And Then There Were Two

    Sleep was when he was most vulnerable. In the waking hours there was no trouble pushing everything
away, closing off the Bond. But... though he had gone away to attempt to forget his Catherine, he found
himself unable to think of anything else. His Catherine; hours, days, weeks, months he had tried to erase
that possessive phrase from his memory. For three years he had kept himself on a tight rein while he was
with that beautiful, delicate creature. So many urges and temptations diverted and suppressed during
those precious moments alone with her. The ironic tragedy of it was that now, after everything that
happened, those urges swelled in him with infinitely more power. While he was awake he could keep all of
that at bay more firmly.
    
    But what happened in his dreams, he could not control. That day... ‘the incident’, became a reoccurring
dream. Those dreams seemed to have opened a floodgate of sexual fantasies that played themselves out
every night. It was rare for him to not dream of anything sexual, but even when he did, it was still of
Catherine. The Bond seemed to peak open in his sleep where he found his Catherine again. He never
saw her or heard her in these dreams. They were mere platonic emotions. It was always a jumble of
feelings, as if Catherine couldn’t decide what emotion to wear this-or-that day. But, at the root of all of it
was beyond sadness, it was despair. He would assure himself that the pain would fade in time, for both of
them. But the months progressed and each time the uncommon dream would creep it’s way in, the
despair seemed to be much more terrible than the last time.
    
    This night was a first. The dream flared and sparked in his subconscious. The heat, the passion, the
friction all reaching their height together. And then it stopped... it was gone. No star-bursting climax, and
no horrible sight of her blood on his hands; just no conclusion. The Bond opened suddenly, unexpectedly.
Catherine was in pain... terrible pain. Every muscle in his body ached along with hers. His abdomen
clenched and released with the shooting pains. She was bleeding.
    
    He awoke to the pains, nearly sending his body into convulsions. His first instinct was to run to her.
Fear emanated from her. And then his name. He heard her, as if she were somewhere in the distance,
calling to him, screaming his name.
    
    He didn’t move. He hardly breathed. He was too afraid that the rise and fall of his chest would be just
enough initiative to make him run to her. But he wouldn’t. He couldn’t. To run to her would be to claim her
as his own. No, someone else would have to be trusted to care for her now.
    
    “Vincent!!”
    
    He grabbed his ears, clinging tightly, breaking skin.
    
    “Vincent, help me!!”
    
    He rocked feverishly, holding his head with furious determination, and forcing himself to recite
something... anything!
    
    “Vincent, please!!”
    
    He threw back his head and let out a deafening roar to drown out sweet Catherine’s cries.

****************************************************************************************************
    “Vincent!!” More of an outcry of pain than the actual formation of a name.
    
    Mary smoothed back Catherine’s sweat soaked hair, trying desperately to calm the woman who was
near convulsions. “Shh. Catherine, honey, it’s going to be alright.”
    
    “Oh God, Mary, it hurts!” She cried out. “It hurts so badly! Make it stop! Please!”
    
    “I know. I know.” Mary cooed. “Don’t think about the pain, sweetheart. Alright?” She glanced at Father,
painstakingly preparing a sedative at just the right dosage. “Catherine, listen to me, dear.”
    
    “I can’t! I can’t! It hurts!”
    
    “Just listen, Catherine.” Mary kept her calm, smooth-as-silk voice. “Father’s going to make the pain
stop. You’ll be able to sleep. And when you wake up...”
    
    “No! No!” She grunted and whined, squirming for comfort, but achieving the opposite.
    
    “Catherine, are you listening? When you wake up, you will be a mother. You’ll have a beautiful baby.
Catherine...” Mary captured the poor woman’s grappling hands. “Hold on, sweetheart. Just hold on.” She
looked back over to Father.  “Jacob, are you almost finished?”
    
    He sighed heavily. “This is the best I can make it. Let’s pray it puts her out.” He took a deep breath with
a silent prayer and injected Catherine’s arm that Mary held still.
    
