Nine Third Season vignettes by SueHaley

Contents:
THE ELEPHANT'S CHILD - Tony Ramos
CATHARSIS - Vincent's grief
A GYPSY NEVER FORGETS - The healing begins
WHO MAKES YOU JEALOUS? - Joe's own thoughts
"SOMEBODY ELSE IN YOUR LIFE" - Elliot has met Vincent
"...IT CHANGED EVERYTHING" - Extracts from Diana's diary
DEAR MR MAXWELL - Joe gets a letter from a young boy
GLIMPSES - A letter not sent
OR, IF YOUR WISH BE TO CLOSE ME... - Diana's pain

........................



THE ELEPHANT'SCHILD


I decided to learn to read... for her. So she'd be proud of me... andso I could read those stories myself. It wasn't as hard as I thoughtit'd be! I already recognised my own name in print... and my father'sfrom the death certificate... "from injuries sustained in a roadtraffic accident" I can read that now too, not that I didn't know italready. I've found all sorts of advantages when you can read - notjust for books. Want ads, lost and found, special offers, hey I evenstarted reading newspapers! I saw her picture in there severaltimes... months ago... but I couldn't read what it said then. Now Iwish I couldn't read 'cos when I saw her picture again last week Ibought the paper so I could take my time over it.

She's dead! She'd been missing and now she's dead! I went to thegraveyard on the day of the funeral... oh, nobody saw me, I made sureof that. So many people there... but he wasn't there. He couldn't gotill it was dark... I saw him then but I didn't know what to say tohim so I stayed out of sight. I will talk to him one day... when itdoesn't hurt so much. He goes there a lot at night.

Just think... I learned to read for her and the first proper thing Iread was that!

........................

CATHARSIS


He had seen it's beauty before... admired it from a distance but now,for some reason that he could not identify, it beckoned him... Hewanted to FEEL it's power. He made his way to the heart of it. It wasa difficult path but he reached it surprisingly quickly... though notwithout doubts along the way:- What if it crushed the life from him?What if it swept him away and dashed him against the rocks below?What if...? But the pull was too strong to resist and at last hestood in the full force of the water and it beat against his bodymercilessly. His own strength rose to meet it... to match it blow forblow and the union with it was exaltation! He became part of it foran eternal instant and his soul rejoiced. And she was there too! Shewas PART of the cascade. He wanted to live there, die there in thatembrace but the power overcame him. He was filled with sorrow thatshe would never again be with him. Now he would surely be slain bythe torrent... carried away and shattered forever. He could resist nolonger and he allowed the water to lift him from where he stood. Notin an angry wave was he lifted, but so gently, as on the delicatewings of a butterfly... and carried through the curtain of his tearsand floated into the stillness of the waters below. He marvelled thatit should be so but more wonder followed...

As he looked up at the falls he saw that she was still there! Shesmiled at him, as she would for the rest of his days, and her tendervoice echoed through the roar...

"I will always behere"

........................

A GYPSY NEVERFORGETS


From his attire you would have thought that he lived Below:-fingerless gloves, patched knees - generally raggedy. But no, hishome was Above with his grandparents. Now, as he approached thedrainage culvert he looked hesitant, almost shifty. But for theflowers, you would have said he was definitely up to no good! Helooked around one last time before entering quickly, trying not to beseen. The children who had been by the grill had seen his approachand retreated behind the safety-door where they now stood silently todiscover his purpose. Tony tapped on the pipes - no recognisablemessage.

"Should we fetch someone?" Kipper whispered.

"Wait!" Zak commanded softly.

After a pause Tony decided that there must be someone there, a sentryperhaps so he said out loud,

"It's not much. I couldn't afford much... but I wanted you to knowthat I heard and I'm sorry." His voice was strained as he fought withhis emotions. "Please see that Vincent gets the flowers. Tell himthey're from Tony - He'll know" He laid the flowers on the dirt andslowly turned to go, "Please" he added "It's important."

