by Valdenray



“She knows how her presence here affects me.” These were Vincent’s words to Father. 


Her father had just died and Catherine sought refuge in the tunnels, and in Vincent’s arms. He had become her rock, her safe harbor, and her soul-mate.


Father was, as usual, concerned. He knew well of the longings that were welling up in both Catherine and Vincent. He also knew that his concerns were falling on deaf ears. Vincent the protector would not turn her away. He and Father knew that he was compelled to be whatever she needed him to be for her.


Father was right to be concerned. Vincent himself was terrified.


The first time they saw each other was a bit rocky to say the least, but as they talked they found strength and compassion in one another.


Catherine had been listening to Vincent’s voice for the last ten days. His first words to her were “You're safe.”He had been a calming influence in the midst of all the confusion of her attack. After she removed the bandages from her eyes, she wanted only to connect a face to the mysterious, caring, if not down-right sexy voice that had become her guardian angel. Vincent was not exactly what she was expecting to see.


Vincent’s eyes darted nervously as Catherine pushed back the hood that Vincent used to shield himself from the world of the “topsiders”. If he could have run he would have. Vincent was bold and courageous when the focus was on other people, but timid and shy when the focus was on him. He forced himself to lock his gaze on the green eyes that were before him. He saw compassion, acceptance and honesty deep enough to swim in. In the blueness of his eyes she saw strength, courage but also vulnerabilities that he tried to hide


Since that first meeting the relationship between Vincent and Catherine had grown closer than either of them dared to admit.


Neither of them wished to frighten the other into retreating to their own separate worlds. The growing bond between them could not be denied. The more time they spent together the stronger that bond became. That bond between the two of them had broken down so many of their indefinable walls. There was no denying the messages the flowed back and forth through that bond, much like the messages that were passed along the pipes of the tunnels.


No matter how the two of them tried to hide it, deny it, or control it, the passion was building. They both knew it. Each in their own way had been pushing the envelope, testing the waters. As long as the two of them stayed in their separate worlds they could make this unique relationship work. Vincent could release his frustrations as he went about the tunnels repairing leaks and passages throughout the tunnels. Catherine’s boss Joe kept her busy as well. Busy enough to push any kind of personal life to the back burner.


But now what?

Catherine was having a difficult time after her father’s death. She tried to “handle” her emotional state.  She made an attempt to suck it up and show a brave front to the world far above the tunnels, when all she really wanted to do was run to her safe haven…the harbor of his arms.


As always and just as he knew he would be…he was there to catch her. He was always there to catch her. So there she stayed.


Catherine was there to heal emotionally. She had to push aside the longings that were building up inside of her. She had to ignore the longing that was in his eyes as well. They were bound to uphold the code of ethics that all the tunnel dwellers had to adhere to.


 No… she and Vincent would have to keep their passions in check.


But her presence affected him.


They had been as close as either of them dared to be. They tried to slow each other, and remind one another that what they were had never been before and it was all a very fragile relationship. They were both learning and testing their boundaries, while giving each other the distance they needed.


That distance had evaporated.


So many times Vincent wanted to pull Catherine to himself and completely fill his senses of her. He had not allowed himself that pleasure. His sense of smell was very acute and he would drink in the aroma of her every chance he got. He wanted to see her, too see every inch of her. He longed to touch her, to explore her body. He wondered what she tasted like. Were her kisses sweet?  Was her skin salty? He wanted to taste all of her. He wanted to hear her as well, to hear her voice tell him just how to please her, the moans of pleasure and the primal sounds of ecstasy. He wanted to fill his senses.


Catherine knew of Vincent’s predatory nature. It was exhausting for her to be his prey. Vincent was enjoying being the stalker. Yes, he teased, but it became a game of “this much and no further”.


Catherine wanted to scream out, “What’s next?”


“I’m here!”


“I’m not going anywhere!”


“Come to me.”


“You’re safe here.”


Catherine knew that Vincent was still trying to find himself, so she did not try to rush him. She understood that although he was a full grown man there he was as vulnerable as a child when it came to his interactions with people. But Catherine had a fire of her own that needed to be doused.


Vincent, the man would never intentionally hurt Catherine but there was the side of himself that even he could not completely control. Catherine had been witness to this other side of her beloved. She had seen the times when he was “lost to himself”. That was the part of Vincent that he tried to hold at bay. In some ways this was the same side that intrigued Catherine.


He wanted her.

She wanted him.

But there were too many uncertainties right now.

No! Vincent and Catherine would have to keep their passions in check.


For now…