was truly suffering. It was April eleventh, the day before their third
anniversary and she couldn’t think of the perfect gift to give Vincent. Since
he had recovered from his illness, she had been spending much more time Below
and finally she had found the excuse she needed to move into the tunnels. There
was a psycho killer after her and she couldn’t have been more thrilled.
he wasn’t a terribly dangerous psycho killer, although the newspaper picture of
the escaped convict she had prosecuted six months ago was wonderfully effective
at convincing everyone in the tunnels of her need for round-the-clock
protection. After all he did scream horrible threats at her as they dragged him
from his sentencing. Of course, so had a large number of other criminals, many
of whom were back on the streets also, but Catherine wasn’t terribly concerned
concern right now was Vincent’s gift. What in the world was she going to get
him? She was standing in another bookstore waiting for another clerk to find
another book that she already knew she didn’t want to give Vincent. It’s not
that Vincent didn’t like poetry books anymore, but, somehow, she just didn’t
feel right about giving him another of the same old thing.
Her last trip
to the tunnels had disheartened her even more as a few of the tunnel folk had,
by their expressions, given her the definite impression that Vincent had
something picked out to give her and, by the look in their eyes, she knew, it
was something incredible. Leave it to him to outdo me! she thought, frustrated
with her lack of imagination.
was the gifts of the years past had not really scratched the surface of
Vincent’s real personality. The first anniversary gift had been special, she
had to admit; it was from her own special possessions. But, since then,
Catherine had concentrated on giving Vincent many literary gifts, some gifts
that were designed to capture and disburse the candlelight in the chambers
below, and a few knickknacks for his collection from her world travels. Since
his illness and recovery, Catherine knew these things were not as suited to him
as she had originally thought.
There was a
unique wildness about Vincent, a restless emptiness that ached to be filled.
Since his recovery, he was far less inhibited about showing it. Catherine,
however, had no idea how to fill that emptiness, or even precisely what it was
that he needed. She just knew the gifts she had been giving him would not do,
and that there had to be something that hit the mark better than what she had
picked in the past.
illness, though frightening at the time, had done something unexpectedly
beneficial to Vincent. It was as if he was now whole, content, and more
self-assured than she had ever seen him. All of the long nights fighting his
demons, his fears, and what he considered his "other" self were at an
end. He had accepted his nature as not wholly bad or good, but only what he
truly was—a being with the capacity for both. In accepting himself, he seemed
to have altered his own existence and made a clearer path for himself. That
path, however, was not always clear to Catherine. Although Vincent’s emotions
were now much easier for her to read, indeed, he no longer considered it a
safety issue to block them from her, he had yet to discuss with her where she
fit into his new plan for himself. Lately, he even seemed to be distancing
himself more from her, although she did not feel it emotionally, only
hesitancy to discuss his new ideas with her was due to a lingering feeling of
unworthiness, which she at times still felt within him. Did he still have
trouble believing she could love him? But she suspected he hesitated mostly
because he was giving her time to get used to the "new" Vincent. He
was really a different person–still scholarly, still a poetry lover, but there
was more to him now. He had been slowly allowing her to see many of the traits,
urges, and inclinations that he had suppressed for years due to Father’s
overwhelming disapproval of anything remotely "different." What
Father didn’t realize at the time, what he had come to regret during Vincent’s
illness, was that suppressing these natural impulses was not only making
Vincent sick, but was teaching him, slowly and methodically, that he was
unacceptable, unlovable, and undesirable the way he was.
The truth was that Father was afraid. He was afraid that
people would not want Vincent around, that they would fear him if he continued
to act on his impulses. What he found, after Vincent’s illness, when Vincent
refused to suppress these traits any longer, was how wrong he’d been. No one
seemed to mind that Vincent was being himself. In fact, they seemed to rejoice
that Vincent was well and finally happy. The other tunnel dwellers had known
all along what Father had been trying to hide–Vincent wasn’t allowed to be
Vincent, and that fact saddened them. His suppression of all that was his true
nature also made him suppress much of the enthusiasm and joy that was present
in him as a small child. The more he suppressed, the more joyless he became.
Then Catherine came into his life. And although she would
hate to admit it, that’s when Vincent’s problems really came to a head. She
wouldn’t have hurt him for the world, but Father’s predictions seemed accurate
when he’d warned Vincent that their relationship could only bring pain.
