Where Rainbows End!
                                                                                    Sharon Holtz


                                                                                                                                 Chapter Two

As Vincent entered Catherine’s balcony, and he was just about to knock on her window pane, when he saw her asleep in the spot she so lovingly prepared for them outside.
Bending down to better look at this lovely woman, who was waiting for him, Vincent still found it difficult to believe this could be so. But it was, and knew Catherine loved him with all her heart.
Smoothing the hair from her eyes, he gently took the book from her small hands, before waking her. Softly, he spoke her name, "Catherine?"
Upon hearing his voice, she smiled even before she opened her eyes, and then sleepily she looked up at him and asked, "You're here. Have you been here long?"
With a soft loving voice, he replied, "Not long, I hated to wake you. You looked like an angel sleeping here."

Catherine sat up and held out both of her hands to welcome him, and said, "Come sit with me. I have missed you so much."

Excepting her invitation, he sat down beside her, and gathered her within his outstretched arm. Leaning, to take in the scent of her hair, he thought of how much he  loved her essence. Softly, he then asked, "Missed me Catherine? To know this, touches my heart. I too have missed you."

Catherine teasingly replied, "You must not have missed me that much to arrive so late."

Bending his head, he wondered how to tell Catherine, Lisa was the reason for his late arrival.

He now had no secrets from Catherine concerning Lisa, but still he wondered, how will she feel knowing he was late because he had been helping Lisa? The girl he once loved, the old friend who had re-entered his life, and his world, the woman who invoked all those old shameful feelings in his heart.
Vincent contemplated the fact Catherine seemed to understand when he told her of a night so long ago, when he accidentally harmed Lisa, during his amorous approach to holding her. Catherine even told him, there was no shame in desiring someone.

Vincent knew in his heart, she was trying to convey her awareness of their desire for each other. But the guilt of that one night, had left Vincent with barriers he was still fighting to tear down. Barriers which prohibited the closeness they both were longing for.
Quietly Vincent began, "Lisa needed help getting settled into her old chamber."
Catherine couldn't breathe after hearing his explanation. Finally, she answered softly, "I see."
Lowering her head, Catherine tried to hide her shock and disappointment. She had just assumed, Lisa would return to where ever it was that she came from. But thinking about it, Catherine knew she should have known better. Testifying as she did, Lisa had burnt a lot of bridges.
Catherine finally relayed, "I didn't realize she would return to the tunnels to live."
Standing up, Vincent walked over to look at the skyline, and answered, "Yes I was taken aback as well."
Catherine, joined Vincent at his side, and could sense his reservations of Lisa being so near by. Finally she asked, "Vincent, what does this mean to you?"
Looking downward Vincent shakily answered, "I don't know. Having Lisa back into the tunnels, brings back so many memories. Good and bad, painful, and joyous."
Thoughtfully, Catherine carefully replied, "I can understand that. You grew up together, you were very close."
Vincent turned to Catherine, and with an anguished voice, he bellowed, "Why don't you say it Catherine? I loved her, I once loved her, and now she is back, and you are wondering, as I am, how will I handle this, this arrangement?"

With a quivering chin, Catherine answered, "Yes I am wondering, and I suppose I am a  bit frightened. What if having Lisa back in your life awakens the love you once possessed for her? I don't want to lose you."
Vincent looked at Catherine and saw the tears in her eyes. Taking her into his arms, he assured her, "That could never be."
Hugging Vincent back with all of her strength, she replied, "Please don't forget what you mean to me."
Looking down at this beauty, he wanted more than anything to love her. Heaving a sigh filled with a frustrated passion, Vincent carefully said, "I should go. it is late, and you need your rest."     

