Though Lovers Not Be Lost

Part One: The Rescue

By Samantha Coleman


. . . Catherine’s head rolled back, then forward, as she mumbled, half slurring her words, "No." She jumped as the doctor stabbed the needle into her right arm, injecting her with another dose of truth serum. Silently, Catherine prayed for a quick end to this new form of torture. She would rather die than to face the thought that she could do nothing to save her baby.

Vincent stopped outside the warehouse searching for an obscure way into the building. Scouting out the lay of the land and the outside of the building, he saw several darkened windows. One lone window, on the top-most level, had a light shining through it. Upon closer inspection, Vincent saw a fire escape on another wall. He, also, spied a doorway. Vincent started for the door, until he saw a security camera trained on the pathway leading to the entrance. Instead, he took a sharp left just before entering the camera view, and he headed for the fire escape. Testing a nearby drainage pipe, to see if it would hold his weight, Vincent began to shimmy up the side of the building. Reaching the bottom rung of the fire escape ladder, bolted to the side of the building, Vincent continued to ascend to the roof. Hardly any noise was heard as Vincent prowled about and made his way up to the top of the building.

Catherine could feel the injection coursing through her veins. She steeled her mind, blocking out every thought. She had already slipped up once and let her captors know she was pregnant. She could not, would not, tell them anything else about the baby or where she had hidden the book Pat Hanlon had given to Joe. Catherine was not sure how much longer she could hold out, especially with the overdose she had just been given. She, wisely, decided not to say anything.

Climbing the last of the rungs, Vincent swung over the ledge, soundlessly he landed on the rooftop. Turning to the right, he ran towards the lit window located one floor lower. Peering down over the ledge he closely inspected what could be seen. He noted the distance to the window and spotted the metal grate attached to the inside of the opening. He felt confident that he could swing through the glass and dislodge the grate at the same time. Carefully he crawled overthe ledge, holding on with his large, strong, hands, he braced his feet against the wall. Vincent pushed out, extending to his full length, letting his momentum carry him out and back, he brought his legs forward and crashed through the glass.

An explosion of glass and metal flew into the room where Catherine’s captors were interrogating her. One guard turned just in time for the metal grate to knock him to the floor. Vincent landed on top of the grating and swiped out with his right hand. The interrogator fell to the floor. Turning quickly to the right, again, Vincent grabbed the doctor’s head, and with a quick jerk, snapped his neck. Taking three long strides forward and to the left, he disarmed the last guard and slammed the butt of the semi-automatic rifle squarely into the center face of his opponent.

In one quick motion, Vincent opened the door, saw the guard, reached out and slashed the man across the neck with his razor-sharp nails. The guard went down, well on his way to bleeding out when Vincent turned and reentered the room. Kneeling on one knee, Vincent loosened the ropes which held Catherine in place. He, then, gently picked her up and headed back out the door.

Following a short hallway, Vincent came to a set of stairs. He worked his way down, then carefully sat Catherine down. Spying another door, he cautiously approached. Then quite unexpectedly, he crashed through the door, catching another man off guard.  Grabbing his gun, the man started shooting towards Vincent, alarming the guard in the next room that something was amiss.  The next door, Vincent saw, was the door to a vault. Tearing the door off its hinges, he pinned the guard to the floor with the heavy door before any shots could be fired. Reaching around the opening, where the vault door had been, Vincent mauled the man stationed outside before he could reach the button that would effectively put the building on lockdown. Returning to the staircase, Vincent gathered Catherine into his arms and carried her out of the building into the night.

Rather than taking Catherine to the nearest tunnel entrance, Vincent wound his way through several alleys. Vincent had, long ago, memorized his way around the city and could traverse its streets, above or below. He knew, from his current location, that he could get Catherine to medical help faster using the city streets. Slowly he made his way to the nearest hospital. Catherine was in and out of consciousness. When she realized where he was taking her, she refused, stating, "No hospitals.”  

Vincent stopped abruptly.” Catherine," he whispered hoarsely, "You need medical attention.”

"No hospitals," Catherine repeated before she, once again, lost consciousness.

Vincent started to go towards the tunnels, but when he noticed she was out cold, he resumed his trek to the hospital. Several minutes later Catherine roused up. And, once again, she stated, "No hospitals.” This pattern continued as Vincent worked his way through the city, keeping to the alleys so they would not be seen. Each time she woke up, Catherine refused to go to a hospital.

Finally, when they were next to the hospital, but still outside camera range, “Catherine became quite lucid. She demanded, "Do not take me to a hospital. They will find me and will kill me.” As she struggled to remain conscious, she suggested, "Take me to father.”  Losing her battle with the foggy darkness, Catherine lost consciousness, again. Vincent had been torn Catherine’s safety and her need for medical attention. With that one clear moment of lucidity, he decided. Vincent turned away from the hospital and took Catherine below.

With Catherine securely tucked into the safety of Vincent’s arms, he entered the tunnels and ran towards the hub as fast as he could. Vincent never broke stride or slowed down, as he approached the first sentry post.” Have Father meet me in the hospital chamber," Vincent said as he flew past. Charlie never did identify what Vincent was holding.

Pascal and Zach were in the pipe chamber when the SOS rang throughout the chamber. Both stopped what they were doing, momentarily frozen in time.  Snapping out of the time warp, Pascal relayed the massage directly to Father. He included a massage to Mary, as well. Zach tapped an 'all quiet' out to the community. Looking to Pascal, Zach asked hopefully, "Do you think he's found her?"

"We can only hope so. . . .” Pascal replied wistfully.

That was all the encouragement the boy needed. Zach took off running the path taking him directly to Fathers study. Pascal was not far behind the boy. Both entered the library at about the same time. Father was already standing and had taken a few steps towards the examination room, when Zach and Pascal both entered the library.  In his excitement, Zack verbally repeated the coded message, "Vincent needs you to meet him in the hospital chamber, " Zack breathlessly reported, as Mary entered the chamber.

"Catherine?" Mary put to voice what everyone wanted to know.

"Don't know,“ Pascal answered,” then added, "Charlie sent the message. No details, though.”

Mary and Father moved as one, towards the hospital chamber. Unsure of what would be required, they quietly started to go through a list of basic equipment that would be most useful in an unknown emergency. IVs, tubing, bandages, scissors, gauze, syringes, saline. . . . Quietly, Pascal instructed Zach to, "Go get Jamie, in case we need a runner, bring her here.  I'll stay here 'till you get back to keep the room clear. As soon as you return, I'll go return to the pipes to relay any messages.”


Time. Jamie, Mouse, and Zach, felt as if it was the longest half hour of their lives, as they waited for Vincent to arrive. Pascal waited, alone and anxious, in the pipe chamber for any word. Father and Mary felt as if there was not enough time as they scrambled to prepare for the unknown coming their way.

Vincent barreled into the study, passing through without slowing down one bit. Sweeping into the hospital chamber, Vincent gently laid Catherine down on the bed Mary had prepared.” What happened to her?" Father asked already mentally assessing her unresponsive condition.

"She was given drug of some kind.  I don't know what.  At first, she was in and out of consciousness. But has been unresponsive for about forty minutes now," Vincent explained as he moved to the head of the bed. Controlled chaos took over.

They moved as one cohesive unit. Mary began to cut Catherine’s clothes off her after and covered her with a sheet. Father started to look for a place to start an IV and draw a blood sample for analysis. He also instructed Mary to get a catheter prepared for a 'clean catch' urine sample. Mary moved to one of the supply cabinets and started to pull out the needed supplies. She, also, pulled out a wash basin, washcloths, towels and soap. Once she had everything assembled, she filled the basin with a combination of hot and cold water. When just the right temperature was achieved, she asked Father, "Do you want me to wash the area thoroughly, or should we wait in case we need Peter to run a rape kit? "Mary hated to be the one to bring that notion to the forefront of everyone’s mind, but it had to be done.

Vincent gasped while a frozen chill ran through his entire body. He felt as if he had been thrown into the deepest, coldest glacier fed lake. Father paused, thinking quickly, "Let’s take a quick look for now. If we don't see any obvious signs of trauma, clean her up.” With Fathers decision, Vincent slowly let out the breath he had been holding. Mary moved the sheet up to Catherine’s knees. Then, she and Father each took a leg, bent it at the knee and spread her legs apart. As Father took a quick look under the sheet, Vincent unconsciously, quit breathing again. Vincent's breath exploded from his body when Father nodded and said, "Vincent, hold her legs while Mary cleans her.” Vincent sat at the head of the bed while Father instructed him as to how to hold Catherine. Holding each leg under the knee, and apart, Vincent held Catherine cradled against his own body while Mary cleaned the area. Father closely inspected Catherine’s hands and arms. Not finding what he was looking for, Father moved to Catherine’s feet and inspected them.

When Mary finished cleaning Catherine, she slipped the catheter into some KY jelly and handed the tubing to Father. As she did so, Father suggested, "How about getting her feet cleaned up too.” Father quickly slipped the catheter into place and reached for a strip of tape to secure it in place. Urine started to move through the tubing and into the bag as Mary finished washing Catherine’s lower legs. Vincent released the gentile hold he had on Catherine’s legs, but remained sitting at the head of the bed with her cradled in his lap.  Mary covered her legs back up.

Vincent was gently brushing Catherine’s face with the back of his fingers as Mary started to clean Catherine’s feet. He vaguely remembered hearing Father say, "the veins in her arms and hands are no good. I'll need to use the ones in her feet. Perhaps we should put an access in each foot.” One, for an IV, the other, to draw up blood samples.” Several minutes passed as they worked to obtain the access needed for treatment. Father was able to put a viable heploc in Catherine’s left foot. This he secured down with tape, then drew several vials of blood. He, then, wrapped her foot in gauze leaving ready access should more blood samples be needed. Turning to the right foot, Father repeated the process. To this he attached an IV of normal saline. Once both blood and urine samples were collected, Father turned his attention to Vincent.” Would you send these up to Peter for analysis?" Father asked as he handed the samples to his son.

Vincent held Catherine’s head as he stood up. After laying her head gently on the bed, Vincent turned back to Father and took the samples from Father’s hands. Reluctantly, he headed for the entrance connecting the hospital chamber to Father Fathers study. Glancing back he heard Father ask Mary to get him two more IV set ups, plus two twelve, two fourteen, and two sixteen gage needles. . .”

"Oh, and Vincent," Father added, "I need a full chemistry panel on the blood work, with a complete UA on that urine sample.” Vincent nodded once, turned around, and walked into the study. Three very anxious faces turned towards him as he walked into the room.

"How is she?" Mouse tentatively asked.

"We don't know anything yet," Vincent answered. Looking at Jamie, Vincent handed the samples to her.” We need these samples to be taken to Peter. Have him run a chemistry panel and a complete urine analysis on them. We need to know what drugs she was given so we can treat her appropriately.” Jamie took the samples and carefully wrapped them so as not to damage, or worse, break the vials. After putting them in her satchel, Vincent added, "Tell no one, including Peter, that those samples are from Catherine. Her life may depend on our secrecy. And, I don't want to compromise Peter in any way. The less he knows, at this point, the safer he will be in the long run.”

"Got it.”

"Know a short cut. Follow me," Mouse said grabbing Jamie’s hand, leading her out of the room towards the nearest exit.

Walking back towards the hospital chamber, Vincent looked into Zach’s eyes. Zach said, "I'll stay here in case another message or runner is needed.” Vincent acknowledged him by placing a hand on the boy’s shoulder as he passed through the room.

When Vincent entered the hospital chamber, he had never felt so helpless in his entire life as he silently watched Father insert an IV into each side of Catherine's neck. After securing the second IV in place, Father looked at Vincent, stopped what he was doing, and clasped his son’s hands.” The IV's in her neck can deliver a larger bolus of fluids to her system. In turn it will dilute the drugs in her system flushing them out faster. Without knowing what, exactly, was given to her, I don't dare administer any counter active agents, not even Narcan. Until I know more, flushing her system is our best option for treatment.” Vincent nodded his understanding. Father turned back to Catherine and set a flow rate that he believed was safest without causing further complications to Catherine's health. Once Father was satisfied with the IVs and the flow rate of each one, he moved aside to allow Vincent closer.  

Taking Catherine's hand in his, Vincent gazed down at her sleeping form. Father and Mary quietly left the chamber. At some point, someone, probably Mary, brought a chair for Vincent to sit on. Vincent never let go of Catherine's hand as he kept his lonely vigil. For the first time he could recall, Vincent lost all track of time.


In another part of Manhattan, a phone rang in the night.” Hello?" John mumbled into the receiver.

"She's gone. Find her," commanded the voice on the other end in a clipped tone.

Moreno was about to ask "who?" when the fog instantly cleared. Instead he said, "Give me a few hours to get a plan together.”

"We don't have a few hours. I want her back NOW.”

Thinking fast, Moreno offered a tentative plan.” Joe gets out of the hospital today.”  

"He knows nothing.” It was a statement, not a question.

"True. But he has a soft spot for Cathy. Let's use that to our advantage.”

"Do it.” The phone went dead.


Very early that morning. . . .

Vincent watched as Catherine slowly opened her eyes. He saw the initial confusion as her eyes scanned the room.” Catherine. . .” Vincent softly crooned, drawing her attention to his face.

She slowly smiled as recognition took hold.” Vincent?" As Catherine’s gaze traveled to their hands, confusion briefly danced across her face. An instant later, sheer panic filled her. As terror settled in, she ripped her hand out of his and began screaming, "NO. This isn't real. This is some kind of joke. . . a trick. . . .”

Vincent reacted to the hallucination immediately as Catherine struggled to get out of the hospital bed and run away. He stood up grabbing her hands as she began to claw at the IVs in her neck. Vincent realized he had to keep her in the bed, pin her hands down, all while making sure the IVs and catheter remained in place. A brief struggle ensued, and Vincent ended up on the bed holding Catherine in a full body bear hug. Somehow the veil of fog lifted, and Catherine sighed contentedly when she realized Vincent was in the bed holding her. Catherine slowly closed her eyes and slipped into unconsciousness again. Vincent settled down beside Catherine, snuggling in close, he let sleep overtake him as well.

When Mary awoke that morning, she checked in to see how Catherine was doing. She found Vincent laying on the bed snuggled up next to Catherine. Both were sleeping peacefully. Mary turned around, picked up a quilt, walking over to the pair, she gently laid the quilt lovingly over the sleeping couple and silently slipped out the door.


Several hours later, about midmorning, Catherine awoke a second time. Vincent was on the bed facing her. He still had his arms around her. Someone had covered them both with a quilt. Watching Vincent, Catherine began to cry. Vincent awoke to find Catherine crying uncontrollably. He had sensed her sadness. Not in the same way he did when the bond was calling to him, but, more in the way one can sense something is not as it should be with the one you love.

