Night of a Thousand Stars

by Jenn Thompson

"I hoped you would come tonight." Diana said as she walked onto theroof of her building.

"I sensed that you needed to talk to me." Vincent said looming inthe shadows. "Please tell me what is troubling you."

"My cousin is visiting me." Diana said. "She is asleep right nowso she shouldn't hear us. She just got here today from California. She came with a friend of hers. She's going to live with me for thesummer. She needed to get away from her home for awhile."

"I didn't realize you had any family Diana."

"Most of them are still in California. When I moved to New York Ididn't leave under very good terms. I haven't seen my cousin sinceshe was in high school. When she called me I was really surprisedthat she wanted to have anything to do with me."

"It's good she took the incentive to start the healing process. Why did she want to come here?"

"Her grandma died six months ago. I guess it has been very hardon the family. She decided she needed to get away for a few monthsto allow herself to grieve. Her friend happened to be moving outhere at the same time so they came together. I think she decided tocome here because it was so far away."

"Sometimes you need to get away to allow healing to take place." Vincent said more to himself than Diana.

"I'm just concerned that she might find out about you while she'shere. I don't want to break your trust."

"You can not break my trust Diana. You put your life on the linefor me. Actually I was thinking that maybe your cousin would be agreat person to talk to. She's obviously been through a terribleexperience, and considering what I've been through myself I might beof some comfort to her."

"Are you sure Vincent?"

"Of course."

"You know she might not be completely asleep. Let me go check onher. Perhaps you can meet her now." Diana said walking back insideinto her loft. Walking into her living room she noticed Karine hadfallen asleep with her glasses on holding a copy of Sense andSensibility.

Figures she's a Jane Austin fan. "Karine." Diana said softlyrocking her.

"What?" Karine asked stirring. "What time is it?"

"It's only 8:00. You are suffering from jet lag." Diana saidsitting on the edge of the couch. There is someone here I would likeyou to meet."

"I didn't hear the elevator." Karine said sitting up. "Who isit?"

"A very special friend of mine. And someone who has lost someonevery close as well."

"Okay. I'll get up." Karine said sitting up and looking behindher. "Ohmigod who are you?"

"My name is Vincent." Karine looked wide-eyed at the figurestanding behind her not knowing what to think.

"He's the one I started to tell you about."

"The one with the rose bush?" Karine asked.

"Yes, he would like to talk to you."

"You lost someone too?" Karine asked standing up.

"Yes, a few years ago. Her name was Catherine." Vincent saidlovingly.

"What happened to her?"

"She died a tragic death. One too long to talk about."

"So what does that have to do with me?"

"Only someone who has lost someone very close can empathizewith someone who has lost someone very close. When Diana told meabout what happened to you, I felt like you could talk to someone whounderstands."

"Thank you Vincent, but I'm not really wanting to talk about allthat right now."

"Before you turn me down I want to take you somewhere. Someplacethat I think you will really like."

"Is Diana going with us?"

"Sure." Diana said. "Go put on something warm. Vincent willmeet us outside."

"Okay. What is this all about?" Karine asked once they startedwalking. "Where are we going?"

"To a place. A very special place. The case that I worked onthat brought me to Vincent also brought me to this place. The peoplewho live here are amazing." Diana said as they walked in CentralPark.

"Isn't supposed to be dangerous to walk here at night?"

"Does it look like we are in danger?" Vincent asked with alaugh.

"This is true." Karine said. "Tunnels?" she asked looking atwhat lied ahead.

"Just follow me." Diana said grabbing her hand before she had achance to say anything else.

As they walked through the tunnels Karine looked around wonderingif she was dreaming. Could jet lag do this to a person. And why didVincent look that way? What had happened to him and why was Diana sointerested in her going to this place. Who were these people?

"Hello Father, we have a visitor."

"Hello Diana, nice to see you as always." Father stood and gaveher a hug. "Who is this with you?" He asked looking at the girl infront of him. Like Diana she had long red hair but hers was curlyand held back with a band. She was shorter and wore a pair of oldjeans and a sweatshirt with the greek symbols Delta Zeta.

"This is my cousin Karine. She is visiting me for thesummer."

"Nice to meet you Karine." Father said holding out his hand.

"I was going to take her to see the reflecting pool." Vincentsaid.

"You will love it." Father said. "Diana can stay with me. Sheowes me a game of chess."

"Not again Father, you know I hate that game."

"That's just because you lose all the time."

"Very funny. Have a good time Karine." Diana called as Karinefollowed Vincent out of the chamber.

"So who are you?" Karine asked as they started walking.

"A friend of Diana's. She put her life on the line for me a fewtimes. She's been a very dear friend."

"Really? How did she ever meet you?"

"From a case she was working on on the death of Catherine, themother of my child."

"The one with the rose bush?"

"Right. Diana brought it back to life after Catherine'sdeath."

"So how long ago did this happen?"

"Nearly two years. The pain gets less as time goes on but it isstill there." Vincent said as they went around a corner by a pool ofwater.

"You can see all the stars!" Karine said surprised.

"This is the only place where the outside is part of ourworld."

"It's beautiful."

"So you and your grandma were close?"

"Very close. She lived with my family for seven years. Her deathhit our family hard."

"The loss of a loved one brings pain to everyone theytouched."

"No kidding." Karine said sitting down on a rock.

"That's what you have to do. Remember their love

lives inside of you."

"But that is hard to do." Karine said sighing. "The pain is sostrong."

"The pain will subside. It takes awhile, but it will begin tofade in time."

"I don't know Vincent. I've never felt pain like thisbefore."

"You have to remember that your grandma wants you to have a happylife. She wouldn't want to see you suffering."

"I know. It wouldn't be so hard except my mom is feeling it too. She has been so depressed lately. I came out here to give her achance to heal on her own. I hope she can."

"You must have faith that she will. It takes time, but it willpass."

"I hope you are right."

"When Catherine died I felt like my entire world shattered aroundme. But I had to think about the legacy of love she left me andremember like the stars she is still there watching over me. I'msure your grandma is watching over you as well."

"I try." Karine said crying softly. "The stars are sobeautiful tonight. There must be a thousand of them in the sky.

"Remember one is looking over you."

"Thank you Vincent. I don't feel like I'm my normal self, but Ifeel better than I have in months." Karine said reaching out to givehim a hug. "I'm so glad you wanted to talk to me."

"I will talk to you whenever you want to." Vincent said. "We arepart of the same people. We see our loved ones in the stars."