Larhonda Romero

"Catherine, may I open my eyes now?" Vincent was a bit ill at ease as he allowed Catherine not only to blindfold him, but to lead him upstairs, down the hallway, and into what felt like a rather small enclosed space.

"Okay Vincent, sit down," she guided him to a comfortable chair, "Voila!" Catherine cried, whipping the blindfold from Vincentís eyes. She looked like the proverbial cat that ate the canary as she waited for Vincentís response.

"Well, what do you think?" Catherine asked expectantly.

What did he think indeed? On some deep, fundamental level Vincent didnít like machines, didnít understand them, didnít particularly trust them. Oh, he understood the practical need for machines, the kitchen appliances which made food storage and preparation so convenient, the CD player that Catherine had bought him that allowed him to enjoy such beautiful music whenever he wished. But this! This personal computer thing that she decided to gift him withÖVincent sighed inwardly. He would do his best to learn how to use the computer because he knew it would please her. Just the same, he wished she wouldnít give him so many things, didnít she know the greatest gift sheíd ever given him was her love?

"Vincent? You donít seem pleased with your gift, whatís wrong?" Catherine asked him, eyes full of concern and love.

"Dearest, itís just thatÖwell; youíve already given me so much. Really I need nothing else. Besides, how am I to manipulate the keys on a computer with these hands of mine?"

Vincent spread his hands out in front of him for emphasis displaying the deadly claws that tipped each long finger.

"Thatís the beauty of this computer, Vincent. See this speaker. All you have to do is talk. It will write anything you say, it has built in correction of grammar, spelling, it does everything. You can literally go anywhere in the world with this computer. YouĎve given me everything a woman could possibly want; I just want to give you as much of the world as I possibly can." Catherine hurried to reassure her beloved spouse.

"Daddy!" Just then a little tornado named Jacob blew in, azure blue eyes exactly matching his fatherís. "Come see what I found, daddy!"

"Here is the greatest gift youíve ever given me, Sweetheart," Vincentís voice lowered seductively on that last word of endearment. Because he seldom used such conventional terms, when he did use them, the effect on Catherine was devastating.

Dropping down to sit on his heels, Vincent waited for his five year old son to climb up onto his shoulders, and get a good grip around his neck before going downstairs and out the back door. Jacob proceeded to tell his father all about the amazing bug he had found in the back garden.

Slowly, Catherine followed the two men in her life and stood in the doorway, watching in love and pride as father and son knelt side by side. ĎHe is right you know. Things are just that. Things." She thought to herself.

Jacob was busily turning over a small stone, and then let out a loud cry of delight. "Look daddy!" Some fat little roly-polys, several worms, and something else with far too many legs all beat a hasty retreat as their shadowy world was disturbed by the bright rays of the sun.

"When I was a boy, your Uncle Devin and I used to like making the roly-polys curl up into a ball," Vincent said as he picked up a small twig and began to worry a few of the fat little creatures who hadnít gotten away.

Catherine had purchased this brownstone specifically because no neighboring windows faced the large, totally enclosed garden. After months of work, the garden held trees, all manner of flowers, and bushes. There was even a tiny fish pond. How Vincent loved this place. Here he could see all the colors of the world it seemed, here he could throw a ball to his son, here he and Catherine could enjoy the cool of evening, and watch the stars.

Sitting there on the grass with the sun shining full on his leonine face, Vincent closed his eyes and sighed with contentment. He loved the warmth of the sun; the way the breeze tousled his hair. With a stretch and a yawn, he reclined in the grass and gazed into the blue sky.

"Daddy, youíre purring," remarked a small voice full of wonder.

"Well, mommy hums when sheís happy, daddy purrs when heís happy." Vincent answered matter-of-factly.

Jacob decided he need to investigate further, so he climbed under his fatherís arm, and laid his golden head upon Vincentís chest where the near musical sound promptly lulled him to sleep.

Chuckling softly, Vincent gathered the sleeping child into his arms and carried him inside where he put him to bed. Standing outside his sonís room, Vincent once again counted all the many blessings heíd been given. He had once thought that such happiness could never be his. His would be a world of aloneness and deep shadows. Now, he too considered himself a being of light and love, of joy and happiness. All because ofÖ

Her. Catherine. His Catherine.

"Vincent." She was there. Looking for all the world like a wood sprite, an ethereal creature of air and light.

"Catherine, I was just about toÖ" Vincentís voice trailed off into silence as Catherine stepped into his embrace.

"Itís okay Vincent. You donít have to say a word, because I do understand. Really I do."

Vincent knew she was speaking about his reaction to her gift. The Bond that they shared made it near impossible to hide their feelings from each other. It also made lots of words unnecessary between them.

"I love the way the sunlight brings out the highlights in your hair, the way your skin glows in candlelight", Vincent said softly, as he held her close and nuzzled her neck with his nose.

"Oh Vincent," she hugged him tight and kissed the base of his throat.

As Catherine buried her face in the furry warmth of Vincentís massive chest, she heard a most enchanting sound, the sound that meant that he was deeply contented.

"Vincent, you're purring, you must be happy, dearest", Catherine said, smiling up at him.

Vincent's only response was to hug his love tighter.

As for the computer, Vincent eventually did get around to using it, and much to Catherine's delight and Vincent's amazement, he actually enjoyed it.

The End