By Dawn Yzaguirre
Father looked up from the chessboard at his regal son and thought. In the 13 years since Catherine’s death, he has hardly aged at all. Aloud he said, "So where is that grandson of mine?"
Vincent didn’t look up from contemplating his next move. "I believe that he and Thomas are helping Brooke and Jamie with the younger children."
Father nodded. "Has he gone above recently?"
Vincent knew that Father worried about Jacob's trips out of the tunnels. "Not in a few weeks." Then he sighed. "Father I realize that you don't agree with my decision to allow Jacob to go above at times but please try to understand. I want him to be as much a part of the world above as he can because his mother came from that world."
Father nodded. "Yes, and it is that world that deprived him and you of having Catherine here all these years."
Vincent put down the chess piece that he was holding and looked at his parent once again. "Not a day goes by that I don't think about that," he whispered. "Every time I look at Jacob I’m reminded that even though I have him and he’s safe, that neither one of us has Catherine."
Father could hear the sadness in his son's voice. He reached over and put his hand on Vincent's. "I didn’t mean to upset you. I just worry about both of you."
Vincent nodded. "I know Father, but as I said before I can't and won't deprive Jacob of his chances to experience the beautiful parts of the world above these tunnels."
At that moment Jacob and Thomas bounded into the chamber.
"Dad, I’ve been looking for you."
Vincent smiled and rose. "Well it seems that the two of you have found me."
"May I go above with Brooke and Jamie when they take the younger kids to play ball in the park?"
Vincent glanced at Father a moment then looked back at his son and his young friend. "Are you going, Thomas?"
The blonde haired boy nodded. "Yes, my mom said that as long as I did as Jamie and Brooke said I could go."
Vincent nodded then looked at his son again. "Well I have the same rule. As long as you do as you are told by Jamie and Brooke you may go."
Jacob walked over and hugged his father. "I love you."
Vincent tightened his arms around his son. "And I love you."
Jacob backed out of his arms. "We better get to Jamie's chamber before they leave without us."
The two boys turned and ran out of the chamber.
As this was happening, Catlyn Channing entered the park. She had just arrived in New York, but for some unknown reason felt very comfortable. She had lived for the past five years in Chicago after getting out of the hospital in Washington, where she had been in a very deep coma that had erased all of her memories of her past. She had no idea what her true identity was or even if she had any family that were worried about her. All she knew was that she had been taken hostage by a very dangerous man and injected with an overdose of morphine that should have been lethal but had instead put her into the coma. That was all that the doctors were willing to share with her, even though she believed that they might have known more than they were willing to admit.
Catlyn walked toward a large drainage tunnel where she saw a group of children playing ball. She sat down on a nearby bench and watched. The doctors had also told her that she had apparently given birth at one time before her coma and now all she could do was wonder where her child was and if he or she was all right. Her thoughts were interrupted when something hit her foot. She looked down and saw the ball that the children had been kicking. She reached down and picked it up, then looked up to see if the children were looking for it.
A moment later she saw a tall tawny haired boy standing in front of her.
"Is this yours?"
Jacob smiled and nodded. "Yes, it got away from me and my friends."
Catlyn smiled and gave the ball back to him. "What’s your name?"
Jacob thought for a moment about not answering but he felt an unusual connection to this woman. "Jacob."
Catlyn held out her hand to him. "My name is Catlyn."
Jacob extended his hand and shook hers tentatively.
"Do you and your friends live near here?"
Jacob was unsure of how to answer her question since he could not say anything about the tunnels. So he answered her as truthfully as he could. "Yes, we live close by."
Catlyn moved over on the bench. "Can you sit with me and talk for a moment?"
Jacob knew that he should not be talking to a stranger but he sat down. "Yes but only a moment. I might get into trouble."
"Do you live with your family?"
Jacob shifted slightly uncomfortable. "Yes I live with my father and my grandfather."
Catlyn noticed instantly that he did not mention his mother at all. "What about your mother?"