Vincent, like any other man in love (truly in love), did not desire to hold
back his true nature from Catherine, but his long years of training and his
failed adolescent relationship with Lisa had only taught him to fear, not
trust, his own heart. So he continued to suppress that which he longed to
reveal, but the fight was much harder, being compounded with sexual frustration
and the rage which could not be suppressed whenever Catherine was in trouble.
He eventually lost the fight and became gravely ill, wishing for his own death
to resolve the struggle rather than reveal what he believed would drive
Catherine away for good.
But Catherine did not leave. Slowly, he came to realize that
she would never leave no matter what he did. Her love was truly unconditional.
During those first few weeks of his illness, after leaving the cavern, he had
tried all manner of shocking behavior to drive her away. Her steadfastness
finally got through to him. He saw, in her, his true worth and was able to
During his recovery he opened up more and more to her,
revealing things he never would have before. One of the first things he started
doing was purring. The first time it happened, they were in their music
chamber. The music had just ended and Vincent had his eyes closed and was
breathing softly. It looked as if he was asleep. She reached up to stroke his
hair–something he had rarely allowed before his illness–when he started softly
purring. Catherine was so surprised she laughed with delight. Vincent’s head
jerked up and he looked sheepishly at her.
"I’m sorry, Vincent, I didn’t mean to wake you."
"I wasn’t asleep, just relaxed."
"I didn’t know you could do that; purr, I mean."
Vincent looked embarrassed, "I haven’t done it in a
long time. Father always nudged me if I started purring to let me know I should
stop. I guess I got the message."
"I like it. I don’t want it to stop," Catherine
said with all sincerity. And so it didn’t. It was an incredibly soothing sound
vibrating up from his chest. She could feel an immediate difference in the way
he relaxed around her. He would stretch out in front of her very much like a
cat and revel in the attention she gave him, allowing her to brush his hair and
stroke his face. His differences that used to embarrass him so much became
merely subjects of discussion between them.
Although it was still difficult for him to reveal what he
considered large physical differences between him and other men, he was getting
used to the idea that he could be considered attractive to Catherine and even
to any woman. The fact that Catherine wasn’t the only woman to find him
attractive took him by surprise. There had been Lena, of course, but he had
always assumed that her need for comfort outstripped her need of someone
handsome (or normal for that matter).
She had since met and married a very kind man who had
recently moved to the tunnels, but her attraction for Vincent had never
entirely subsided. Rather, it took the form of someone appreciating a fine work
of art. Catherine could see that Lena still enjoyed looking at Vincent, as did
many of the women of the tunnels. It took a while for Vincent to realize that
he was the object of much admiration among the females, young and old alike.
His amazement at the idea that he could elicit such responses from these women
was almost laughable. Overall Vincent was much more comfortable with himself
than he had ever been, though he was convinced he’d never get used to being
admired for his looks.
The other changes in Vincent were another matter. Those
things which Catherine came to think of as Vincent’s "pastimes" were
more difficult for him to reveal. She still smiled when she remembered his
embarrassment at admitting that he chased mice as a child. She just laughed and
asked him if it was fun.
"Yes, but Father didn’t like it, so I stopped."
"Well, it’s fine with me as long as you don’t consider
a dead mouse a fitting present."
"You wouldn’t want me to bring you my catch of the
day?" Vincent had asked, snuggling up close to her like a cat asking for
"I’m not sure that would please me," Catherine
"Well, it would please you greatly to know how efficient
I am at keeping these tunnels rodent free."
"I thought you said you gave it up."
"I did. But by then the rodents knew me well."
Vincent snarled with a grin on his face that made Catherine laugh even harder.
Catherine smiled at the memory of those early revelations as
she glanced at the back of the musty bookshelves for some sign of the man who
had gone in search of her order. She wondered fleetingly how many mice could be
found in the recesses of this establishment. Vincent would make short work of
them, she thought.
It hadn’t really surprised her that Vincent was more catlike
than he had at first let on. There was always something about him that made her
think of the wild. Nowadays, he would go away on Fridays, since he had no
classes, and come back smelling of sweat and wood smoke and something else
almost imperceptible. It was a very attractive scent but she couldn’t quite
name it–it was a wild, hungry scent that called to her and made her want to
scream whenever he was near. And, although she had yet to admit it to Vincent,
she had developed an almost irresistible, inexplicable urge when seeing him on
Friday evenings. She desperately wanted to bite him. Thinking about it now, she
rubbed her jaw as if her teeth ached.