    The two elders watched Catherine closely and within the minute her thrashing calmed. She took
labored breaths and finally one deep breath, lulling her into sleep.
    
    Mary released Catherine’s hands, folding them across her chest peacefully. “What do we do now?”
    
    “I’ve done all I can to stop the bleeding,” Father rubbed his eyes. “Peter should be here soon. I don’t
want to continue without him.”
    
    “Are you sure? The baby could be dying for all we know.” Mary implored.
    
    “You and I have delivered dozens of children, Mary.” He put his arm around her shoulders as they
stared at Catherine’s inflated belly. “But, Peter is a specialist... he’s been with Catherine from the
beginning. If anything... unexpected should happen... I want him here.”
    
    “Request granted.” Peter announced, entering the chamber and immediately setting to work.
    
    “I just put her to sleep.” Father informed, falling a little awkwardly into the role of assistant.
    
    “Perfect.” He rounded the bed to stand opposite Father with Catherine between them. “Let’s deliver a
baby.” He smiled, obviously forcing his confidence.
    
    Cesarians were an art commonly practiced by both doctors, and even Mary, but the complications
involved in this particular one were increasing by the moment. They couldn’t find the head at first. Then,
once finding the proper place and making the incision they found the amniotic sac to have already broken
and been expelled.
    
    But they finally reached her. A baby girl, a perfect girl, held easily in Peter’s two hands. Her skin was
already bronze and her eyes shown a bright green. Catherine was right; she had hair thickly matted to her
tiny head. Peter held her, cleaning her. She was perfect, the image of her mother as an infant. Her glazed
eyes stared back at him as if analyzing who this new person was. How could such a perfect child have
caused such a fuss? What were they seeing on that monitor to believe that this precious little girl would be
deformed?
    
    “Peter...” Father called, staring into Catherine’s womb in shock.
    
    “Father?” Peter reluctantly looked away from that sweet face.
    
    “There is another.” It was all he could get out, the puzzlement overwhelming him.
    
    Mary practically stole the baby girl out of Peter’s arms, happily taking her charge and placing the babe
meticulously in Catherine’s arms to bond. Peter peered through the masses of organ walls and blood to
find a quivering child, half the size of the baby girl. He maneuvered the child out of the womb and merely
stared.
    
    “Twins. How did we not know?”
    
    The baby boy screamed and squirmed in the cold tunnel air, being separated from the warmth of his
mother’s womb and his sister’s embrace. A towel was immediately fetched to wrap around the child, and
new instruments were found to clear his air passages. His cries never quieted, partly from the delicacy
with which he was passed around between the three adults.
    
    Peter and Father had just finished stitching up Catherine when Mary set the boy in the crook of
Catherine’s free arm. Only then did the boy’s cries quiet down. The little girl was already asleep against
her mother, but the boy remained awake, alert. His flat nose twitched and everything below it followed suit;
the cleft in his upper lip to his puckered mouth. His skin, though red and raw, was obviously much lighter
than his sister’s, more the creamy color of his mother’s. The same with the short hairs that coursed across
his face; they matched the thick honey hair that barely brushed the top of his head. The beginning of a
thick mane had already begun its growth on the baby and his cloudy blue eyes sparkled back at the awed
adults.
    
    “How is it that we didn’t catch this?” Father finally found his tongue.
    
    “I just don’t know.” Peter stared, wide-eyed. “I mean, I’ve had surprise twins before, but it’s usually with
identical twins. It rare to have surprise fraternals.”
    
    “My goodness!” Mary gasped quietly. “They’re just so beautiful!” Tears were forming in her eyes and
she blushed as she wiped them away.
    
    “He’s so small.” Father smiled, remembering how small Vincent was when he was first brought down.
    
    “She must’ve been on top of him this whole time.” Peter speculated. “He’s so small, she’s so much
bigger... we just didn’t see him. He was pressed against Catherine’s back.”
    
