Part Ten

I can’t fight this feeling any longer
And yet, I’m afraid to let it flow
What started out as friendship, has grown stronger
I only wish I had the strength to let it show.

I tell myself that I can’t hold out forever
I say there is no reason for my fear
Cause I feel so secure when we’re together
You give my life direction you make everything so clear.

And even as I wander, I’m keeping you in sight
You’re a candle in the window on a cold, dark winter’s night
And I’m getting closer than I ever thought I might
And I can’t fight this feeling anymore.

I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for
And if I have to crawl upon the floor
Come crashing through your door
Baby, I can’t fight this feeling anymore.

(Reo Speedwagon – Can’t Fight This Feeling)

*** *** ***

Looking back, neither Vincent nor Catherine could pinpoint a moment when it happened, but each of them knew the truth of the matter, that at some stage in their friendship they had come to mean more to one another than they had ever supposed they might.

The experience of being held against one’s will had done something to Vincent that had made him look at life with a completely whole new perspective. At Gabriel’s mercy with only the outcome of his evil intent to look forward to, Vincent’s future looked glum. The pain of believing that he would never ever see his father again, never attend a child’s recital, never see the mirror pool, or sit fascinated by the splendour of the Great Falls or be awed by the beauty of the Crystal Cavern had broken Vincent’s heart and his spirit. And as Gabriel made preparations for their flight out of America Vincent’s waning hope of rescue were almost dashed forever. Even the promises made by a madman that he would be given everything his heart desired in exchange for one or two personal whims, failed to bring any positive response to Vincent’s great and mighty heart. All he focused on was what he would lose, what he would never have again, and the helplessness of knowing that his family would never know what had become of him.

Gabriel, satisfied and fuelled by the excitement of having under his control a creature boasting the very best in a man and more besides envisaged for Vincent a life set apart from the norm and one where exposure would be of necessity but in so doing, Vincent would have the very best of protection that money could buy. All he had to do, was act in the capacity of bodyguard to Gabriel, while in the wings so to speak there would be others guarding Vincent’s back. Gabriel did not intend to take any risks where Vincent’s life was concerned knowing how precious that life was, though he did contemplate a breeding program that would finance him with others like Vincent in time. Thus Gabriel’s world opened up a foreseeable future where he could recreate, either by cloning or direct breeding, others like Vincent that could be put to use either in his own empire or at a price in that of others.

What he did not foresee in his ultimate planning was that one such as Vincent did not glorify in such a future mapped out for him. The things that Gabriel took as precious, had no desire in Vincent’s heart would slowly die without the love to which he had grown accustomed. However, many of those plans that Gabriel had in mind, were fortunately, for Vincent set for the future and the men that Gabriel intended to use to guard Vincent’s back had not yet been chosen. Therefore, they were not yet in place when Catherine, followed by a group of hefty tunnel dwellers, and Jenny made their way surely and deftly to the place where Vincent was being held captive.

The building was vast, an empire in itself, but led by a desire for good and captivated by a strength unstoppable Winslow, Cullen, William, Kanin, Mouse, Paul, Stephen, Jamie, Brook and even Peter who would not hear of stopping with Jacob, entered the basement of the building with Catherine and Jenny in tow.

“You’re absolutely certain he’s in here somewhere?” Winslow barked as low as he could muster, for his voice was unusually deep and husky.

Catherine nodded and confirmed that was so, but her fear could not be contained, “I have a friend, a colleague, Joe Maxwell, I could call him, and this could be done legally. There would be no risk for any of you to get hurt if the police were to help us.”

That she had proposed such a preposterous idea was evident in the gasps emitted by everyone around her, and Catherine felt so foolish. Of course, they could not call anyone. What reason could she give? And what would they say when they saw Vincent? Even though she had yet to clap eyes on him herself, Catherine was well aware that Vincent would turn heads and not for the better. “Okay so what exactly does he look like?” She found herself ridiculously asking as Winslow opened the door to the first floor stairwell.