She wondered how she would deal with being around him on a
daily basis now that she was moving Below. She sighed, wishing she was moving
in with him. Her relationship with Vincent had stalled, almost moved backward
lately, and she was concerned that they would never get anywhere. Catherine had
once said, "If this is my fate, I accept it, gladly." Now she
wondered if she had ever really meant those words. Yes, if Vincent had been
incapable of the intimacy she craved, she would have settled for whatever she
could get. But she knew that wasn’t the case and she wanted so much more. She
also wanted to give him so much more. She closed her eyes and took a deep
breath to settle her rising emotions. It would do no good to let Vincent know
what was again on her mind. After she moved to the tunnels, he would figure it
out soon enough, and maybe then he would be unable to deny what he’d been
trying to deny for so long. She just hoped it wouldn’t take too long.
In the meantime, Catherine had the none-too-pleasant task of
choosing one of the guest chambers for her own. She had put it off as long as
she could, having trouble imagining sleeping in a chamber other than Vincent’s,
but she had to tell Father this weekend which one it would be. She groaned in
dismay at the thought.
Just then the clerk came back to tell her that the book she
had ordered had not yet arrived and that he was sorry it took so long. "We
just had a break-in and stuff is scattered all over."
"Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Well," She sighed,
"it wouldn’t have been the best gift for my man of the wild anyway."
Smiling lightly Catherine looked at him and sighed again, her frustration
"Oh, the backwoodsman type huh?"
"You could say that."
"Well, you should just send him off by himself to
fish," he said pointing at some kind of shiny silver fish mounted on a
board next to the dusty head of a deer. An odd assortment of paraphernalia for
a bookstore, Catherine mused. "We love that kind of thing," he added
Catherine nodded and sighed, realizing that maybe he was
right. More and more, Vincent was enjoying being by himself. He wasn’t just
going away to suffer like he used to; he was going away for fun now. And he
wasn’t taking her. She paused, staring blindly up at the man’s rifle behind
him. What the hell kind of a bookshop is this? she thought. But then just as
quickly realized Vincent’s penchant for both books and hunting. "Thank
you," she replied and quickly strode out of the shop with a small smile.
Vincent had been busy all week preparing Catherine’s
present. He was keenly aware, almost painfully so, that she had been feeling
neglected. He had been neglecting her for some time in his recovery and in the
adjustments he had been making to suit his new lifestyle. He had rearranged his
chamber. It had always been too cluttered for his taste. There were many things
he liked to collect but many more his father had urged him to study or collect
in order to control his urges to act "improperly".
These things were now packed away–not gone, but out of
sight. He’d laid down an old round rug he’d found in one of the lower storage
chambers. No one had wanted it because it was so rough textured. For years all
this soft stuff had been thrust upon him, and he had to admit he liked his soft
bed and an occasional nap on something soft. But, once in a while, he needed a
His fur (it was fur, not hair) bothered him from time to
time. The regular bathing that was required by Father (Vincent was required to
bathe twice a day as a teenager) dried his skin and made him terribly
uncomfortable. He did not produce the oils that most people produce over a
daily period and so his skin suffered terribly from the constant bathing. (Not
that this was one thing he was ready to give up.) He did, however, avoid
constant bathing when he was alone.
Catherine, whom he saw on Friday evenings, after a no bath
day, seemed to like his day-old scent very much and, if her flushed cheeks and
dilated pupils were any indication, she appeared to be aroused by it. This
pleased him greatly. His preparations for her move to the tunnels, which had
recently been approved by the council, were almost complete, and thinking back
on her reaction to him gave him confidence that he was doing the right thing in
these anniversary arrangements.
He sat back in his large wooden chair and looked around the
now sparse room. It wasn’t very welcoming but he liked it. He thought of
Catherine and all that she had given him in the last few months. Her love had
kept him alive, she had changed his entire outlook, she wouldn’t leave him no
matter what he did and the fact left him dumbfounded and full of gratitude. Her
sadness over the isolation she had felt lately was coming to an end. He would
see to that. He was going to make sure their anniversary was a day she would
Catherine went to the grocery store for the present she had
decided to get Vincent before heading back to her apartment. In the taxi, she
wrote some notes, thinking about Vincent all the way. She carefully placed the
notes in her purse and stepped out onto the curb. In her apartment, she placed
her gift carefully in the fridge, changed into her comfortable clothes and
quickly left her apartment to head below. Vincent wasn’t expecting her tonight.