    “The pain.” It dawned on Father. “If he was pressed on Catherine’s spine, the slightest movement could
hit a nerve. That was why she was in so much pain.”
    
    Mary smiled ironically. “Well then he was quite an active little one!”
    
    Catherine tossed her head, moaning in discomfort. The group dispersed around her. “We had better
move the children. It’ll be a shock to her.” Mary circled to take the boy, but Father got there first, stealing
him away from her. Quickly, she scooped up the girl and followed Father to the single crib in the corner.
    
    The crib was built for one, but Father and Mary managed to fit brother and sister in together. The
children instinctually curled in to each other. The two surrogate grandparents watched, amazed, as the girl
stubbornly pulled her tiny arm out of the blanket and delicately draped it across her brother. Only then did
the little boy’s eyes flutter closed to drift into sleep.
    
    “Peter?”
    
    “Good morning, Cathy. We have a surprise for you.”




‘The Lie He Will Tell You Is True’

    It was late. So late that the tunnel world that Vincent traveled through was silent and still. No one
seemed to be awake anywhere in the hub of homes built into the earth of New York City. But that was all
the better for him. His mind reeled with the night’s activities and events. Jacob was Above for the night. It
was the first night that he had slept away from the tunnels, and he would be Above for the whole day
tomorrow. Vincent smiled, knowing that when Jacob found this out, his son would have a wish fulfilled.
    
    Jacob could spend the whole day with Anna. Anna... his sister. That honey-haired, dark-skinned child
with a smile that could brighten the entire city. She was so sincere and logical all of the time. ‘She got that
from me.’ He dreamed, bemused. She never seemed to be angry or truly sad whenever he saw her. She
was so bright and happy. Catherine had done a wonderful job.
    
    Catherine. Vincent closed his eyes as he sank into his chair, preparing to put all of this down in his
journal. He remembered everything he had seen of her tonight. The sweet smell of her freshly washed
body, the intoxicating aroma of her shampoo that had lingered on the balcony... on their battleground, and
the incredible warmth that still emanated from her, even in anger. She seemed even more beautiful to him
now; her features toughened with time as though she could battle the world, and did often. He pictured her
in his mind; her wet hair falling in her face, her steely eyes, her soft skin, her full lips. Her body clad in only
a wet bathrobe, it clung to her every curve, and the memory sent shivers up Vincent’s spine.
    
    He set pen to paper and wrote. He wrote until his hand was numb and cramped. He wrote until he
couldn’t say anymore. He wrote of Anna and any little thing he could think of to prove that she was his
daughter. He wrote of Jacob and wondered how he had found Anna in the first place, and what may have
happened had he not. He wrote of Catherine and the thoughts roaming in his mind; thoughts he hadn’t had
since, what he dubbed as, ‘the accident’. And finally he wrote of Father and the dreaded confrontation that
would have to occur the next day. Had Father been lying to him all this time?
    
    ‘Why not?’ A part of him asked. ‘He lied about Anna. There’s no doubting that Anna is my child. There
is no other way to explain the strange bond between she and Jacob.’ The connection that he had seen the
children share had left him wondering in the past, but now it made much more sense. So what else had
Father lied about?
    
    ‘He didn’t lie to you, Vincent.’ The other part of him said. ‘Why are you trusting the woman who
abandoned you and your son, over the man you have trusted for your entire life? Why would she tell you the
truth? It is obvious that she has the same loathing for Father as he has for her. Why would you trust that?’
    
    ‘But then on that basis, why am I trusting Father?’ He argued back. ‘He has been bitter about Catherine
ever since I came home. What’s to stop him from lying to spite her?’
    
    ‘This is your Father you’re talking about. The man has been protecting you for your whole life.’
    
    ‘Maybe that’s the point. He was protecting me from the heartaches I would have had to endure with
Catherine.’
    