Another silence surrounded her, as everyone appeared stunned at the stupidity of the question, and she shouldn’t have been surprised but was when Winslow told her, “Woman, I suggest that you and your friend stay down here and leave the danger to us. First sight of our friend might make you scream and we don’t want to have you to thank when this rescue attempt goes disastrously wrong do we?”

“What do you mean?” Catherine asked stupidly.

“Dork! Like you don’t know a scream would bring the guards running.” Jamie pushed past her on the way to the stairs leaving Catherine feeling very foolish indeed. Even so, she held back grateful for the chance to let them take over. She’d done her bit, they could do whatever they liked from hereon up, and she could rest assured that she had done all that she needed to do.

“Let’s go home Jen.” She told her friend turning on her heels.

“Home? No way, Cathy, you’re not going to give up now we’ve come this far are you?”

“I sure am. You heard what they said, I’m not wanted.”

“And who can blame them? Lord Cathy, I would never have believed you could utter such garbage if I hadn’t heard it for myself. Talk about drivel, what’s got into you woman?” Jenny exasperate..

“Oh like having this creepy feeling inside me isn’t enough!” Catherine had snapped making Jenny regret her own outburst.

“I’m sorry, Cathy. Even so, you can’t go now, you might even be wrong. Its possible he isn’t in this building, they might need your help further yet.”

“He is here.” All fight drained out of Catherine, and Peter who had lingered behind with the two women placed a welcome arm around her shoulders. “I’ll tell you what you want to know Catherine. Just as I brought you into the world, I was among the first people ever to see Vincent when he was a baby.”

Catherine’s mouth dropped open, “You’ve known Vincent that long?”

Eyes bright with amusement, Peter nodded, “I sure have, and never has he frightened me. Of course he looks different and none of us know his origins, he was abandoned at birth you know?”

“But Paracelsus…” Jenny exclaimed cut short by Peter with, “Said he was his father? Yes, I know, Paracelsus has always maintained that but whether or not it is fact, has never been proven. What is known is that John Pater’s wife Anna found Vincent wrapped in rags and laid under a bush in the snow in the grounds of St Vincent’s hospital, hence the name, but it was never established that her husband was Vincent’s rightful father. That was something John had made himself when he thought that Anna was going to take the youngling on as her own. And that was only because she had recently lost her own baby who had died. Anna didn’t see Vincent’s differences only that he was a baby needing a mother, as she was a mother needing a baby. They were right for each other at a traumatic time in each of their lives. However, Jacob also fell in love with the baby and as the tunnels only doctor the child’s welfare was left primarily to him, and of course, he grew to love the strange looking child. And that’s where the dissention came in, John wanted the child as his, being that Anna was his wife, and Jacob felt that the child was better left with him, and then when Anna died and John was ousted from the community, well then Vincent remained with Jacob. But that part as we say, is another story. The part that you are interested in, is I believe, Vincent’s actual appearance?”

There was a lot to take in, but over and above it all, Catherine very much wanted to know what Vincent looked like, while Jenny had a vague notion if her visions were correct.

“I could explain Vincent to you in all manner of ways to lessen the shock, but the easiest is to say that Vincent’s facial features resemble that of a lion.” He paused for impact and was not disappointed as both women gasped and Catherine clutched at his arm alarmingly.

“A lion?” Eyes wide, Catherine whispered hoarsely.

“Yes, that’s what I said. And he comes complete with fangs a roar and claws and fur, but through it all he walks upright on two legs, has arms like we do and speaks beautifully thanks to the teachings of Jacob and the literacy that he has been educated with. Vincent is the best of everything and he is a wonderful friend, a true counsellor and is gifted with a beautiful spirit. I don’t believe there is another like him in all the world and each person that meets him will endorse that fact. Vincent is unique and everyone that befriends him benefits from having him as part of their life.”

“And is he part of any particular person’s life?” Jenny asked pointedly.

“Well you know what he means to most people, so I take it you are fishing, young lady. Do you mean has he got a true love? A partner?” Bemused, Peter smiled.

