By Dawn Yzaguirre

                                                                                                                         Chapter 1

Catherine woke up and looked around the sun filled room a bit disoriented. "Are you all right my love?” Asked a familiar and wonderful voice beside her.

She turned over and smiled when she saw Vincent propped up on his hand watching her. "I thought last night was a wonderful dream.”

Vincent chuckled then kissed her brow. "If it was a dream then we both had the same dream.” Catherine giggled. She could not believe that she could be this happy. They had met the night before in the tunnels for a concert in their secret music chamber then after the concert was over she had told Vincent that she had a special surprise for him. He reluctantly agreed and followed her to the tunnel entrance of the brownstone. He then watched shocked as she unlocked the secret door and led him inside.

When they had reached the foyer Vincent looked around. Catherine could not help but feel happy as she watched the look on his face. Vincent looked at her and whose house they were in. She moved toward him and wrapped her arms around his neck and happily told him that it was hers. Vincent had been stunned as he asked her why she had bought it and given up her apartment. His heart had filled with joy when she told him that she bought it so that she could be closer to the man that she loved. Vincent’s eyes filled with happy tears as he finally told Catherine that he loved her. Her happiness was complete when he lowered his he head and kissed for the first time. As they stood there kissing, the passion that they held at bay quickly burned out of control. Without hesitation Vincent swept her up into his arms and carried her up stairs to her bedroom, where they made love for the first time.

After a moment Vincent released her and sat up. "I hate to break this happy moment but I really need to return below.”

Catherine sat up also. "I know you do.” She threw back the covers got out of bed and walked across the room to get dressed.

Vincent leaned back against the headboard as he watched her look through the dresser for some clothes. "You are not making this easy for me.”

Catherine heard the teasing tone in his voice and looked at him over her shoulder. "I know.”

Vincent chuckled and shook his head. "You are a very wicked woman Catherine Chandler.” With that he rose and started to dress.

Once Catherine finished dressing she turned toward him. "That’s not what you were saying last night.”

Vincent looked at her again once he had pulled on his tunic. "As I recall neither of us were saying much of anything.”

Catherine could not hold back the giggle that rose in her throat. "Touché.”

After Vincent had pulled on his boots he rose from his seat on the bed. "I will come back tonight if I can.”

Catherine shook her head. "No way, you are not going to go back to the tunnels and face Father alone.”

Vincent’s expression clouded. "Catherine you know as well as I do that he is going to be upset because I was gone all night I don’t want you to see that.”

She moved over and put her arms around his waist. "Vincent, after last night there is nothing that we can’t face together.”

He put his arms around her and pulled her close. "You are a remarkable woman.”

A short time later they were walking arm in arm through the tunnels when they met Jamie. She smiled at them for a moment. "Father has been looking for you since last night.”

Vincent sighed. "I know we were just on our way to his chamber.”

Jamie shook her head. "It’s not going to be fun he was very upset when he could not find you.”

Vincent took Catherine’s hand tightly in his. "I know Jamie, don’t worry we will handle everything.”

The younger woman looked at them sympathetically knowing what was coming when Father saw them together. "Well I just got off sentry duty and I am going to my chamber.” As she was about to walk away she turned to Catherine. "Come for a visit before you leave if you can.” Jamie, like most of the tunnel residents had come to care about Catherine a great deal since she had become involved with Vincent. Jamie considered her to be the older sister that she never had.

Catherine smiled at the younger woman. "I will.” With that Jamie turned and walked down the left tunnel toward her chamber.

Vincent looked at Catherine once Jamie was out of sight. "Maybe you should go to her chamber now and visit while I speak to Father.”

Catherine turned to him and shook her head. "Vincent this is just as much my problem as it is yours.”

He sighed and pulled her into his arms. "I just don’t want him to take his anger out on you.”

Catherine lifted her head from his chest and looked into his beautiful blue eyes. "And as I told you before we left the house we are going to face this together.”

Vincent knew that he would not change her mind. "If he gets out of hand I am going to ask you to leave and I don’t want any arguments.”

Catherine could hear in his voice that he meant what he was saying. "All right, Vincent if things get out of hand with him I will abide by your wishes and leave.”

He tenderly kissed her before releasing her and they started down the tunnel once again.

A few minutes later, they arrived at Father’s chamber. The older man was standing at his desk looking through a stack of books. He heard them enter and turned glaring at the two of them. "Well, Vincent it’s about time you graced us with your presence.”