Catherine, in near hysterics, kept repeating, "I tried. . . . . . I really did. . . . . I just couldn't do it. . . . . I couldn't save the baby. . . . . He killed the baby. . . . . . I tried. . . I really did. . . .”  over and over again. She kept repeating herself. Vincent was at a loss as to what she was talking about.  He just held Catherine closer, offering soothing words to compliment his comforting arms. Catherine cried herself to sleep.  Vincent was even more confused than ever. What was she talking about? What baby?


Moreno knocked on the door. When it opened, he was face-to-face with Joe's mother. Not really expecting to see anyone else, Moreno was taken aback. Mrs.  Maxwell was a short stocky woman, who, if she were wearing shoes might hit five feet tall, with snow white hair and dark eyes that quickly took in everything. A jovial smile came easily to the woman's face. Not just a smile of her lips only, but one that encompassed her entire face. Her entire countenance positively radiated sunshine and happiness. Marino thought she could light up an entire room with that smile and chase away the gloom from the foggiest of days.” Mrs.  Maxwell. I heard Joe was released earlier. Is he up for visitors?" Moreno asked, holding up a paper sack as he greeted the woman.  

"Mr.  Moreno. Let me see. Come in while I get him.” Mrs.  Maxwell said has she invited him into the front room. Moreno entered, but did not sit.

As Mrs.  Maxwell disappeared to get her son, Moreno slid his free hand into his pocket. Setting the bag down on the end table, John reached under the table and planted a listening device on the inside lip of the table. He, also, slipped one inside the phone. By the time Mrs.  Maxwell returned with Joe, Moreno was standing upright again.

"I brought you that cheese steak you asked for,” Moreno said as he picked up the bag dangling it in front of Joe.” No beer though.  Not with the pain killers they probably gave you," John added, apologetically.

Grinning, Joe accepted the bag.” Half an order is better than none.” Reaching for the bag, Joe motioned for John to sit down. Both men sat down; Joe on the couch; John on the recliner. Joe reached into the bag, pulled out the sandwich, unwrapped it and took a bite. Joe then asked, "Any news about Cathy?"

 Mrs.  Maxwell knew once 'shop talk' started, it could take awhile.  She slipped into the kitchen unseen, as John answered, "Nothing yet,. .”


The next time Catherine opened her eyes, she was still very groggy. Vincent was still lying on the bed with her.  They were face-to-face with his arms around her. Catherine reached down behind her to lift the covers.  Turning onto her back she started to struggle to get up out of the bed. Vincent laid his hand on her shoulder and gently pushed her back onto the bed.” Lay back down, you're still unsteady," Vincent suggested.

Still under the influence of the truth serum, Catherine stated, "I have to go to the bathroom.” Vincent chuckled at her frank honesty, especially since, in the past, she had been very discrete about such matters.  

Vincent explained, "Father started several IVs and put in a catheter.”

Catherine, slightly embarrassed, looked at Vincent, glanced down as she lifted the covers a bit. Replacing the covers she sighed.” Guess I don't have to worry about wetting the bed," she joked. Vincent grinned and chuckled. Catherine relaxed and closed her eyes. Vincent thought she had fallen asleep again when, suddenly, Catherine's eyes flew open. She started to sit up a little while he tried to get her to settle back down by draping his arm over and around her. Looking very intently into his eyes, Catherine emphatically stated, "We have to talk.”

Vincent was surprised by the fierce intensity in her voice. Vincent got out of bed, and helped Catherine sit up in bed by hand cranking the head of the hospital bed into a raised position. He also added some pillows to make her more comfortable. Only then did he sit back down on the edge of the bed. Not quite sure where to begin, Catherine asked, "What, exactly, do you remember when you were sick?" Catherine saw the look of confusion in his eyes. Trying to help him remember, she clarified, "After you collapsed at my place, you were there for three days. I, then, brought you back here. What do you remember from that point on?"

Thinking, pulling the memories out of the back recesses of his mind, Vincent wanted to get up and pace the room, but he didn't want to upset Catherine. Hesitantly he began to verbalize what he could remember.” Above. . . I suspected I was still sick. The fever went down, but it hadn't actually broken. . . I remember below I had made the decision to separate myself from others. I didn't want to take the chance of hurting anyone.” looking at her, he continued, "I think I sent for you. . . . I picked out a secluded area, beyond the catacombs. . . . . I didn't want to hurt anyone. . . . . I had hoped to see you before I left. . . . . I could wait no longer, it was too dangerous. I remember making it to the cavern. . . . . Next thing I clearly remember is waking up with my head in your lap and Father leaning over me. I was then taken back to my chambers.”

She was hoping he had, at least, remembered her coming to him in the cavern. Pushing her disappointment aside, she asked, "You don't remember anything else?"

Vincent shook his head.” No.  I'm not even sure how you or Father found me, or when you arrived," he admitted.

Catherine reached out and held Vincent's hands.” Mouse followed you to keep track of you. I arrived sometime after you had reached the alcove. I went in after you.”

"Alone?" Vincent could hardly believe what he was hearing.

"Yes. Alone.”

"Catherine, I could have hurt you, or worse. . . . . I had absolutely no contr--"

She cut him off before he could finish what he was about to say, "I had to.” Vincent looked at her curiously. Raising her hand, she gently stroked his face, cheek to chin.” Vincent, the first two times you had this fever, love, brought you back. And each time, it took a deeper, more meaningful, pure, love to bring you back.” Pausing for emphasis, she continued, "this time, I was the only one who could bring you back. It was the only way. It had to be me.” She emphasized the phrase as she grasped his hands again. Love is the cure.

Vincent was afraid to ask, hesitating, he did so anyway, "What happened?"

"I. . . . ," she briefly faltered. Gathering her thoughts, she plunged in, "We. . . . took our love for one another to the next level. We made love.”

Vincent wasn't sure what she would say, but her admission was the last thing he expected to hear. His mind racing, he leaned back slightly, jerking his head back in denial, and whispered, "No, this can't be. . . .” he never let go of her hands.

Catherine knew Vincent had always shied away from all physically intimate relationships; she also knew why. As such, she had chosen her words very carefully to ease Vincent into the idea that they had crossed that barrier.” Making love is the deepest, most intimate, expression of love that can be shared between two people.”  

 Vincent stood up and began to pace the room. Pausing, he asked, "Catherine, do you have any idea of what could have happened?"

Catherine defended her actions by angrily firing back," And if I hadn't, you would have died.” She followed his motion with her eyes.

Stopping in his footsteps, he turned towards her, "You don't know that for sure. Nobody does.”

Catherine tried to explain her point of view.” Vincent, you sequestered yourself off from everyone.” He moved to the end of the bed, spread his arms, resting his hands on the footboard. She had his undivided attention.” When you were a baby, you felt the love of others for you and it brought you back. As a teen, Father was the most important person in your life. Therefore, his love was what you needed to bring you back. You had to have suspected that Father's love could not bring you back this time, not like he did when you were a teenager otherwise you would not have separated yourself from the community. And yes, I know they had to restrain you then, to keep you from hurting yourself or anyone else. So, you see, I knew exactly what I was doing.” Intrigued, Vincent sat back down on the chair.” If Father's love wasn't going to be enough this time, then the only other option was my love.” Reaching out she held his hand.” I willingly shared with you the deepest, most intimate expression of love that two people can experience with one another. It was the only way. And I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”

Vincent began to see the logic in what she was saying. Looking directly into Catherine’s eyes, he asked the question he had always dreaded asking anyone close to him. “Did I hurt you in any way?”

Catherine, still under the influence of the truth serum, knew she couldn’t lie to him, even if she wanted to, answered honestly, “No. You did not hurt me. You never have.”  

Vincent was relieved and let out the breath he wasn't aware he had been holding. Watching the relief dance across Vincent's face and eyes, Catherine knew she had to tell him about the baby. Bracing herself, she let the other shoe drop, “I'm pregnant.”

Vincent's thoughts came to an abrupt, screeching halt. “ Pregnant?"

Catherine nodded, and sadly whispered, “Or at least I was.”

Vincent mind was racing. He stood up and began pacing again. Thinking out loud he asked himself, more than her, “How is this even possible?” Catherine watched as he gathered his thoughts. The pacing gave him time to sort things out in his own mind. Glancing at Catherine he noticed how tired she still looked.  He stopped his pacing.  Moving to the end of the bed, he lowered the head, then surprised her by crawling back under the covers and gathered her close. Due to the personal nature of the conversation, Vincent positioned them so they were, once again, face-to-face.

Nervously, Catherine chewed on her lower lip. “Tell me what you're thinking,” she quietly pleaded.

Gathering his thoughts, he confessed, “I was always under the impression that I could not father a child.”

It was Catherine turn to be confused. “ The baby is yours Vincent. I've not. . . .”

He silenced her by placing a finger gently on her lips. “I'm not accusing you of anything, Catherine. I know you have not been with anyone since we met," he reassured her. Vincent was thinking clearly now.” It’s just that both Father and Peter were under the impression that I would not be able to father any children, that I would be sterile.” Vincent had never shared this information with anyone.  

“Surprise.” Catherine tried to inject a little levity into the conversation. Feeling hungover from the effects of the drugs she had been given, Catherine started to fall asleep again. Vincent leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. Slowly opening her eyes, she smiled and added, “If it’s any consolation, it took me by surprise too.” She closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.  

Vincent's mind was spinning. Catherine had said she is pregnant, and, she had said she was pregnant, as in past tense. He was, also, unclear as to whether the child she had referred to earlier, the one she said she couldn't save, was their baby, or if there had been a child in the warehouse with her. Vincent was more confused than ever. Unfortunately, for him, she needed to sleep off whatever she had been given. He waited and watched over her while she slept.


Father had cleared Catherine to start on a liquid diet, so Mary slipped into the hospital chamber with a tray of food for Vincent and some broth and tea for Catherine. Catherine woke up as Mary quietly set the tray down on a nearby table. “Thank you, Mary," Catherine quietly whispered so as not to wake Vincent.

Mary walked over to the bedside, "You're welcome dear.  How are you feeling today?" She whispered as she gently stroked Catherine’s hair in a motherly fashion.

"Like I have a medication hangover.”  Trying to shake the cobwebs loose, she asked, "what exactly did they give me?" Vincent woke up as Catherine asked the last question.

"We're not sure. Father sent some samples up for analysis.” Mary answered.

"No reply yet?" Vincent asked, letting the ladies know he was awake.

"We haven't heard from Peter yet.” Upon hearing Peter's name Catherine started becoming anxious. Vincent calmed her down by adding, "Jamie and Mouse were specifically told not to let Peter know whose blood and urine he would be testing. Many of our residents are undocumented above and Peter knows what to do to protect their identity.”

"We have also taken the extra precaution of not letting most of those below know you are here," Mary added.” The only ones who know for sure are Vincent, Father, Pascal, Zach, Jamie, Mouse, and me. Father strongly recommended it stay that way until we know what had happened.” Catherine visibly relaxed upon hearing Mary's reassuring words.” Now dear, why don't we sit you up and try to get some broth down you?"

Vincent got out of the bed and cranked the head up while Mary helped Catherine sit up and get comfortable.  Vincent heard his stomach rumble as he approached the tray of food. A hardy beef stew for him loaded with meat and vegetables and a rich beef broth for her, homemade bread, and an herbal tea rounded out the meal. Ignoring his own hunger, Vincent reached for the broth, carried it over to the bed where Catherine was sitting, and began to spoon feed her as he had done when they had first met. Half-way through the bowl, Catherine began to feel nauseous. Mary reached over for a basin and handed it to Vincent just in time. Vincent held the basin in one hand and Catherine’s hair in the other as she bent over the basin and promptly lost the contents of her stomach. Mary was gathering up a washcloth, towels, a toothbrush, tooth paste and some cool water as Catherine continued to heave. When Catherine’s stomach had finally settled, she raised her head and leaned back against the bed.” Guess my stomach wasn't ready for real food.”

"None the less, it was not entirely unexpected.” Mary politely informed Catherine.” Now how about we try to get that nasty taste out of your mouth?" Mary said as she handed a glass of water to Catherine.” Just swish it around, don't try to swallow it yet. Here, spit into the basin.” Catherine did as she was told.” Here," Mary said as she handed the toothbrush to Catherine, "Run his over your teeth. We won't try toothpaste just yet.” Catherine gagged as she ran the toothbrush across the back of her tongue, but she didn't puke.” Better?" Catherine nodded.” Vincent, why don't you go over to the table and eat while I help Catherine get cleaned up?" Mary asked, suspecting that Vincent would refuse to actually leave the room. Vincent discreetly turned his back to eat while Mary helped give Catherine a sponge bath.

When Vincent had finished his meal, he stacked the dishes neatly on the tray. He left the tea pot and a couple of mugs on the table. After pouring some tea in each cup, he turned around and walked back over to the bed and set the cups down within easy reach of the bed. Catherine had finished her bath and Mary was gathering up the dirty linens to put in the basket just outside the door.” If you'll excuse me, I'll take these dishes to William," Mary said as she left the chamber.  

"Would you like to lay back down some?" Vincent asked.

"Maybe a little. I'd like to try and stay awake for a bit.”

Vincent lowered the bed till she indicated he could stop. Vincent then moved to sit down beside her on the bed. He was facing her and blocking the doorway at the same time. Taking her hands, he looked into her eyes and asked quietly, "Are you still pregnant, or did you have a miscarriage?"

"I'm not sure.” Catherine hated to admit that she didn't know anymore. She was so confused, and, the confusion led to frustration. Vincent tried to help her find her way through the whole mess of emotions.

"I realize that you tried to tell me about the baby when I was so distraught over the loss of the bond. The baby was the gift you spoke of. . .” Catherine nodded.” When did you find out about the baby?"

"The night I returned to work after your illness.  Joe was almost killed in an explosion and I donated blood for him. The nurse caught up to me later that night, told me I was pregnant, and that I should not have donated. I had no clue. I hadn't even missed my period yet.”

"And the possible miscarriage?"

Catherine frowned, thinking back, "I'm not sure. The last injection I remember, the doctor didn't want to do it. He said I was pregnant and that anymore would cause harm to the fetus and that it might kill me as well.”

"But he gave you the drugs anyway.”  

Catherine nodded her confirmation.” He was ordered to do so. The implication was that if he did not comply, he would be killed, and somebody else would give me the drugs anyway.”

"When did this happen? How soon before I arrived did he give you the injection?"

Trying to think clearly and clear her scrambled memories, Catherine tentatively offered, "I don't know. . . maybe about a half hour or so. . . . maybe an hour.”

Vincent had pieced enough information together to give her hope.” You might not have miscarried.” Catherine looked at him hopefully.


Meanwhile, as Catherine and Vincent were talking, Peter exploded into Father’s study.” Where is she?"

"Who?" Father asked as he stood, and Mary entered the library.

"Your patient,” Peter impatiently answered.” She needs to be hospitalized immediately.”

"She is in the hospital chamber.”  