Jacob looked down a moment and shook his head. "My mother died the night I was born."
Catlyn put her hand on his shoulder. "Oh Jacob I am very sorry."
At that moment they heard Jamie calling. "Jacob? Where are you?"
Jacob rose and looked at Catlyn again. "I better get back."
Catlyn also rose from the bench. "I hope we can talk again."
They shook hands once again, and Jacob ran back through the bushes to rejoin the others. Catlyn smiled as she watched him disappear. She picked up her purse and left the park on her way to the apartment that she had just rented. The FBI had supplied her with enough money to live on until she was able to find a job. They had told her that she was an attorney before but they hadn’t told her that she worked at for the District Attorney of Manhattan.
Over the next few weeks, Jacob and Catlyn continued to meet in the park every afternoon. They talked about everything except things that Jacob knew he couldn’t talk about. Catlyn immediately felt a strange type of connection to him.
One afternoon a few weeks after they met Catlyn stood just outside the drainage tunnel. Jacob had told her that he would meet her there when she came to see him. But on this day Jacob was not there to meet her. She looked around for a moment thinking that she had gotten the days mixed up. She was just about to leave when Jacob came out of the drainage tunnel. "Hi Catlyn, sorry I am late."
Catlyn turned around happy that he had come after all. "Hey there! I thought you weren’t going to come."
Jacob walked back into the drainage tunnel. He and Catlyn always talked inside just beyond the secret door so that no one in the park would see them. Catlyn sat down on the sand and looked up at the young boy in front of her. She patted the area beside her. "Come sit down." Jacob sat down beside her on the sand. "I had to finish my chores before I came to see you."
Catlyn put her hand on his shoulder. "Well, that’s very important."
Jacob looked down a moment try to get the courage to ask her what he wanted to ask. "Catlyn, when you remember your past, if you leave, will you forget about me?" She looked at him startled. "No Jacob we’ve only known each other for the last few weeks but I feel as if I’ve known you all your life." She put her arm around his shoulders and pulled him close to her side. "You’ll always be very special to me no matter where I go."
After a moment, she could see that he seemed to have something else on his mind. "What else is bothering you, Jacob?"
He looked up at her again for a moment then looked down at the sand. He ran his hand through the grains and let them fall through his fingers as he spoke again. "Today would’ve been my parent’s anniversary."
Catlyn pulled him even closer. "Oh sweetie I’m so sorry," He was trying valiantly not to cry thinking that it was not something that a 13 year-old did. "How long were they married?"
Jacob shook his head and looked at her again. "It wasn’t that kind of anniversary."
Catlyn was confused. "What of kind anniversary was it?"
Jacob took a deep breath before speaking again. "The night my parent’s met my father saved my mother’s life after someone had attacked her."
Suddenly Catlyn had a flash of memory, quickly gone again. Jacob noticed this and became very concerned. "Are you okay?"
She came back to reality after a moment and saw the concern on his face. "I’m fine."
Jacob could see that whatever was on her mind had a great affect on her. "Did you remember something?"
Catlyn shrugged her shoulders. "I think so but I’m not sure."
Jacob moved back and looked at her intently. "Do you remember what it was?"
Catlyn thought a moment then shook her head. "No it's gone again." She had told Jacob about having amnesia after she learned that like her his mother had been kidnapped.
Jacob rose from the tunnel floor and dusted off his jeans. "I have to get back before my Dad starts to worry."
Catlyn rose from the sandy floor also. "Okay, I’ll see you again very soon."
He walked her out of the drainage tunnel and watched her disappear. As he opened the secret door and made his way back into the tunnels he decided to ask his father and grandfather if they could introduce Catlyn as a new helper.
He arrived at Father’s chamber a few minutes later and found him there with Vincent. They were looking over some plans for the new guest chambers that were going to be built.
Vincent looked over his shoulder when he heard the footsteps. "There you are I was starting to get a bit worried."