    His hand was cramped and his eyes burning. He crawled into his bed, terrified of the events that would
ensue once he woke up. He wrapped himself in the blankets as if they would protect him from all that he
would face the next morning. Vincent let his head relax on the pillow and allowed himself to fall asleep,
visualizing Catherine and Anna, standing together, hand-in-hand until he could no longer keep his eyes
open.



    Vincent awoke quickly out of a dream he had forgotten the instant it ended, feeling as though he hadn’t
slept at all. Maybe he had only just closed his eyes, and it was still that horribly early morning hour it was
when he had finished his journal entry. But his keen ears caught the muffled hustle and bustle of the tunnel
dwellers beyond his chamber. It was definitely morning.
    
    He pulled himself out of bed weakly, his body aching with the lack of rest it needed. He used to be able
to sleep only five hours and be the first up and about in the morning. He was getting older, it was terrible to
admit. He hated the idea of not being as agile and flexible (in any and all aspects) as he used to be.
    
    Pulling on a loose shirt that he didn’t bother lacing at the top, and a pair of dark brown slacks to match,
Vincent stretched, which woke him up a little more. With a wide yawn and a rumple of his hair, Vincent
made his way across his chamber and through into the tiny living area. His eyes swept over the room,
taking in the lack of life within it.
    
    “Jacob.” He called, crossing into the boy’s chamber. “Jacob, are you awake?” There was no response.
In fact, there was no Jacob. His bed looked as though it had never been slept in. Vincent stopped,
repeating his sweep of the chamber as if he had missed something the other two... three... four times.
Immediately, Vincent spun on his heel and he was back in his own chamber in a flash, flipping through his
journal. He found the pages he had stained with ink the night before, and reread them as if a fascinating
story.
    
    He had not imagined or dreamed it! It was real. He saw Catherine last night. His daughter was
revealed to him, his son was asleep alongside her when Vincent had left. Everything had happened, even
the end had happened. He read the last page again, drinking in every word he had scribbled in his haste
to keep up with his thoughts.
    
    This was the day he would confront Father. Vincent remembered everything now. He was to take as
much of Father’s time as necessary to get the truth out of him. A dread plummeted to the bottom of his
stomach, sitting like lead in that terribly uncomfortable position.
    
    With much hesitation, but resolution, Vincent made his way out of the chamber and down to his Father’
s study. The night before replayed itself in his mind. Over and over in his mind, he stared into the intense
and driven eyes of Catherine, and saw Jacob and Anna standing between their parents, completely
unaware of any past happenings. Again and again he watched them hold each other in their innocence;
terrified of Catherine, and not sure of Vincent either. He was at the threshold of Father’s study before his
musings ceased.
    
    In the space those musings made empty came the sight of Father, old and feeble with the years,
reclining with a book blocking the view of his face. But it didn’t matter how little of the old man Vincent
could see, it didn’t ease his nerves growing tighter in his abdomen. Slowly Vincent descended the steps
and with a boost of determination, stood before his Father.
    
    Suddenly the book revealed Father’s old, wrinkled, and weakening visage. “Ah, Vincent! Good
morning. Where is young Jacob this morning?” He inquired cheerily. Usually Jacob tagged along with his
father for most of the morning, and his sudden absence seemed odd to Father.
    
    “He’s...” Vincent was going to answer truthfully, but he was determined for answers of his own before he
heard Father’s ranting. “Father, I want to ask you a question, and I want you to answer truthfully.”
    
    “Alright.” Confused, Father agreed, marking his place in his book with his finger and waiting patiently
for Vincent. Whenever he used that tone, got that look in his eyes, Father knew it would take him a
moment to collect what he was about to say.
    
    “I want to know...” Vincent stopped for a moment. And then it was as if another person inhabited his
body. This person was angry with Father, he suddenly felt betrayed, and hated the patient and pleasant
smile Father wore as he waited. It was not the other- the dark one- but, someone with infinite courage. He
simply let the words fall out of his mouth in the most indelicate nature. “I want to know why you lied to me!”
    
