By Dawn Yzaguirre
As the weeks went on Catherine and Vincent continued to grow closer. They spent many hours with Jacob and alone together. They quickly found during this time that even though many years had passed their love had never changed. Catherine grew more and more accustomed to her new life in the tunnels. She quickly got into the routine of helping Mary with the children every evening. She loved spending time with the younger children. Mary suspected that part of it was her own feelings of sadness over missing out on those years with Jacob but she never questioned Catherine about it.
Vincent continued in his normal routine of teaching his classes and working in the lower tunnels when he was needed. But the rest of the time he could be found either with both Catherine and Jacob or just with Catherine. He marveled at how she had changed very little in the last years. She seemed a bit less trusting of people but Vincent understood that because of the entire ordeal that she had endured.
Peter often came below to see how everyone was doing. He had retired from his practice but remained the back up doctor for the tunnels. He noticed with each visit that Catherine and Vincent seemed to be growing closer. He had worried that their time apart would always be a roadblock for them but happily he saw that they seemed to be overcoming that time that was taken from them those years before.
Jacob was happier than he ever thought possible. He felt as if his parent’s were growing closer and that in a short time they would all be the family that he had always wanted them to be. But he refused to push his parent’s on the issue. He knew that they had been right when they told him that they needed to grow together again.
On the day of the Grieg Concert there was a large pipe break in the lower tunnels. Vincent and Catherine were in his chamber reading while Jacob was in his afternoon classes. Father entered the chamber hating to disturb the couple. “Vincent, may I come in?”
Vincent and Catherine looked up from the book that he was reading and stood from where they were sitting together on the bed. “Of course Father, is there a problem?”
The tunnel elder hobbled into the chamber and sat down. “There’s been a large pipe breakage that needs immediate repair.”
Vincent put the book down and grabbed his cloak. “Are the other men ready?”
Father sighed. “Yes, they are waiting for you.”
He looked at Catherine apologetically. “I hate to ask Vincent to go but he may be needed.” She moved over and took the tunnel elder by the hand. “I understand Father this is an emergency.”
Vincent looked at Father again after rising from the bed where he had put on his boots. “I will be there in a moment.”
Father bowed his head knowing that Vincent wanted a moment alone with Catherine. “I’ll let Kanin know.” He turned and quietly left the chamber.
Vincent sighed and took Catherine’s hands in his. “I’m so sorry that this happened today.”
She shook her head. “You didn’t know.”
Vincent sighed again. “If this is a bad breakage I may not make it back for our concert.”
Catherine looked down a moment. “I’ll go to the concert with Jacob if you don’t make it back.”
Vincent chuckled. “I think he’d love to have a date with his mother.”
Catherine giggled. “Well, we’ll just call it a mother/son night.”
Vincent pulled her into his arms. “I hope I make it back so that I can go with you instead.”
Catherine laid her head on his chest and listened to his heartbeat. “So do I but this is important and it has to come first before us.”
Vincent held her for a moment then released her and put on his cloak then he held out his hand to her. “Walk me down?” Catherine took his hand in hers and they left the chamber.
When they reached the lower tunnel entrance Vincent stopped and turned toward Catherine. “I will try my hardest to get back before the concert.”
Catherine squeezed his hands. “I know just be careful.”
Vincent pulled her into his arms. “I’ll miss you while I am gone.”
Catherine held him tightly for a moment then moved back. “I’ll miss you too.” Vincent cupped her cheek in his hand and tenderly kissed her. They had grown more accustomed to kissing one another in the last few weeks. And now they weren’t even concerned that there were other tunnel residents close by.
A moment later Vincent felt a hand on his shoulder. Breaking the kiss he turned and saw Kanin. “We should get going.”
Vincent nodded. “I’ll be right there.”
Kanin smiled apologetically. “All right we’ll go on ahead.”
