Vincent sat in his chamber looking through the latest edition of the New York Times. As he opened the society page he came across a picture that made his breath catch in his throat. There in front of him on the page was a picture of Catherine. She was dressed in a beautiful ball gown, while smiling proudly on the arm of the latest man in her life. Vincent's heart constricted seeing how happy she appeared to be. The man beside her was a man that she'd started dating not long ago. Peter had told Vincent that he was a new prosecutor in the District Attorney's office.
Vincent sighed sadly as he threw the paper onto the chamber floor. It had been almost a year since Vincent had sent Catherine back to her world telling her that he couldn't hold her back from the life that she was destined to live. She had tried to convince him that he was all she needed or wanted, but he wouldn't listen. So she had left that evening, never to step foot in the tunnels that she loved, again.
Vincent threw the paper to the floor and rose. He started pacing around the chamber feeling like he was trapped. Finally he couldn't take it anymore. Gathering his cloak up from his chair, he put it around his shoulders then ran from the chamber on his way above.
Above Catherine was standing on the balcony looking out over the city. She sighed as she gazed into the distance. She couldn't believe how miserable her life had turned out. She wasn't enjoying her job anymore and even though she was dating frequently, she just couldn't get Vincent off her mind, or out of her heart.
She had tried so many times since their separation to contact him, but all of her messages were sent back unopened. She sighed sadly as a tear made its way down her cheek. Reaching up she quickly swiped it away. "I won't cry for him anymore!" Squaring her shoulders she turned and started toward the door to head back inside.
Just as she was about to turn the doorknob, she heard a noise behind her, and a wonderfully smooth voice. "Hello Catherine."
Taking a deep breath trying to calm her pounding heart she slowly released the handle, and turned. Her breath caught in her throat when Vincent moved out of the shadows into the moonlight. Catherine swallowed hard not knowing exactly what to say to him. Moving back to the balcony wall, she once again looked out over the skyline. "Hello Vincent how have you been?"
Vincent moved slowly to her side. "I've been well."
Catherine turned slightly and looked up at him. "Why are you here?"
Vincent sighed and shook his head. "I had to see you again."
A sob escaped Catherine's lips as she turned her back to him. "Please don't hurt me like this."
Vincent placed his hand on her shoulder. "I would never intentionally hurt you."
Hearing his words Catherine spun around and glared at him. "You'd never hurt me?" Vincent's eyes widened at the sarcasm that dripped from the words she spoke. Catherine chuckled slightly. "Well Vincent for someone who'd never intentionally hurt me, you did a good job of it!"
With that she moved back toward the door. "I've got a long day tomorrow, so I think its best that you leave."
Vincent sighed. "I've seen the newspapers since our separation I know that you're dating again."
Catherine moved over to his side. "Yes I've been seeing some men since we broke up, but nothing serious."
Vincent looked out at the city again. "I've seen how happy you are in those pictures, and it breaks my heart because I know, that I can never be the man to escort you to one of those charity functions."
Catherine's heart broke hearing his words. "Is that the reason you sent me away last year?"
Vincent nodded. "I accidentally overheard your conversation with Mary that last afternoon you were below."
Catherine thought back to that day. She had gone below while Vincent was away on a work detail. Father had told her that she was more than welcome to stay and visit with everyone else until they returned. She had done so and had a wonderful time. Later that afternoon she had gone to Mary's chamber for some tea and a bit of woman talk. Mary happily welcomed her and they settled down over their tea.
As they talked Catherine mentioned the charity ball that she was attending a couple of nights later. Mary then noticed the sadness that came into the younger woman's eyes. Reaching over and patting Catherine's hand Mary had asked if she were all right. She wasn't prepared for the tears that began to fall down Catherine's face. Moving over Mary had embraced Catherine asking her what was upsetting her so. Catherine had continued to cry for the next few minutes until there were no more tears left to shed.
After drying her eyes Catherine had told Mary that she wished that it were going to be Vincent escorting her to the ball. Mary had smiled and told her that that would be wonderful if it were possible. Getting up from her chair Catherine started to pace. Mary smiled noting that she had picked up Vincent's habit. Then Catherine had turned and told her that she knew that he couldn't help that he couldn't go with her but that it didn't keep it from hurting that their time together was always so short. Mary had risen and embraced Catherine once again telling her that the time that she had with Vincent was something that they should treasure no matter how short those visits were. This had made Catherine feel better, because she knew that Mary was right. She had returned the embrace thanking Mary for setting her mind back on the right track.