"Is she still alive? What have you given her? What is your treatment plan?" Peter asked in rapid succession.

"Yes she's alive. And awake I might add," Mary informed him, almost indignantly.

Letting calmer heads prevail, Father answered Peter’s questions.” I felt it prudent to give her nothing but fluids. I'm attempting to flush the drugs out of her system rather than taking the chance of giving her an antidote that may not be the correct one. I did not want to harm her further. She has two large bore jugular IVs in place and a pedal IV in place for the purpose of administering medications if necessary. There is also a heploc in the other foot for the sole purpose of drawing blood. The veins in her arms were too damaged to use and I am trying to minimize the number of needle sticks. Now would you kindly tell me what in the world has you so upset? And, by the way, how did you know our patient is female?"

"She's pregnant.”

Mary placed her hand on her chest, "Oh dear.”

Father paled and sat back down. Taking a deep breath, he asked, "What was she given?"

"A combination of scopolamine, sodium pentathal, and morphene.” Peter added, "Her levels are high enough to kill her and the baby both. She needs to be transferred to a hospital for close monitoring.”

"That may be rather difficult," Father stated as he stood up and led the way towards the hospital chamber.” Come.”


Both, Vincent and Catherine were startled as Father, Peter, and Mary burst into the room.

Simultaneously, Vincent turned and moved to the side as Father moved in the opposite direction, clearing a direct view of the bed.” Cathy?" Peter could hardly believe he was looking at his goddaughter.” Oh shit," he was heard to say as reality dawned.” How? Where? What happened?" he finally managed to ask when he recovered his sensibilities.

Father moved to sit in the chair by the table, Peter sat in the chair by the bed, and Mary sat on a nearby stool. Vincent stayed on the bed beside Catherine. All three elders noted that they were holding hands. Catherine took a deep breath and began her story.

"The night Joe was in that explosion, he met with an informant.”

"I remember reading about the explosion in the papers," Peter commented.

Father nodded.” Go on," he encouraged.

"Joe was given a book written in code. Joe had me retrieve the book from his belongings. That's how I got involved. I started looking into the book, trying to break the code. I was getting nowhere, until Moreno," she practically spat out the name, "gave me the first clue. That gave me the idea to go to Elliot Birch for help. He has business connections that could come in handy, specifically he deals with Hanover, Norton Trust and Malloy Davidson Trust. Both are underwriters and financiers for big business and large scale construction, and both are connected to the case. I'm still not entirely sure what I stumbled into when I was kidnapped.”

"And the drugs? When did they start using them?" Peter asked.

"I'm not sure. I lost track of the days.  I believe I had already been there several days before they started using the truth serum.”

"Torture?" Father tentatively asked.

"Hunger and sleep deprivation.”

Vincent's heart was breaking. He turned and asked, "When was the last time you ate?"

"I'm pretty sure they fed me at least once a day. But, the times were not consistent. I also had a hard time keeping anything down.”

"Cathy," Peter started, "You need to be admitted to the hospital.”

"NO.” Catherine was adamant. She flat out refused to go.

"You don't understand, honey.  With the combination of drugs they used on you,for the life of me, I haven't got a clue as how you can be sitting here talking to me. You should be dead. Between the drugs, the lack of sleep and the lack of nutrition, you need to be closely monitored.”

"You're the one who doesn't understand. If I go to the hospital, they will find me and kill me.”

"We can arrange for you to have around the clock police protection.”

"The DA's office?" Father asked.

"What a joke. Moreno is his contact in the DA's office. Marino set me up.”

Vincent felt a rumbling growl form in his chest and throat. He barely contained it before Peter, Father, and Mary said, "What?"

Vincent was deathly quiet when he asked, in a cold, calculating voice, "What happened?"

Although his demeanor frightened her, she answered.” Moreno asked me if I had made any progress with the book. I told him I had a couple of leads I needed to check up on. Later that evening, as I was leaving the office, I was followed. I managed to get away, or so I thought.  I figured I had a better chanceof getting away by going back into the building than I did being in a car stuck in traffic. So I stopped and got out. I headed towards the elevator and barely managed to slip away before they caught up to me. In the elevator I drew my gun and waited for the door to open. When it did, Moreno was standing there. I lowered my weapon. That’s when he backed away and two men with assault rifles blocked my exit. Moreno just walked away.”

Vincent did growl this time. Catherine squeezed his hand to reassure him that she was there beside him.  "So you see, I go to the hospital, it generates an insurance form that Moreno may have access to and can track.  No hospitals.”  Catherine had neatly summarized why she could not seek treatment above.

Peter finally asked, "What about the baby? Did you know you were pregnant?"

Catherine sadly nodded.” I was on my way to tell Vincent when I was kidnapped. But I think I lost it.”  

"Maybe, not.” Catherine looked at Peter with hope in her eyes.” When Father had me run your blood work, I had no idea what, exactly, I was dealing with. All I knew was that I had some samples that Father wanted a full UA and chem panel run on. When the results came back, I started digging. That’s how I was able to identify what was used. I also took the liberty of running a pregnancy test.  It came back positive.”  

Although Vincent was terrified of the thought of Catherine pregnant with a child of his, he could see the hope spring into her eyes at the possibility of having his child. Vincent asked, "Is there any way you could run it again to make sure that she hasn't lost the baby?"

"I can do that.  I take it you're afraid she has lost the baby?"

Vincent and Catherine nodded.

Mary moved to get the equipment Peter would need for the blood test while Peter and Father approached the bed and Father uncovered Catherine’s left foot. As Mary was pulling vials and needles out, she asked, "Do you want urine also?"

Peter though for a moment, then replied, "Due to residual traces in the tubing, I don’t think we will get a true result, but let’s go ahead and collect a sample anyway.” Mary set the equipment on the bedside table and moved out of the way. As Peter collected the urine sample and drew blood from the heploc in Catherine's foot, he asked several questions pertaining to her health and treatment while being held captive.

Catherine answered all his questions honestly. Yes, she has been tied up and unceremoniously tossed into the back of a van. No, she was not physically abused. Nor was she sexually assaulted. Yes, she was sleep deprived and food was inconsistent. It was Catherine's opinion that they wanted to break her mentally, not to completely shut her down. When asked how she withstood all her mistreatment, she answered, "I quit talking.” She had flat out refused to say anything to anyone.” You've heard that the best way to keep a secret is not to tell anyone? I took it one step further and refused to speak, period.”

"Well, young lady, let’s get you tucked back in while Father and I run these tests," Peter suggested. A confused look passed across her face as he was tucking the blankets around

Looking at the bed, then at Father, she asked, "Where did the hospital bed come from? Last I knew there were cots in here.”

Vincent cocked his head to the side and put some things together, himself.” Is that what frightened you earlier?"

Catherine nodded.” When I saw the room, I figured I was safe, even looking at you I felt safe. Then I saw the bed and thought I was hallucinating.” Quietly she added, "I freaked out.” Whispering to Vincent she apologized, "Sorry I worried you.” Vincent squeezed her hand in acceptance of her apology.

Father answered Catherine’s question, finally.” Peter obtained a couple of old-style hospital beds for us a few weeks ago. I believe he said they came from a facility that was closing.” Catherine yawned, closed her eyes and gently drifted off to sleep.  


Vincent gently shook Catherine's shoulder to wake her. When she opened her eyes, Vincent suggested, "You should try to eat something.”

Catherine nodded and started to sit up. Vincent assisted by raising the head of the bed and fluffing the pillows behind her. Vincent, then, began to feed her some chicken broth and gatoraide. She managed to keep it down for about half an hour to forty minutes before the round trip emptied the contents of her stomach, again. Vincent had just finished helping her get cleaned up when Father, Peter, and Mary entered the hospital chamber.

Mary gathered up the dishes while the doctors each took a seat. Peter pulled up the stool next to the bed and sat on it while Father sat on one of the chairs.” How about we discuss a treatment plan for you?" Peter opened the discussion.” Mary, please, come, join us.” Mary sat in the remaining chair while Catherine moved aside a bit to make room for Vincent to sit beside her on the bed. Once again, they held hands.

"First off, young lady, you are still pregnant," Peter announced.  Catherine happily sighed, grinned, and squeezed Vincent's hand in comfort. Continuing, Peter asked, "I realize this is probably unnecessary, but, for clarification purposes, is Vincent the baby’s father?" Catherine nodded her confirmation.” Ok.  I thought so, but I wanted confirmation from you.” Vincent sat in silence.  Peter thought the look on Vincent’s face was eerily similar to a 'deer in the headlights. 'Squashing a chuckle, Peter moved onto more serious matters.

"Father and I have discussed a treatment plan. With Vincent’s unique chemistry and the child being his, we think the best way to treat the overdose is to continue with utilizing the IV's to flush the medication out of your system. We will be running frequent blood tests to monitor the drop in medication levels in your system. As for the nausea and vomiting, we are going to treat that as a case of hyperemesis gravidarum, severe morning sickness. Which means all of your nutritional requirements, vitamins, electrolytes, etc.  will be administered through the IV in your right foot. Any questions, so far?"

Both Catherine and Vincent shook their heads. Vincent asked, "For how long? How will we know when it is safe for her to try and eat something?"

Father addressed Catherine when answering Vincent’s question.” In addition to the IV, I would like you to continue to try and eat anyway. After we get the drugs flushed out of your system, we will remove the IV's from your neck and put you on a soft diet. Once you show signs of tolerating the soft diet, we'll put you on solid foods. Only after you have kept solid foods down for twenty-four hours will I remove all IV access. After you have regained some of your strength we'll move you out of the hospital chamber. I would prefer to have you stay close to the hub.”

Mary thought of an idea.” Father, what about the children’s sick chambers? The Andersen children will be moved into the dorms soon, and that will give Catherine plenty of room, privacy, and be close to the hub.”

Catherine was confused at this point.”  children’s sick chambers?" she asked.

Vincent answered.” They are a couple of chambers, located next to Mary's chamber. We place children who are sick, but not sick enough for the hospital chamber, in those chambers to prevent the spread of illness among the other children.”

Catherine nodded, "Makes sense.”

Both Peter and Catherine were confused when Mary asked, "How are the new chambers coming? and, will they be ready in time?"

Vincent explained, "Several children have expressed an interest in moving out of the dorms to make room for the Andersen’s.”

"Five siblings recently joined us below when their parents died in a fire and their uncle could not properly care for them," Father injected.

"The new chambers are hollowed out but still need some finishing work done. I would estimate a week to ten days before Zack, Geoffrey, Kipper, Eric and Samantha can all move into their new chambers," Vincent concluded.

Father concluded the brief summation by stating, "Add a few more days to move the Andersen children and get them settled.  Plus, we will need to move some appropriate furniture into the sick chambers for Catherine’s use.  I would say in about two weeks we should be all set to discharge you from the hospital, my dear.”

Peter chimed in again, "After we get you settled and well on the road to recovery, I would like to give you a complete prenatal exam. But we won’t do that until the jugular IV's and the catheter have been removed.” As Peter said this, Father got up, walked over to the pipes and tapped out a message for Pascal to meet with him in his study, immediately.

When Father finished, he turned to Vincent and said, “Vincent, you will be excused from the meeting.”

Confused, Vincent asked, “Meeting?”

“The one I am about to call,” Father answered as he exited the hospital chamber.

“Curiouser and curiouser,” Peter muttered to no one in particular.


Father stood in the dining hall as everyone gathered together.  A hush rippled across the crowd as Father gained everyone’s attention.” With the exception of those currently on sentry duty, is there any tunnel resident not in attendance? Look around you and make absolute sure we are all here.” Everyone did as Father requested. All were present, until Cullen finally noted, “Vincent is missing.” He then went on to suggest, “Is he, perhaps, on patrol?”

“No. He is the only resident excused from this meeting. I will need those who are about to go on sentry duty to let those they are relieving, that they are to report to my study immediately. We will also be sending a message on the pipes saying much the same thing. Do not fail to pass on this information.”

William got the impression, as did everyone else, this was something extremely important. And, rather than taking his usual gruff tone, he politely asked, “What has happened? What is going on?”

“Vincent found Catherine last night.” A murmur of excitement rushed through the crowd. Father held up his hand to gain everyone’s attention, and quiet the crowd.” She is not in the best of shape. She is recovering in the hospital chamber.” Pausing for dramatics and to emphasize his point, he continued.” For her safety, I am about to request, no require, that no one – not even our helpers – be told she is here.”

Gasps of shock and surprise filtered through the room.  Several were heard to ask, “What?”“Did I hear that right?” or similar to that effect. William took charge of the situation.” Catherine is here, but we can’t let anyone know?”

Father nodded.” Correct.”

“What about the authorities? They’re still looking for her, aren’t they?”

Peter answered.” They are. But, correct me if I’m wrong, if the wrong people found out where she went, they would stop and nothing to get her back, up to, and including killing her or anyone who got in their way.”

Father nodded.” And that is what I am afraid of. To make the situation clear to everyone here, Catherine has told us if she were to be seen above, they will find her and kill her.”

“Who is ‘they’?” Cullen interrupted.

“We are not sure. And, unfortunately, neither is Catherine. She does know that the district attorney, himself, cannot be trusted. Long story short, we don’t know who can be trusted. Therefore, theonly safe way to keep this secret is not to tell anyone – including those we trust.” Pausing, Father thought for several minutes. He then added, “If you feel you cannot keep this secret, I ask that you refrain from going above for the time being.”

“What about the children? They need the time above to run off excess energy?” Mary asked concerned about the exercise needs of the children.

Father asked that all the children come forward. Carefully, he sat down so he could be on their level.  “I know many of you know how to keep a secret, but some of you might not know the importance of keeping this secret. So, let me tell you a story. Let’s say, a group of you decide to go up and play a game of baseball. You come across another group of kids. The game begins. Sometime during the game a couple of you start talking about Catherine. One of the other teams’ parents overhears your conversation and figures out who you are talking about.  They, in turn, tell a policeman. The police come to question the entire group of you.”

“That would be bad,” Eric surmised.

“Yes. It could be. Remember, we don’t know who the bad guy is. Someone else could also overhear the conversation and follow you back into the tunnels, which would, definitely,be bad. So, we must all take extra precautions.” Looking up into the crowd, Father added,” No one, going above is to talk about or mention Catherine at all. If you feel the need to talk about her, do it inside the tunnels. If one of our helpers asks if we have heard anything, tell them you have not.”

Eric asked, “You want us to lie?”

“Unfortunately, --“Father started.

“Think of it as a Christmas secret,” Mary offered.” At Christmas we all keep secrets. Someone asks you if you know what they are getting for Christmas. You tell them no, but, you actually do know what they‘re getting. On Christmas morning the surprise is the best.”

Peter picked up the story at this point.” When Cathy gets to go back home safely, keeping the secret will be worth it. She will be safe and she will be alive.”

“So it’s just temporary?” Kipper asked.

