And So It Begins...

Chapter Fourteen

Having nowhere to go Vincent walked the endless tunnels and lower levels aimlessly. He tried not to think about anything, as difficult as that was, and his heart was becoming as hard as the rock that surrounded him. He had nothing to cling to and nothing to live for, but having spent the last six months assuming his death, he was loath to take that option, even knowing how the people he had thought had loved him had acted when they had believed that it was so.

From time to time Vincent remembered things, allowing his mind to slip back to a face, or a time that held joy for him and it was during one such time that he remembered Narcissa. Always a friend, Vincent found it hard to accept that even she was dead, and then with swift hope, he wondered if that were actually so. Dominic had said that she had died, and indeed it seemed so, but had she? Eagerly Vincent pursued the idea looking first for her grave in the cave, assuming that she might be in the casket where he had first been laid, but finding it empty and none other round about, he went to the usual graveyard where tunnel inhabitants buried their dead. It wasn’t a journey he relished. Anna was there, so too Paracelsus and Ellie, and others that had died in their time or through disease, murder or illness.

As Vincent rounded the final bend into that eerie place, his feet ground to a halt to see before him a mound of seemingly fresh earth that he knew signified disturbance of some kind, and as he trod silently to the spot a plaque screwed into a stone above the grave revealed his worst fear ‘Narcissa dearly beloved sister of the lower levels.’ All hope gone Vincent dropped to his knees and with his hands buried in the freshly disturbed earth he began to cry and once started found it hard to stop as all manner of grief assailed his senses, as the last few months of torment caught up with him.

After a while something else tugged at his senses and Vincent looked around the subterranean graveyard expecting to find a similar mound of earth where the tunnel dwellers would have buried his brother. When he did not find it, he presumed two things either his family had considered Dominic having no place among their dead or his brother had survived, and Vincent cursed himself for not investigating further when he had visited the home chambers when that had been one of his reasons for turning up there. It had been hearing that awful truth from Catherine that had sent him charging back to the lower levels before anyone had seen him.

Sighing, and realising that Dominic was perhaps the only one with whom he had any kind of relationship with that might understand how he felt, Vincent dragged himself to his feet and decided that once rested and in of a frame of mind to do so, he would go back to the hub and see if his brother were there. He ignored that wondrous pull of some other that he refused to acknowledge who was needing him back there Catherine had made her bed, she could lie on it.

Still his hands strayed to that tiny lovelock and he began to wonder again as to why Catherine had put it there. Had it just been something that she had done without too much thought? Was it a symbol of the love that had been between them – once? Sighing deeply Vincent felt dissatisfied with the darn thing, and before he could change his mind he tugged at the ribbon threw it to the ground and unwound the lovelock dismayed when the curls remained thus bound together no matter how hard he pulled his fingers down the strands of hair to separate them. After six months plus, they had started to grow that way, and he wondered if he might need to cut them out in order to be rid of them.

With a last backward glance at the graves, Vincent made his way to a place he knew he could call his own, to Narcissa’s chamber. Now empty and with the fact that he had visited often, he felt that Narcissa would expect it of him to make his home there, until at least he had decided what to do with the rest of his life. Thus ducking beneath the heavy curtain that Narcissa had left over the entrance to her chamber Vincent froze on the spot when the first thing his eyes beheld was the old woman huddled over one of her spells, and his jaw dropped open rendering him incapable of speech.

Sensing him there Narcissa chuckled and asked, “Is it such a shock to see me child? Did you really believe I had expired so soon? There is work yet to be done.” Vincent rubbed at his eyes furiously. He had to be imaging this he just had to.

“And why are you here, child? Is not your life with those of the living?”

“Narcissa?” Vincent stepped forward hope rising in his heart, “I heard that you had died?”

“Things are not always what they seem child. And at least this way the father will not be meddling in my affairs. The news of my death has been greatly exaggerated…” Narcissa burst into laughter that bubbled up from deep within and had Vincent grinning from ear to ear as he stepped toward her to hug her tight.

“Then who?” Vincent looked back to where he had seen Narcissa’s grave.

“My grave? Alas, I have not the answers child. Someone carried me from the cave to the burial ground, but as things have it lay me there while they went to collect whomsoever wanted to be at my funeral. I just happened to come round in their absence and well you know how it is with mysteries child?”

“You faked your death?” Vincent asked incredulously.