Jenny blushed scarlet and was grateful for the low lighting in the basement that would hide her acute embarrassment at being sussed so easily. Peter chuckled, “There was someone once. But there was also a misunderstanding, and she didn’t feel for Vincent what he had hoped for. They parted company and it left him very alone for a long time.”

“Can’t say I blame her, oh, I know how you view him Peter, as Mr Magnificent, but really! Expecting that some woman would fall for him when he looks like that? I don’t think so!” Catherine retorted indignantly.

“Well you just wait till you meet him before you say things like that. And believe me, I think you would find yourself faced with a whole lot of opposition from the ladies of the tunnels, even if you were mildly interested in him. Vincent is protected and mothered by a great many ladies and they would not take lightly to newcomers entering their circle. You would be taken over the coals in order to be accepted as a partner for Vincent, and I don’t mean maybe. And you haven’t exactly got off to a favourable start among them have you?”

“Huh this is all immaterial anyway, Peter. I will not, and do not expect to have anything remotely to do with this creep, not now nor ever, so you can quit worrying.” Her words left Peter feeling very sad and Jenny even more so. Peter might stand loyal to Vincent, but Jenny stood loyal to her dreams and visions and Catherine’s dislike of Vincent was not on the cards, very much the opposite in fact.

Straight after Catherine’s final comment, the three fell into silence, for there was nothing more to be said. Catherine had made up her mind that was for sure, and anything either Peter or Jenny might wish to add on the subject they could clearly see would fall on deaf ears. And so they waited, each shuffling uncomfortably around in the basement, picking at this bit of peeling plaster or idly kicking at that small pebble on the floor thus, it seemed eons before either of them heard a rumpus from the stairwell that signified company was on its way.

“Better hide.” Peter dragged the two women behind what appeared the only safe place in the basement, a unit of shelves upon which boxes of folders were stored. From there they could see whomsoever came through the doors, and hopefully if they were quiet enough not be discovered hiding there.

The sound of the fire door opening caused Peter to hold his breath and then exhale with relief to hear someone calling his name, “Peter, you still there?”

“Cullen? That you? Yes we’re over here. What is it? Have you found Vincent?”

“Found him, yes. But we need your help. You turned your car around in the parking lot didn’t you? Was that to make a hasty getaway? At any rate since the two ladies left theirs parked facing frontward your car would be best to bundle Vincent into, get him out of here quick smart. Can you get the engine running Peter, the others aren’t far behind me, and we don’t know if the fellow that was holding Vincent will soon come round or not.”

“Come round? Whatever did you do to him, knock him out?” Peter called heading for the outer door.

“Something like that.” He heard Cullen’s reply just before the thud of the door closing again and then Jenny’s cry of “Wait for us, Peter,” followed him out to where they had left the three cars.

That was a hair raising moment in itself, waiting there, hands leaning on the steering wheel glimpsing through the windshield and awaiting the moment when everyone would come dashing from the building. No doubt with Vincent among them, and then wanting to see what he looked like along with hoping she would not, Catherine waited, foot on accelerator pedal hand on gear stick anticipating the moment when her passengers would clamber into her car and Jenny’s and they would speed off after Peter’s car. It all seemed very familiar to Catherine in her line of work, but no fresh time made the personal experience of the past any easier. Heart in her mouth, Catherine almost froze when the sight she had anticipated left her gasping for air and her eyes glued to the strange looking man as he was bundled into the back seat of Peter’s car.

“Go! Go, go, go, go!” Her passengers shouted as with flailing arms they reached out to close the car doors all around the car. “Go, god dammit!” Catherine felt someone tug the gear stick from her hand and shove it into first, “Step on it, woman!” Still the action did nothing and Catherine found herself immobilised until something happened that really got her moving. The familiar ping of a gunshot ricocheting off of the back wing of her car, suddenly had her bursting into action and the tyres squealing as she changed gear from first, to second, third to forth to fifth in a mere sixty seconds her passengers hanging on for dear life as the bends she took tossed them about.