“Yes.” Father answered. Standing back up, he addressed the adults in the dining hall.” I realize Catherine being here, has risks that place all of us in danger. If you feel your safety is not being properly addressed we will see what we can do to temporarily place you with some of our helpers. We will come up with a cover story on an individual basis. We still ask that those who choose to stay elsewhere tell no one that Catherine is here. For those who have sentry duty, no one, except for Peter is to be admitted. Peter is helping with Catherine’s medical care.”

“I think it would be best if I maintained a presence above.  Especially, since I have already been questioned by several different authorities.  I will have to travel back and forth so as not to draw attention to myself. I’ll need to maintain as much of my normal schedule as possible.  As an afterthought, Pater added.” Thank heavens for the private tunnel access was I have at the house.”

Father, once again took charge.” I think it would be best if Catherine have no visitors for now. She needs her rest. If there are no other questions, this meeting is adjourned.” Father and several others left the room while others stayed quietly conversing among themselves.


Though Lovers Not Be Lost

Part Two: Below


My lord, I have remembrances of yours

That I have longed long to redeliver.

I pray you now receive them.

No, no, I never gave you aught.

My honoured lord, you know right well you did.

And with them words of so sweet breath composed

As made the things so rich. Their perfume lost,

Take these again for to the noble mind

Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.

                                Ophelia, Hamlet

Catherine slowly recovered her strength and her health as the days passed.  Although Vincent hated the hospital, he temporarily moved into the chamber to be closer to Catherine should she need anything. About one week had passed, when Catherine asked, “Aren’t you supposed to be teaching?”

“Father, Brooke, and Patricia have been taking turns teaching the subjects I normally cover,” Vincent answered.” Paul, Cullen, and Jamie have been coving my security and sentry duties.”

“Who is Patricia? I’ve not heard of her,” she asked.

“Patricia Lurvey is a helper who runs a shelter above. As a retired pharmacist and professor, she is helping the children with more advanced research techniques.”

“Sounds like someone I’d like to meet someday.”  Reaching out to hold his hand, she suggested, “How about starting to take up some of your duties again. I really am feeling much better.” Grinning, she added, “I’m actually down to one IV now!”

Vincent smiled.

Switching tactics, Catherine proposed an idea.  “Much as I love having you here with me, I don’t want you to neglect your duties here….”

“Your well being is my primary duty. Father, Peter and Mary all agree and support my decision to take care of you first. Besides, you called out of work when I was sick,” he reminded her.

“Touch. So how about a compromise?”

He looked at her skeptically.  “And just what are you proposing?”

Jumping on the opportunity, she suggested, “I know there is no way you will go out on sentry duty but you could make out schedules for them like you usually do.  And you could plan your lessons here then maybe teach in your chambers. Or if that’s too far for your comfort, maybe Fathers chambers or even in here?”

“I take it boredom has started to set it.”

“That would be a polite way to put it. Not that I really mind spending time alone with you….”  she added flirtatiously.” Do you think Father will finally let me have some visitors at least?”

“I believe that can be arranged. The children have been asking when they can visit.”

“…So have several of the adults,” Father added as he came into the chamber.” And, how are you feeling today, my dear? “

“Actually, I feel pretty good today. I was able to keep breakfast down.”

“Excellent!” Father exclaimed.” Then perhaps Peter, Mary and I should start preparing you two for what to expect,” Father added nonchalantly. He was met with two confused faces and two sets of questioning eyes. Father walked over to the table where Vincent and Catherine were sitting, sat down, reached out and grasped each by the hand, “Catherine, how old were you when your mother died?”

Confused, Catherine answered, “Ten. Why? Out of curiosity.”

“Had she explained the ‘birds and the bees’ to you yet?” Father asked, putting his best professional ‘doctor’ face on.

Catching the drift, she answered, “No. I learned that in fifth grade sex ed class. Unfortunately, my mother died two months earlier. I was twelve when Elaine, Peter’s wife, explained more about what to expect with menstrual cycles.”

“What about being pregnant and actually having a baby?”

“Just what my friends have told me.”

“I’m betting they left a few details out,” Father suggested as he leaned back in his chair.

“You’d probably win that bet, if I were stupid enough to actually bet against you.” All three chuckled when Catherine said that.

Standing up, Father spoke, “I’m going to lunch now. Are you coming Vincent?”

“Not right at the moment, Father. I will be along shortly. I believe Catherine and I have some things to discuss.”

Father left the chamber to give the couple some privacy. He made sure to close the privacy curtain on his way out.

Vincent reached over and held Catherine’s hand.” Catherine— “he began as he looked up into her eyes.

Misunderstanding what he was about to say, she cut him off.” Don’t even say it, Vincent. I want this baby. I will not terminate it.”

Shocked, but also seeing where she would get the idea he might ask this of her, he said, “I know that.  I will not ask that.  Instead, I would like to ask what your thoughts are concerning the baby.  I know I have not always asked your opinion on where you thought our dreams were headed.  And, although I, also, dreamed, I was terrified to voice that dream aloud.  To tell you the truth, I still am.  But we must discuss the reality of what already exists.”  Pausing, he again asked, “Please, share your thoughts with me.”

“That’s a two-way street Vincent. I share my thoughts, you have to share yours. No matter how difficult.”  Choosing her words carefully, she added, “You no longer have the bond to guide you.  So, like any other couple, the only way we can navigate our way through is to share our thoughts and feelings. Deal?”

He nodded, “Deal.”

“You already know I want the baby. But I’m not sure I’m ready to let the world know about it yet.”  Pausing, she then asked, “What about you?”

Contemplating, he answered carefully, “I never thought to have a child of my own. I’d always been taught not to even try. I was raised to think I would remain single and alone my entire life.”

Catherine’s heart was breaking at this admission of how complete he felt his aloneness had been preordained. And then she was furious when she realized Father was the one who put those ideas in his head! Swallowing her sadness and anger, she asked, “And now?”

“Overwhelmed.  But in a good way,” he quickly added. Taking a few calming breaths, he continued as he thought, “Blessed. That I have been given this gift of life. Determined. To do the best I know how in raising this child. But most of all, I feel loved.” He ended with a simple statement, “I, too, want this child.” Catherine smiled brightly.” and, I agree, I am not quite ready to announce it ‘to the world’ I believe is how you put it.”

Just then, Mary entered the chamber with a tray of cookies and ice cold milk. Jamie stood just out outside the chamber holding a tray of sandwiches and soup. Vincent stood up to help Mary when he noticed Jamie standing there. He walked over and lifted the tray out of her hands.” You can come in. Father has lifted the visiting restrictions. Although I will restrict her visitors to a couple at a time, so as not to cause Catherine to feel overwhelmed or exhausted.

Jamie followed him into the chamber. She helped Mary arrange the food and set the table for Vincent and Catherine’s lunch.

All Four occupants sat at the table.  While Catherine and Vincent ate, Catherine, Jamie, and Mary visited.” How are you feeling today?” a concerned Mary inquired.

“Better. I was finally able to keep something down this morning.”

“I thought as much, when Father approved the sandwich for you this afternoon. Go easy though, solid food can be a little rough a first,” Mary suggested.

“How are the sentry schedules coming, Jamie?” Vincent asked after swallowing a bite of a grilled cheese sandwich.

“Not too rough.  A couple of the new ones are grumbling a bit. But Paul and Cullen straightened them out. I’ve mostly taken to patrolling the posts to keep tabs on everyone.”  Jamie informed him.

Father has taken over the sciences and some math. Brooke has taken the literature and reading, plus the basic math classes. Pat has been given an exception to continue the research projects and she has taken on history as well.  The way she teaches, I guess she figures the two kind of go hand in hand,” Jamie summarized.

Catherine was curious.  “What do you mean ‘exception’?”

Mary answered before anyone else could get a word in, “Pat was here when Father restricted access to the tunnels. He felt it the best way to protect you.”

“By not allowing anyone in?” Catherine was a cross between indignant and curious, but, she did not allow her anger to show.

Sheepishly, Jamie continued, “The way he explained it was that we were not to talk about you in any way, shape, or form unless safely inside the community. That way nobody above could over hear any conversations. Our helpers were to be temporarily denied access, except Peter and Pat. Pat was already here and attended the meeting.              “ Warming to the narrative, Jamie added,”when Pat asked what she could do to help, Father asked that maybe she could act as a go between, between the tunnels and above. She is using the shelter she runs to do just that. Food deliveries and supplies are all being sent there then we pick them up after hours.”

“She then told Father that she wanted to continue the research projects since they are so important to those children wishing to continue their studies above,” Mary added.

Vincent and Catherine looked at each other when the word ‘told’ was used, rather than the word ‘ask. ’Both sets of eyes were laughing.” I have definitely got to meet this woman,” Catherine said laughing out loud.” Someone who actually tells Father what is going to happen rather than asks….”

“Easier to seek forgiveness than to ask permission,” an unknown person said as she entered the chamber.

“Patricia, we were just speaking of you,” Vincent said with a smile in his voice.

“So I gather. I hope it was a good conversation.”

“Always,” Vincent stated. Turning to Catherine he introduced the ladies to each other, “Catherine, this is Patricia. Patricia, Catherine.”

“Call me Pat, everyone else does, except for this big guy.” Pat walked up to Catherine and embraced her in one of the best bear hugs she had ever received. Looking at Catherine, she stated, more than asked, “So I finally get to meet the woman responsible for so many hearts breaking.”

Catherine caught on immediately while Vincent blushed as profusely as his skin tones would allow. Vincent asked Pat to give him an update on how the children were doing in class and how the class was progressing. He, also, explained that he would soon resume his teaching duties and asked her to continue with the research projects. While Vincent and Pat discussed each student and the class’ progress Catherine, Mary, and Jamie visited as Catherine and Vincent ate their lunch.

After Vincent and Pat had their little impromptu meeting, Vincent asked, “Jamie I’d like to meet with you, Cullen, and Paul to discuss the sentry schedules.  I will resume my administrative duties but will opt out of sentry duty for now.  Mary could you ask Father and Brooke to come see me at their convenience, so that I may discuss the class and student progress with them as well?”Mary nodded.


“Well young lady, how are you feeling today?” Father asked rather exuberantly one morning about five days after Vincent had resumed teaching?

“I’m doing great, any way I can bust out of this chamber though?”

“That is exactly why I am here this morning. It’s moving day for you. We have the chambers all ready for occupancy, by you. I am here to graciously escort you to your new chambers.”

Vincent met Catherine and Father at the antechamber just outside the arch way. Once inside the antechamber Catherine saw four arch ways. One, the one she and Father had just entered. The one to the right led to a small antechamber with a series of three separate chambers off of it. Catherine knew these chambers were the boy’s dorm on the right, the nursery in the center, and the girl’s dorm on the left next to Mary’s chamber.  The second arch way was the entrance to Mary’s chambers. The third archway, Catherine guessed, was to be her new home away from home.

Vincent led Catherine to the arch on the left, where she found a small chamber with a glider rocking chair and a large comfortable chair Immediately to the right of the entrance. There was, also a small circular dining table off to the far left. To the immediate left sat a small desk. The room also held various bookcases filled with children’s books. Several adult volumes were carefully placed above the desk, for Catherine’s enjoyment. Catherine’s Safety was obviously a concern when the room was being furnished, because the only time anyone could see her would be if they sat in either the rocker or the recliner while standing at the entrance of the antechamber.

Between the desk and dining table was a second room. This was set up as a bed chamber. The room was decorated with a stand-up mirror located to the immediate right. An armoire was located in the far right corner.  In the far left corner of the chamber was a washstand accented with a porcelain basin on top and a towel rack. A little nightstand was in the immediate left corner. Between the nightstand and the washstand was a full-sized bed, complemented by a handmade quilt and a single red and white rose carefully place on top, completed the matching antique set.


Later that evening, Catherine and Vincent had their first instructional class with Peter, Father and Mary. In this Catherine’s diet was discussed. Peter would provide prenatal vitamins for Catherine under the name CeCe Wells. William would be told about the baby so he could provide the appropriate nutrients in the correct portions for her. He would be the only other one to know until Catherine and Vincent decided to announce their news.

Catherine requested, “If I’m eating any better than everyone else, they eat the same things I eat. Regardless of cost.”

“Cathy, the budget here operates a little differently than above,” Peter reminded her.

“I guess I’d better fess up then, “she sheepishly said.

“To what, young lady?” Peter asked.

“Prior to Margaret’s death, she had me change her will. She established a charitable foundation where in the primary beneficiary is this community. Obviously, the community has been shielded in layers of additional charities. I am, currently, the only one who can sign paperwork and checks for this community. I was in the process of making out a will, myself, allowing Peter to sign as well. I‘ll predate the papers to prior to my disappearance, as long as you have a trusted helper who is a notary public.”

“Pat(ricia).” Everyone in the room stated without hesitation.

“Peter can bump up the food budget again, so everyone can eat what I eat.”

“And just how long have you been supplementing the budget, Catherine?” Father asked, she could almost see the steam spewing from his ears.

Catherine and Vincent exchanged a look before Catherine answered, “I started to gradually up the food budget about a week or so after Margaret passed away.”

“And just how long have you known about this, Vincent?” Father looked at his son, surmising that he was aware of the situation.

“I discussed it with Catherine and Margaret prior to her death.” Father cocked an eyebrow at this news.” At the time, we all felt it best to slide it in without your direct knowledge. We allowed you the time to grieve.” Father lost the head of steam he had been building.

“How did you manage to slide that one under the radar, Cathy?” Peter asked.

“I went to the helpers who provide food and increased the budget by a little for each one. I asked them to keep providing what they had been, but to add a few extra pounds or a few extra packages to each order. Provide a bill and I’d pay it out of the Chase Foundation. Those bills came directly to a post office box I set up for this specific reason.”

 Later that evening, Vincent and Father were playing a game of chess. Mary was quietly talking to Catherine, going over some material for Catherine and Vincent to read. Peter asked, “Catherine, when you were being held, you said they were after information, what exactly did they want to know?”

“They wanted to know what I knew about the case Joe left me and what I did with the book Pat Hanlon gave him.”

“And you never told them I take it.” Vincent and Father pulled their attention from the game, Father was losing, to listen to Catherine and Peter’s conversation.

“Not what was in the book. It’s written in code and I haven’t been able to break the code. They said I knew of five major contacts though. Two of which are John Moreno and Pat Hanlon. I ‘m guessing Paul Malloy, Mark Davidson, Jerry Hanover, or Tim Norton are the others.”

“And the book?”

“I hid it in the safest place I could think of.”

“And where would that be?” Father asked while removing his glasses.

Rather than answer, Catherine stood up and walked to the circular staircase. Climbing to the second level, she answered, “In the library.” Reaching the second level, Catherine walked to a shelf and reached behind several dusty volumes and pulled what looked like a soft cover address book out from its hiding place. She, then, returned to her seat in Fathers study. Looking at the book Catherine stated, “I need to warn Joe about John’s involvement. He has no clue, and John will keep an especially close eye on Joe and the investigation.”

