Later that night after all her things had been moved below to her new chamber Catherine came to the entrance of Vincent’s chamber. She peeked inside and saw him writing in his journal. Not wanting to disturb him she turned to leave when she heard his voice. "Catherine, please come in."
She took a deep breath and entered the chamber. "I just got my things unpacked and thought that I would come see what you were doing."
Vincent capped his pen again and closed his journal. "I thought I’d get some of my thoughts down before I forget them."
Catherine moved over and touched the writing table. "You always felt better after writing things in your journal."
Vincent sighed. "Yes, it put things into perspective."
After a moment they fell into an uncomfortable silence. Catherine looked down and shook her head. "Why are we so nervous?"
Vincent rose and came to her. He put his arms around her pulling her close. "It’s been a long time since the two of us have been together we just need time."
Catherine lifted her head and looked into his blue eyes. "Do you think time will help?"
Vincent moved back and looked into her eyes. "Catherine neither of us can predict the future."
She sighed and moved out of his arms and sat down on the bed. "How are we supposed to be parents to Jacob if we can’t get over being nervous around one another?"
Vincent walked over and sat down next to her. "I think we need to start over."
Catherine looked up at him questioningly. "Start over?"
Vincent took her hand. "Yes, I think we need to start again like we did before by spending time together."
Catherine giggled. "You mean dating?"
Vincent chuckled. "Well, we were dating before."
Catherine sighed. "Yes, I suppose we were."
Vincent released her hand and rose. "How about you, Jacob, and I go to the falls tomorrow for a picnic?"
Catherine also rose from the bed. "That would be wonderful."
With that she moved to the chamber entrance. "Well, I better get to bed it’s been a very long day."
Vincent pulled his cloak off the back of his chair. "I will walk you to your chamber."
Catherine smiled. "That would be nice."
Vincent swung his cloak over his shoulders and took Catherine’s hand then they left the chamber.
As they were walking through the tunnels Catherine looked at Vincent. "Spending the afternoon with you and Jacob was wonderful."
Vincent chuckled and looked at her. "Our son thinks you are the best."
Catherine grinned. "Well coming from him that is a great compliment."
They stopped outside Catherine’s chamber and she leaned against the tunnel wall. "Will I see you tomorrow morning?"
Vincent shook his head. "I have some work to do before we can go on our picnic and I always play a game of chess with Father."
Catherine could not help but giggle. "Do you still beat him?"
Vincent joined in her laughter. "More than he cares to admit."
Catherine moved away from the tunnel wall and put her arms around Vincent’s neck. "Goodnight Vincent."
He put his arms around her and held her close for a moment. "Goodnight Catherine." They released one another after a moment and Catherine walked into her chamber as Vincent turned and walked back toward his own.
When he arrived he took off his cloak and once again laid it over his chair. Sitting down at his writing table he took out his journal and pen again. Collecting his thoughts for a moment he uncapped the pen and began to write.
I have never been this happy in my life. Catherine is alive and she is once again home with Jacob and me. But there is an uncomfortable tension between us that frightens me. I want so much to have things the way they were before any of the ugliness occurred. I even want things between us to move forward. Catherine has been through so much over the last 13 years and I know that we need time but that does not make it easy for either Jacob or us.
This afternoon before he went off with his friends he asked me if Catherine and I would ever be together again. I could only tell him that in time hopefully things would get easier but that regardless of how things were between us that we would always be here for him.
After closing his journal and recapping the pen Vincent rose. He thought of going to bed and trying to sleep but decided that he needed time to himself so he once again put on his cloak and left the chamber heading for the falls. He wanted to be alone so that he could think. He was overjoyed by Catherine’s return but at the same time her return brought back so many feelings and questions that he had tried to forget over the years. He still had no memory of the night that Jacob was conceived and had resigned himself that he would never remember but now that Catherine was back the same question of how it was between them that night came back. He knew that he should ask Catherine but he was not sure that he could not right now at least. Maybe in time as they grew closer he could find that courage.
The next morning Catherine awoke when she heard someone calling her name from the tunnel. "Catherine, dear are you awake?" Rising Catherine put on her robe. She moved over and lifted the tapestry to see Mary’s smiling face. "I thought you might want to eat your breakfast in peace so that we can visit."
Catherine moved aside so Mary could enter. "I would love that."
Mary put the tray down on the table and took a seat.
Catherine sat down in the other chair and uncovered the tray. She smiled when she saw the variety of food before her. "William is trying to fatten me up isn’t he?"
Mary chuckled. "He did remark as I was getting your tray that you seemed too thin."
Catherine also chuckled. "I will have to thank him later."
Mary noticed that Catherine seemed preoccupied. "Dear, are you all right?"
Catherine looked at her and shook her head. "I’m so confused right now."
Mary touched her hand. "Well, maybe you need to talk to someone about it."
Catherine put down her fork and took a deep breath. "I thought being here with Vincent again would be easier than this."
Mary smiled when she realized what Catherine was talking about. "It’s been 13 years Catherine, a lot has changed for both you and Vincent."
Catherine sighed. "Do you think we will come through this and be together?"
Mary squeezed Catherine’s hand for a moment. "Give yourselves some time you have a lot of catching up to do."
Catherine shook her head. "Jacob wants us to be together just like his friend’s parents."
Mary smiled. "Jacob is a boy he doesn’t understand that you and Vincent can’t just pick up where you left off you need to get reacquainted."
Catherine looked at her once again and smiled. "He told me last night that he wants to start over by spending time together like we did before."
Mary patted her hand. "That sounds like the first step."
Catherine picked up her fork again. "We’re going on a family picnic with Jacob this afternoon."