He left, rather reluctantly and walked a little way from the culvertbefore stopping. He couldn't just leave like that, not knowing. Hesat there on the damp grass, turning it over in his mind for two orthree minutes, then stood up and made his way cautiously back to thegrill. The flowers were gone! Tony was elated. He yelled "Thanks!"and once in the park again he raced most of the way home. By the timehe was tucking into his breakfast there was a vase of flowers by astained glass window in a chamber deep beneath the city and twohearts were lighter than before.

........................

WHO MAKES YOUJEALOUS?


I gotta admit, it came as a shock. How did she know? I've only spokento her a couple of times. How did SHE know I was in love with Cathywhen I didn't know myself?

I don't understand what happened here. I thought Cathy was just agood friend. Sure, I tried to ask her out a couple of times - but shewas always busy.

I knew I cared about her - I got worried about her more than once.That time she got shot when she was working on that Docker's Unionthing. And when she got worked over after Pirotta was shot. Mind you,I didn't help her much then - I was too close to that case 'cos itreminded me of my Dad...Come to think of it I'd never talked abouthim to anyone since I was in college - but I told Cathy. She wasgreat about it afterwards.
She really stuck by me. Especially over the Taylor Investigation. Shedug me out of a very big hole that time. Yes - we were goodfriends.

But was I in love with her? I admired her. She was beautiful - nodoubt about that, but I admired her for more than that. Her work wasexcellent. Look at the Nolan trial. I know I was sore when Morenohanded it over to her but I was sure proud of the way she handledit.

Her commitment - that's what it was - she never gave less than ahundred per cent. Well.... she's sure given a hundred per centnow!

Why did I say Elliot Burch? - I wasn't `jealous' of him. When shecame back after the 'flu - only it wasn't the 'flu - she said thenthat there was someone special. If I'm honest with myself that hurt alittle bit but I think I'd already given up on my chances. Anyway,she said "you have a heart like his". WHAT THE HELL was THAT supposedto mean? Anyway - she wasn't talking about Burch - no way!

Then again - what was all that stuff with Burch and the CIA a whileback? I never knew how that ended. There were lots of things I neverknew; When she got back from LA she said someone was waiting for her.Burch was out of the country then so it couldn't have been him. Shewas going to Providence, then changed her mind at the last minute...Not that I wasn't happy to have her stay, but she never said why.

When that guy was watching her. There was definitely something shewasn't telling me.... I don't think I'd ever been so scared for heras I was then. I wanted to hold her and make it all better. Like thenight I held her, crying in my arms, when we found Jimmy Morero'sbody. I was just comforting her though wasn't I?

When she went missing, I was looking for a FRIEND. When she died, Ilost a FRIEND. But when Jenny was crying in my arms I could so easilyhave joined in with her!

Walking into her apartment... after they found her... I heard a voicesay "bag her hands" - sounded like it was a thousand miles away - Iwas hurting. I WAS hurting.

I guess I couldn't admit to myself that I loved her - 'cos I wasafraid of losing control.

........................

"SOMEBODY ELSE IN YOURLIFE"


I met him tonight - the man you loved.

I could only see his outline. A big man. A very big man. I had a gunin my hand. I could have killed him any number of times. When he saidhis name, I wanted to, but I had to be sure he was the one so I lethim speak.

He SAW the man who killed you Cathy - so it wasn't him. He wants myhelp. Why should I help him?

"Because you loved her too"

Oh yes, Cathy, I loved you. But I lost you - I kept on losing you.Before I knew you I was so sure of myself: who I was, what I wantedand how to get it. That night at the museum I was expounding on thevalue of art, how it enhanced the quality of humanity.... but I waslooking at you Cathy. I remember telling you your father should beproud of you. Hell, I was proud of you and I'd only known you acouple of hours!

"Call me" you said and it was like you'd popped out of a magic lampand granted me three wishes. I remember walking with you and tellingyou about my dreams - I can still hear the saxophone! Even as wespoke my dreams were changing but when you kissed me it was like thewhole city had changed. Then I just wanted to be with you more andmore. Remember when I brought lobster to your office? Boy, I'd neverseen you look so determined - I thought I was in real trouble forthat stunt.

Did you know Vincent then?
No, I don't think so. He couldn't have sat back while.....
Unless.....
Perhaps he did love you enough to do that even then.