“NO!” Vincent, Father, and Peter all nixed the idea quickly.

Mary, quiet up to this point, asked, “Just what do you have in mind, dear?”


“Pizza Delivery!” The voice rang out behind the door. Joe walked over to the door and peaked through the peep hole to see Sammy, the office sandwich guy, standing there holding a pizza. Confused, Joe opened the door. Before Joe could say anything, Sammy motioned him not to say anything by bringing a finger to his lips, silently shushing him.

“How much do I owe you?” Joe asked as he reached into his back pocket for his wallet.  

“Twelve dollars, sir.” Sammy answered as he lifted the lid so Joe could see the message written on the inside cover.

“Meet me on the roof; bring dinner, R” the note read.” Twenty is the smallest I have. Keep the change.” Joe said as he took the box, closing the lid. After grabbing a couple of beers he took the pizza and headed to the roof.

After opening the door, he quietly called, “Radcliffe?”

Catherine stepped out of the shadows. She was wearing a long cloak that could easily obscure her face. Joe noticed someone was with her.” Who’s your friend there?”


“You’re safe then?”

“I am. But Joe, you’re not.” Joe looked at her without asking, ‘what’. Cathy dropped the bomb, “Moreno’s involved.”

“What?!” Joe practically yelled.

“Quiet!” She shushed Joe.” You want them to hear you and come up here?” Vincent was moving towards the far corner to check the vehicle there.” There are two cars; one on the north west corner, the other on the south east. You are being watched and your apartment is most likely bugged.  So is your office. That’s why we’re up here. Let me have a piece of that Pizza will you?”

“Oh…yeah….  uh…sure. Here, have a seat too.” Joe offered her one of the beers.

“No thanks, I’m good,” Cathy said, smiling to herself.

“What about your friend there?” Joe asked as he noticed Vincent had moved back into the shadows.

“No Thank you,” Vincent said, as he moved to the other corner, patrolling the rooftop.

Cathy, then, gave Joe a quick rundown of what had happened to her since the explosion left him in the hospital. Joe asked Cathy, “Can you write down as many details as you can remember, so when this goes to trial you have a reminder that was moderately close to the time of occurrence?”

“Sure. I can keep a journal of events. I’ll write them down as I remember them. They may not be in order of occurrence though. Both sat for several minutes in silence, finely, Cathy said, “Joe. I’m not sure when I will be back. Try to keep anyone from looking for me, and remember, this guy has people all over the place. He has John, so assume he’s got the police too. I’m safe where I’m at so don’t look for me.”

“How can I get in contact with you?”

“You won’t be able to.” Standing up, Cathy gave Joe a hug.” I’ll keep track of you and return only when I feel it’s safe. Keep yourself safe. And remember, John is involved. Don’t trust him” She then walked towards the shadows where Vincent was waiting.

Joe never did figure out where she went or how she got off that roof top.


“Ah, Catherine, Vincent, please come join us this morning,” Father called as they entered the dining chamber for breakfast the two days later. Catherine and Vincent were surprised to see Sebastian sitting with Father, Peter, and Mary.

After getting a breakfast of oatmeal and fresh fruit, with a glass of milk and some herbal tea, the two joined the small group at the table.” Good morning Mary, Father, Peter…Sebastian?” Vincent said with an unspoken question as to why Sebastian was there. After all, helpers were still not allowed into the tunnels.

“Hello, everyone,” Catherine said greeting all at the table. After pleasantries were exchanged, Father got to the point.

“Did you give Joe the book last night?” Father enquired.

“No. I copied the book and gave him the copy to work from. I kept the book, itself. I figured, as long as I was here, I might as well try to figure it out. Besides, I’m not sure who I can trust above, and something tells me, the copy I gave to John, never actually made it into the evidence locker.” Somewhat confused, Catherine asked, “Why?”

Peter picked up the conversation from there, expanding, “Sebastian here was trained as a code breaker during World War II. *I thought he might be able to help, so I reminded Father of Sebastian’s unique skill set….”

“And I gave the Okay for him to be allowed to come down to assist you,” Father finished the narrative.” I thought you’d want to work on it while you stayed with us.”

Turning to Sebastian, she asked, “And you’ve kept your skills up?”

“Who do you think comes up with the cryptograms and the crossword puzzles for the New York Times?” Sebastian answered with a touch of pride.

“I never really thought about it,” Catherine admitted.” I take you do?”

“I am part of a team that produces those gems. I love the expert ones. We grade them on how fast each of us could finish the puzzle, average the time between us and come up with how difficult the puzzle is in the paper. Some are so difficult they never make it to the paper.  

“Well then I guess I, now, know what I will be working on while staying here.” “Unless there are other chores anyone needs assistance with….”  Catherine offered.

“No, my dear, we felt this would be the best use of your time here. But, if we need your assistance, we will ask,” Father relieved her of any of the normal everyday chores that went into keeping tunnel life below operating smoothly.


That same evening, after a poker game, Joe was alone walking with Nick, a trusted friend on the police force.” You heard of Diana Bennett?”

“No. Who’s she?”

“Investigator. Works out of the two ten unit. She has a special arrangement. She picks her cases. Only does one at a time.

“One? That’s ridiculous. Nobody gets a cushy job like that. I don’t care who you are, or think you are, doesn’t happen.”

Remember the Young case last week?


“She was the only one working it and cracked it alone.”

Pausing a beat, Joe said, not quite believing what he had heard, “Alone? She’s that good? How come I never heard of her before now?”

“She doesn’t like publicity. Look, I gotta take what they throw at me; she gets her pick, she’sthat good. You want someone outside that has access inside, she’s your woman.” Nick stated as he and Joe reached Nicks place.


One evening, several days later, Catherine and Vincent were down by the falls enjoying each other’s company and a pick nick dinner of fried chicken, German potato salad, fresh fruit and vegetables with brownies. Vincent was reading Much Ado About Nothing to Catherine while she drifted in and out of a light nap.

I do love nothing in the world so well as you—is not that strange?

As strange as the thing I know not. It were as possible for me to

I loved nothing so well as you.  But believe me not;

Andyet I lie not; I confess nothing, nor deny nothing.

I am sorry for my cousin.

By my word, (Beatrice) Catherine, thou lovest me.

Do not swear and eat it.

I will swear by it that you love me,

And I will make him eat it that says I love not you.

Will you not eat your word?

With no sauce that can be devised to it.  

I protest I love thee.

Why then, God forgive me.

What offence sweet (Beatrice) Catherine?

You have stayed me in a happy hour.  

I was about to protest I love you.

And do it with all thy heart.

I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.

Come, bid me do anything for thee.

“Anything?”Catherine asked flirting with him. She totally derailed his thought process.

Just as he was about to answer her, Eric came running towards them. Catching the boy before he slipped and fell into the river far below, Vincent asked, “Why the hurry young man?”

“Father and Peter sent me,” Eric said trying to catch his breath.” They would like to meet with you and Catherine.”

After the three of them were finished packing up the dinner basket William had provided, Eric asked, “What were you reading?”

“Shakespeare.” Vincent quoted while walking:

O wherefore, nature didst thou lions frame,

Since lion vile hath here deflowered my dear?

(Catherine giggled)

(Vincent paused, with a side long glance he continued)

Which is-no, no- Which was the fairest dame

That lived, that loved, that liked, that looked, with cheer?

Come tears, confound! Out sword and wound

The pap of Pyramus!

Ay, that left pap, where heart doth hop,

Thus die I: thus, thus, thus, thus

Now I am dead! Now I am fled!

My soul is in the sky!

Tongue lose thy light!

Moon take thy flight!

Now die, die, die, die, die,

                                                A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“Cool. He talks about death!” Eric said excited that Shakespeare had covered a topic that he had been interested in since his family had died.

“It also speaks of love,” Vincent reminded the boy.

‘Even better yet. Sounds like he might know what It’s like to have both in your life. Love and death that is,” Eric surmised as they reached their destination. Eric turned right while Catherine and Vincent turned left, into Father’s study.

“Are you Ok Cathy? You look tired,” Peter was concerned at how exhausted she looked.

“I guess Sebastian and I have been putting in a lot of time on the book,” Catherine evaded the real reason she was so tired.” We are making lots of progress though. I’m glad I warned Joe. Speaking of which, have you heard any news, Peter?”

“Not a peep. Joe is still out and about, so nothing on that front. Moreno is still in office. I hope Joe is just biding him time on that one.”

“If I know Joe, he’ll want not just a rock-solid case against him, but several witness accounts and he won’t want to tip his handler off.”

“Just to be on the safe side I’d like to check your iron levels. Make sure you’re not anemic. Now for the business as hand. Where is Mary? I want her here for this class.” Peter said, as Vincent walked over and tapped a message to Mary. While they waited Pater drew a small vial of blood to take with him.

“Ah, Mary there you are. We need to have an unscheduled class today. We need to discuss DNA today,” Father said when Mary entered the chamber.  

“After everyone settled down at the table, their usual meeting place, Peter stated, “Vincent, you are human.  While you were sick, I drew some blood for analysis. At first, those results were inconclusive. The lab felt I screwed up and mixed the sample with an animal. But, further testing was done and we found the human component. I’m not saying something else isn’t there, just that we found the human component in the DNA sequence. Which supports our original theory,” Peter started.

“What theory is that,” Vincent asked, curiously. Catherine was intrigued. She knew the lab felt he was an animal of some kind.

“The only way you and Catherine could have a child together is if you are human. Leaving us with the initial hypothesis; someone deliberately manipulated your DNA.

Catherine’s analytical mind took over, when she asked, “Care to clue me in on this?”

Father took up the narrative. For conception to occur, there must be and acid-base matched pair. At least within the same family species. The uterus is a very acidic environment. In order for an egg to survive the environment, the egg has to be coated with the same acid.

Peter picked up the lecture at this point.” The male reproductive system has a way of cleaning out the urethra so sperm can survive the trip out of the male body. Once the acids have been cleaned out, viable sperm are released. The sperm is coated with an appropriate base to eat away at the acid protecting the egg. Once that happens conception can take place.

Mary clarified for herself, “so it has to be a matching acid-base pairing?”

“Yes. Each species has their own pair that’s how nature prevents cross breeding between species. Horses and donkeys are both equine so they can breed. Lions and tigers are in the same family so ligers exist. Vincent can father a child with Catherine therefore he is homosapien. I identified the human component with a genetics specialist colleague of mine at Columbia. He has no idea what he was looking at before you even ask Jacob. I figure it was deliberate, because if it had been accidental, Vincent would not have survived. Now, weather that manipulation occurred before conception of after and in utero, I have no way of telling.

See where she comes, appareled like the spring,

Graces her subjects, and her thoughts the king

Of ev’ryvirture gives renown to men;

Her face the book of praises where is read

Nothing but curious pleasures, as from thence

Sorrow were ever raized, and testy wrath

Could never be her mild companion.

You Gods that made me man, and sway in love,

That have inflamed desire in my breast

To taste the fruit of you celectial tree

Or die in the adventure, be my helps,

As I am son and servant to your will,

To compass such a boundless happiness.

                                Pericles, Prince of Tyre


“Nightmares you say?” Father asked.

“More like night terrors,” Mary said, divulging the reason Catherine looked so exhausted.” The only time she gets any good, decent, sleep is if Vincent is in the room with her. I’ve tried to help, by staying with her, but it doesn’t help much.

“So what do you propose we do?”

Peter supplied the easiest solution.” Let them sleep in the same chamber.” He knew Father would initially be against the idea, so he came prepared.” Look, I know I’ve been advocating the notion that they continue with intimate relations, and I also know you have been against the notion. But she is having night terrors, she can’t sleep, she is running on fumes alone by now, we can’t give her anything to help because of the baby, and Vincent helps the situation rather than hinders it.” Pulling the ace out of the hat, so to speak, Peter added, “At least think about it before you automatically poo-poo the idea.”


Buzz, Buzz, Buzz, Joe stabbed at the bell beside the Bennett name.” Yeah, a disembodied voice hotly said.

Joe Maxwell. I called earlier.”

“I told you I was on LOA.”

“I know. How would you like to extend it?”

‘You’ve got me intrigued.  Come on up,” Diana invited as she buzzed Joe directly into the elevator.” Fifth Floor.” When Joe arrived he was led right into Diana’s apartment.” So what’s this about an extended LOA?”

“I’ve got a case, but you’re not allowed to let anybody, and I do mean anybody, know what you are actually working on. In fact, if anyone asks, I was never officially here. And I promise you, you will be asked if I was here. You can say I was here but you’re to tell nobody why I was here.”

“This is getting more and more interesting. Spill it.”

“You ever hear of Catherine Chandler?”

“The ADA who was kidnapped out of the courthouse parking garage?Yeah, you’d have to live under a rock to not have heard about that case. I take it you want me on it.”

“No. I want you to use it as an excuse to look for the guy who ordered her kidnapping. You see what only a handful of people know is, she got away.”

Diana was shocked at this news.” then where is she?”

“I don’t know. She wouldn’t tell me.”

“You talked to her?” Diana asked as she moved over to her desk to grab a notebook.

Joe walked over recommending, “anything you write down, you burn to a pile of ashes. Leave no trace of what I am about to tell you.” Diana nodded her consent and gave him her complete undivided attention.” She showed up at my place a week ago. Told me not to trust Moreno and to watch my back since I was being watched. I found bugs in my apartment, car, and office. I don’t even trust cab drivers at this point, especially since I’ve had the same one several times now. I was also suspended for not doing enough to find Cathy.”              

“Where does Moreno fit into all this?”  

“According to Cathy, he set her up for the kidnapping.”

“Your proof?”

“He was there when it happened.”


“Not yet. I don’t want him to know I know Cathy’s version of the story. I’m biding my time till I can identify and nail the guy lining his pockets. And, according to Cathy, the police are questionable. She doesn’t know who’s been bought off. She has Identified Paul Malloy as a principle. She also suspects his partner Mark Davidson. Plus, she knows someone at Hanover, Norton Trust. Probably Jerry Hanover and Tim Norton themselves.  I’d also guess someone within the building commission, as well. I suspect someone in Elliot Birch’s organization, but not actually him.”

“Why?” Diana fired back.

“He’s in love with Cathy. She doesn’t love him, but he loves her.  He has also spent a considerable fortune looking for her. As far as I know, he does not know she escaped and is alive; and I am going to leave it that way for as long as possible.” Even though it sounded as if Diana was going to take the case, Joe needed confirmation.” So are you in?”

Diana nodded affirmative.” You had me at Extended LOA. Well almost. The carrot you dangled didn’t hurt.”  

“Okay, let’s get down to business.” Joe said as he led her to the couch. Sitting down, he pulled a stack of papers out of his jacket pocket.” These are the key to who is behind this. I want you to look and act like you are looking for Cathy in every way. But this guy is your real target.”

