Toward Love
(from Cyberdreams III)

Chick pea Ragaini

Vincent paced furiously in his chamber, his anguished look revealing the deep feelings of desperation he was experiencing. "I must be strong," he almost growled at himself. "I must not let them see…or frighten them…and I must prepare… carefully… prepare… for whatever may happen." He suddenly interrupted his pacing and raised his eyes towards the entrance to his chamber when he perceived a light sound. He was bombarded with Catherine’s intense feelings of determination to discover what had just happened in the music chamber. After lingering for a few seconds on her beloved face, he guiltily turned away and started pacing again.

"Tell me what I can do?" Catherine said in a whisper, slowly moving towards him.

He looked at her again, his love alive in his expressive blue eyes. Then he sighed heavily and resumed his pacing. "It will pass," he replied. The tone in his voice was almost imperious, as if the simple stating of the words could make the problem disappear.

"What is it you’re feeling?" Catherine softly asked, sending warm waves of comfort.

Without stopping his pacing, Vincent appeared to make a great effort to continue. "Words…the words would only frighten you."

She could not restrain herself from uttering the truth this time. "I’m already frightened!" she whispered.

"So am I," he sighed.

She realized he needed to talk about it, needed to release his anguished soul from the suffering he was going through. And…she wanted so desperately to help him. "What happened? What is it? You lost yourself?"

He replied almost too quickly: "Yes, I…I lost myself." He bent his head, utterly defeated, conscious that he was going to lose her forever if he ever told her the truth, and yet aware that he could be nothing but honest with her. She deserved his complete honesty, if nothing else, for the incredible constancy of her love. But before he could even open his mouth, she resumed talking.

"You’ve been through an ordeal. What Paracelsus did to you was…." But she could not finish her sentence.

"He’s dead!" he cut her off in mid-sentence.

That was totally unlike him, and she suddenly realized how deeply upset he was. Under normal circumstances, he would never have interrupted her so rudely.

"I should sleep peacefully…" Vincent continued, desperately trying to convince himself.

Catherine raised her hand and started to move it caressingly over his panting chest, her gesture unthreatening and loving. "You’ve been in a struggle for your life. There are wounds in deep places." She stopped for a few seconds, her eyes eagerly taking in his beautiful face. She wanted to make sure he grasped the absolute sincerity of her next words. It was crucial to her that he understood. She looked into his eyes, and with the greatest conviction she could muster, she told him, "Let me help you."

Vincent’s heart almost broke when he perceived the deep need in her heart to comfort him, to protect him from pain. He could not believe a beautiful creature like her could feel such an abiding love for him. How could he deserve it? How could he deserve her? No, he would not scare her more than she already was. He wanted to make her happy, not frightened or sad. There was no other choice: he had to persuade her that everything was going to be all right.

He caressed her back with his hand, slowly, tenderly, desperate to impart all his love and gratefulness. He breathed in the wonderful scent of her hair, and his words sounded like a whisper. "You must not worry, Catherine." His voice lingered softly upon her name. "The worst is behind us."

She smiled, and his heart melted. Drowning in her eyes, he realized he was totally unable to turn away from her now, her pull so powerful he had no power and no will to resist. She was his world, his whole life. Quickly, he made his decision: no matter how difficult, he would share everything with her. She wanted to help him, and he would let her--simply because he could not imagine life without her. He loved her, and he had to trust in her strength and her love. Together, they would overcome this crisis. They would. Yes, they would have their happy life.

He slowly enclosed her in a full-length embrace and felt her immediate response, her muscles gradually relaxing.

Sighing with pleasure, Catherine slowly wrapped her arms around Vincent’s neck and placed her head upon his breast, immensely grateful that he was allowing her to share this moment with him. The longer he accepted her presence here, in his chamber, and so physically close, the better the chance they had to solve the crisis. Together, they would make it! They had to. Turning back at this point was no longer possible, for either of them.

She was suddenly overwhelmed by a profound sense of hope. Yes, this was the right path.

Perceiving his exhaustion through the bond, she realized he needed to rest. Slowly, she moved toward the bed, and Vincent followed her without resistance, his arms still around her as if she were his most precious treasure. With a light pressure on his shoulders, she urged him to sit down. Still, he would not relinquish her. He appeared frightened at the idea that she would leave him: his eyes begged her to stay even though his mouth could not muster the courage to utter the words. She smiled at him, infinitely happy that he finally understood. With another slight push, she coaxed him to lie down on the bed, and his arms reluctantly loosened their hold upon her. Lovingly, her hand stroked down his cheek, and she saw his eyes close. She continued caressing him, moving her hand softly from one downy cheek to the other. She sensed the terrible coiled tension gradually leave his body, until finally he appeared to have fallen asleep, his chest rising and falling slowly, almost imperceptibly.

He was so breathtakingly beautiful. Catherine could not resist sinking her hand into his hair, tenderly, and she heard him sigh with pleasure. She simply could not stop touching him, completely mesmerized by his innocent and serene look. She had never loved anyone so deeply, and she wanted nothing more than to spend her whole life with him, taking care of him, loving him.

Yes, they would find a way.

Unable to control herself, she gently leaned upon his chest and lightly touched her mouth against his neck. She slowly moved up to his ear and down to his collarbone, kissing him there, tenderly. Then she moved unhesitatingly to his mouth and placed a delicate kiss upon his upper lip, surprised but ecstatically happy when Vincent emitted a deep sigh of pleasure, wrapped his arms tightly around her back, and drew her down in full contact with his body.

Yes, she belonged here, with him. Vincent was her future, her destiny, and they would find a way to be together. The crisis would pass soon because together, they were invincible.

She was going to tell Father about some ideas she had in mind, and they would move from there, slowly but surely, toward love. She would just drink in this ecstasy a few more minutes, and then she would talk to Father. She whispered the words softly to herself and fell asleep, her entire world enclosed in her arms.