It was Thursday and he usually left Thursday night for his mysterious Friday
trips. Catherine wasn’t sure whether or not his trip would be cancelled due to
their anniversary celebration. Usually Vincent was back by Friday evening which
would give them plenty of time to celebrate. Catherine was taking the day off work,
but she hadn’t told Vincent that, not wanting to force him to change his plans
if he didn’t wish to.
When she arrived below, rather than going to Vincent’s
chamber as she usually did, she headed straight for Father’s library. Vincent
was puzzled. He had felt her presence only after she had arrived below which
meant she was working hard to mute the bond. Perhaps she wanted to surprise
him, but when she did not show up at the entrance to his chamber, he worried
that he had somehow forgotten to meet her. He went to where he knew she was and
found her sitting and listening to Father read to the children. She looked up
at him and smiled but he knew she was sad and a little anxious. When Father
finished reading and sent the children off with Mary and Olivia, Catherine
turned to him for a full greeting.
Hugging him, she said, "I wasn’t sure I’d see you
"Where would I be?"
"Oh, well I thought you might have already gone."
"Catherine," Vincent sounded mildly shocked,
"tomorrow’s our anniversary. I’m not going away this week." He looked
down at his boots sadly. She really believed he would leave on the day of their
anniversary? He must have been even more neglectful than he’d thought. He
studied his boots for another moment—another thing he wasn’t quite ready to
give up despite the pain they caused him. No footwear fit him correctly, but he
did not like the look of his feet. He sighed thinking how lonely Catherine felt
and how silly he was being over something as simple as his feet. "I’ve
been terribly negligent lately, Catherine."
"I wouldn’t say that."
"I would. I know you’ve felt I’ve been distant. I have.
I’m still getting used to all this." He made a gesture to himself that
included his bare forearms. Vincent had recently begun wearing short sleeves
and found them exceedingly comfortable with the exception of the fact that they
bared his arms. Catherine found them incredibly sexy and had a great deal of
trouble concentrating whenever he wore a short-sleeved shirt. The women of the
tunnels also found his arms more than a little attractive, which surprised
Vincent greatly. It took him a while to get used to the peak of female emotions
whenever he wore a short-sleeved shirt. But he was beginning to like it, which
was another reason he wore them so often.
Catherine looked up at him with a look he couldn’t quite
identify. Her eyes often made him feel as if the world around him stopped
spinning. There was so much love in that look, a little sadness, and always,
always her undying acceptance of everything he did, said, and was. Suddenly his
heart overflowed with love for her and he grabbed her hand and pulled her along
to his chamber, determined to take a step in the right direction. She asked no
questions, only followed along, but when they entered his chamber he realized
that maybe he should have warned her of the changes he had recently made to it.
She stood in the entrance completely at a loss for words.
There was little left of the chamber she remembered and had come to love. His
bed was still there although it was covered with wool blankets rather than the
down comforter and handmade quilt that used to be there. There was an old
outdoor rug on the floor near the bed which screamed "pain" to any
bare foot daring to walk on it. His writing table and chair were still there,
but no other chairs were in the room. The small one she always sat on was gone.
Was she no longer welcome? There was a small set of shelves placed in a wall
recess that she had never seen before. It contained all the small gifts she had
given Vincent along with a few other books and knickknacks that he’d collected.
His steamer trunk was at the foot of the bed with his quilt and comforter on
it. The armoire was the only other piece of furniture in the room leaving lots
of space for . . .what? What could he possibly be doing in here? Catherine
looked at him and smiled weakly with a clear question on her face.
"I suppose I should have warned you. I’m
redecorating," Vincent was clearly nervous and didn’t want to go into too
much detail. "Uh . . . you know a lot of those things I had here weren’t
really my . . . taste."