“Where’re we going?” She flung back the question to no one in particular. Her eyes wild, she checked the rear view mirror, conscious of a tailing vehicle and the fact that her passengers were making it difficult to keep them in sight. “Sit down! I can’t see!” Catherine wailed accelerating faster as another bullet made the presence of their pursuers felt.

“Anywhere, just lose them. Thankfully your friend and Peter will get away safe. I don’t think they know there were three cars thanks to the length of time you took to get started.” Someone told her at her side. She did not take her eyes from the road to see who it might be, but guessed from the familiar sarcastic tone that it was the young woman called Jamie.

“You wanna walk!” Catherine screamed as she made the familiar turns that would lead her round the city hoping to shake off her tail, “What happened to thank you Catherine?” She retorted with equal sarcasm.

“She’s right, Jamie.” One of the men spoke from the back, “Without Catherine’s help we would still be looking for Vincent. You should thank her. We all should.” Yet even though he said it, their appreciation was a long time coming.

“What’s the matter with you all? Didn’t your so called precious Vincent teach you gratitude, or that other fellow, what’s his name, Jacob?”

Her questions were met with silence, until finally someone appointed themselves spokesman, “Its not that. Its just, well you have to admit that this all seems pretty far fetched. How can we be sure that you and Vincent’s captor aren’t in on the same plan? Its hard for us to understand that you can feel what Vincent feels, even harder to accept that he led you to him.”

“And you think I understand it any better!” Catherine snapped. “Listen, I didn’t ask for this blasted feeling. It’s almost sent me insane. I just hope that Jenny is right, that now I’ve paid back the debt I will never have this feeling again.”

“What do you mean paid back the debt?” Jamie asked, despite the fact that she told herself she wasn’t interested in anything that Catherine felt, and hopefully after this night they would never have to clap eyes on one another ever again.

Catherine sighed, and checking the mirror for what felt like the thousandth time, replied wearily, “Jenny thinks that now Vincent has rescued me and I have rescued him all will be back to normal. She seems to think that I was destined to be Vincent’s saviour in this, this…capture, that without the connection that we shared he would never have been returned to the tunnels.”

“Well there’s no arguing with that.” Jamie mumbled, and even though she didn’t really want to, she heard herself mumble some thanks.

Catherine neither felt like replying nor intended to speak anymore but as it appeared that they had lost their pursuers, she was compelled to do so. “Look, we had best get out somewhere and leave the car behind. No doubt they took the registration number and since we don’t know who we are dealing with we are still at risk.” As she was speaking those that hadn’t already noticed looked back to see that they were no longer being followed and sighed with relief until they heard her final words when they grew nervous again. “We’re still a long way from the park, so is there anywhere you know where we will be safe?” She asked no one in particular.

“There are ways into the tunnels all over the city. We don’t need to go via the park. Leave your car anywhere round here and follow us. Just be sure to bring all your personal belongings with you, and especially anything that might identify you. We can have someone see you home via a network of tunnels that go beneath Fifth Avenue.”

“I’m sure if they are that resourceful they will soon find out who owns the car. I shall need to stay with you until it is safe for me to go home. Its possible that they have gone ahead of us straight to my apartment anticipating that’s where I will go.”

“Catherine’s right, they are probably awaiting our arrival in the parking lot beneath her apartment building. At least if they are we can play for time. What will you do Catherine, I know you have colleagues who can help, but what will you tell them?”

“I’ll think of something.” Fishing around the car, Catherine made certain she didn’t leave anything personal or of value behind, then locking the vehicle followed the alighted passengers out across the street and toward a block of café’s with a small alley to the side of one of them.

“Be quiet.” Jamie whispered, “This time of night, one never knows…”

“Shh”, one of her companions warned her.