Taking the stack of papers, Diana looked them over.” What are these? And, how do they fit in?”

Those are a copy of a book Pat Hanlon gave me. Don’t ask me about the original book. I don’t have it. Cathy does.  “

“Who is Pat Hanlon?”

“A Wall Street attorney I went to law school with. He turned informant and was killed for his efforts. He gave me those before he died. They‘re in a code Pat wrote. But he didn’t give me the code key before he was blown to pieces.

“The explosion you were in?”

“Yeah. When I came to after surgery, I told Cathy to get the book. Which she did, she, also, let John and Elliot Burch know about it. She provided a copy to each one. Burch has been using his copy to try and find her. I don’t know where John’s copy is located. Best bet is, it never made it to evidence. Probably in one of his safes. He has two:one at the office; the other in his office at home.

Diana listened intently as she visualized each word spoken.

That evening the children were giving a concert in Fathers chambers. The room had been set up so that Catherine and Vincent sat on the loveseat tucked into an alcove under the circular staircase. This alcove had recently been added as a semiprivate reading nook for anyone to enjoy.  

Catherine sat, snuggled, in Vincent’s arms.

If music be the food of love, play on,

Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,

Thy appetite may sicken, and so die.

That strain again!It had a dying fall.

Oh, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound

That breathes upon a bank of Violets,

Stealing and giving odour. Enough, no more,

‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.

                                Twelfth Night

Catherine drifted off to sleep as Vincent softly recited the verse of Shakespeare. Vincent followed her into blissful slumber shortly thereafter. Many in the room noticed the young couple, including Father. Father continued to watch long after the concert had ended. Finely, Father grabbed a quilt, hobbled over and laid it across the two, protecting them from the tunnels natural chill.  


The poor soul sat sighing by a sycamore tree’

Sing all a green willow.

Her hand on her bosom, her head on her knee,

Sing willow, willow, willow.

The fresh streams ran by her and murmured her moans,

Sing willow, willow, willow.

Her salt tears fell from her, and softened the stones,

Sing willow, willow, willow

Sing all, a green willow must be my garland


His decision was made.  


Who is (Silvia) Catherine? What is she?

That all our swains commend her?

Holy, Fair, and wise is she,

The heavensuc grace did lend he,

That she might admired be.

Is she kind as she is fair?

For beauty lives with kindness.

Love doth to her eyes repair,

To help him of his blindness,

And, being helped, inhabits there.

Then to (Silvia) Catherine let us sing,

That (Silvia) is excelling,

She excels each mortal thing

Upon the dull earth dwelling.

To her let us garlands bring.

                                The two Gentileman of Verona

“Which side of the bed do you want,” Catherine asked Vincent.

“You take the bed. I was planning on bringing a cot in here to sleep on.”

Oh no you’re not. You’re sleeping in that bed with me,” Catherine said as she pointed to the bed.” Now, which side do you want?”

Catherine did everything she could not to chuckle when a definite look of consternation appeared on his face. She managed to stifle the chuckle, but not the grin. Taking his hands leading him to the chair, she sat him down after settling down herself, she said, “look, we are both adults and two adults can sleep in the same bed without doing anything physical. It’s not like I’m planning on getting you in bed and ‘jump your bones’ or anything. Give me a little more credit than that.”

“’Jump your bones’?”

“You do know what that means, don’t you?”

“Yes. I know what that means.

“Good, ‘cause I really didn’t want to explain that one to you.”

“Devin was rather explicit in that regard.”

“Why does that not surprise me.”

“He didn’t want to leave his little brother behind.”

“Okay. That I’ll buy.” Continuing on, she said, “Look, I realize sex is something you’ve only had once, and you don’t remember it. So in your mind, you’re still a virgin. I also know that Father ingrained in you the notion that you would never experience a physically intimate relationship.” Pausing a beat, she continued her narrative.” when I was five, I was just as sure as I could be that all boys had cooties, they were contagious, and most important, they were deadly.”


“In my defense, I was five years old. Either way, As I got older, about ten at this point, I noticed boys. I decided not all boys had cooties. Then the teen years hit, and I decided that if boys did have cooties, I wanted to swap some cooties with them. But it wasn’t until I was almost twenty two years old that I was ready for the next step.”

“His name was Robert. We had been friends for almost three years; dating for several months already. We met in an accounting class on Harvard campus. Many of my business and prelaw classes were held at Harvard, even though I went to Radcliffe. And when the inevitable breakup came, as I knew it would, it was amiable. We both knew we would not last as a couple. He was going to continue at Harvard and get his MBA. And, at that time, Harvard did not accept women, so I had to go elsewhere for my law degree. We were both okay with that. Then there was Steven,”

“I trust you Catherine, I do not need to know your past history….”

I know that, but I’m going to tell you anyway. Things ended badly between me and Steven. You already know that. Looking back on things now, I think it was only a matter of time before he became physically abusive. Especially given the fact he was already mentally abusive. He didn’t actually demean me or anything, but he did have to know where I was at all times. Then, when I woke up and thought about it I realized all of the friends I had, with the exception of Jenny and Nancy, no longer hung around. They had all drifted away and all that was left were his friends, or, those in our study group. That’s when I called it quits and broke up with him.

Tom Gunther was the next and the last one. I was dating him when we met. But, we hadn’t done anything for several weeks before the accident. I guess, even though we were engaged, I was starting to feel, something wasn’t right. I decided that until I figured out what wasn’t right I was not going to invite him into my bed again. Turned out he was a jerk who only wanted an intelligent piece of arm candy who could pull off charitable events in his name. Although I met the criteria, I was not going for it. I would not be used that way.

Either way, I did not go from ‘all boys have adeadly case of cooties to ‘let’s do this’ overnight. It took me years to get to that point. I evenwaited longer than most of the girls I knew, because I wasn’t ready. The whole point is, I do not expect you to go from expecting a monk like life of celibacy to let’s do this and go crazy while we’re at it, overnight.

“’Go crazy’?”

“Honeymoon phase. Lots of intense activity. Not that I wouldn’t mind some activity, but I will try to keep my raging hormones under control.

 “What If I hurt you? I would never forgive myself if that happened.”

“You won’t.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Because you didn’t. You never have. Not even in your delirium.”

Vincent looked at her skeptically. Catherine stood up, took a couple of steps back so Vincent could see all of her at one glance. Stripping all of her clothes off, she said, “You know as well as I do, that if you had there would be scars. Unmistakable scars. Look at me.”

He tried to avoid looking at her.

Returning to him, she took his chin and forced him to face her.” Look at me,” Catherine instructed as she stepped back. Holding her arms out from her sides she took a slow turn allowing him to see every inch if her. She took things two steps further though and walked to the bed and allowing him to clearly see he did not harm her backside, with a well placed stretch. There was no evidence of scars inflicted by Vincent anywhere on her body.

“Now will you believe me?” Pausing she added, “If there was anytime you could have injured me it was in that cavern. You didn’t. If anything, I learned that the fighter loves me just as much as the scholar. Neither one of you are capable of hurting me.” Making up her mind, Catherine asked, again, “So which side of the bed do you want?”

Vincent surprised Catherine when he said, “I’ll take the window.”  As Vincent and Catherine’s and relationship blossomed, the tunnel dwellers were privy to a progression of affection between the two almost lovers.  Little glances, soft touches, holding hands, even the occasional kiss hello or goodbye were all witnessed by the people below.  Even in the classroom, the children were treated to several tomes of poetry professing love to some degree.

When I would pray and think, I think and pray

To several subjects. Heaven hath my empty words,

Whilse my invention, hearing not my tongue,

Anchors on (Isabel)Catherine; Heaven in my mouth,

And if I did but only chew his name,

And I my heart the strong and swelling evil

Of my conception. The state whereon I studied

Is like a good thing being often read,

Drown sere and tedious. Yeah, my gravity,

Wherein-let no man hear me-I take pride,

Could I with boot change for an idle plume

Which the air beats for vain> O place, O form,

How often dost thou with thy case, thy habit,

Wrench awe from fools, and tie the wiser souls

To thy false seeming (Blood) life, thou are (Blood) life.

                                Measure for measure

The children even heard from Julius Caesar.

Kneel not, gentile (Portia) Catherine

I should not need if you were gentle, (Brutus)Vincent

Is it excepted I should know no secrets

That appertain to you? Am I yourself

But, as it were, in sort or limitation to keep with you at meals, comfort your bed,

And talk to you sometimes? Dwell I but in the suburbs

Of tour good pleasure? If it be no more,

(Portia)Catherine is (Brutis’) Vincent’s harlot, not his wife

You are my true and honourable wife,

As dere to me as are the ruddy drops

That visit my sad heart.

The children giggled when Vincent substituted Catherine’s name and his own in the recitation. Vincent even covered some of his personal fears in the poem section of the lessons.

Ah, dear (Juliet)Catherine,

Why art thou yet so fair? Shall I believe

That unsubstantial Death is amorous

And that the lean abhorred monster keeps

Thee here in dark to be his paramour?

For fear of that I still will stay with thee,

 And never from this palace of dim night

Depart again. Here, here will I remain

With worms that are thy chambermaids. O here


Will I set up my everlasting rest,

And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars

From this world-wearied flesh. Eyes look your last.

Arms take your last embrace, and lips-oh you

The doors of breath!-seal with a righteous kiss

A dateless bargain to engrossing death.

Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavory guide,

Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on

The dashing rocks thy seasick weary bark!

Here’s to my love! O true apothecary,

The drugs are quick! Thus with a kiss I die.

                                Romeo and Juliet

Catherine overheard the next choice, bearing his soul to others. This one from, As you like it.

The poor world is almost six thousand years old, and

In all this time there was not any man died in his own

Person, in a love-cause.

Troilus had his brains Dashed out with a Grecian

Club, yet he did what he could to die before, and he is

One of the patterns of love.

Leander, he would have lived many a fair year though

Hero had turned nun, if it had not been for a hot

Midsummer night: for good youth, he went forth to

Wash him in the Hellespont, and being taken with the

Cramp, was drowned, and the foolish chroniclers of

That age found it was Hero of Sestos.

But these are all lies: men have died from time to

Time and worms have eaten them, but not for love.

Catherine’s soul was crying for him at this. Several days later, when she heard him recite from Romeo and Juliet;

(Romeo, Romeo) Vincent, Vincent, wherefore art thou (Romeo)Vincent?

Deny thy Father and refuse thy name,

Or if thou wilt not, he but sworn my love,

And I will no longer be a (Capulet)Chandler.

She knew he had finely, truly, accepted them as a couple. He was no longer alone.


Vincent was reading from Shakespeare’s sonnets one evening while curled up in bed with Catherine.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediment. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.

Oh no, it is an ever-fixed mark,

That looks on tempests and is never shaken.

It is the star to every wand’ring bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Loves not times fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come.

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

                                Sonnet 116

Taking the volume of Shakespeare Complete works from Vincent, Catherine answered with a verse of her own, flirting.

Is whispering nothing?

Is leaning cheek to cheek? Is meeting noses?

Kissing with inside lip? Stopping the career

Of laughter with a sigh? Infallible

Of breaking honesty!-Horsing foot on foot?

Skulking in corners? Wishing clocks more swift,

Hours minutes, noon midnight? And all eyes

Blind with the pin and the web but theirs, theirs only,

That would unseen be wicked? Is this nothing?

Why then the world and all that’s in’t is nothing!

The covering sky is nothing, nor nothing have those nothings

If this be nothing.

                                The Winter’s Tale

Vincent answered by taking the book from her. He searched for the poem he was looking for, finally he answered.

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,

Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend

More that cool reason comprehends.

The lunatic, the lover, and the poet

Are of imagination all compact.

One sees more devils than vast hell can hold:

That is the madman. The lover, all as frantic,

Sees (Helen’s) Catherine’s beauty in a brow of Egypt.

The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,

Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven,

And as imaginations bodies forth

The forms of something unknown, the poet’s pen

Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing

A local habitation and name.

                                                A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Later that night Vincent was spooned up against Catherine. He began by nuzzling his lips to her neck, then started kissing her neck. Catherine encouraged him by snuggling closes and exposing more of her neck to his softly probing lips. When he saw her respond positively, he quoted:

What is love? ‘Tis not hereafter,

Present mirth hath present laughter.

What’s to come is still unsure.

In delay there lies no plenty,

Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty.

Youth’s a stuff will not endure.

                                                Twelfth Night

Catherine answered.


It is my soul that calls upon my name!

How silver-sweet sound lovers’ tongues by night,

Like softest music to attending ears.

                                Romeo and Juliet

They became lovers that night. Vincent, still feeling the afterglow of the previous night’s activities, assisted Catherine with her shoes. He softly quoted:

The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne,

Burned on the water. The poop was beaten gold,

Purple the sails, and so perfumed that

The winds were love-sick with them;

The oars were silver,

Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made

The water which they beat to follow faster,

As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,

It beggared all description.

                                Anthony and Cleopatra

Love Means Believing in Someone

Love takes time. It needs a history

Of giving and receiving,

Laughing and crying…

Love never promises instant gratification,

Only ultimate fulfillment.

Love means believing in someone, in something.

It supposes a willingness to struggle,

To work, to suffer, and to rejoice.

Satisfaction and ultimate fulfillment are byproducts of dedicated love.

They belong to only those who can reach beyond themselves;

To whom giving is more important than receiving.

Love is doing everything you can

To help others build whatever dreams they have.

Love involves much careful and active listening.

It is doing whatever needs to be done,

and saving whatever will promote the other’s

Happiness, security, and well-being.

Sometimes, love hurts.

Love is on a constant journey to what others need.

It must be attentive, caring, and open,

Both to what others say

And to what others cannot say.

Love says no with empathy and great compassion.

Love is firm, but when needed it must be tender.

When others have tried and failed,

Love is the hand in yours

In your moments of discouragement and disappointment.

Love is reliable.

Love is a choice and a commitment to others true and lasting happiness.

It is dedicated to growth and fulfillment.

Love is not selfish.

Love sometimes fails for lack of wisdom

Or abundance of weakness, but it forgives,

Knowing the intentions are good.

Love does not attach conditions…

Genuine love is always a free gift.

Love realizes and accepts that there will be disagreements

And disturbing emotions…

There may be times when miles lie between,

But love is a commitment.

It believes and endures all things.

Love encourages freedom of self.

Love shares positive and negative reactions to

warm and cold feelings.

Love, intimate love, will never reject others.

It is the first to encourage and the last to condemn.

Love is a commitment to growth, growth and fulfillment of one another.

                                                Barb Upham


Though Lovers Not be Lost

Part Three: Above


Several weeks went by, Vincent had resumed all his duties, including sentry duty. Catherine and Sebastian had finished deciphering the book Pat Hanlon had given Joe. Catherine had also sent a copy of the decoded book to Joe via Pat Lurvey. Joe and Diana now had a list of who could not be trusted.