“Why not, you did?”

“That was different. Had my brother not have found me in time, I would have been buried alive.” Vincent told her bitterly.

“Not so, child. I knew that you had not died and I was coming. Had Dominic not found you when he had, I would have found you in time. And I had to do something drastic Vincent, whomsoever believed you dead might have believed the same was true of me and would carry me off to wherever they had carried you. A risk I took indeed, however, I fear that I administered a little too much of the drug that rendered me comatose.” Narcissa laughed, “Fooled even the one that was fooling others.”

“And so Dominic took you away for burial…” Vincent mused, “And lay you down in a wooden casket at the side of the tomb where I had been laid.”

“Did he?” Narcissa had not known this.

“Yes, but some from our community found you there and took you off, to I suppose, the graveyard here.”

Narcissa clapped her hands, “And the rest as they say, is history. I came round in their absence escaped the casket and what they actually buried is an empty wooden box.” Narcissa laughed again, a shrill cackling sound that had the corners of Vincent’s mouth lifting with amusement.

“Ah Narcissa it is so good to see you alive and well. I was so unhappy believing you to be dead.”

“I know child, but I could do nothing until you came to me. Now look at you…here when you should be there…Vincent what are you playing at? Does it take a crazy old woman to put you straight…yet again?”

Having so much to say and not knowing where to start, Vincent said nothing and Narcissa took pity on him. “Come join me in something to eat and drink, I can tell you are wanting, then you can tell me what has been happening around here.”

“Like you don’t know.” Vincent told her mischievously the suddenly thinking of something added seriously, “Narcissa what if you hadn’t of come round in time, what if they had buried you alive also?” He asked horrified.

“Then I’d have been dead, child.” She cackled like it would have been no loss, “Yet still here, do you think death will take me from here? Am I not one with the spirits and the demons? Life or death Vincent, know this, for you I will always be available.”

“Can I be sure then that you are of the living now?” Vincent asked as that thought sprung to mind. Narcissa just laughed and asked him, “I don’t know child, can you?”

Feeling very much as though he were dreaming, Vincent passed a hand across a weary brow, “So much has happened Narcissa, I would believe anything and nothing at all. That is I just don’t know what is the truth any more and I’m not certain that I want to know.”

“The truth lies in your heart Vincent.” Narcissa told him as she passed him a plate of buttered bread and a bowl of broth.

“That is no answer Narcissa. For once I wish you would tell me outright what is so. I am too weary to beat around the bush with riddles.” Vincent sounded almost annoyed but Narcissa did not take offence. Stoking up the brazier with fresh wood though the chamber was already way too warm for Vincent’s liking, Narcissa said nothing for a while, then she told him, “I sense great misery within the surface of your heart yet deep inside resides the truth. Do you seriously believe that Catherine would forsake you, even after death?”

“She has a child. That is enough for me to know.” Vincent told her bitterly.

“You are deceived Vincent.”

“No, I’m not. I know that Catherine has a child.”

“Have you seen this child?”

“No, but…”

“Enough! First you must set eyes upon this child before you can make judgements. The child holds the key Vincent, to your future happiness.”

Chewing his broth-dipped bread Vincent asked, “Knowing you Narcissa will that be all you will say?”

“Of course, I cannot change my reputation can I?” Narcissa laughed. “Now finish your soup and be on your way child. Someone is calling to you, do you not hear? Heed the call and find your dreams. Believe child, believe and everything will be yours.”

Vincent remained sceptical, still Narcissa was rarely wrong, in fact never wrong. She could see things invisible to the rest of mankind and often into the future. Even so knowing that and believing in other things was extremely difficult for Vincent. Not because he didn’t want to know the truth but because he was afraid of facing it. He wasn’t even certain if he wanted to face it. There was something all too easy about taking a back seat and letting the whole world ride around oneself. He could see things from the outside and sometimes that was far less painful than being within. Yet Narcissa was looking at him with a kind of wistfulness that made him act, and setting down his empty plate and bowl and feeling much replenished he rose and kissed the old woman’s brow and bid her the customary ‘be well Narcissa,’ before leaving her chamber and with a deep and ragged sigh, Vincent put his best foot forward for the journey that would take him home.