Vincent turned back to Catherine once Kanin had left. “Tell Jacob that he better take you to the concert if I don’t get back in time.”
Catherine giggled. “Do I tell him that that’s an order from his father?”
Vincent chuckled. “Not an order just a request.”
After one last kiss Vincent released her and moved to the group waiting for him at the entrance to the lower tunnels. Looking back once more before he walked down the tunnel he saw her watching. She smiled lovingly at him and waved as he and the other men disappeared from view.
An hour later Catherine was surprised when Jenny entered her chamber. “Hey I thought you and Vincent were spending time together.”
Jenny shook her head and sat down on the bed with Catherine. “So the concert’s off?”
Catherine shook her head. “No, if Vincent gets back in time we are still going.”
Jenny smiled. “What if he doesn’t?”
Catherine giggled. “Then I have a date for the evening with my son.”
Jenny took off her shoes and leaned back against the pillows. “So how has it been going between you and Vincent?”
Catherine sighed. “It’s been wonderful but slow.”
Jenny giggled. “You really want him don’t you?”
Catherine blushed and swatted her friend with a pillow. “Jenny! That’s none of your business!”
This made Jenny giggle even harder. “Come on Cathy, anyone with eyes can see that you and Vincent want each other.”
Catherine looked down a moment and sighed. “We don’t want to rush things.”
Jenny grew serious and touched Catherine’s hand. “Hey I was teasing.”
Catherine looked up again. “I know that Jen, it’s just so hard at times. I want to be with Vincent in every way and those feelings keep growing stronger everyday.”
Jenny moved over on the bed and embraced her. “Have you and he talked about it at all?”
Catherine lifted her head from Jenny’s shoulder. “No, we always seem uncomfortable with each other when that comes up.”
Jenny sighed. “Cath, do you know how much Vincent remembers about the first time that you and he were together in the cavern?”
Catherine rose from the bed and began to pace. Jenny smiled because she always thought of how similar Vincent and Catherine truly were when they paced. “Father told me the other day that Vincent never remembered anything about that night.”
Jenny got off the bed and moved in front of her. “Oh Cath, I’m sorry I thought by now he might remember something.”
Catherine wiped away a stray tear from her cheek. “So did I.”
They moved over and sat back down on the bed. “Jen, what if he doesn’t want to remember?”
Jenny took her hand and squeezed. “Why in the world wouldn’t he want to remember that night, you and he shared a wonderful experience that gave you a beautiful son.”
Catherine took one of her hands from Jenny’s and wiped another tear from her cheek. “Maybe on some level he regrets that it happened.”
Jenny shook her head. “Not a chance Cathy! I’ve seen him over the years with Jacob and I promise you that the one thing he could never do is regret what happened between you that night.”
Catherine sighed and shook her head again. “I just wish I knew how he really felt about that night.”
Jenny smiled. “Talk to him about it.”
Catherine rose again. “It’s not that easy Jen.”
Jenny got up and turned Catherine toward her once again. “You and Vincent are just going to keep going around in circles if you don’t.”
Catherine looked down for a moment. “I don’t think I can talk about this anymore right now.”
Jenny sat down again and put on her shoes. “Okay, we’ll drop it but think about everything I have said.”
Catherine embraced her. “I will.”
After a moment, Jenny moved back from the embrace. “Now, where is that nephew of mine?”
Catherine chuckled. “I believe he is with Father.”
Jenny got a sly look on her face. “Let’s go I haven’t bugged Father lately.”
Catherine picked up her shawl and put it around her shoulders then they left the chamber.
That night at 6:30, Catherine was ready to go to the concert. It started at seven and she hoped that Vincent would have returned but it looked as if he wouldn’t be able to make it after all. She was just finishing her hair when Jacob entered the chamber. “Wow, Mom you look great.”
She smiled and turned in a circle to show off the emerald green dress she was wearing. “Your Aunt Jenny gave it to me this afternoon.”