All I know is that I trust him and I believe what he said. I'll gosee Joe Maxwell and I'll speak to Cleon again.

* * * * *


Joe doesn't like me much! But he wants to find your killer too. Hedidn't like the idea that maybe Moreno is on the take but I thinkhe'll check it out.

He hurt me though! He said I only ever used you if there wassomething in it for me. That's not true Cathy. Okay, so when the DA'soffice were trying to make a case against Max Avery, I took my chanceto try to make you see that I'm not one of the bad guys. I justwanted your trust back. Then you came to see me - you looked like adifferent person - behaved like a different person. You were somehowcornered but I never knew how. No explanations, just a shopping listyou couldn't fill at Bloomingdales! You wanted my trust then. Howcould I withhold that, or anything, from you? It didn't matter whyyou needed those things - all that mattered was that you were introuble and I had the power to help you.

I can't help you now so do I.... but who is he?

I used to think it was Vincent but I know better now.

* * * * *


Cleon murdered, tell Vincent tonight that I can't go on with this.I'm sorry Cathy.

* * * * *


"There is a child"

You had a child!
Vincent wouldn't say if it was his child but it must be. I can't evendecide how I feel about that but I'll carry on now because themonster who killed you has your child.

I still haven't seen Vincent's face. Why won't he let me see hisface?

* * * * *


Now Joe knows Moreno is dirty and he knows where you died. It knockedhim sideways, I could see that. He wants to know where my informationcame from but I can't tell him. That would be breaking a trust and weboth know how important trust is.

Remember when I was trying to build the Tower and you agreed to cometo see my dream in the making? Ever since I was a child I've wantedto build bigger and better than anyone else - even sandcastles! BurchTower meant so much to me.
It meant too much.
If only I'd agreed to stop it when you asked me to I couldhave....... No! When you agreed to marry me Cathy, it wasn't becauseyou loved me, it was because of something else. I knew how much theTower meant to me but even I didn't know that I could let it ruin mychance of happiness with the only woman I've ever loved. But yourreasons were a mystery to me then. I still can't imagine why youwould be willing to marry me when you were in love with Vincent - orhow he could let you do it.

I'm meeting Vincent again tonight. Maybe I'll ask him.

* * * * *


He saved my life tonight. They shot him twice but still he saved mylife. It's not the first time either - Now I know HE was the one whosaved us back on the docks that night. He sounded like.... I don'tknow what he sounded like but it was the same.

And I saw his face. Now I know why he was a secret.

I called after him but he disappeared off into the night. Maybe hecrawled off to die somewhere and I'll never get to thank him.

How did you meet him Cathy? Where? When I knew I had a rival, Iflattered myself that he must be very special, but this man. Man? Iknow from the way he speaks of you that he loved you very much butyou had a child together! How do I deal with that - now that I'veseen him - in action?

I can't stop thinking about that night on the waterfront, after thehelicopter blew up, when I kissed you.... And later, when I told youthings I'd never told anybody before. You listened and youunderstood. It felt right to tell you those things. You were closethen.

Oh Cathy, I did love you!

But you already loved Vincent. It was that night I really knew therewas someone else in your life. When that door slid open and you saidwe were below Central Park I had so many questions. But you werealready starting to move away from me again. I was in no doubt when Ileft you there that I was competing with someone else, andlosing.

But there was no evidence of the other man, not that I could see. Ididn't have you followed - there was never any question of that - butno-one saw you out with him, not in restaurants, not at the theatre,nowhere. So where was he? Who was he?

I know the answer to that now and some things are starting to makesense.... but I still have so many questions. Who do I ask Cathy?

* * * * *


After almost a week I thought I'd heard the last of Vincent but thenI got a message to meet him at pier 39. He doesn't mind me seeing hisface now - and I know it sounds curious but he doesn't seem half asstrange as I remembered him. Maybe it's because now I can see pastthe differences to the man. The man you loved. Something else struckme too - He is just as persuasive as you were! I was all for pullingout but he convinced me to go on searching for this monster -Gabriel. How Vincent loved you Cathy. He spoke of you tonight and Icould almost touch his pain. Together with my own it was almost morethan I could bear.