*** *** ***

During Catherine’s weekend visit to the lower levels little Vincent was hardly ever at her side. The women of the tunnels that had not been on babysitting duty throughout the week, all wanted their time with the babe, and Catherine found herself more and more with nothing to do. Father remained a little aloof though he too was happy to cosset the child and so without meaning to Catherine found herself keeping company with Dominic more than she would have liked.

Studying him whenever she could without his knowledge, left her breathless and a little perturbed that she might feel that way about anyone, even someone as much like Vincent as one could get. He was not Vincent, she reprimanded herself constantly, yet he had a certain appeal, and Catherine was annoyed to realise that it did have to do with the way that he looked. That thought was hard to accept too because she had loved the way Vincent looked and though she may have speculated on what he might have looked like if completely human she had at no time wished it to be so. Now here she was finding herself attracted to his brother simply because he had all of Vincent’s mannerisms and a human face. It was unacceptable and abhorrent to Catherine, yet even so she could not deny that the attraction remained.

“So then, this wedding…” Dominic asked after Catherine had watched him longer than she ought without speaking. Raising his face to hers, Catherine was again flustered by those appealing china eyes and had to look away lest she fell under his spell for all time. She had to keep reminding herself that Vincent was alive and assumedly well, and stop reminding herself ‘yes but he doesn’t want you anymore’ in order to put the growing feelings she had for his brother very firmly in place.

“Will it be soon?” Dominic asked at length. He could sense her turmoil and it amused him, across the desk he reached for her hand and caressed her fingers with his. The action was unmistakable and Catherine only half-heartedly tried to remove her hand from his. Anyone overlooking the gesture could not be blamed for assuming more of it than might have been actually so. Especially because it was exactly the way that it looked for Dominic was showing Catherine in no uncertain terms how much he hoped that they might become more than just good friends.

Flustered Catherine suddenly remembered he had asked her a question, “What?”

“The wedding, is it to be soon?” Dominic looked up suddenly, his eyes peering around the chamber and forcing Catherine to follow his gaze until both of them settled again on the other whatever it had been distracting them suddenly forgotten.

“Just as soon as Elliot has set the date.” Catherine told him. “He’s awfully busy at the moment, but is trying to clear away all the not too important issues so that the wedding can take place and of course the honeymoon.” Catherine laughed remembering the day she had listened to that particular dispute. Jenny had wanted to go to Europe, and Elliot anywhere but. He had recently spent three months in London and wasn’t intending to go back anytime. The Emerald Isle was a little too wet and windy for his liking, and he had dreams of going somewhere hot and sunny for their honeymoon.

“Dominic?” Catherine noticed that he was looking over her head again. “What is it?”

Turning, Catherine could have fainted when she found herself caught between bookends. Too people almost identical one to the back of her and one to the front. Neither spoke, just stared at one another as if each were the last person that the other expected to see.

At last, long last, Catherine found her voice, “Vincent!” And the scraping of her chair was the only indication that she moved, until she flung herself against him, her arms sliding around his waist to hug him tight against her, “Oh Vincent…” She sobbed, “You’re home!”

“Vincent?” Dominic indicated his brother, his eyes a little wary.

Equally as wary, Vincent replied, “Dominic?” The little play in the exchange of hands had not been missed by Vincent and he wasn’t certain what was going on, but with the way it looked and with Catherine discussing her wedding plans to Elliot he was left totally disillusioned of Narcissa’s insistence that he went home.

“Vincent?” Catherine looked up at the love of her life, and knew in that instance that Dominic had nothing on him. Vincent was more beautiful than she had remembered, and she knew that she loved him more than ever even so it slowly dawned on her that he didn’t seem as happy to see her as she was to see him, and that made her feel uneasy. It was not the homecoming she had visualised.

As if it took great effort to take his gaze away from his brother’s and look down at her, Vincent’s eyes finally settled upon Catherine, and what he saw took his breath away. She was more beautiful than he had remembered and despite everything that appeared to be so, Vincent realised that nothing had changed - he still loved her, perhaps more now than ever and Vincent made a snap decision. Catherine was his and no one else’s and he’d make damn sure that any other man would find it difficult to take her away from him again.

Therefore, Dominic could hardly believe it when he watched Vincent scoop Catherine up into his arms and leave the chamber so quickly it was as if neither had been there and even though he rose and moved quickly to the exit, outside in the tunnel they were not to be seen, it was almost as if they had simply vanished into thin air.