Jacob came down the steps and sat down in his father’s chair. Vincent and Father looked at one another both noticing that Jacob seemed a bit quieter and subdued than usual. Father put his hand on his shoulder. "Are you all right?" Jacob looked up at them suddenly not sure of how to broach the subject of bringing Catlyn to the tunnels as a helper.
"Dad, can I talk to you and Grandfather about something?"
Vincent looked at Father a moment then at his son. "Of course you know you can talk to us about anything. He noticed the apprehension in Jacob’s eyes. "Are you all right?"
Jacob looked up at them again. "Yes, I’m fine."
Father sat down at his desk. "Mary said that you went up to the drainage tunnel again."
Jacob looked down again. He knew that his Grandfather did not like it when he went above. "Yes,"
Vincent could tell through the bond that Jacob was very apprehensive about something. He walked over and knelt down by the chair that Jacob was sitting in. He reached out and placed his hand under his chin lifting it until their eyes met. "What’s troubling you?"
Jacob sighed and began to speak. "I want to ask you and Grandfather something but I think you’ll be mad at me." Vincent chuckled softly. "How do you know how we will react unless you ask?"
Jacob swallowed and began to speak. "A few weeks ago when Thomas and I went above to the park to play with the other I met a woman while we were there."
Father sat back in his chair. "Did you speak to her?"
Jacob looked at his Grandfather. "Yes, we talked for a few minutes."
Vincent turned back to Jacob and placed his hand on his shoulder again. "You know that you’re not to talk to anyone from Above that you don’t know."
Jacob looked at him again. "I know, Dad, but I felt very safe with Catlyn."
Vincent looked at Father, who shook his head wearily.
"What do you know about her?"
Jacob began to tell them what Catlyn had told him. "She just got to New York a while before I met her," he began. "She had been living in Chicago after getting out of the hospital."
Vincent said, "What was wrong with her?"
"She was in a coma."
Father shook his head. "That’s very sad."
Jacob nodded in agreement. "Yes, and now because of the coma she can't remember anything about herself or her past."
Vincent turned and looked at him again. "Her real name isn’t Catlyn?"
Jacob shook his head. "No, the doctors let her pick out a new name when they let her out of the hospital."
Father sighed. "Jacob, as I said before it is very sad what this woman has had to endure, but what does this have to do with us?"
Jacob looked at his Grandfather again. "I want her to become a helper."
Father and Vincent looked at each other once again. They were both silent for a moment. Father was the first one to speak. "Jacob, you know that we must know everything we can about the people we choose as helpers."
Jacob sighed and looked down once again. "I know but couldn’t you have Uncle Peter or Uncle Joe speak to her before you say no?"
Vincent rose from his kneeling position and turned to Father. "We could do that couldn’t we?" He knew through the bond that he shared with Jacob that this was very important to his son.
Father thought for a moment. "I suppose we could."
Jacob smiled and rose. "Really?"
Father and Vincent both smiled. "Yes really." Vincent sobered again. "But you must accept our decision when Uncle Peter and Uncle Joe tell us about her, no matter what that decision turns out to be."
Jacob hugged him. "I will, but I know you will accept Catlyn. She’s great!" With that he ran from the chamber.
Once he was gone Vincent turned to Father again. "Thank you for indulging him."
Father chuckled. "I could hardly tell you "no" when you were a child; how can I do that to him?" After a moment, he became serious once again. "I’ll send a message to Peter asking him to come below this evening."
Vincent said, "I think Jacob should be here so that he can tell him about her."
Vincent moved over and stood beside Father’s chair. "I’m going to see what Jacob is doing." He leaned over and kissed Father’s forehead. "Don’t worry Father. As we told Jacob, if Peter and Joe aren’t comfortable with this woman we won’t bring her to the tunnels."
Father nodded. "I know, Vincent. I just hope that whatever decision we make it doesn’t end up breaking Jacob’s heart." Vincent agreed with a look, then left the chamber to find his son.
Later that night Peter arrived at Father’s chamber. He smiled as he entered. "Hello everyone."