* * * * *


First Bennett came to see me again - she's smart! She'd worked outthat I was there when Moreno died. She asked me what I knew and for amoment I wanted to tell her, let her have the responsibility, butonly for a moment. Next thing I know I'm in this cell. My attorneythinks I'm insane for not telling him what happened. If I did tellhim - then he'd really think I'm insane!

I'm here, charged with Moreno's murder and I have no idea how to playthis one.

* * * * *


So... that's Gabriel. He doesn't look anything special.

He had me brought to your grave to meet him.

"We don't have to be enemies" he said with ice in his voice. Then,almost casually, he said if he'd known how much trouble it wouldcause, he wouldn't have killed you - like it meant nothing at all tohim! I wanted to deck him there and then but I knew I wouldn't beallowed to get that close.

Oh Cathy... he said you never loved me.

I tried to say that you did but the words wouldn't come. You lovedHIM. You had HIS child. HE was the one who took you away from me.Gabriel lit a fire in me and now he was fanning the flames. Forgiveme Cathy but I'm burning with jealousy and all I can see now is thatI can at least have some part of my life back if I just play ballwith him.

He's not asking much.

I just have to betray Vincent, that's all.

* * * * *


He's here.... I just have to get him out in plain sight.

Look at him. What could he have given you Cathy? What?

"All I could. All I had. All I was."

God Cathy - what have I done?

........................

"...IT CHANGEDEVERYTHING"


(extracts from Diana's diary)

October 10 1989 3.30am - Graveyard hunch paid off this morning, justafter midnight.Hard to process the details. Hard enough trying toexplain to myself what has happened, what I've found...

I found Vincent. I found him at her grave, half dead. Don't know ifhe's going to make it. Can't call the doctor. I'm scared,disoriented. Even though he's in the next room it's impossible tobelieve he's really there... The thought of him's too great to holdin my head.

8pm - Something made him violent but he's quiet again now. Can'timagine what happened to cause his injuries but I guess he's entitledto be mad at someone. It's only one side of him though... ...I knowthat he's capable of great tenderness too: He brought Cathy home.

* * * *


October 12 - Had to send Mark away. Can't really introduce him! Ididn't lie but I didn't exactly tell the truth either. He's mad andhe has a right to be. Vincent is still having bad dreams. I hope theystop soon. He needs proper rest and I need a new door!

* * * *


October 14 - He's gone. He left while I was talking to Joe. He haddecided before that because the last thing he said to me was like aparting... ...only I didn't recognise it at the time.

Was that the first time he said my name? It has never felt sobeautiful, just to have someone say my name. Now I've started to havedreams I can't explain.

* * * *


October 18 - A week has passed and nothing. Still no sign. I dreamtof him again last night. A strange dream: I held his face close tomine... but he couldn't see me. I spoke to him... but he couldn'thear me. I was with him but... he was alone. Impressions - Am Ifinally losing my mind? Probably. But his sadness, it's carried overinto me... and these last few days especially.

* * * *


October 19 - I had to look for him... He saved my life. I tried toconvince him to let me help but he refused. Somehow he believes thatif he does it'll put me in danger. He told me to forget him... thenhe walked away. How can I?

* * * *


October 20 - Today I tried to convince Joe that Cathy inventedVincent. I gave it my best shot but I don't think he bought it. Hethought too much of Cathy...
...but I guess I already knew that.

* * * *


October 21 - Last night I thought Vincent had lost all hope and wouldnever let me help but this morning I found a message from him.Something has changed his mind. I'm glad. He trusts me now... Hetrusts me.

* * * *


October 24 - So much has happened! When Vincent went to meet GabrielI was so scared. I don't know why Gabriel didn't kill him... I wassure he would... but it doesn't matter now. When Vincent and his sonwere safe Gabriel was talking to me.. and I realised in an instantthat you can't just lock someone like that away for a few years. Theanswer was in my hand... Cathy's gun... it was right.

* * * *


October 26 - Vincent came as he promised... but much more. He showedme his world. Can't describe it... it's so... unreal... perhaps Idreamt it? I met his family at the Naming Ceremony for his son.Everyone made me feel welcome.... Don't know when I'll see himagain.

