... everyone’s darling. Jacob was the representation
of all his parent’s relationship had been; something that the world had never known; constantly putting
himself in a dangerous situation and not caring about the outcome. These three created some kind of
extraordinary circle around Vincent and Catherine, as if the glue holding them together.
      
      More appreciative, and less guilty, Vincent ran his fingers over the scar again and somehow it
seemed less red or inflamed... it no longer accused him. Suddenly her hand closed around his fingers
with only enough force to bring his hand down between them. He looked into her face and found her
eyes still contentedly closed; she wasn’t really awake yet.
      
      “Don’t think about it.” She whispered dreamily to him. She rolled closer and breathed in his scent.
“Are you really here?” She asked for the millionth time.
      
      But he only smiled at her and kissed her gently. “Yes, love. I’m here.”
      
      “Well, don’t wake me up,” she mumbled, falling deeper into her sleep, “just in case.”
      
      Vincent looked over the curves of her body held against him, to the window displaying the faint pink
light, lining the New York City skyline. “Catherine,” he began, only half wanting to wake her, “I have to go.”
      
      She moaned some sort of protesting negative response. His heart stopped for a moment. He was
lying beside Catherine... in the wee hours of the morning... and she wanted him to stay. Him, no one
else. She had pushed her friend, Joe, out of the apartment, but was protesting his departure. He sighed
in the comfort of that thought.
      
      Slowly he disentangled himself from her arms and legs, albeit reluctantly. She moaned even more,
reaching for him even as he gently guided her arms away from him. He watched her sleep for only a
moment; the morning light closing in on him rapidly. How had she maintained such total, utter perfection;
her skin, her hair, her smile, her speech? Had he not appreciated the full complexity of her beauty
before? Is that how he let her slip away?
      
      Yes. He remembered how he felt about her at the beginning of their relationship; a beautiful chaste
goddess to worship starred into his eyes those nights. He hadn’t seen, he didn’t realize, she was none
of that at all. She was no far away goddess. She was flesh and bone woman, not to be worshiped, but to
be loved in every way imaginable. And now, even that wasn’t enough. She was everything; a woman, a
mother, a fighter, a best friend, a lover, a soul to comfort and be comforted.
      
      He bent over the bed once more, cupping her cheek and kissing her goodbye. This was an amazing
feeling! It was so casual and comfortable. He looked back at her as he was leaving; his Catherine, the
mother of his children, his confidant, his friend... his lover...
      
      He admitted the title to himself, trying to suppress the blood rushing to his cheeks. He climbed down
into the first sleepy winks of morning light.

*************************************************************
      “Vincent?” Catherine’s eyes squinted, barely open, streaming sunlight inhibiting her vision. She
glanced around the room, trying to find him; she could swear he had just been there. Maybe it had been
a dream... just another dream. Catherine rubbed her eyes and ran her fingers through her tangled hair
quickly. She was so exhausted that she just threw the covers off herself and didn’t move for another five
minutes. Finally, resigned to it, she sat up.
      
      Immediate confirmation; it was no dream! Everything from the waist, down was stiff and aching. She
was sitting on her bed in her open robe... and yes, she was definitely naked. After nearly a decade of
dreaming, Vincent had finally been real.
      
      Elated at her own sedate attitude toward this, Catherine smiled. She loved Vincent... and that was
okay! It was amazing! It was wonderful! ‘He must have left early this morning,’ she mused. Suddenly light-
headed and feeling a tingling in her stomach, she tucked her knees up to her chin and grinned, allowing
herself to simply revel in the memory of him.
      
      The phone on her night-stand rang.
      
      “Hello?” Catherine found herself startled by the oddly soft tone of her voice.
      
      “Cathy? Are you bailing on me again?” Jenny accused playfully on the other end of the line.
      
      “What?” Catherine groped for her alarm clock, which somehow seemed to have fallen off of her
night-stand.
      
      “Lunch, you and me and Anna, planned this since last week?” Jenny tried to jog her memory,
thoroughly amused at how consistent her friend was at forgetting things.
      
      “Oh! Oh my god! What time is it?” She found the clock under the bed and set it on the pillow next to
her.
      
      “Noonish.” Jenny told her casually. “I figured you’d forget so I called you early.”
      
      “Oh, Jen, I’m sorry. Are you there now? I’m on my way.” Catherine stumbled out of her bed
attempting to get to the bathroom, but her aching legs protested.
      