Mary nodded. "I heard Jacob telling Thomas this morning he is very excited about it."
Mary removed her hand from the table and took something out of her pocket. "I thought you and Vincent might enjoy this."
Catherine took the folded up piece of paper and opened it. She read the flier then smiled. "The Grieg piano concerto is playing in the park?"
Mary patted her hand again. "I know how you and Vincent love that piece."
With that she rose. "I need to go see to the younger children and you need to eat."
Catherine stood and embraced her. "Thank you for the advice."
Mary moved back and cupped her cheek. "Just give yourselves time Catherine everything will work out."
With that Mary turned and left the chamber. Catherine sat back down at the table and looked at the paper again. She smiled as she read it. This sounds perfect for us. Folding the paper again she began to eat her breakfast.
That afternoon Vincent was sitting in Father’s chamber trying to concentrate on his moves in their chess game but not having much luck. Father noticed that he seemed preoccupied and touched his hand. "Do you want to talk about it?"
Vincent looked up at him. "I thought things would be easier."
Father smiled patted his hand. "Vincent, you and Catherine have 13 years to make up its going to take time."
Vincent sighed and put the piece in his hand back on the board. "I want things to be the way they were before."
Father looked down a moment then spoke. "Both of you have changed in the last 13 years things may never be just as they were before."
Vincent rose from the chair and started to pace. "Father, yesterday when I saw Catherine again after all these years it was as though nothing had changed but as we spent time together with Jacob yesterday afternoon I realized just how much things have truly changed between us."
Father looked up at him. "Do you still love her?"
Vincent stopped pacing and turned to face his parent again. "Yes, that is one thing that has never changed."
Father smiled. "Well Vincent the rest will come in time all you need to do is take it day by day."
Vincent sat back down in his chair. "You’re right, I guess I am just letting my fears get the best of me."
The tunnel elder reached out and patted Vincent’s hand again. "Don’t let that happen it will just make things more difficult for you, Catherine, and for Jacob."
Vincent squeezed the older man’s hand. "Thank you for your advice."
Father chuckled. "I’m glad I could help now do you think you could start challenging me in this game?"
Vincent laughed at his teasing. "Of course but remember you asked for it."
At 3:00 Vincent, Catherine, and Jacob were on their picnic at the falls. Vincent and Catherine were sitting on the blanket watching as Jacob swam. "He loves the water."
Catherine looked over at Vincent. "Just like you." Vincent met her gaze for a moment then looked away. Catherine took out the paper that Mary had given her that morning. "Mary gave this to me earlier." He took the paper and opened it.
After reading it he refolded it and handed it back to her. "Do you want to attend?"
Catherine smiled. "I think it would be a wonderful first date."
Vincent reached out and took her hand lifting it to his lips kissing it tenderly. "I agree."
Catherine put the paper back in her pocket. "So four weeks from tonight at our music chamber?"
Vincent smiled one of his rare smiles. "Yes, four weeks from tonight."
At that moment Jacob called out from the water. "Mom, Dad you should come in the water’s great."
Catherine stood. "I will."
She looked at Vincent. "Are you going to join us?"
He shook his head. "Not right now, I think I’ll just watch." She moved to the bank and dove in.
When she came up she shook the water off her face and smoothed her hair back. "You don’t know what you’re missing."
Vincent chuckled. "I’ll join you in a while just go have fun with Jacob." Catherine nodded then swam toward the area where Jacob was. Vincent watched her as she swam. He noticed immediately that her body hadn’t changed that much over the years. Suddenly the old desires that had remained tucked away deep in his heart for the last 13 years began to surface. He swallowed trying to control his emotions so that they did not travel through the bond he shared with Jacob. When he was sure that they were under control again he rose and after removing his cloak dove into the water to join his family.
After their picnic they returned to Vincent’s chamber and found Thomas waiting. "What’s going on, Tommy?"
The dark haired boy smiled at his friend. "Some of us are going exploring in the lower tunnels and I wanted to find out if you wanted to come along."
Jacob looked at his parent’s. "May I go?"
Vincent looked at Catherine. "What do you think?"
Catherine stared at him for a moment stunned by his question but she quickly recovered. "Is the area safe?"
Thomas bobbed his head. "My parents would never let me go if it wasn’t, besides Kanin is going with us."
Catherine felt a bit more at ease hearing this. "Well, it’s all right as long as you are very careful."
Jacob hugged her. "Thanks Mom." He hugged Vincent then the boys turned and ran down the tunnel to find their friends.
Once he was gone Catherine turned and hugged Vincent. "Thank you."
Vincent moved back and stared at her. "What are you thanking me for?"
Catherine smiled. "For letting me make the decision."
Vincent cupped her cheek in his large hand. "Catherine, you’re Jacob’s mother and you have just as much right to make decisions for him as anyone."
Catherine closed her eyes for a moment enjoying the feel of his hand on her face.
Vincent moved closer to her. She closed her eyes feeling his warm breath touch her face. "I have to kiss you." Catherine opened her eyes shocked at his whispered statement but before she could say anything his mouth was on hers. The kiss continued for the next few minutes until they both needed to break for much needed air in their lungs.
Catherine laid her forehead against Vincent’s as her breathing returned to normal. "We’re going to be okay."
Vincent swallowed the lump that had built up in his throat. "Yes, I think we are."
After a moment more they parted. Vincent took her hand in his. "Come let’s go to my chamber and I’ll read to you."
Catherine laid her head against his arm. "I’d love that." They started walking down the tunnel lost in their thoughts and the memories of their first kiss since Catherine’s return.