Vincent sighed as he and Catherine walked down the steps. "I’m sorry Father.”

The tunnel elder hobbled around his desk and sat down. "You’re sorry for worrying me?” Vincent led Catherine to his chair where she sat down. He sat down on the arm of the chair placing his arm around her in a loving embrace. Father noticed his son’s actions and thought to himself that they seemed much closer than the last time he had seen them together. After a moment he looked at Vincent again. "So do I get an explanation of where you were all night?” Vincent looked at Catherine for a moment then looked up at Father again. "I was with Catherine.”

Father looked at her sharply. "You were at your apartment?”

Catherine shook her head. "No I had something special to show Vincent.”

Father looked up at Vincent again. "Where did the two of you go?”

Vincent rose from his seat on the arm of the chair. "Catherine has bought a new brownstone with a tunnel entrance and she wanted me to see it.”

Father looked at Catherine again. "You are not in your apartment anymore?”

Catherine shook her head. "No, I sold it so that I could buy the house.”

Vincent noticed the confused look on his parent’s face. "She bought the house so that she and I could be together more often.”

Father sighed. "I don’t think that was a wise idea.”

Vincent stopped in mid pace and turned toward him again. "Why do you say that?”

Father knew that the next part of his argument would upset Vincent but he felt that he had to voice his concerns. "Catherine’s buying this home sends the wrong message to the other tunnel residents.”

Catherine turned her head and looked at him again. "What type of message do you think it sends?”

Father pulled his glasses off and put them on the desk. "It tells everyone that you and Vincent are going to be permanently involved and we all know that one day you will want a life that you and Vincent can’t possibly have together.”

Catherine sat back in the chair and looked down at her hands folded in her lap. "I hoped you had started to accept my presence in Vincent’s life.” Vincent sat down on the arm of the chair once again and put his arm around her in a protective manner.

Father considered his next words carefully. "Catherine you are a woman from above and your affair with my son will be over just as quickly as it started.”

Vincent shook his head and looked at him again. "You’re wrong Father everything is different now.”

The tunnel elder was immediately alerted by the tone in his son’s voice. "How are they different?”

Vincent looked down at Catherine as if asking for permission for him to continue. She looked up at him and smiled slightly.

Taking a deep breath Vincent looked at Father again. "Everything is different because last night Catherine and I became lovers.”

Upon hearing this Father angrily stood up. "How could the two of you be so careless?” He turned away from them for a moment then rounded on them again after a moment. "Do you have any idea how this is going to complicate everyone’s lives?”

Vincent stood up again. "Our lives are the only ones that we are concerned about right now.”

Father glared at him. "Vincent this was a very big mistake you are just going to be the one who is hurt when Catherine moves on to her next conquest.”

Vincent turned slightly and reached out for Catherine’s hand. She gave it to him and let him pull her to her feet. Looking at Father once more for a moment he looked down at Catherine. "I want you to go visit Jamie or go see Mary.”

Catherine tightened her hands around his. "We should face this together.”

Vincent pulled one of his hands free and placed his finger over her lips. "Remember you agreed not to argue.”

Catherine knew that she was beaten. "All right I will go see Jamie.”

Vincent wrapped his arms around her waist pulling her into his arms. "Everything will be all right, I promise.” She started to move back from his arms but he tightened his arms around her and tenderly kissed her.

As they parted he released her. "Now go on.” She moved toward the steps very slowly. Just before she started to climb them she looked back. Vincent smiled encouragingly at her. "Go on.” She returned the smile for a moment then left the chamber.

After she had left the chamber, Vincent swung around and pounded his hand on the table in front of him. "I will not allow you or anyone else to speak that way to Catherine!”

Father stared at him for a moment. "Vincent, you have to be reasonable this is not going to work between the two of you.”

Vincent stood up straight and started to pace. "Father, you have always told me that I could never have the type of relationship that other men have but last night Catherine and I proved that you were wrong.”

Father snorted and sat down again. "As I stated before Vincent when she is tired of the secrecy you will be the one left hurt and alone.”

Vincent stopped pacing and turned. "No, Father I will not be left alone Catherine pledged herself to me last night she is now my mate.”

Father stared at him in disbelief. "You can’t be serious about that!”