      “Yeah, don’t worry. I’ll order you some coffee so it’s ready when you get here. Are you just getting out
of bed?”
      
      “It was a long night.” Catherine rolled her eyes as if Jenny could see her sarcasm. “I’ll be there
soon.” She shut off the phone and threw it on the bed as she scuttled across the hall into the bathroom.
‘A shower will feel amazing!’



      With an easy smile, Catherine fell into the chair across from Jenny with a little sigh. “Did you know
this café is only a short walk from me?” She spoke hurriedly, immediately picking up the menu at her
place and burying her nose in it. “It always felt like such a long trip. But I walked it today,” she snapped
her fingers, “just like that!” Another deep, breathless sigh. “So, how’s... oh, that chicken sandwich looks
amazing!”
      
      Jenny suddenly pulled the menu away from her friend’s face. Her confused expression and furrowed
brow met Catherine’s energetic and alert face. “Hi.” Jenny spoke, a little nervous and skeptical.
      
      “Hey, sorry.” Catherine giggled and pulled the menu back up.
      
      “Refills?” The teenage waitress approached them, coffee pot in hand.
      
      “That’d be great! Thanks!” Catherine practically threw the menu aside and watched the coffee pour
as if it was her only source of nutrition in the last week.
      
      Jenny watched Catherine sip at her coffee and then once again pull the menu in front of her face.
“Yeah. I’m getting the chicken sandwich. Oo! It comes with a pickle!”
      
      “Okay,” Jenny, now convinced that her best friend had finally gone over the edge, pulled the menu
away from her, “what happened?”
      
      “Nothing.” Catherine shook her head, her alert eyes glazed with innocense.
      
      “No, you practically skipped in her! And you’re excited about a pickle.” Jenny examined her with
narrow eyes. “What’s with you?”
      
      “Nothing!” Catherine insisted, trying to snatch the menu back with no success.
      
      “No, something’s going on.” Jenny leaned close to her as if that would help. “Where’s Anna?”
      
      “Um,” Catherine’s eyes dropped into her coffee, “she’s... actually, she’s staying at her father’s for the
weekend.”
      
      “That’s great! That is great, isn’t it?” Jenny second guessed her reaction.
      
      “It is great!” Catherine was just glad that Jenny wasn’t upset. “She left last night, she was so excited!
I’ve got the whole apartment to myself...” she smiled ruefully.
      
      Jenny drew a long deep breath, her eyes widening as her thought dawned on her. “Oh my god!” She
began slowly, almost not believing her instincts.
      
      “What?” Catherine did a quick glance around herself, hoping that it wasn’t really her Jenny’s wide
eyes were trained on.
      
      “Oh my god, I don’t believe it.” Jenny’s expression turned to a full grin.
      
      “No. Jenny... no.” Catherine insisted as if she could banish the thought from her friend’s mind.
      
      And that was the reaction to confirm it. “Oh my god, you did!”
      
      ‘Change the subject! Change the subject!’ Catherine willed herself, furiously. “So, are those
desserts any good?”
      
      Trying desperately to silence her giggling, Jenny leaned forward, creating the sexual innuendo with
her mischievous expression. “I dunno, you tell me.” She couldn’t hold it in any more, the laughter burst
out of her nowhere near discreetly.
      
      Catherine dropped her head on the edge of the table and squeezed her eyes closed as if she could
will this situation away. “Please Jen, don’t do this.”
      
      Hushed only a little, but still giggling uncontrollably, Jenny gasped periodically for breath. “Wait!
Wait, you’ve got to tell me who it was!” She bounced in her seat and then squealed, “oh my god, I don’t
believe this!”
      
      “I want to crawl under a rock and die.” Catherine mumbled to herself. A sudden quick, dramatic
breath from the opposite end of the table made Catherine look up. “No! Jen, don’t!” She warned.
      
      “Oh my god!” Jenny continued as if Catherine had never spoken.
      
      “Jenny!” She warned. “I mean it!”
      
      “You slept with Vincent!” Jenny whispered across the table, even though the entire café could hear
her.
      
      “Thank you, Jenny!” Catherine burst sarcastically, gesturing to the room full of people. “Thank you for
that announcement!”
      
      “Cathy, look around you. This is New York City... they don’t care!” Jenny went back to her attempt at
a confidential conversation. “Okay, you have to tell me all about it!”
      
