By Midnight Rose 1992

Early one morning, long before dawn in the world Above, the men of the subterranean community of forgotten tunnels and caverns assembled in the Library chamber of the Tunnel leader. They had been called together to repair a leaking section of water main discovered overnight. In this hidden village, eternal vigilance and constant maintenance of New York City’s underground systems were necessary to protect themselves from discovery.

The men were a ragged bunch. Rumpled clothing had been thrown on in haste; disheveled hair received only a quick finger combing; eyes heavy with sleep were forced open; and minds awakened by coffee brewed strong and black. They gathered around the large octagon table piled with maps showing the area of the leak and where Father and Cullen stood plotting the coarse of action.

Vincent was one of the last to arrive, he taking more time to be properly dressed and groomed. He stood sideways to the edge of the table not wishing to cramp the tight circle of men with the width of his broad shoulders. He intermittently sipped his mug of steaming coffee as he listened intently to the planners.

In the low entrance of the chamber directly behind the tawny man, Catherine soon appeared. Many eyes glanced her way, but Vincent, who was usually the first to be alerted to her presence, did not make any indication that he knew she was there.

Catherine was the picture of sleepy sensuality, her beauty endearing. Silky disheveled bangs swept her forehead; her green eyes were soft and warm. Wrapped in a faded quilt, Catherine moved in silent, floating grace down the few stone steps into the heart of the chamber. One ivory shoulder was bare of any fabric because the coverlet and her oversized shirt had slipped from her curves. The appearance of the beautiful Catherine in this room of men was one of innocence on her part, but every man took notice of the sexiness of this special woman.

In each of their silent, personal ways, every Tunnel man loved Catherine and would have gladly let her step into their dreams and their arms. However, each knew that her heart belonged to only one-Vincent.

This fairytale couple shared a love and a bond that was spellbinding, holding everyone they knew in awe of its depth and power. Even now the magical inner communication was in play, so subtle one would miss it if they were not watching. Vincent appeared to be oblivious of his wife’s stealth approach, but he was not. Just as Catherine reached her golden leonine mate, Vincent, without looking back, swept out his arm to gather his love close into the circle of his embrace. At the same moment, as if carefully choreographed, an offered mug and receiving hands reached for each other. Fingers touched, brushed, then drew apart. Love could not have been whispered so softly. It was magical, beautiful, stunning. The subtleties charmed every heart and coaxed shy smiles from the onlookers.

What a wonderful way to start a very long day.