* * * *


November 17 - He visited tonight. The two deaths were linked to thetunnels. The motive isn't clear though. I have to find a way tofollow this up without giving his world away.

* * * *


November 24 - Vincent got my message and came to see me againtonight. At first he didn't know the latest victim but then herealised that he was involved in a cave-in Below a long time ago...and so were the other two. A man died... his son went missing...that's who I have to find. The other helpers should be safe - no-oneelse was there.

* * * *


November 30 - Late. If only I'd realised sooner, Father wouldn't havehad such a narrow escape. But...Vincent knew he wasn't dead... He isremarkable! He went straight to the place where Gregory buried himand pulled him out. Everyone was so relieved... including me.

* * * *


December 3 - Tonight I held Jacob in my arms. Can't put into wordsthe way it felt. I think Vincent must know how I feel about himbut... I can't tell him because then... who knows how things mightchange. But now I'm content... I have his trust and his friendshipand if I must... I'll settle for that.

........................

DEAR MR MAXWELL

Dear Mr Maxwell

I want to be a District Attorney someday.
Please can you give me some advice?

Yours

Paul Strong (aged 13yrs 6mths)


Joe's first reaction when he read the letter was "Don't!" He lookedat the pile of files on his desk and tried to remember the last timehe actually saw the leather inlaid in the centre of it. It was truethat some of these papers only needed his signature but Joe was veryfussy about what he put his name on... He was the one who wasresponsible now and he'd carry the can if it was wrong. This letterneeded some thought... make that a lot of thought! He tucked it inhis inside pocket for later. Late that evening, as Joe was hanginghis jacket up at home, he noticed the letter still there. He took itout and read it again then placed it on the table so that he wouldnot forget it. At least on this table you could see it! He hadsnatched a meal earlier and now had indigestion so he poured a tallglass of water and ran himself a bath. A long soak was what heneeded. He would also have time to think how to reply to youngPaul.

Feeling suitably refreshed and much more relaxed, Joe settled at thetable to write his `advice'. Dedication, loyalty and trustworthinesswere qualities he would stress. Also hard work and teamwork were veryimportant but he didn't want it to sound like a lecture so he decidedto make it a more `chatty' letter. He made several alterations to hisfirst draft but eventually he was satisfied with the result... but hehad better type it... the kid would never be able to read Joe'sscrawl!

Dear Paul

You don't tell me anything about yourself, except your age, so I haveto assume that you realise you will need to go to college and thenlaw school and that won't be a problem. And you already know you'llhave to work hard to succeed - and that goes for any job, not justthis one! You want to be a DA now but a lot can happen from 13 to myage - you should really have more than one option - in case thingsdon't pan out for you. When I was your age I wanted to be a cop...but something happened to change that. I stuck with the law thoughand I'm not sorry. You will have to do that too but don't go missingout on other things: ALL experience is useful, you may not think soat the time but it is. You can't do this job if you don't know aboutpeople - how to treat them and who you can trust.

Be careful though - the DA has to be above suspicion so don't gogetting yourself a sheet for some stupid prank while you're young oryou could blow it. It may not be anything too serious but thesethings have a habit of coming out at the worst times and once thedamage is done it can't be undone. The DA is elected by the peopleand it's the people who remember the headlines. Join a theater grouptoo. This may sound odd but acting skills are very useful, especiallyin court. It will also help with the nerves - court is a bit like thestage - except the action is real and very important. You only getone chance to get it right so everything you can do to prepareyourself is good. Luck will play a big part in your life - and notall of it will be good luck. Sometimes bad luck has a good side toit. Without going into details some of the worst things that happenedin my life were directly responsible for my being in this job today.I'm not saying I wouldn't have had it happen differently becausethat's just not true. I'm just saying you never know. I wish you allthe luck you need and as long as you work hard and care about peopleI'm sure you'll make it someday. Above all be true to yourself -don't be forced by other people to do anything that doesn't seemright to you.

Yours sincerely

Joe Maxwell

........................