      “I don’t believe this.” Catherine buried her face in her hands. “This isn’t happening!”
      
      “No!” Jenny tried to clear Catherine’s hands away from her face. “Don’t be embarrassed. Cath,” she
dropped her voice, true secrecy this time, “not to be crude but, you haven’t gotten laid in almost eight
years.” She went back to her normal tone, discretion thrown to the wind. “If I were you, I’d be shouting it
from the rooftops right about now.”
      
      A smile began to grow at the corners of Catherine’s mouth, and her cheeks flushed a bright pink.
She giggled slightly, her gaze dropped to her coffee again. She could feel Jenny’s stare, waiting
apprehensively. This was okay. It was okay to be in love again. Quickly, she took a deep breath,
covered her warm face with her hands, and then pushed her hair back behind her ears. “I feel like a
teenager!”
      
      “I’ll bet!” Jenny leaned across the table again. “Look at how red you are! It must’ve been some night!”
      
      “Oh, Jen...” Catherine gave another audible breath, “words do not describe!”
      
      “Oo!” Jenny finally just jumped into the chair next to Catherine, elated at the open conversation she
was now granted. “You have to tell me all!”
      
      “I don’t know...” she was smiling and she couldn’t stop, “he was so different! Before, he was always
so shy. He was unsure of himself, and truly afraid. We walked on eggshells around each other for a year!
But last night...” she closed her eyes and sighed dramatically.
      
      “That good, huh?” Jenny’s eyes were wide, excitedly talking in the story.
      
      “Jenny... I woke up this morning and I thought I had dreamt it.” She smiled ironically. “Until I tried to
walk.” Catherine sipped her coffee and watched her friend’s eyes widen even further.
      
      “Wow.” Jenny stated blandly, as if unsure how to respond. “Does he have a brother?”
      
      Catherine laughed, a full laugh. She thought about answering the question, but quickly decided
against it. “What about Greg?”
      
      “Yeah... Greg’s nice.” Jenny sighed with no real conviction behind her words.
      
      “Oh, come on! You two get along great!” Catherine attempted to encourage this relationship for the
hundredth time.
      
      “Catherine,” Jenny leaned toward her in confidence, “I have a life, but it’s not much of one. Yours is
much more exciting! It’s like a soap opera that I can’t stop watching.”
      
      “Um... thank you?” Catherine took a gulp of coffee.
      
      “You’re welcome.” Jenny nodded sincerely. “Okay... so, it is now the day after some of the most
amazing sex of your life! Now what?”
      
      Catherine shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine.”
      
      “Well, I mean... what about Vincent? Where does this leave you guys?”
      
      “No idea.” Catherine shook her head. “We have talked. I know that he had no idea that I was
pregnant... we’ve moved past all of that. Honestly, Jenny... I don’t want to think about what’s going to
happen now. I just... I just want to be swept away by him for a little while before I try to over-think it.”
      
      Jenny was quiet for a minute, and then spoke the softest she had since Catherine walked in.
“Wow... it sounds like a fairytale.” The two high school friends shared a smile that took a while to fade.
“Do you love him, Cathy?”
      
      “I always have, Jenny.” Catherine spoke with no shyness or embarrassment. “Since the day I heard
his voice, I’ve been in love with him.”

*************************************************************
      Sweeping his thick mane away from his perspiring forehead, Catherine reveled in the feel of his
breath gliding across her neck. She kissed his head gently, and was awarded a kiss at the base of her
neck in return. He was breathing heavily on top of her, but the weight of him wasn’t uncomfortable yet
and she wanted to keep him held to her breast for as long as possible. She felt a small chuckle come
from him. “You’re smiling.” She stated with a smile of her own.
      
      “You’re wonderful.” Vincent kissed her collarbone and gave a sigh that rolled across her chest.
              
      She ran her fingers lightly down his cheek until she captured his chin and lifted his eyes to hers. Sea-
foam green locked with ocean-deep blue. “Why?”
      
      Vincent tilted his head so that his cheek was cradled in her palm. “Why what?”
      
      She shook her head silently for a moment, a bit of the amazement on her face illuminated in the dark
room. “Why me? Out of all the women who’ve ever fallen for you... why me?”
      
      Vincent, slowly and carefully, slid upward and captured her lips in a deep kiss. He held her there,
sinking deeper into the pillow until both lost their breaths, and he trailed his kisses back down her throat
until he was nestled back into her breasts. “No other woman has ever loved me, Catherine.”
      