Coming back to the present Catherine spoke. "Why didn't you tell me that you'd overheard the conversation so we could talk things through?"
Vincent shook his head. "I knew through our bond that our relationship was tearing you apart and that the only way that I could help you was to end it."
Catherine growled in frustration as she crossed her arms over her chest. "I don't appreciate having my future decided for me!"
Vincent turned toward her again. "I was doing what I thought best for you!"
Catherine's eyes darkened with pent up anger that she'd held in since their separation. "Damn it Vincent, I love you! Don't you know that?"
Vincent nodded. "I know you love me Catherine, but it's not fair to you that you have to keep a relationship secret, when you could have any man in this city."
Catherine snorted. "That may be true, but what makes you think I want any of them?" She retorted as her anger continued to escalate.
Vincent began pacing on the small area of the balcony. His emotions were in great turmoil. He wanted nothing more than to take Catherine in his arms and hold her for the rest of their lives, but he knew that if he did that, he'd never be willing to be separated from her again, and, he couldn't be selfish by asking her to give up everything in her life above to live a mundane existence below.
After a moment he stopped and looked at her again. Lifting a hand and moving it over his leonine face for a moment he spoke so softly that Catherine had to strain to hear him. "I can't change this."
When it registered what he'd said Catherine gasped as tears began to make their way down her cheeks. "Oh God Vincent, I don't want you to change the way you look."
Vincent took a deep breath to keep his emotions under control. "If I looked as other men, we could do things that we're not able to do now."
Catherine moved over until she was in front of him again. Lifting his chin she smiled when their eyes finally met again. "I love you for who you are not what we can or cannot do together."
Vincent sighed. "But it's not fair to you that you have to be so limited."
Catherine cupped his cheeks in her tiny hands. "I don't look at our times together as being limited, I looked at them as miracles of our love."
Vincent placed one of his hands over hers while it still rested on his cheek. "Can you forgive me for being such a fool?"
Catherine smiled radiantly. "Of course I can forgive you." Then she got an impish look in her eyes. "Just remember buster this is the last time that this better happen."
Vincent chuckled as he wrapped his arms around her waist pulling her close. "I swear my love, this is the last." Then he lowered his head and their lips met in a long awaited kiss of reunion. Catherine sighed as she wrapped her arms tighter around his waist. Vincent tightened his arms around her as well, to bring her even closer to him.
When they parted due to lack of air, Catherine laid her head on Vincent's chest, and listened as his heartbeat pounded under her ear. "I've wanted to have you kiss me again for a year."
Vincent sighed. "I've missed kissing you as well."
Then Vincent moved back slightly making Catherine look up. He smiled one of his rare smiles as he cupped Catherine's cheek. "I can't live without you anymore."
Tears once again ran down Catherine's cheeks. "And I can't live without you."
Suddenly Vincent released her and led her to the chaise lounge. "Please sit down for a moment."
Once she was seated Vincent knelt down on one knee in front of her. Taking her hands in his he kissed each one then looked deeply into her eyes. "This year apart has shown me that I love you more than any man has ever loved a woman."
Catherine smiled when she heard Vincent refer to himself as a man. "I love you too."
Vincent tightened his hands around hers as he once again began to speak. "I don't have anything but my love and devotion to offer you, but if that's enough then would you do me the honor of joining with me, and being my wife?"
Catherine's eyes widened in shock for a moment until her voice returned. Shrieking with pure joy she threw herself into Vincent's arms, and covered his face with soft kisses. "Oh yes Vincent yes!"
Vincent tightened his arms around her to keep from falling over backward from the impact of her body. Suddenly he couldn't hold it back anymore, and let out a chuckle. Catherine moved back from his arms, and quirked an eyebrow at him. "What exactly do you find so amusing, Mr. Wells?"
Vincent got his chuckles under control after a moment. "Ask one little question and you are practically ravishing me!"
Catherine swatted him on the chest before collapsing in a fit of giggles. "Do you mind?"
Vincent's eyes darkened with the pent up passion that he had withheld for so long. "No my Catherine I certainly don't mind at all." Then without another word he lifted her into his arms, and carried her into her apartment intent on showing her just how much he had missed her. The separation had been horrible for the two of them, but in the end their love had conquered all Vincent's doubts, ensuring that their future would be full of love and hope.