Catherine looked at him, trying hard to stifle her growing
unease. "Stop this," she said to herself, "it’s just his
room." But all the welcoming comfort of the space was gone. The room where
she first met Vincent, the room where she recovered from those horrible
injuries three years ago was gone. She had never felt unwelcome in Vincent’s
"And I . . . needed more room," he continued,
keeping a close eye on her face, "I’d like to put some different furniture
in here. But not so much clutter." Vincent looked at her for some sign
that she was accepting what he’d said. After all, it was the truth if only part
Catherine was at a loss to understand this change but
Vincent seemed perfectly comfortable with it. In fact, as she looked at him,
she saw a revival of interest in his surroundings, his chamber. She thought
maybe this could be a good thing. Maybe if his chamber was comfortable for him
he would be more inclined to stay home. But, for some reason, she pictured a
straw breaking a camel’s back and for the first time since she’d started this
whole fight with Vincent’s illness, she felt the need to flee.
She looked down, having nowhere else to fix her eyes, and
quietly whispered, "I think I need to take a walk."
"All right," Vincent quickly moved toward the
armoire for his cloak.
"No, Vincent. I just . . . I think . . . I need a few
minutes alone." Vincent saw the beginning of panic in her eyes. He had
felt the need to flee often enough to recognize it in Catherine and it hurt him
to think he had caused her to feel this way.
"I’m sorry, Catherine," he replied, desperate for
something that would comfort her. He’d never felt her need to leave, not during
the worst of his behavior, his terrible illness, his recovery which included
constant mood swings. Now he’d rearranged his chamber and she was desperate to
"It’s not your fault," she said as she left his
chamber and left him standing alone.
Vincent felt her go deeper into the tunnels and his heart
relaxed. She was not going home. She was just walking. Then a moment of panic
struck him–where was she heading? No, she wasn’t going anywhere dangerous. She
was on her way to the candle chamber. She needed to talk to someone besides
him. That thought comforted and hurt him at the same moment. He was glad she
had friends down here that she could confide in. During his illness she had
become much closer to his tunnel family than anyone she knew above. But he was
saddened to think that she needed to talk to someone else, that she couldn’t
confide in him when she was upset. Vincent followed her movements through the
bond for some time. She seemed to be visiting everyone but not really staying
in any one place. Then she went to the chamber of the falls and stayed for
quite some time.
Catherine was stunned by the changes in Vincent’s chamber but
she knew it shouldn’t come as a surprise. He had changed so much in the past
few months. Not in essentials but his tastes and priorities had changed.
Sometimes she wondered if she was still on the list. Surely she was, but maybe
not at the top anymore. Along with the change in his taste for furniture, had
there been a change in his taste for her? She loved him, all of him. She knew
this. And if she had to be what he wanted her to be she would. She would show
him that she could accept, even join, his new lifestyle and be the kind of mate
he was seeking. Her mind went back to the gift she had just bought for him and
the preparations she’d made for their anniversary. She had made the right
decision. He would see her in a whole new light tomorrow.
Vincent was sitting on his bed waiting for Catherine while
tuning in to her tumultuous emotions. By the time she started her trip back to
his chamber, he knew that she had made a decision and he was scared. After all
they had been through, after all her reassurances, had he finally driven her
away? When she returned to his chamber he stood up and looked at her with
trepidation. She smiled at him and sighed. "I’m sorry, Vincent. I
definitely overreacted. I must be tired."
"Don’t be. I’ve put you through a great deal these last
few months." Vincent could feel her determination, but her love was still
there and he began to relax. Whatever decision she had come to, she would not
leave for good. Maybe she had just decided on a vacation. It might feel like
death, but he could live with that. After all, hadn’t he spent weeks at a time
away from her whenever he was upset and she’d never taken time off from him.
She was due. His realization that he deserved whatever punishment she meted out
to him began to hit him full force and he gulped back the tears that
threatened. "I . . . wanted to . . .I brought you in here to show you
something." He smiled desperately at her, trying to hide his trepidation
at what he assumed was her imminent departure.
She looked at him, not sure what to make of these feelings
coming from him so she stayed silent and waited for him to tell her what it was
he intended to show her.
"My . . . feet."
Catherine blinked and looked confused, "Your
"Yes. You said once you wondered if they were as hairy
as my hands. I just thought . . ." Vincent suddenly felt foolish and sat
on the bed to take off his boots. His boots and socks neatly on the floor,
Vincent stuck out his feet and pointed. "There you have it," he
directed her attention to them as if he were presenting a sideshow attraction,
"the biggest, hairiest, ugliest feet you’d ever want to see." He
smiled up at her to let her know he was laughing at himself.