Things went into overdrive at this point. Joe and Diana arranged, with the help of the FBI, CIA, and Interpol, to raid every principle at the same time. All were arrested within minutes of each other, with two exceptions, Gabriel and his right-hand man, Jonathon Pope.  Joe shot Pope.  Diana shot Gabriel when he boasted that he would run his empire from any prison the system would sentence him to. Both died instantly. Between Vincent, Diana, and Joe, everyone involved with Catherine’s kidnapping was dead, with one exception Moreno. Moreno was not told that Gabriel was dead.

During this time, Catherine and Vincent had temporarily moved into the chambers Catherine had originally been given, so that Vincent’s chamber could be expanded. While doing so, a large chamber with several rooms had been discovered behind his chamber. ** The rooms were a little rough, and had to be smoothed out, but there was more than enough room for the couple, with rooms to spare.

The grotto of chambers brought the notion of more children to the forefront of the new lovers to mind. Catherine had always sworn she would have more the one child. She disliked, intensely, that she had been an only child and she did not want her child to be an only child. Vincent, never thinking he could have children, had never given the matter much thought. Vincent had genuine fears for Catherine safety, thanks to Paracelsus. A compromise was reached; no more biological children for them. If some of the children already in the tunnels wanted, they could use some of the chambers on the upper level, when the chambers were cleaned up for use. Their child would sleep downstairs for the time being and would move to one of the upstairs chambers at a later time.


Shortly before the raids took place, Catherine went to Annabelle*** to gather some additional clothing. Annabelle put two and two together, and in her excitement spilled the beans about the baby. Mary, Olivia, Rebecca and Jamie were in the chamber at the time. Although Catherine was not showing yet, she did need clothes appropriate for her journey back above. Annabelle, being a seamstress, and Olivia, having had one child and being pregnant with her second, noticed the telltale changes in Catherine’s body.

“I guess we know what you’ve been up to,” Annabelle stated in her typical irreverent way, with a wink and an impish grin. Catherine had the decency to blush over the saucy remark.

“Guilty,” was Catherine’s reply.

“So when is the baby due?” Olivia asked, letting Catherine know she also had figured it out.

“Late February or early March. Gee, kind of hard to keep a secret around here isn’t it.” Catherine stated rather than asked.

“Sometimes it can be. Olivia admitted.” But it wasn’t too hard to figure out. I mean the diet around here changed and I figured you were the most likely reason why, especially when everyone suddenly had the same diet. I figured it was either the condition you were in when Vincent found you or you were pregnant. I respected your privacy and kept it to myself. I figured you’d announce it when you were ready.”  

“Thank you. I barely registered the idea of being pregnant, then, before I could tell Vincent I about the baby I was taken.” Switching subjects, she asked, “Just how different is the diet around here?”

“Mostly fresh fruits and vegetables are a rare commodity. They usually get put in soups and stews to spread them evenly among everyone.”

“Personally, I like the changes,” Jamie added.” I love snacking on fresh fruit especially.

“I like the fresh raw veggies myself,” Rebecca stated.

“I like both. Just don’t call me late for dinner and I’m happy,” Annabelle jokingly added.

Word of Catherine’s pregnancy spread from there like a wildfire with lots of fuel at its disposal. The children were thrilled. Only Olivia was reserved. Catherine figured it had to do with a combination of pregnancy hormones and the situation with Kanin. Kanin had been given the Maximum of five years plus two for skipping out on bond for the initial trial. He was not, currently, eligible for parole. Catherine had been trying to get that changed when she was kidnapped. Unfortunately, it was so soon into his sentence she had to wait awhile before she could submit the paperwork. She had told no one about her efforts to get him released early, maybe it was time she changed that situation. Catherine had a long overdue talk with Olivia.

But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?

Is it the east, and (Juliet)Catherine is the sun.

Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,

Who is already sick and pale with grief

That thou, fair maid, art far more fair than she.

                                Romeo and Juliet


The day finally came when Catherine had to leave the tunnels.

“Hey there, want to fill me in on what’s been happening around here, or am I supposed to stay in the dark?”

“Cathy! Damn, it’s good to see you!        I was beginning to think you’d gone underground and intended to stay there permanently.” Joe said looking at Cathy.

Cathy smiled at the comment.” Careful Joe, I may regret coming back and just plain stay there.

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“Don’t tempt me Jethro.” Cathy teased.

“You sure are a sight for sore eyes.”

“So, what’s going on?”

“Gabriel, the guy behind all of this is dead. Moreno is sitting in jail, solitary confinement. No bail.”

“Humph, couldn’t happen to a nicer guy,” Cathy stated sarcastically.

“You know, you’re going to have to testify.”  Switching tactics, Joe added, “We need to talk. Internal Affairs wants to talk to you. So does the FBI, the CIA and Interpol.”

“Ok FBI I get. He probably crossed state lines, making it Federal. But the CIA, and Interpol?That means he was international too. What soup kettle did you get me into?”

“I can’t tell you anything else. You’re a witness. That makes you off limits where this case is concerned. You are officially being told NOT to discuss this case with anyone. And, I suggest you have a lawyer present when you go see the alphabet. Got it?”

“Do you want my journal for evidence?”

“Let’s make you a copy first, and then we’ll take the book into evidence. You stay in here and talk to no one about this.  Leave the door closed. We have too many people talking about this one and you are not allowed to hear anything about it.  No newspapers, and no news, period. No questions asked.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Joe then left the office, shutting the door behind him. About a half hour later he came back in and told her IA, the CIA, and Interpol would meet them at the FBI offices that day.  “Let’s go. Look I doubt they’ll let me represent you, but I don’t want you going down there without another lawyer present.”


The first question everyone asked was, “Where were you?”

“I was being held in a warehouse in down on 38th street.”

“That’s not what we meant. Where did you go after you escaped?”

“A safe place.”

“Where exactly would that be?Gabriel had men searching the world over for you?”

“Look, if I told you, and I won’t, it would no longer be safe. I will not risk those who gave me sanctuary by betraying their trust. I promised them I would never tell and I won’t. I can’t it’s not my story to tell, it’s theirs.”

Cathy, then, proceeded to answer all the questions they asked. Other than where she went after her escape, the one thing she did not tell anyone was that she was pregnant. She did not want to drag the baby into the whole mess. Besides she wanted to see if the baby was alright, by having an ultrasound first, before she said anything to anyone.


Cathy, having been placed on administrative leave, decided to start in earnest on her father’s estate. She made out a list of things she needed to take care of. First and foremost, after seeing her estate lawyer, was going through her dad’s apartment.  

Once Cathy arrived at home, she first put away the food she had bought then called Jenny and Nancy.

From Jenny, she learned that she and Joe were involved with each other and dating. Turns out, her own kidnapping had brought the two together. She also set up a shopping trip for the next Saturday. She would need some new cloths soon.

From Nancy, she received an invitation to a baby shower for their friend Becca. It was to be held the same weekend as Nancy’s father’s retirement party since everyone would already be there for that event anyway. Cathy was not sure if she could get away to go or not due to pending cases. But she promised she’d try.


Saturday morning rolled around, Cathy was just about to put her shoes and socks on when Jenny arrived at the door. Taking one last look around the apartment for any evidence of Vincent having spent the previous night there, Cathy padded to the door to answer Jenny’s knock. After an extended hug between the two, Jenny entered and asked,” How are you? Joe didn’t say much.”

“I’m doing okay. I’m just busy putting my life back together.” Cathy offered as she directed Jenny to the dining room.” I still have to put something on my feet. Why don’t you grab yourself a quick cup of coffee?”

“You don’t need to offer twice.  Do you want some more?”

“No thanks,” Cathy called back through the doors to the bedroom.

“Okay, so what are we shopping for today?” Jenny asked as she took a sip of coffee.

“Clothes,” Cathy answered back as she was putting socks on her feet.

“Ooooo, one of my favorites. What kind? Evening? Dress? Casual? Business?”

“Maternity,” Cathy answered.

“Mater…did I just hear that right?” Jenny asked as she popped her head around the corner.

“Yep. Maternity.”

“Your mystery man’s?”

“The same,” Cathy nodded in confirmation as she finished tying her shoes.” You about ready?”

“Umm, yeah. Let’s go.”

All through the day Jenny was dying to find out more but Cathy didn’t say anything else about the baby or the man she was seeing. Jenny began to wonder if Cathy had actually been raped while being held captive. As the two were unloading packages that evening Cathy relieved her fears.” I was not raped. I already knew about the baby when I was kidnapped. That’s why I tried to call you that day. I needed someone to talk to. Kind of help me get my head on straight so I could tell the father.  “

“So, does he know yet?

“He does.”


“And, we are still together, if that’s what you mean.” As an afterthought, Cathy added, “Joe does not know.”


That was as much information Jenny got. Cathy offered nothing more on the subject.


Within the next week, Catherine and Vincent started to go through her father’s apartment. Catherine had decided to continue working for the time being and needed an address above to keep up her cover.

One evening, Catherine, having decided to call it a night, stepped out of the shower and dried herself off with a nice soft bath sheet, the thick and thirsty kind a person could get lost in when wrapped up inside. She combed her hair out, brushed her teeth, and slipped into an oversized shirt that had once belonged to her dad. The shirt was not her normal sleeping attire, but concessions were made to accommodate her slightly bulging belly she had only started to develop in the past few days.  

Coming out of the bathroom, Vincent entered the bedroom carrying a beautiful, simply carved, polished, wooden box. Catherine recognized it right away as a gift her mother had given to her father the first Christmas after they had married. Charles Chandler had kept a couple of favorite watches and several pairs of cuff links in the box, which normally sat on his chest of drawers. Vincent saw the simple design of the box and recognized it as having had sentimental value to Charles. He, also, felt Catherine needed to be the one to go through this box. So, he brought the box upstairs to the room in which they had chosen as theirs.  

Vincent met Catherine in front of the dresser and handed the jewelry box to her, “I thought, perhaps, it would best if you went through this,” He said as he handed her the box.

Looking at the box, taking it in her hands, she ran her fingertips across the design carved in the top.” My mom gave this to my dad.”

“It’s beautiful.” Vincent ran his fingers across the box also.” Cullen would appreciate the workmanship used in creating the design.”

Catherine smiled and turned to set the box on the dresser. Out of the corner of her eye she caught a glimpse of movement over by the window. With Vincent spending the weekend above with her, she had carefully prepared the apartment so no one would be able to see through the windows. She grew up here and knew some of the neighbors could be incredibly nosey. She had discovered that fact the first time she tried pot as a teenager. Turning her head towards the window, Catherine saw her parents standing there by a chaise lounge.

Looking from her parents to Vincent, Catherine realized, he was also looking at them. Turning her head to look at her parents, she whispered,” Mom? Dad?” Both of her parents smiled at her and nodded. Charles motioned for Catherine to go through the boxes’ contents. As expected, she saw a couple of watches, several pair of cuff links, a signet ring that had belonged to her maternal grandfather, and a small velvet box tucked in the bottom corner. Reaching for the small box, she pulled it out as she glanced at her dad. Charles nodded.

Vincent watched as she opened the box revealing the contents.” My parent’s wedding rings and mom’s engagement ring,” Catherine said just barely above a whisper. She met his eyes and both of them looked at her parents in unison. When Catherine and Vincent looked up, Caroline, Catherine’s mom, made a movement with her hands telling her to go ahead and put the rings on her hand. Catherine hesitated to see if she had gotten the message correct.

Her mother nodded her head as Catherine pulled her mother’s rings out of the box. Holding them in her hands, Catherine set the box on the dresser and slid the engagement ring and wedding ring on her right hand, third finger.  

As Catherine was paying attention to her hands and the rings, Vincent watched as Charles turned to Caroline, Taking both of her hands in his, it looked like Charles removed some unseen item from her right hand and had slid it onto her left hand. Vincent questioned the gesture with a facial expression.

Catherine looked back at her parents just as her dad nodded ‘yes’ to Vincent. Charles had just given his blessing and permission. Mimicking Charles, Vincent took both of Catherine’s hands into his hands. Catherine looked at Vincent, wondering what he was doing as he gently removed the rings from her right hand, he dropped to one knee. Catherine looked at him incredulously, not quite believing what was happening. Sliding the rings onto her left hand, Vincent asked, “Will you marry me?”

“Yes!” Catherine didn’t even have to think about the answer. She leaned down and kissed him quite thoroughly.” Yes, I will marry you,” she whispered in his ear. Vincent stood up and hugged her close and kissed Catherine just as thoroughly. When they looked to where her parents had been, they realized they were gone.  

Marry, so I mean, sweet Catherine, in thy bed.

And therefore, setting all this chat aside,

Thus in plain terms:Your father hath consented

That you shall be my wife; your dowry ‘greed on;

And will you, nill you, I will marry you

Now, (Kate) Catherine, I am a husband for your turn,

For by this light; whereby I see thy beauty,

Thy beauty doth make me like thee well,

Thou must be married to no man but me.

For I am born to tame you, (Kate) Catherine

Comfortable as other household (Kate’s) Catherine’s.

                The Taming of the Shrew

The next morning, Catherine looked towards the study her father had used as a home office. She had been avoiding this room about as much as she had avoided his bedroom. Each of those rooms still exuded the essence of the man Charles Chandler had been. She had found it difficult to enter either room. She was eternally grateful that Vincent had volunteered to go through and pack up her father’s room the previous day. With a heavy sigh she walked into the room.

The room was decorated on the masculine side. The built-in shelves were lined mostly with law books. An oak desk with a brown leather chair sat at one end of the room. In front of the desk sat a couple of red leather chairs with a small marble tea table between them. The other end of the room was decorated with two brown leather sofas and a marble top coffee table, which accented the marble fireplace. Pictures of both Catherine and her mother dotted the room.

Vincent entered the room with a handful of papers to add to the small stack already sitting on the desk. They had decided early on that any papers found would be put on the desk for Catherine to go through later. Both Catherine and Vincent had been in and out of the room several times already that weekend. All other rooms had been sorted and packed. Several helpers would be in the following weekend to pick up any items that could be used by the residents below. This was the last room left and they decided to tackle it together.

“Ready?” Vincent asked as he reached out to hold Catherine’s hand, placing a light kiss in the palm of her hand.  

“Keep that up and we may end up delayed even longer,” Catherine teased.” But, to answer your question, not really, but I don’t have much choice. It’s the last room in the house.”

“Why don’t you go sit down and start on those papers while I start packing some of these books?” Vincent suggested as he led her to one of the red chairs. Letting go of her hand, Vincent reached for the small stack of papers sitting on the desk. Catherine reached out touching his hand she stopped him before he could reach the stack. Glancing at her, he saw she had an expression he had never seen before. Concerned, he asked, “What is it?”

“Did you put that there?” Catherine asked pointing to some papers on the little table.

“No… you didn’t?”

