by Tara

“Oh Vincent.”

The couple stood facing each other, back-dropped by a large tree. Catherine had to tilt her head back to see him, observing how his eyes were startlingly clear. Vincent looked down wonderingly at her sun washed face; her eyes were more opaque in daylight. She held both of his sides; he upheld her elbows in his powerful hands. She wore a simple white dress, with a rather low neckline. He wore his regular clothing, with the cloak- hood down. She felt his leather belt under her skin, overlaid with a cool metal. His eyes traveled over her briefly before noticing something. “Your hair.” Vincent was awestruck. “The sunlight in your hair is so beautiful.” He continued to stare at her. “Catherine.” He glanced around at the peaceful surroundings. “The colors.” The delighted pair turned in their embrace, and set off, arms twined around the other’s waist. “ It’s like another world.”

“I feel like I’m seeing it for the first time,” Catherine mused, looking around them like a child.

They were silent for awhile, enjoying the moment and each other. “Where shall we go?” He dipped his head close to her, all Vincent’s attention focused on her. He felt joy at such intimacy in the closeness, and the shared experience.

“Everywhere,” Catherine answered enthusiastically. “I want to show you everything!” Her mouth quirks up in a smile just for him.

With the barest hint of hesitation, like it was too good to be true, Vincent ventured, “And we can go together?” He looked down at the ground, trying to absorb it all.

Catherine whispered back reassuringly, “Yes- together.” She studied the spun gold of his hair, and all the various highlights, trying to memorize it for a lifelong memory.

They stopped and turned in each other’s arms, face to face again. Their love was tangible in the very air between them. “Catherine,” he began. “How can this be?”

“Because… it is what I wished for.” She paused in thought. “More than anything.” Vincent’s face showed clearly a look of acceptance and understanding.

They resumed their walk among the spread out trees and summer grass, swinging clasped hands, carefree.

 A little later, Vincent and Catherine were sitting down to a picnic. The blanket was spread with a red wine bottle and glasses, cheese, bread, and grapes. He breathed deeply of the warm air, exhaling in profound contentment. His arms were clasped around his upraised, left knee. Vincent’s voice drew his beloved’s attention. “I dreamed of this.”

Catherine continued the romantic thought, “The two of us… in the sunshine.” Her strong feelings for this wonderful man suffused her entire being, glowing from her face with the light of their love. She couldn’t keep her thought silent. “Vincent, you are so beautiful.”

He tilted his head in that characteristic pose, and replied, “Catherine I’m a part of you. What you see in me is the beauty in your heart.” She was always amazed at his ability to turn her words and compliment her at the same time.

While she let her mind drift, Catherine said dreamily, “It’s all so perfect- this moment.” She locked gazes purposefully. “I’ve never been so happy.”

Vincent responded with a touch of melancholy, “If only it could last forever.”

Catherine’s voice grew determined and decisive, “It can. It will.” The pause was a mere breath. “I love you so much.” His eyes gleamed at her declaration. Vincent’s mouth parted slightly as Catherine’s head lolled in dazed expectation. The lovers leaned in, their eyes closing, their lips just touching. The electricity shot through them both, the rush of desire explosive.

Catherine sat up in bed, panting and sweaty. She wiped ineffectually at her forehead. Every second of her dream remained vividly clear in her mind. She groaned in denied longing. She laughed weakly, feeling shaky and suddenly cold. A movement nearby caused her to turn in that direction. “Catherine?” She never tired of hearing him say her name in that velvety, loving, and now husky tone. Snuggling into Vincent’s bare shoulder and chest, she noticed the contrast of soft fur and rippling muscles. It was the most delicious feeling in the world. His strong arms wrapped hesitantly around her; he was still shy and uncertain. She nuzzled his upper chest as a reward. His arms tightened in reaction. “Did you have a disturbing dream?” he murmured.

 “Not disturbing,” she replied. “Actually, it was a repeated dream.” She explained it and how she had had it the first time at Nancy Tucker’s house, the time he’d sent her away. It had shown her what her idea of a “happy life” really was.

“Ah yes, I believe I understand. Now, with Father’s honeymoon gift we go on tomorrow, it reminded you of this previous dream.”

 “I couldn’t believe he not only is giving his permission for us to go away by ourselves, but it is his wedding present. I almost fainted!” she laughed. He chuckled softly at her joke. Then he gently lifted her chin to look at him. Their blue and green gazes locked. ‘Now this is the perfect moment,’ she thought to herself. Their faces drew near together, as their eyes closed. Her soft lips gave way to his firm, feline ones. Their heads tilted to fit more closely, and their tongues tangled in a lover’s dance. It was all so new and exciting, but both silently agreed it had been worth the wait. The bride and groom lay back in his large bed, never letting go. They were engrossed with each other, and completely enraptured in their love.

 The thought flitted through Catherine’s mind, ‘Let the dreaming end, and The Dream begin.’