      “Vincent,” she rolled her eyes, even though he didn’t see it, “don’t even try to play that card.”
      
      “No, honestly.” He implored, never raising his eyes to hers. “They’ve been curious, infatuated, in
need of comfort so much so that they’ve projected their need to me. But none of them... none but you,
have ever truly, purely,” he chuckled, “and stubbornly loved me.”
      
      She sighed, satisfied, as she stroked his hair and let her eyes drift closed.
      
      “Of course,” he began again, the hint of a joke in his tone, “it doesn’t hurt that none of these other
women have ever been the mother of my children either.”
      
      The couple giggled for a few seconds and then again fell into blissful silence. Slowly, after a deep
sigh, Catherine rolled her head to face her open window.
      
      “I heard you today.” Vincent stated quietly.
      
      “Did you?” Catherine smiled, hoping that the sun would never rise as she starred at the skyline.
      
      “Mm.” He nodded. “I was at the River of Voices. You were arguing with someone.”
      
      “I could have been anywhere then.” She closed her eyes. Maybe, as small children often believe, if
she closed her eyes, the daylight would never reach them. “There’s a hole in the case I’m working on. I
ended up at the office for half the day.”
      
      “Yes... that explains your anxiety today.” Vincent mumbled, nuzzling at her neck.
      
      Catherine’s eyes opened slowly and she lifted her head off the pillow, forcing him to look at her.
“Vincent... did you sense me today?”
      
      Once again, no answer, he just kissed her, pressing her back into the bed, and shifting his weight to
relieve her for the minutes that he held her captive. Finally he rolled off onto his back and pulled her
along side of him. She cuddled close into his side and tangled her legs with his.
      
      Positions switched, Catherine kissed the crook of his neck and then set her chin on her hand,
looking up at him. “When Anna was five, she started Kindergarten. But I was always getting phone calls
that she was leaving the class when the teacher wasn’t looking. They always found her though. Another
teacher down the hall had a collection of Shakespeare’s works. She couldn’t read most of it yet, but the
book had illustrations, and they would find her sitting all alone in the classroom just staring at the
pictures. Those were the moments that I missed you the most.”
      
      Vincent smiled, imagining his little girl absorbed in the stories her father loved. He ran his hand the
length of Catherine’s back repeatedly as he told his story.
      
      “Jacob was three the first time I took him into the park. He wouldn’t sleep, and he wouldn’t let me
leave, so I brought him with me. It was a full moon that night, I wanted him to see it. But when we finally
were out in a clearing large enough, he was upset to the point of tears. He was so disappointed that it
wasn’t brighter. He had wanted to see everything in it’s full illumination and hated the moon for not being
bright enough. He didn’t speak to me for a day and a half because I wouldn’t allow him to climb a tree
later that night. The next week I took him back and let him climb it.” Vincent pulled her close and kissed
her hair. “He never looked so like you as he did that night. So happy to be precariously balanced in the
branches, so far away from the earth.”
      
      Catherine breathed in Vincent’s scent as she imagined little Jacob looking out at the park as she
had done as a child. Her heart lurched for a second and she suddenly realized how her father had felt as
he watched his little girl climb into those dangerous branches.
      
      “I’m starting to fall asleep.” She stated listlessly, some time later.
      
      “You’ve had a difficult couple of days.” Vincent pulled her hair away from her face.
      
      “Oh!” She began dreamily, “I almost forgot. Jenny got tickets for she and Anna to go to this children’
s museum exhibit. It’s tomorrow. I hate to cut off her time with you, but Jenny’s been trying for weeks to
get these tickets, and...”
      
      “It’s alright.” He spoke soothingly, only lulling her into a deeper sleep. “To tell the truth, I’ve hardly had
time with them. She’s made some fast friends down there.”
      
      “Really?” Catherine’s eyebrows wrinkled against her closed eyes. “She’s never made friends up
here.” She yawned. “Not even one close friend... until Jacob.” She was slipping into the cocoon of sleep.
      
      “She’ll be ready, noon tomorrow. You can pick her up at the park entrance.” Vincent spoke hurriedly
to be sure she heard before she fell asleep.
      
      Catherine nodded and nuzzled into his side. “How long will you be here?” She added, already lost in
dreamland
      
      “Forever.” He whispered in her ear and he watched her fall into sleep with the sweetest smile across
her lips.
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