*** *** ***

“Where are you taking me, Vincent?” Catherine asked alarmed after they had been travelling for some ten minutes. Assuming at first he would go to his chamber Catherine grew a little concerned to find that they had arrived at the bridge over the abyss and that Vincent’s jaw was firmly set and he had not spoken a word to her.

“Don’t worry, you are safe with me.” He told her sensing her fear in the quivering of her body and the wavering of her voice. Catherine relaxed, she knew that, she shouldn’t be worried, and because she wanted to and because she dared, Catherine began placing tiny little kisses to his throat, expecting many things from the action but certainly not to find him throwing her down onto the dusty floor at the other side of the abyss where it was safe.

“What? What are you doing?” Catherine cried. Her pride was hurt more than her backside.

“You ask me that?” Vincent regarded her contemptuously touching his throat where her kisses still burned. Catherine understood at once and chuckled, “Sorry did I catch you unawares? Forgive me, I couldn’t help myself, oh Vincent come, sit down here with me, its been so long.” Even with his inexperience Vincent detected more from her offer than was actually so and he stepped away from her scorched by the fire in her eyes.

“Catherine I trusted you!” Vincent spat disdainfully.

Perturbed Catherine’s eyes showed her puzzlement, even so Vincent did not enlighten her, believing that she knew already, and reaching down he grasped her hand, pulled her up and tugged her behind him as he strode through a set of tunnels Catherine did not recognise. “Where are we going, Vincent?” She wailed more crossly than from fear or anxiety. Vincent she knew, would never hurt her, he had proven that more than six months ago, when angry and ferocious he could have rendered her in two but had not…had instead…Catherine almost swooned at the memory…”Are you taking me somewhere private, where we can be alone?” It was all she could think of, and his behaviour certainly spoke of a masterful ness that she had never before seen in him.

“Not in that way!” Vincent rounded on her, his chest rising and falling rapidly. He looked furious.

“Then what am I to conclude?” Catherine replied indignantly. “Vincent it’s been more than six months, almost seven since we were last together, something like that can send a person crazy and here you are whisking me off to God knows where, and I’m supposed to stay quiet and not presume anything?”

The look in her eyes weakened Vincent’s resolve and for a moment she saw the china pools soften and then suddenly for she did not see him move his arms were around her and he was hugging her closer than a heartbeat and kissing her hair just as she had remembered him doing long ago, until…”Oh Vincent, not my hair…here…kiss me here…” Catherine touched her lips begging his compliance, heartbroken when it did not happen but rather he stepped away from her as if she had slapped him.

“What has become of you!” He snapped. “Has Elliot turned you wanton? Or was it Dominic?” The sneer that he emitted frightened Catherine to death. She froze stared at him and tried to run back the way they had come, but Vincent was too fast and had scooped her up into his arms again intent on striding purposefully onward to wherever he had in mind. Perturbed and a little curious Catherine let it be, staying still in his arms, burying her face in his shoulder and let him take her to wherever he deemed appropriate and for whatever reason without question. She was safe with Vincent, nothing was surer than that, and right now it was sheer bliss just to be carried in his arms again for whatever it was he had in mind.

*** *** ***

She thought that then, she did not now - a whole day later Catherine fretted about the state of Vincent’s mind, when having deposited her in a chamber void of anything but a couple of blankets a bottle of water and a few packets of beef jerky he had completely disappeared leaving her not the knowledge of the way home nor the whereabouts of his person. Cold and alone Catherine looked at the orange rock walls and wondered only one thing… was Vincent punishing her…showing her what it was to be alone and supposedly dead? Catherine hadn’t the strength to put up the brave fight… she had endured that one enough already.

“Vincent?” Catherine called, but there was no answer. “Vincent, please, don’t do this to me.” Still no answer. Miserable and lost Catherine wrapped one of the woollen blankets around her and sitting on the other curled into a ball trying to keep warm but the cold filtered through the threads piercing her skin and Catherine began to tremble. “I’m cold Vincent. Where are you?” Catherine wailed. As the silence met her cries, Catherine became suddenly afraid, she had trusted in Vincent, felt she had been safe, but that was a long time ago, who was he now? What had six months rendered him capable of? What if he was still fighting with that other self? What if he was that other self? Catherine started to shake. What if something happened to him, who would know where to find her? She could die there. The thought brought on others more ferocious than the last and culminated in the one that was worst of all…what if she never saw her baby again? What if, like his father before him he was forced to grow up motherless? Fear gave way to grief…then anger…and throwing off the blankets Catherine left the chamber yelling for all she was worth. No one did this to her no one not even Vincent…and with that in mind she began screaming his name… for wherever he was he would hear her, she’d make damn sure of that!