GLIMPSES


"You gave me these glimpses...
wonderful little glimpses...
but you never let me come in.
It was like somehow the shade
always got pulled."
Mark
( A TIME TO HEAL )

Dear Diana

I'm writing this letter but I know I'll never send it...
Still it's the only way I can think of to release my feelings. Youwere always a very private person and I respected that. I knew howimportant your work was and that sometimes I'd be `surplus torequirements'. Sometimes I'd turn around and leave withoutquestion... Sometimes I'd stay, until you needed me, even if it wasonly for a minute or two. It was enough. I told myself it wasenough.

But you... you were on another plane half the time. It was like I waswatching a movie with you in it and... you were playing two parts.There was the Diana I first met, however long ago that was, whowas... not shy exactly but reticent. God, I remember that day soclearly... and the searching look that passed between us. We had aspark to build on. But your fire burns cool... if it burns at all!Then there was the cop or more precisely the investigator. When youwork it's like watching Picasso at his easel. You can't see what thefinal picture will be at the start... sometimes not until very latebut when it's finished you have to admire all the brushstrokes...every one that make up the masterpiece. And the patience! I havepatience, I need it to be able to teach, but yours... yours isinfinite. I swear you could wait forever for something... or someoneif you had to. I'm only sorry it's not going to be me.

I loved you Diana, I still love you... but now I have to find a wayto stop. I can't see a woman with long red hair without my heartjumping in case it's you. Isn't that ridiculous? Can you become SOdependent on someone in the short time we had together?

I have to stop writing this letter now... it isn't helping atall.

........................

 

OR, IF YOUR WISH BE TO CLOSEME...


Diana stood looking out over the city, as she had done many times,but she saw nothing of the lights or the traffic below her. She hadno conscious thought at all... only Vincent and HIS world filled herbeing. Where is he now? What is he doing? Is he reading? Working?Eating? Even these simple questions merged into one concept, and onepain. He had given her the great honour of attending the namingceremony for his son... shown her so many wondrous places in hisworld... even talked a little of his childhood. He had told her shewas welcome there but to her question "When will I see you again?" hehad answered "I don't know". That uncertainty was such a tangiblething now, a week later.

An hour passed without any discernible movement, before her eyesfocused again on the real world. She stirred and slowly retreatedindoors. For a moment she paused, then crossed to the keyboard. Stilldisplayed on the screen was the unfinished passage from an hourearlier...

*SEPARATE FILE
Since I can't talk to him and I can't tell anyone else I have onlythe keyboard to be my friend. It is impossible to describe what I'mfeeling except that it is nothing I've ever felt before. That oneperson can fill another person's being so entirely... I neverrealised this was possible. Could this be what he felt withCatherine? What he STILL feels for her? How cruel life is to give methis intense love for him when nothing can come of it! Does herealise I wonder? I hope not. At least then he may feel able tocontact me sometimes. If he knew the effect he has on me he wouldsurely distance himself from me completely. Could I bear that?*

... That was the question she still could not answer. There weretimes, perhaps she would be cooking a meal and the thought wouldcross her mind "I wonder if Vincent likes chicken". The realisationwhich followed, that she may never know the answer, was like thethrust of a sword to the deepest place in her heart... and tears veryslowly followed as her whole body registered the pain of it. Shewould wake in the morning and she was surrounded by him... but whenthe truth dawned that he was not there, nor ever would be there, shewas engulfed in sorrow once more.

Could she continue to live like this? That was her main concern nowbut what of the answer? If it was "No" then what could she do tochange it? She could leave. Go right away from New York and fromhim... But even as close as she was to him now, she couldn't BEfurther away no matter how much distance she put between them! Thatwas not the answer. She would have to live with the pain and hide thegrief for as long as it took. Even if she never recovered she couldnot contact him and risk losing even the possibility... WHATPOSSIBILITY? "Wake up Diana!"

She completed the entry...

*Could I bear that? I can bear anything BUT that.*

She saved the file and remained still for several minutes, juststaring at the blank screen which now seemed to represent her life.The silence was broken by a light tapping noise coming from the roofand when she looked up to the window... Vincent was there!

........................