She smiled back and came over to sit on the bed and look at
his feet. She then took off her own shoes and socks and stretched them out
beside his. At one time, the contrast would have unnerved and sickened Vincent.
Now he thought of her shoes and his, side by side, next to his bed and smiled.
"I wouldn’t say they’re the biggest," Catherine
replied with a teasing tone.
Vincent suddenly looked at her with utter amazement knowing
full well she was laughing at him. He realized suddenly that she was much more
comfortable around him now, though not entirely so, than she ever was before
his illness. She never would have dared to tease him about his hairy feet,
hands, face, or any other differences back then.
"Are you insulting my feet?" he bellowed in mock
"Maybe you should have kept your shoes on," she
retorted with a smile, "if you didn’t want to open yourself up to
Vincent groaned and lay back on the bed. "I can’t stand
those boots. No footwear is made for feet like mine. I don’t wear them when
there’s no one around."
Catherine looked at him in surprise, "Vincent, why do
you wear them at all if you don’t have to?"
"I don’t know," Vincent sighed, "I think I’m
not ready to walk around with bare feet. The other children always teased me
mercilessly about my hairy feet when I was young."
"No one’s going to tease you now. But I can at least
get a pair of shoes that are made for you."
"Catherine, it’s too risky. My feet are too
"Don’t be silly," she answered kneeling down and
taking one of his feet in her hands to examine it, "I’m assuming, from the
sores on your feet that the problem is width. There are lots of men who need
much wider shoes than are readily available in stores. All we have to do is
take a mold of your feet, the kind they provide from shoe makers. I was serious
when I said your feet are not the biggest I’ve seen. They make shoes for feet
your size all the time."
Vincent looked down at this woman who lovingly held his foot
in her soft delicate hands. She lovingly stroked his foot as if it were a pet
she was calming. It felt incredibly good and he couldn’t help purring his
pleasure. She smiled up at him and he could feel her determination returning.
He stopped purring.
"Catherine," he looked at her seriously, "I
know I’ve been very difficult over the past several months. I wouldn’t blame
you if you felt you needed some time away from me."
Catherine looked up at him mystified. What was he trying to
do? Get rid of me? No. She could feel his sorrow at the suggestion. He was
merely letting her know he understood her earlier feelings.
"Oh, Vincent. I’m so happy you’re well again. I couldn’t
bear to be away from you." She looked down at his foot, still in her hand
and lovingly stroked it again. "Even your Fridays are difficult for me. I
know you need them but . . ." She stopped, unable to say what she really
wanted to say. Take me with you. Don’t leave me.
Vincent looked at her. He wished he could tell her right now
what he had planned for tomorrow, but he wanted to wait. Just one more day. He
took her chin in his hand, lifted her face to look at him, and looked deep into
her eyes. "I love you, Catherine. Your voice stops my heart. Your name is
the sweetest music I will ever hear."
Catherine let out a soft cry, "I love you. I swear I’ll
make you happy. I will become whatever you want me to be."
Her words distressed him and he rushed to reassure her,
"You already are what I want. You have been since the moment I met
He stroked her head and she kneeled up to hug him. He
nuzzled in her hair and drank in her scent. It was almost too much for him. His
body responded to her as it had so often of late and he became dizzy. He
reached for her shoulders and felt only slight disappointment from her as he
held her at arms length. "You’ve probably got to get up early for work
She shook her head, "I took the day off."
Vincent was surprised but more than a little pleased.
"Can you spend the night below? We could celebrate all day."
His suggestion surprised her, but she had already made her
plans. "I can’t. I do have a few things to do tomorrow. But I can be here
earlier tomorrow, say after lunch?"
Vincent had a lovely picture of a romantic picnic lunch by the mirror pool or
the falls. William could help! "Can you come for lunch?"
doubt it. I’ll probably just grab something wherever I am."
Vincent looked disappointed and Catherine was momentarily
considering dropping the whole idea but then her determination took over again.
No. The plan had to be stuck to.
lunch then," said Vincent, now wondering what she could possibly be
should get going. I do have to be up early tomorrow for an appointment."
right, I’ll walk you back."
in companionable silence back to Catherine’s sub-basement where they said a
quick goodnight. Vincent again began to worry about the determination he felt
from Catherine but she smiled at him and her smile reassured him that she was
not angry or put off. He would just have to wait to see what tomorrow would
bring. His surprise would either be very well received or turn out very badly. But
he would not turn back now.