*** *** ***

Aimlessly poking a stick around in the dusty floor, Vincent listened to Catherine’s annoyance a half-mile from where he was two levels above her and sighed wearily. Why he had grabbed hold of Catherine and rushed her hastily off to the first place that came to mind beat him. All he had thought of at the time was showing her how it felt to presume everyone had forgotten you existed and what it would be like to imagine that those you had loved had moved on or had accepted another in your absence especially if that one happened to look something like you. Dominic…Vincent sighed…what he had seen…had he been mistaken? Or had his brother deliberately been making a play for Catherine? And Catherine? Had she been allowing that to happen even while she discussed with his brother her marriage plans to another man? And Elliot Burch? Vincent loathed to think of the name but what would he say if he knew what Catherine was allowing to develop with Dominic?

As Catherine’s anger grew in leaps and bounds a small smile tugged at the corners of Vincent’s mouth. He wondered idly if he might be ain any danger once she caught up with him, and then he wondered of a danger of another kind as he touched his throat where her kisses still tingled. Why had she done that? Why had she presumed she could, when she never had before? Was it just that she was glad to see him? But then there was that blazing fire of desire in her eyes too that once upon a time she would have desperately hidden from him. Vincent knew he hadn’t imagined that look, it offered him everything, even more than his dreams.

As her cries grew louder, Vincent detected the frustration behind them. She was growing desperate, obviously thinking more rapidly, assuming too much. Vincent could punish her no more and so rising he made his way to her via the vertical shafts that had afforded his escape hours earlier and landed almost at her feet when he dropped the last few yards without the aid of Mouse’s strategically placed rope.

“There you are!” Catherine cried, then asked indignantly, “Didn’t you hear me?”

“I should think half of Manhattan heard you.” Vincent remarked dryly forcing a grin from her.

Catherine regarded him sceptically, wondering what he was thinking. She knew what she was thinking, all she wanted to do was take hold of him and kiss him till he begged her to stop, and even then she wouldn’t stop. Catherine giggled and Vincent eyed her suspiciously, “I don’t know what you find so funny Catherine. Moments ago you sounded scared witless.”

“I was. Now I find I’m not. You’re here. I’m not alone anymore. Why did you want to punish me Vincent? It wasn’t my fault that we all believed you had died.”

“No. I’m sorry. I should never have acted like I did toward you. It was unfair of me, even so I can’t let you go back, not yet.”

“I have to go back.” Catherine began, “The…”

“No!” Vincent flared, “You belong with me!”

Taken aback Catherine did not wish to dispute that, but the way in which Vincent looked at her was frightening. Again she wondered about the dark one, had he returned? Was it he that controlled Vincent now? Vincent sensed her fear and mistrust and relented, “Again, forgive me. But know that you must stay awhile, I need you with me.” Beneath his breath he added ‘if only to keep you away from those that want you also.’

“Vincent as much as I would like to stay with you, its not possible, the baby…”

“Can stay with Father…or the other members of the community will keep your baby safe…or perhaps…”Reluctant to say the name Vincent whispered it quickly, “Elliot will.”

“I doubt that, Elliot is above, and besides why should he…” Catherine shook her head and added, “Elliot has enough to do preparing his wedding…yes don’t look so shocked, Elliot is getting married.”

“I know.”

Surprised Catherine asked him, “Do you? How?”

“I overheard the conversation you had earlier with my brother.” He did not tell her he had seen as much as he had heard but his eyes said it anyway causing Catherine to look at him curiously, “What is it Vincent, something is wrong, and don’t deny it?”

“My brother is in love with you.”

Genuinely surprised Catherine remarked, “If he is then I was not aware of it.”

Vincent said nothing but his look said it all, he clearly did not believe her.

“Is that was this is all about, Vincent? You’ve brought me here out of some misguided jealousy believing you can take me away from your brother? From everyone, including the baby?”

Vincent said nothing, put like that it sounded disdainful, but that’s exactly what he had been doing.