Catherine understood, so near yet so far, how often had she found herself in that predicament? Still with caution and steadfastness the small group made their way into the alley and through the side entrance that would lead them into the tunnels. Soon they were able to breathe easily again knowing that they were entering safe territory but surprising Catherine when they refused her admittance.

“You said you would think of something.” Jamie asked, barring her way, “What will you tell your boss about tonight?”

“Something that he’ll accept without further ado, don’t worry I’ll think of something.” Believing she had answered the question, Catherine tried to enter the tunnels.

“That won’t do. We have to know, you have to tell us what you have in mind.” Jamie’s voice rose and Catherine suddenly detected fear in the young woman’s eyes and understood at once. “Its alright, whatever I decide I would never betray you. Who’d believe me?” She tried to laugh but the sound died on her lips when she saw that Jamie didn’t find it funny.

“Look, I don’t know yet what I will do. Maybe those guys won’t even come looking for me.” They both knew the futility of that hope. Catherine’s car registration was the only lead that they had and they both knew it. “But whatever happens,” Catherine assured Jamie and any who were left listening, “I will never tell anyone about the tunnels, or you and certainly nothing about Vincent.”

Jamie sighed and moved aside allowing Catherine in, “That’s all we wanted to know.” Jamie told her as Catherine moved by adding reluctantly, “Welcome to our world Catherine.”

“Thank you, Jamie. I promise your secret is safe with me and with Jenny it goes without saying.” And for the first time since the two had met a hint of comradeship sprung up between the two women and they actually smiled at one another in passing.

*** *** ***

That was months ago. Since that night Catherine had spent weeks in hiding at the tunnels at night, safely at work during the day with Joe covering her back due to the story she had instigated of being in the wrong place at the wrong time with a drug baron hot on her tail in a case of mistaken identity. After all, her story was acceptable. She told Joe she’d been on surveillance tracking a group of people that her department had been interested in for a long time and when they had come running out of the building and made her drive with a gun to her head, she had obeyed without question. Ordinarily such a tale would have been inconceivable, but after her car had been forensically examined by Gabriel’s mob and they hadn’t even turned up a cat hair, he had been forced, by means of a mediator, to accept her story. He didn’t like it, and he might be forever suspicious, might even have her tailed from time to time, but he accepted it and Catherine started to feel safe again. That was the easy part. The likes of Gabriel were a part of her world and as such relatively easy to deal with. What was difficult was having someone like Vincent in her life, and she wished with every passing moment that she could remember a time when she did not have him there for he filled her every waking moment and matchmaker Jenny wasn’t making it any easier to ignore him either as their many heated discussions verified.

“Face the facts, Cathy,” Jenny launched another attack at the first opportunity on another visit to Catherine’s apartment. “Gabriel won’t entirely give up on you until you fall off the face of the earth, or very deftly slip under it. You simply are not safe while Gabriel lives and breathes in this city.”

“I’ve tackled worse than Gabriel Jen, you should know that.” Catherine told her.

“Worse maybe, but Gabriel is very resourceful and has his fingers in all the pies. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a slice in all the pies and a very big slice at that. You aren’t safe with him on your tail Cathy, however much he seems to have accepted that you had nothing to do with the disappearance of his prize possession. And I for one, will be happier knowing you are below with Vincent. I know he can protect you and would be only too willing to do so.”

“Oh you do, do you?” Catherine asked scornfully, “And what makes you so sure?”

“The way he looks at you.”

Catherine almost choked on her reply, “The way he…what?”

“Seriously, Cathy he adores you. And try as you might you can’t deny that those big soulful eyes have no affect on you. And the colour – wow, have you ever seen eyes so blue. I could drown in them.”

“Be my guest.” Catherine laughed. “Besides if the timing hadn’t been off, it would have been you and he that would have had the connection, and I would never have had a part in any of this.”


“I don’t understand. You told me yourself, it was all to do with timing. My being in the wrong place, a place I might add that you should have been in.”

“Yes, that much is true, but it was never to be he and I. All my dreams attest to the fact that he’s yours through and through, Cathy.”