Jacob jumped up from his chair when he heard his voice. "Grandpa Peter!" He exclaimed as he ran to him.
Peter chuckled and hugged the boy. "Hey there big boy how are you doing?"
Jacob giggled. "I’m great!"
Peter put his arm around the boy’s shoulder then moved down the steps and sat down. "Your message sounded very mysterious."
Father nodded. "Yes, I know."
Peter was mystified. "So what’s going on?"
Father answered. "A while back Jacob met a woman in the park and now he wants to bring her below to be introduced as a new helper."
Peter was surprised. He knew that Jacob wasn’t supposed to speak to strangers. He looked at Jacob. "How did you meet her?"
Jacob looked at his father, who smiled and nodded for him to explain. "Tell Grandpa Peter what you told us,"
Jacob looked at Peter again and started to speak. "A few weeks ago Thomas and I went with Jamie and Brooke to take the younger kids to the park." Peter listened intently as the boy spoke. "While we were there playing ball it got away from us so I went to get it that’s when I met a woman named Catlyn."
Peter opened a pocket notebook and took out his pen. "Do you know her entire name?"
Jacob nodded. "She told me her name was Catlyn Channing." Peter wrote the name down.
Vincent put his hand on Jacob’s arm. "Tell him about the amnesia."
Peter looked up. "She had amnesia?"
Jacob shook his head. "No, she still has it." Peter wrote that down too.
"She told me that her doctors let her pick a new name."
Peter looked up at him again. "Can you tell me what she looks like?"
Jacob smiled. "She’s very pretty."
Father, Peter, and Vincent all smiled. "She has gray green eyes and long blonde hair."
Vincent seemed a bit taken back by his description of her eyes and her hair. "Is her hair really blond like little Cathy’s?"
Jacob thought a moment. "No it’s sort of brown too." Vincent nodded but did not respond.
Father noticed Vincent’s reaction but thought it not wise to speak at the moment with Jacob present. "Is there anything else you can tell us?"
Jacob thought a moment. "She has a scar in front of her left ear."
Vincent sat forward in his chair at the mention of the scar. This was uncanny! "Does she know how she got it?"
Father put his hand on Vincent’s. "It can’t be, Vincent, don’t think it!" Vincent ignored him and looked at his son again waiting for his answer.
Jacob shook his head. "No she can’t remember how she got it."
After a moment of silence Peter spoke again. "Jacob, does she know how she got amnesia?"
Jacob looked at Vincent for a moment then back at Peter. "The doctors told her that she was kidnapped like my mom."
Vincent put his arms around Jacob. "Are you all right?"
Jacob pulled back from his embrace. "Yes, it just makes me sad. Can I go now?"
Vincent looked at Peter. "Do you need anything else?"
Peter read through the notes he had taken and shook his head. "No, I think Joe can find out with this."
Vincent gave permission. "Yes you may go."
Jacob hugged him. "I love you Dad."
Vincent held him tightly for a moment. "I love you too." After Vincent released him Jacob ran from the chamber.
Once they were alone Vincent rose and started to pace.
Father was very much concerned. He knew what Vincent was thinking. "Vincent, it’s not possible! You know that this woman is not Catherine."
Vincent stopped pacing and turned back toward his parent. "I know that, Father. It’s just that the description of this woman is so much like her."
Peter agreed. "Yes, I have to admit the scar does sound like the one Catherine had." He rose from his seat and put his notebook in his pocket. "I’m going to contact Joe tonight and after we have talked to her we will let you know what we find out."
Vincent pulled a piece of paper from his vest. "Jacob gave this to me. It’s her address."
Peter took the note and prepared to leave. "I’ll come below as soon as I have some news."
Once he was gone Vincent sat back down in his chair. "Father, when I heard about the scar that this woman has my heart started pounding, thinking ‘what if it was Catherine?’"
Father rose and put his arm around Vincent’s shoulders. "I know, but you of all people know that isn’t possible." He then held his son as he once again relived the pain of losing the only woman he had ever loved.