“It is isn’t it?” Catherine knew him too well, “Oh Vincent, what does it matter what other people think of me? Its how I feel about them that matters. And how I feel about you. Vincent, I love you and I don't want anyone else. I've never stopped loving you.”

Vincent turned away as a mixture of anger and resentment and longing swept over him and he thought he might cry out if Catherine touched him yet when she did he remained strangely calm.

“Look at me Vincent, see the sincerity in my eyes.” Catherine pleaded. “I love you, can’t you believe that?”

Quietly Vincent shook his head, “Facts speak for themselves Catherine, you may have loved me once…too much has happened…too much between us now…” He spoke brokenly causing Catherine’s heart to react violently and forcing him around to face her she told him adamantly, “I love you now more than ever. And what we did Vincent…what we did…oh Vincent do you regret it so much?” A sob caught in her throat. Eyeing her suspiciously Vincent questioned her with his china blue eyes and Catherine gasped, “You do know what we did Vincent, don’t you?”

He continued to look at her saying nothing, his heart beating rapidly, not knowing what to say. Fearing to know what it was she was speaking about. Yet after a long time when she spoke no further he was compelled to ask, “Tell me?”

A ragged breath was expelled through Catherine’s lips, and she looked at him a full minute before stepping closer and sliding her arms around his waist told him, “I’d rather show you.” Then before he knew what was happening, she had reached up and placed her lips against his holding him tight to stop his escape. With her lips hard against his Vincent shook his head from side to side, his mouth panted ‘no, no, no, Catherine' but even as he uttered the words his mind was racing. Strangely her lips felt right against his, familiar even. Slowly his denials stopped and with eyes blue and incredulous, he remembered the dream he had had, and as her hands delved beneath his shirt and glided across the flat planes of his stomach reaching up to his chest through a thatch of coarse fur Vincent began to realise it was not a dream, had never been a dream, those images - the ones that had haunted him night and day for so long were in actual fact memories. Pulling away, he held her arms fast, demanding to know, “When?” He panted heavily, “When did this happen between us?”

“In the cave, when you were dying. Vincent do you remember?”

“I thought it was a dream.”

Catherine smiled knowingly, “I too have had that dream, but it was built upon a memory. Vincent, we loved…”

Liquid fire raced through Vincent’s veins, and his eyes grew dark with desire as his mouth whispered, “we loved…”

Catherine nodded, “It was beautiful, and all your fears went ungrounded, and I had such hopes Vincent, I weaved such fantasies and then Father came along and pronounced…pronounced you…he told me you had died…Oh Vincent I couldn’t believe it! How could you have died after something so beautiful…” Unable to stop herself Catherine started to cry remembering that day with all the grief it had held.

“Oh God Catherine.” Drawing her against him Vincent held her tight, inhaled the honey scent of her hair with a fervour long denied him and told her, “I love you so much.” Oh and then joy of joys he lowered his hungry mouth to hers and a searing kiss left them both wanting, even so they did not relinquish their hold upon each other, slaking their thirst and with hands left free to roam explored each other’s bodies with a hunger long denied but no more forgotten.

“Come back to the chamber.” Without awaiting a reply Vincent scooped Catherine up into his arms and strode back to the chamber where he had left her with the blankets, and there lowered her to the sandy floor following her down in one fluid movement. His mouth devoured hers, his hands roughened through work over the years teased her tender skin and his eyes wide open unleashed a fire that sent her pulses soaring.

“Oh God Vincent, yes, oh please…oh Vincent…” Catherine cried as he undid her trousers and tugged them away from her legs. His lips traced a line of kisses from her navel to her thigh gasping as her womanly scent drew him to her. How could he ever have believed this to have been a dream? The memory raced over him now, thick and fast and as his erection pressed against her he rid himself of the offending garments that separated their bodies, until at last gloriously naked from the waist down their eyes feasted on one another like a person starved. Reaching out Catherine grasped his steely, silky length in her hand smiled when he gasped at the contact and even more when he cried as she flicked her tongue against the swollen tip. This was not from memory, this they had not the time for before, this was just something she had always wanted to do for him, the desire to show him the ways to love never so strong as now. “Vincent hold still.” Catherine whispered through a throat thick with passion, she smiled as she added to herself ‘or I might bite you.’

“Hold still?” Vincent panted, “How do you expect me to hold still, when you are doing such glorious things to me?” Catherine chuckled deep in the back of her throat the sound being so deliciously exciting that Vincent moaned deep in his chest and tried for all he was worth not to wiggle as her mouth devoured his manhood with a hunger too long denied.