“All your dreams! What dreams are these?”

“The dreams that show me you and Vincent living happily ever after and very much in love down in the tunnels.”

“No way! Jenny, I have believed most of the things you have told me, seen many of your visions come true, but I will not, do not, will never and I mean it, Jen, so don’t look at me like that… I will not be living happily ever after with some overlarge cat in the bowels of the earth, so you can forget that stupid idea, quick smart!” Catherine thought that her reply brooked no argument so she was surprised when it did.

“You can fight a lot of things Cathy, but you can’t fight destiny. It will get you in the end, so you may as well give up on it now and save the fight.” Jenny sounded so sure of herself that for a moment Catherine almost relented and gave in, until she realised how ridiculous it all was. “Look Jen, I know you mean well, and I know you would like to see Vincent and I romantically involved but it just won’t happen. It can’t. Not only are we vastly different but we come from different worlds and I’m not ready to give the life I lead up for any man, period!”

“Is that why you refused to go out with Joe Maxwell?”

“How did you know about that?” Catherine looked at her friend curiously. She didn’t remember telling her about it, and couldn’t imagine that Joe would. They hardly knew one another.

“The same way I know about most things. But its true isn’t it?”

“Yes its true, so what does it prove?”

“Nothing in itself. It’s the feeling you had when you refused him that is important.” Catherine paled before her friend’s eyes. “You even know about that?” She husked.

“Well not exactly.” Jenny admitted wryly, “I just saw your face in my vision, couldn’t tell what you were thinking, but I surmised. Seems I hit the nail on the head though didn’t I? Deep down inside the reason you gave yourself for refusing Joe, was that you were already involved with someone else.”

“Jenny, you are going to give me a heart attack one day, you know that? You are too astute for your own good.”

“It’s a gift. Just like the gift you share with Vincent.”

“What gift?”

“Cathy, you should know by now that I know you better than you know yourself. So, don’t try hiding anything from me. Despite what I assumed that connection still bubbles between you although I get the feeling that you have tried to squash the feeling as best you can.”

“Okay so it is still there. Say you want a sandwich? I haven’t eaten since lunch. How about a glass of wine.”

“Yes to both thank you, and don’t try changing the subject.” Jenny followed Catherine into the kitchen, watching while Catherine prepared the items to make them a snack and continuing to hound her friend relentlessly, until Catherine told her, “Enough already. Honestly Jen, this really is too much, won’t you ever stop?”

Jenny sighed, “Its not that I want to send you ragged over this Cathy, but I’ve had longer to come to terms with it than you have. I know I’m right. You are fighting against the current, on this one Cathy. Whatever you say, whatever Vincent says you two should be together.”

A sandwich half way from her mouth to the plate Catherine almost choked on the first bite, “Whatever Vincent says, that’s a new one. Don’t tell me you’ve had this conversation with him as well?”

Looking guilty, Jenny nodded and hurried forth with, “But I had to do Cathy, don’t you see you two need your heads knocking together. Neither of you can fight what’s meant to be, unfortunately neither of you will see it.”

All ears, Catherine wanted to know everything. “I know that my reasons for not living beneath the city with him are valid, but I fail to see what his problem is with it. He does realise that he’d be getting a wealthy woman as well as beautiful doesn’t he?”

Jenny smirked, she had Catherine by the tail now that was easy to see, and she played it for all she was worth. “Wealth means little to Vincent, and I guess he’s noticed how pretty you are.”

“Pretty!” Catherine wasn’t vain but she well knew her looks went beyond pretty. Jenny appeared not to notice how ruffled the word had left her friend telling her, “Well you are pretty.”

Unable to find a retort that didn’t make her appear rude, Catherine changed tactics, though she knew she would put that one on hold. “So what exactly were his arguments against having me live with him? I take it you know that he feels something for me?”

“Now that would be telling.” Silently Jenny laughed and made a great show of examining her ham and salad sandwich, carefully tucking tomato and lettuce between the two slices of bread before biting into the first half. “Mm, can’t beat granary bread. Did you get this from the deli?”