Vincent sat down in his chair. "I have never been more serious about anything in my life everyone in the tunnels loves and respects Catherine, you are the only one who refuses to give her a chance.”

With that he moved toward the chamber entrance. As he started up the steps Vincent looked at his parent over his shoulder again. "Catherine is a permanent part of my life and you are just going to have to accept that.” Before Father could form a response Vincent climbed the steps and disappeared from sight

Once he was alone Father sat at his desk shaking his head. At that moment, a female voice came just outside of the chamber. "He’s right you know.”

The older man looked up as Mary entered and came down the steps. He quickly put his hands up to stop her from speaking again. "Please Mary, you don’t know what has happened.”

She sat down beside him. "Yes, Father I do know what has happened between Vincent and Catherine, I was with Jamie when she arrived.”

Father sighed. "Was she upset?”

Mary stared at him for a moment. "Of course she was upset, what do you expect after the horrible things you said about their relationship?”

Father sighed and rose from his chair. "Just another thing that he will blame me for.”

Mary rose and came toward him. "Father, you can’t dictate to Vincent and Catherine what their relationship should be, they are adults and whatever comes from this relationship they can handle.”

Father turned and looked at her pleadingly. "Doesn’t anyone understand that I am just trying to protect my son from being hurt?”

Mary smiled tenderly. "Jacob you have always protected Vincent and loved him but maybe it is time to let someone else have that job.”

Father would not be moved. "Catherine Chandler is just going to do more harm than good to him when she leaves.”

Mary moved away from him and started to climb the steps. "Father, you have to accept their relationship sooner or later or you will risk losing Vincent permanently.”

Father turned and stared at her. "What are you saying?”

She smiled sympathetically. "If you force Vincent to choose between you and the woman he loves you are going to be the one who loses.”

Father sat down at his desk again. "Vincent would never do that.”

Mary folded her arms over her chest. "Don’t be so sure, he loves her and they will find a way to be together no matter what you or anyone else thinks.” With that she climbed the steps and left the chamber.

At that moment, Vincent approached Jamie’s chamber. As he entered he noticed that Catherine was wiping her face. His heart broke when he realized that she had been crying. Jamie looked up at him sympathetically and rose from the bed. "I am going to see what Mouse is working on.” She quickly moved past Vincent and left the chamber.

Once she was gone he moved over and sat down on the bed with Catherine. "Are you all right?”

She nodded but refused to look him in the eyes. "Yes I am fine. How did it go with Father?”

Vincent reached out and put his hand under her chin lifting her face until she was looking him in the eyes. "You are not all right, Catherine.”

She sighed. "Don’t worry about it Vincent it’s not important.”

He moved closer to her on the bed. "Catherine, you know that I can feel your emotions and I know that you were greatly upset by what father said about our relationship.”

She moved back slightly and stood. "I would never leave you like he thinks.”

Vincent rose and moved up behind her wrapping his arms around her waist. "I know you wouldn’t leave me because we pledged ourselves to one another last night.”

She turned around in his arms. "Why does he hate me so much?”

Vincent’s heart broke when he heard the question. He pulled her closer and held her tight. "He doesn’t hate you Catherine, he just doesn’t want to let go of his child yet.”

Catherine lifted her head from his chest. "I don’t think he will ever want to let you go.”

Vincent tightened his arms around her. "Maybe not but we are not going to let that stand in our way you and I belong to one another now and Father is just going to have to get used to it.”

Catherine smiled at him. "You sound very confident.”

He chuckled and pulled her closer. "When it comes to our relationship I am extremely confident.”

Catherine smiled seductively at him. "Prove it.”

Vincent heard her challenge and lowered his head. "Of course, my love.” With those words they came together in an extremely passionate kiss.

After they parted Vincent put his forehead against hers. "What do you say you and I go back to the brownstone and pick up where we left off last night?”

Catherine could not help but giggle. "I thought you would never ask.”

\They were just about to leave when a message came over the pipes.

Vincent listened then sighed and shook his head.

Catherine looked up at him with great concern. "Is something wrong?”

He turned to her again and pulled her into his arms. "I am needed on a work detail in the lower tunnels.”

She laid her head against his chest and listened to his heartbeat. "Don’t worry Sweetheart, if you must go you must.”

Vincent sighed once again. "I will come to you as soon as we have returned.”

Catherine moved back out of his arms. "I will be waiting.”

With one last kiss they set off in different directions.