“Catherine!” Vincent roared, the sound splitting the chamber in two, as little pads of dust fell in on them. They hardly noticed, lost in a world of their own making, Catherine took her time deliciously nibbling his length from base to tip until he could finally take no more, “Enough!” He pulled her from him so that a popping sound was heard as he left the warmth of her mouth behind, “I can stand no more, Catherine.” His voice thick with desire caused a chuckle to erupt from Catherine and she looked at him coyly from beneath long lashes, touching the tip of his penis with the fingers of one hand, and whispering, “So long for now…I’ll be back.” Vincent groaned, “Dead I may not be, but you will surely be the death of me, Catherine.” Her only answer was a smile so deep and so all knowing that it left him breathless and rendered him incapable of further speech.

Desire in her eyes, Catherine leaned down to him again, her intention obvious, but half way to her goal she sought out his lips instead coming up and back to his mouth flicking her tongue over his teeth and fangs until his jaw dropped open to allow her to do anything she so desired and Catherine took advantage of that fact. Thrusting her tongue deep inside his mouth he groaned as the tip explored his inner cheeks and roughened tongue until drawing back she feasted her lips against his and murmured into his mouth, “Make love to me, Vincent. I need you so.”

It was time, Vincent knew it - he could deny her no longer and rolling her with one swift movement he pinned her to the ground his legs thrusting hers apart as he slipped his body between.

For a moment he looked into her eyes seeking permission and Catherine gave it silently with emerald pools singing of her desire for him her lips forming words of endearment her throat emitting sounds of utter pleasure as he dipped into her, his manhood filling her completely, deep, deep inside. Catherine screamed his name, wrapped her legs around his hips and let her body devour his, wrapping herself around him physically and mentally both.

“Catherine…I remember everything…” Vincent panted against her ear. He was amazed at how crystal the memory had become…their bodies joined thus, closer than a heartbeat - sharing every heartbeat, two bodies as one…together…forever…his climax came upon him swift and sure, spurting inside her womb hot seed, relished by Catherine with hope…hope of another child to come…

Then that thought - that one singular thought of Catherine's became his also and Vincent’s world crashed in around him…

A child took nine months to be born…prior to the child’s birth it had been six since he and Catherine had made love…so…

Rolling away, Vincent expelled a deep and ragged sigh…how could he have forgotten…been so blind…whatever they had done back then…whatever they had just done just now…made no difference…Catherine had been with someone else before…with Elliot Burch…and had conceived a child…a child left back at the hub…

His silence disturbed Catherine and she reached for him her fingers touching him, intent on pulling him back down against her, but Catherine was surprised when instead of turning love filled eyes her way, Vincent rose, his back to her, gathered his clothing and with a curt “Get up I’ll see you back,” stunned her to silence. Whatever she had been about to say died on her lips and blinking back her tears Catherine reached for him again, dismayed when he shook off her arm and left the chamber. For a moment Catherine stood half naked wondering what on earth was happening and then she ran after him, finding him dressing hastily outside in the tunnel. “Vincent what is it? What’s wrong?” She wailed her voice frighteningly close to tears.

He said nothing, but the grim determination and the square set of his shoulders told her more than words ever could. He was angry, deeply angry, but with her or himself she could not tell. “Vincent please! Tell me what’s wrong?”

“Get dressed Catherine, your baby needs you.”

Well that was true…and not to be denied, but even so…Catherine watched him through a blur of tears and reluctantly started to pull on her clothes. No sooner had she finished then did Vincent once again scoop her up into his arms and with almost indecent haste hurry back the way they had come hours earlier. Many times Catherine tried to place kisses to his throat, weave her fingers through his hair, miserably tell him that she loved him, but he would have none of it, shaking his head to rid himself of her questing lips and hands and refusing to listen to her words of love, until finally he reached the hub where, without even bothering to see her back to the chamber where he had found her, he set her down firmly on the ground, and disappeared out of sight before she had time to realise what had happened. She called after him of course, ran some of the way he had gone, but she did not find him and finally after going further than she dared, she stopped and admitted defeat, for some reason Vincent had taken umbrage to everything they had done and she had lost him again, just as surely as she had before, only this time she had a terrible feeling it was for good.

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To be continued in Chapter Fifteen