    “You haven’t asked me the question yet.” Father told him diplomatically.
    
    Vincent ignored him and allowed the other person to take over, for he had more courage than Vincent
at the moment. “I want to know how you could lie to Jacob for all these years! I want to know what
happened to Catherine! I want to know... about the girl. Anna.” He finished with a strong determination in
his voice that came out quietly.
    
    “Anna. Is that what she named the girl? I might have known.” Father gave his own form of admittance,
with his head bowed, avoiding Vincent’s focused face barring down on him.
    
    “Why didn’t you tell me?” Vincent insisted, getting angrier by the second.
    
    “Because,” Father began, frustrated, “I knew that the moment you knew, you would run straight to
Catherine, no matter what I said.”
    
    “That was my right. I’m Anna’s father. The child doesn’t even know I exist.” Vincent paced, every once in
a while shooting an angry look at Father.
    
    “Yes, because that’s how we planned it would be. Why do you think I don’t approve of you speaking of
Catherine to Jacob? We all arranged it so that the children could carry out normal lives with one of you, in
your places, where you belong.” He meant it in a fatherly tone, but it only came out condescending.
    
    “It was my right to know!” Vincent erupted in something of a roar. “Who were you to decide what was
best for me, for Jacob and Anna?”
    
    “I happen to be your father.” Vincent opened his mouth, but Father was quicker. “Besides, it wasn’t only
me, Vincent.” He immediately defended. “Catherine did have a hand in this too.” Vincent stopped his
pacing. “It’s time you took her down off of that pedestal, son. She is not the purest soul to ever walk the
earth... as you well remember.” He ended harshly, referencing to that topic always quickly and skillfully
avoided. “I didn’t lie to you Vincent. She did leave... with the girl, granted... but we had a meeting and we
discussed the futures of the children. This was the solution we came up with... all of us.”
    
    “Why did she leave Jacob behind?” Vincent resumed his pacing, only stopping when Father slowly
opened his mouth. “The truth!” He demanded.
    
    “I’ve told you the truth, Vincent. Jacob belonged here. She couldn’t care for him, she could the girl...”
    
    “Anna.” Vincent cut him off. “Her name is Anna.” He stared intensely at Father, who took the message.
“And... that’s not the story that Catherine gives.” He saw Father visibly go ashen. “In fact she was
overjoyed to see him again. She was afraid that I would try to take Anna away from her. Why would she
think that Father?” Vincent blatantly accused.
    
    “It seems you’ve already got a few theories of your own.” Father rubbed his eyes, more than ready to be
finished with this conversation.
    
    “Please Father,” that other person was gone, and all that was left was Vincent now, “I want to know the
truth. Tell me what really happened.”
    
    “I can’t tell you anymore that what I have, Vincent. That’s all I will say. Now I want to know the truth.”
Father could be just as determined as his son. Maybe more so. “How did you find out?”
    
    “Jacob made a new friend.” Vincent answered simply, anger edging its way into his mannerisms. “Her
name is Anna Chandler.”
    
    “I see.” Father said quietly, bowing his head.
    
    After an interminably long silence, Vincent quietly climbed the stairs out of the study and left his Father
alone in his thoughts. He spoke to no one except a child running by to his class with William. The children
had never even met Catherine, or if they had they were too young to remember her. No, they were as
innocent to this as Jacob and Anna were. But, anyone who had known her, had helped her, whom she had
helped... he suddenly had the distinct feeling that they had all lied to him... every last one.
    
    Vincent sat at the mirror pool and watched the life Above pass by. Jacob was up there among them. It
terrified him, it gave him joy, it fascinated, and it tortured. Jacob, Above, with Catherine and Anna... in the
sunlight. It must be a dream.
Back to the Fan Fiction home page
On to Part 10