“Don’t change the subject. As it happens, yes I did, but tell me more about Vincent.”

“What would you like to know? This my wine?” Jenny indicated one of the two glasses Catherine had recently poured and carried to the coffee table positioned between two very dinky sofas.

“Yes. Now spill.”

“Spill? What over your carpet? I hardly think that would be appropriate besides it would waste the wine.”

“Quit stalling, Jen. You know what I meant. Now tell me, what did Vincent say?”

Jenny sighed, “Actually not a lot. He implied much, but said little, you know Vincent one has to read between the lines with much that he says.”

“And that would be what? Come on Jenny, this is like pulling teeth, and I know what you are doing you know. Now that you have my attention, you are extracting every last ounce of retribution that you can. Well okay, you have my full undivided attention. Okay satisfied? Now exactly what did Vincent say? Or more to the point what did Vincent imply?”

“I wish I could play it for all its worth Cathy. Nothing would make me happier, but the thing is, when it comes to you, Vincent is a closed book. Simply he will not face facts nor will he discuss any possibility that he finds you attractive. I think he’s deluding himself, but that’s just my opinion.”

Catherine absorbed her words and said little, but Jenny could see that they had had the required impact, Catherine was thinking, a lot and finally Jenny was not disappointed when Catherine remarked casually, “Then I must be doing something wrong. Hasn’t noticed me has he? We’ll see about that. Didn’t I hear you say that he likes going to the concert beneath the park?”

“I believe I did mention it, yes.” Jenny replied flippantly and casually sipped her wine.

“Mm.” Catherine eyed her friend sceptically, “You should have been an actress, Jen they’d award you an Oscar for some of your performances. Bravo.” Catherine told her friend dryly and though Jenny said nothing, Catherine noticed the small smirk of satisfaction that crossed Jenny’s face. The woman almost gloated.

“Tell you what.” Catherine announced excitedly to get her friend’s full attention, “How about you and I giving Vincent and eyeful one evening?”

“Not sure I like the sound of that Cathy, but go on, I’m all ears.” Jenny laughed. This was sounding like fun no matter how much she disputed the fact.

“We have to make certain Vincent is beneath the concert, and then appear above in all our finest. He’s sure to notice us then.”

“Possibly, but will he be looking up and oh…if he is…oh Cathy!” Jenny’s eyes danced with mischief, “You don’t mean you want him to see straight up your gown do you? Now that would make him notice!” Jenny burst into raucous laughter.

“I do not!” Catherine answered indignantly, “But you have a point there. I hadn’t thought of that. How will he see what we are wearing if his vantage point is beneath us? Unless he is gifted at seeing round corners that won’t work. Do you have any ideas?”

Jenny finished her wine, paused for effect then replied, “Yes as it happens.”

“I thought you might.” Catherine told her with a hint of amusement. “You going to tell me now, or do I have to beat it out of you?” The two women laughed together.

“Its easy. You just spend the evening with him beneath the concert, same place as he listens to it. It stands to reason, he can’t go above, so you have to go below.”

“You mean we have to go below. Like it or not you are tagging along Jen.”

“Yeah whatever.”

“No, I mean it. I’m serious. I’m not spending an evening alone with him, Jen. You’re going to be there too and that’s final, okay?”

Jenny smiled, her secret, ‘you betcha’, smile leaving Catherine surmising all she liked from it. Jenny had her own ideas, and playing gooseberry wasn’t one of them matchmaker certainly, gooseberry never.

“So when’s the next performance?” Catherine asked reaching for the copy of a newspaper that would give her the answer she sought not knowing that Jenny was happily thinking, ‘well you said I should be an actress, Cathy and I’m about to play my best performance yet, you see if I don’t.’ Inside she laughed, Catherine and Vincent wouldn’t know what hit them, not if she had anything to do with it. And she aimed to see that she had everything to do with it, come what may.

*** *** ***

To be continued in part eleven.