Jacob smiled. “As I said you look great.”
He moved over and took her hand. “Shouldn’t we get going?”
Catherine squeezed his hand. “Yes, let’s go enjoy this evening.”
Jacob frowned for a moment. “I’m sorry Dad couldn’t get back in time.”
Catherine squeezed his hand again. “Hey, if I can’t spend tonight at the concert with your Dad then I couldn’t think of anyone I would rather spend it with than you.”
Jacob beamed. “Let’s get going.” Catherine picked up her black lace shawl then they exited the chamber.
A while later Vincent raced into his chamber. He noticed the clock on his bookshelf read 7:15. Shaking his head he took out his bathing supplies. I’m never going to make it in time. When he had all his things he ran from the chamber to the falls where he quickly bathed. After drying off and dressing again he went back to his chamber. He put his things away then looked through his bureau at his wardrobe. He wanted to wear something that Catherine had either never seen or had not seen in a long time. Then he saw the outfit that he wore to the first Winterfest that Catherine attended. Taking it out he laid it on the bed and quickly changed.
After he was dressed he ran his brush through his tawny mane. Once he was satisfied he picked up his cloak and brushed off the dust from the lower tunnels. As he was putting the cloak on he noticed that his hands were shaking. What’s wrong with me? Taking a deep breath he tried to calm his nerves. Opening his eyes again it hit him like a rock. I’m nervous about tonight. He shook his head not believing that thought. He could not understand why a night with Catherine would have him so nervous. Shaking his head his mind screamed at him. You’re nervous because you know exactly how you want this night to end.
Taking another deep breath he looked at the clock again. It was now 7:30 and he was going to miss the entire concert if he did not leave. Pulling the cloak around his shoulders he ran from the chamber. As he ran his thoughts went back to what he had just been thinking about. Did he really want tonight to end up with him and Catherine making love? Were either of them ready for that step? He knew that they still had a lot of things to talk about before they moved in that direction and he vowed that no matter what else happened tonight they would talk about those things.
Arriving at the entrance of the music chamber he heard the music wafting down through the grate. He could also hear the low sounds of Jacob and Catherine laughing about something. Vincent smiled while he listened. He loved hearing his son enjoying his time with his mother. For a moment he considered going back to his chamber and letting them have this night together. But a voice in his head told him to get his act together and go into the chamber. Listening to the voice he entered the chamber.
Catherine and Jacob heard his footsteps and looked up. Catherine rose from the cushion she was sitting on. “Hi, I thought you were going to miss it.”
Vincent shook his head. “We just returned a while ago and I had to change.”
Vincent then looked at Jacob. “Are you having a good time?”
Jacob rose and shrugged his shoulders. “I guess.”
Catherine and Vincent both chuckled. “Well, since your dad made it why don’t you go and spend time with your Grandfather?”
Jacob smiled. “Great! I can beat him at chess again.”
He turned and kissed his mother’s cheek. “I did have a good time with you.”
She hugged him tightly. “So did I, honey.”
After they parted Jacob got a rather serious Father look on his face. “Now you two don’t stay up too late.”
Catherine giggled and saluted. “Yes sir.” He then turned and ran from the chamber.
After he had left Catherine motioned for Vincent to sit. He took off his cloak and put it on the ground for her. “So you won’t get your dress dirty.”
Catherine smoothed the green silk nervously. “Jenny gave it to me this afternoon while she was visiting.”
Vincent leaned forward and kissed her lightly on the lips. “You look stunning.”
They sat down and snuggled together.
Vincent put his arm around Catherine and pulled her as close as he could. “Have I missed much?”
Catherine shook her head. “No, in fact the Grieg piece hasn’t even started this is apparently a concert with other works by other composers.”
Vincent tightened his arm around her as the piece started. “Good, I didn’t want to miss it.” They grew quiet and listened to the beautiful music that came through the grate above their heads.
To be continued in chapter 4.