As he brought his hood up, he said, "Sleep well Catherine."
Feeling helpless and fearing he was slipping away, she returned Vincent's look and said, "You too, sleep well."
She watched as Vincent made his descent. While he himself, took one last look at her, before slipping into the darkness that hid him from her sight.
Catherine left all alone with her uncertainties. She contemplated how Lisa and Vincent shared something, she could never share with him, memories of the past. Was the bond she and Vincent had, strong enough to resist a temptation such as this?  Catherine prayed it was.
Meanwhile, Vincent walked slowly back to his chamber, when he heard Father call out to him. "Vincent?"
Walking into his Father's chamber, Vincent asked, "What are you doing still awake? Are you well?"
Jacob waved off the question, as if it were nonsense, and replied, "Am I well? Yes, yes my boy, I am fine. I wanted to talk to you about Lisa. I have to confess, I host reservations about having her here."
Vincent sat down in the neighboring chair next to Father's. With his chin in his hands, he answered, "I do as well Father. But we cannot turn her away. This was once her home."
Jacob nodded, and agreeing, said,  "Yes, I agree, we cannot turn her away, but Vincent, has she changed? I think not. I feel she is still the temptress who left us years ago."
Standing up to pace, Vincent told his Father, "I don't know if Lisa has changed, but I have. I have control over my nature now. Father, I have Catherine now."
Vincent stopped to look down at his Father, and continued, "You must know that."
In agreement, Jacob, "Yes, yes of course I do my boy. Still I sense an unrest within you. Am I wrong?"
Vincent knelt down at his father's side, and burying his head on his lap, said, "Father, no, you are not wrong. Heaven hear me. Heaven help me."
Lovingly, Jacob smoothed Vincent's troubled head, and urged, "Vincent be strong, be strong as I 
know you are."

Looking up with tear clouded eyes, Vincent answered, "Yes Father, it is just this past incident with Lisa, replays in my mind and haunts me so."
Jacob, then took Vincent's face in his hands and told him, "Vincent perhaps this is good to face these fears, and deal with them,  then you can finally put them  all to rest."
Vincent looked upon his Father and agreed, "Yes perhaps that is so. Good night Father. I will see you in the morning."
With a loving hug, Jacob said, "Yes sleep well my son."

Solemnly, Vincent walked out of Father's chamber, knowing he had no secrets from him, knowing Father understands the demons he must fight, and loving him so much, for having faith in him to fight them.

Vincent entered his chamber, and as he approached his writing table he looked down and found a folded note written in Lisa's handwriting. It said "To Vincent". Vincent sat down and slowly unfolded the note, anticipating what it would reveal to him.  He read:

                                                                                    Dearest Vincent,

                                              How can I make you understand what you have meant to me all
                                              these years, even though I have been absent from you,
                                              my heart hasn't been, it has been longing for my life back within
                                              these tunnels. I know you know this to be true. I never would
                                              have left if Father had not sent me away. I always wonder where
                                              our paths would have led us.
                                              Vincent, as a young girl, I always fought the way I felt about you.
                                              I wasn't sure that these feelings that I had for you were right to have.
                                              To be frank, I worried what others would have thought. But seeing
                                              you with Catherine, it has awakened so many longings with in my
                                              heart. Yes it has even evoked jealousies.
                                             I envy Catherine and the closeness I suspect you share with her.
                                             Please wake me upon your return tonight, I have so much more to
                                             reveal to you, but wish to do it face to face.
                                                                          Till we meet again
                                                                             Lovingly  Lisa

Vincent sat motionless for what seemed like an eternity. What should he do? His emotions were too raw to sort things out now. He felt it would be a betrayal to Catherine if he were to go to Lisa tonight. So he decided, what Lisa had to say, would have to wait until tomorrow.
He knew he still had issues to absolve reguarding Lisa. And he needed for her to admit she had purposely prompted what happened that night so long ago. Admit she had meant to tempt him, she wanted him to hold her, and perhaps even kiss her. She brought her face so close to his, as if daring him. But still his hands did not let go, and for that, Vincent still has not forgiven himself.
Going over to his huge bed, he sat on the edge, and slipped off his boots, and stretched out. Bringing his forearm to rest upon his head, he hoped to block out the world, and the anguish of Lisa's return.

To be continued