 Catherine shook her head no.” I’ve never seen it before.” On top of the marble table sat two envelopes. One, a legal sized business envelope; the other, was a beautifully embossed envelope of very fine quality. It was the second, smaller envelope that had caught Catherine’s attention.

Picking it up, they noticed the words ‘On Your Wedding Day’ written on the front. A chill ran up Catherine’s spine as she recognized the writing.” My mom wrote this.” Half awed, and half scared, and all curious, his expression matched hers.

Looking at the envelope in her hands, curiosity finally won out. Turning it over in her hands, Catherine opened the envelope. Inside was a second envelope, written in her mother’s hand, were the words, ‘Catherine and Vincent. ’They glanced at each other again and Catherine opened the inner envelope. Catherine read the letter her mother had written some twenty-five years ago.

My Dearest Catherine,

As I watch you sleeping, I think of all the things I will not be able to share with you as you grow: graduation from high school, your first date, first love, your first broken heart, your debutante year, getting married, having children…. Hopefully, your dad will have figured out how to handle these big events in a young ladies life by the time you experience them.

Catherine chuckled out loud remembering how poorly her dad had handled her first date and her first broken heart,

Since you are reading this letter, you have reached a point in your life where you have found the love of your life and have married. Much as I would love to give you this gift in person, I know I will not be there in person.

A tear slid down Catherine’s face. Vincent reached out gently wiping the tear away.

Two years ago, right after the cancer was found, I set up a trust for you. I asked your dad not to tell you about it until you got married, and that he present this gift at the appropriate time. Neither you nor your fiancé were to know about this in advance.

I know this cannot take the place of a mother’s love, but this has become the last way I can give you a gift, and let you know how much I love you.  At the same time, I wanted to protect you as well. Hence the reason you were not to know about the trust. Your father has the papers in his possession and should be handing them to you right about now…

Never forget how much I love you and desperately wish I could be there to give this to you myself.

                                                                                                                                Love Always, Mom

P. S. Vincent is the perfect companion for your soul as you are his. Love each other for eternity and beyond.

Catherine handed the note to Vincent so he could read the note her mother had written. Reaching over she picked up the legal sized envelope. Opening it she read a summary of items comprising the trust fund her mother had set up twenty-five years earlier. Catherine was shocked when she looked at the list:properties, money, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other prominent investments.  No wonder her dad always took care of her taxes all these years.

Catherine tried to quickly add up the items in her head, accounting for stock splits, mergers, and interest rates, she quickly lost track of any total amount. The only conclusion she did come to was that the trust fund must have come from the bulk of her grandparent’s estate. Handing the summary sheet to Vincent, Catherine surmised, “I thought with my mother being the last survivor in her family she had inherited her parent’s estate. When she died, I automatically thought my dad inherited what was left. But it looks like she put the bulk of it in a trust.”

Having read the summary sheet, Vincent asked, “So what do you need to take care of now?”

There should be some legal documents here somewhere. Probably in the safe or his safety deposit box since they were not in his office at work.

“A big if….”

“There is just one problem…”Vincent looked at her quizzically.” I don’t know the combination to the safe.” Both of them chuckled at the irony.” How’s Devin at safe cracking?”Catherine jokingly asked.

“Mouse?” Vincent volunteered.

“Probably blow up the house while he’s at it.”

“There is that chance,” Vincent teased, thinking back on the many mishaps Mouse’s inventions caused.” Why don’t you start with the papers on the desk while I start with the books. Maybe your father wrote the combination down somewhere.

Catherine moved to the other side of the desk, sat in the chair and started to go through the remainder of the papers that has accumulated in the desk. Discovering that the majority were bills she had already taken care of she either shredded them or filed them, whichever was most appropriate. While filing she began to go through the file cabinet quite methodically, searching every paper for any information that might lead to the combination. What was no longer needed was shredded.

Vincent started in one corner of the room, going through each book. Picking it up he would search through the pages, cover and binding. He then sorted by subject so they could be divided into keep, donate to libraries, or donated to those below. No books were thrown away. As he moved across the walls of shelves. When Vincent came across a photo, he would pick it up, examine it, and take it out of the frame as well. Several times he asked about numbers on the photographs but all of them turned out to be dates around the time the pictures were taken.

Several hours later, when Catherine finished with the papers and the file cabinet, Vincent suggested, “You look tired. Perhaps we should stop for the night. We could start back up in the morning. Are you needed at the Attorney General’s office tomorrow?”

“I’m not sure if I have to be in tomorrow.  The phones here have been disconnected so I’ll have to go call Joe and find out.” While she stretched to get the kinks out of her neck and back, Vincent walked towards her and began to gently massage her neck.” Mmmm, that feels good.” Sighing, she smiled and added, “I better go make that call before I fall asleep and you end up carrying me to bed.”

While Catherine went to place the call, Vincent went upstairs and got cleaned up for the night. One benefit to packing a house sitting dormant for so many months, was the discovery that Vincent thoroughly enjoyed the convenience of a nice, hot shower, without having to heat the water first. He made a mental note to see if there was some way Mouse could rig one up below.

By the time Catherine had returned, Vincent was out of the shower. He heard her open the main door, shut it and lock it. Vincent was sitting in one of the two chairs, in the bedroom they shared, when Catherine entered the room. He was reading a book of poems he had found earlier that day.

Kiss me (Kate) Catherine, (Kate) Catherine, we will be married o’ Sunday!

Was ever a match clapped up so suddenly?

                                The Taming of the Shrew


He laid the book down on the small table between the chase lounge and the chair, as Catherine entered the room.” Did you get a hold of Joe?” he asked.

“Yes. I’m not needed tomorrow. Maybe we will find the combination tomorrow.” Catherine set her purse on the dresser. As she reached into the bag, she said, “I wasn’t sure if you could wear my dad’s ring, so I picked this up at my apartment while I was out.” Catherine pulled out a gold chain.

Vincent got up and walked to the dresser. He picked up the ring as Catherine undid the clasp. As he slid the ring onto the chain she was still holding, he noticed some etching on the inside of the ring. He took the ring off the chain to examine it closely he saw eight numbers evenly spaced.” What is this?” He asked as he showed her the engravings.

Catherine inspected the ring.” I don’t know. I’ve never seen them before.” Catherine said trying to read the numbers.” I can’t see them clearly, can you?” she asked as she handed the ring back to him.

Looking, Vincent answered “One, two, one, nine, eight, nine, seven, eight,” Pausing Vincent asked, “Do they make any sense to you?”

“Not really.” Catherine thought about it a few minutes, then asked, “Are you sure you have the order correct?”

“I can’t be certain. But, upon closer inspection, there is a line under the seven, whereas the others do not.” Thinking he worked the puzzle, as he slid the ring onto the chain. Catherine put the chain around his neck. Vincent sat back down on the chair as Catherine took a shower and got ready for bed, also. By the time Catherine had exited the shower, Vincent had come up with a farfetched idea about the numbers. Reaching for a piece of paper and a pen he rewrote the numbers with a slightly different spacing.

“Catherine what if you write the number this way?” He asked as he handed the paper to her. The numbers read 7/8/12/1989.

Looking at the numbers, she recognized it a date in them. Confused, Catherine asked, “But what does the seven mean?”

“Biblical seven.”

“You lost me,” she said as she shook her head.

“In the Bible, the world was created in six days. The seventh day was for rest.”

“Okay. I follow you so far…”

 “Jewish tradition places the Sabbath on the seventh day. Saturday.”

Putting it together, she voiced, “Saturday, August 12, 1989. Yesterday. Talk about coincidences.

“Catherine, you don’t suppose this could be the combination to the safe, do you?”

“It would have to be spaced differently. There are only forty numbers on the safe.” Looking at the numbers again, “There are a couple of options, if that be the case.” Pausing for a breath, she added, “Each number could be separate or the one, two could be combined into a twelve. And, the one, nine could be combined to form nineteen. Vincent wrote the four possibilities down.

“let’s go see if we can open the safe,” Catherine said as she grabbed up the paper and headed for the door. Vincent followed her down the stairs and into the study.

Catherine walked straight to the safe, looking at the possible combinations, she began to turn the dial. The safe opened on the second combination trial. Seven – eight – twelve – nineteen – eight – nine, Catherine and Vincent looked at each other shaking their heads in unison.

I may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of

Wit broken on me because I have railed so long against

marriage. But doth not the appetite alter? A man

loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in

his age. Shall quips and sentences and these paper

bullets of the brain awe a man from the career of his

humour? No. The world must be peopled. When I said

I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till

I were married.

                                Much Ado About Nothing

The following morning, Catherine looked through the papers they had found in the safe. In addition to the bulk of her mother’s family estate, she had also inherited some properties of her fathers, she found the deeds in with the papers. Looking through all the papers took up most of the morning, while Catherine did that, Vincent continued with the books. He continued to search each book, photo and picture as he had the previous evening to make sure nothing had been missed. In the end, no other papers were found.

William had sent up some nice roast beef sandwiches for the couple to eat for lunch that day, along with some fresh veggies and his famous oatmeal raisin cookies. Since Catherine had upped the food budget, fresh fruits and vegetables had become a staple available at every meal. Although, William was still closely monitoring what Catherine and Olivia ate due to their respective pregnancies. After lunch, Catherine had discovered that the law firm her mother had used was, indeed, still in business. She set up an appointment for the following morning.

 She also ran down to the courthouse to pick up the appropriate paperwork to legally change her last name to Chandler-Wells. She had just wanted to go with Wells, but Vincent insisted she use both names for two reasons. One, she would have to change all of her credentials as a lawyer to Wells. And two, she was the last of the Chandlers. He did not want the name to end with her.

The following morning, she went down to the lawyer’s office and actually talked to the man who had set up the trust to begin with. He had been in the process of getting ready to retire and her mother’s estate was the last case he had pending, but her kidnapping had delayed his retirement. The only question he asked about her marriage was when she had gotten married. Catherine had given him the date as April 12, 1989. She wanted a date she would remember that occurred after her father’s death but before she had had an opportunity to go through her dad’s apartment.

Catherine’s main questions were exactly how much the entire estate worth, and, what condition the family property and house was in. The lawyer informed her that the property and house still existed. He was not sure of the houses current condition. But he did know that her parents had started a major renovation to bring the house up to code, even though it had been grandfathered in by the city. Catherine decided she needed to check the property out. She knew she wanted to keep working which meant she needed an address above. She also knew her apartment was too small for her and a child. This property might just fit into her future plans nicely. The only question left was, could a private tunnel entrance be hollowed out?

Catherine proposed the idea to Vincent when she arrived back at her dad’s apartment. He loved the idea and suggested that they inspect the property later that night after it had gotten dark. Turns out the property would be perfect.  Although it did need to be gutted to bring it up to code it did have a private servant’s tunnel running between the house and what used to be the carriage house.


A couple of weeks later Cathy was cleared to return to work, after Moreno had committed suicide Cathy was no longer considered a witness. Not only had they reinstated her, but they had even offered her Joe’s position as a Deputy DA.  Joe had been promoted to interim District Attorney, as he also had been cleared of any wrong doing in the shooting death of Pope Cathy had turned down the position stating that there were too many with seniority “in front of her” and that she “did not have as much experience in the courtroom to warrant such a position.”  The only condition of her continued employment she requested was that she no longer be put on the streets as an investigator. Everyone assumed it was due to her kidnapping that she made this request. A request Joe was more than happy to grant.

Cathy had been to work about one week when an impromptu meeting was held in front of Catherine’s office. During the meeting Sammy, the same sandwich guy who had delivered Joe’s pizza, showed up with his sandwich cart. Joe reached out and grabbed a lunch. Sammy, having seen the special label of two interlocking hearts, grabbed the box out of Joe’s hands, “That belongs to the lady, her husband orders it special for her every day,” he explained as he handed the lunch to Cathy.

“Husband?” Joe incredulously exclaimed looking at Cathy. Cathy shrugged as Joe asked, “Got anymore secrets you want to tell me?”

The last thing Joe expected to hear was, “I’m pregnant.” Edie and Rita laughed at the look on Joes face.  

“That’s why you didn’t want the job, isn’t it?”

“Partly. But I still say seniority and courtroom experience play an important role here too.” Cathy admitted, “I still have personal reasons for wanting a reduction in hours and to be taken off the streets.” Appearing to switch subjects, Catherine asked, “Can we continue this conversation in my office?” Joe, Edie, and Rita, followed Catherine into the office.

“I gotta hear this girlfriend” Sammy heard Edie say as he wheeled the cart away.

“Your husband-“


“-and the baby?”


“When the hell did you get married.”  Switching tactics, he asked, “And when were you going to inform HR, Cathy?”

“After my paperwork arrived, which it has not arrived yet.”

“So, what is your last name now?” Rita asked.

“Chandler-Wells. As soon as the paperwork is officially filed.”

“What’s with the lunches, girlfriend?”

“Vincent orders them for me every day, Sammy delivers them, and I usually pay for them so as not to arouse any suspicion of favoritism. My doctors have me on a strict diet and this is how we have arranged to meet their request.”

The wheels in Joe’s head started spinning, “Wait a minute, wait a minute. Were you pregnant when you were kidnapped?”

Cathy knew she could not avoid this any longer.” Yes. As a result, this is a high-risk pregnancy. Whatever my doctors say, I do. When they tell me to stop working, I stop. End of subject.”

“Not by a long shot! Why didn’t you say something during all that questioning by the alphabet?” Joe’s anger flared.

“Because I don’t want the baby dragged through this mess. I have enough to deal with, with the potential health concerns those drugs may or may not have done!” Cathy fired right back.

“Ooooh, Mama bear just made an appearance,” Rita said.

“Damn straight Mama bear just came full force. Don’t dink with me and don’t bring my baby into this, Joe,” switching off mama bear mode, Cathy said, “Now get out of here and let me eat my lunch in peace. Then let me get back to work.”

Several days later, Joe as heard bellowing “Chandler,” as he whipped open the door to his newly acquired office.

“Damn,” Cathy said to herself as she rose from the chair in her office. Heading for the door, she muttered to herself, “I was hoping for a little more time before he found out. She knew Joe had been viewing the tapes found at Gabriel’s Staten Island home,

“What did you do now? Rita asked as Cathy passed her on the way to Joe’s office.

“You don’t want to know, Cathy tossed back as she walked through her doorway and turned towards the DA’s office.

Joe, she saw, was standing by his door. He looked at her with a ‘get in my office, NOW!’ look. Cathy knew the time had come’ as she stepped into his office. After closing the door behind her abruptly, he asked, “What the hell is that?” pointing to the television screen.

Without looking at the screen, Cathy quietly replied.  “Vincent.”

“A little louder, I didn’t quite hear you,” he demanded.

Cathy looked directly at Joe, making full eye contact, and clearly restated, “Vincent.”

“Mind telling me what the hell happened?”

“I already told you everything I remember.”

“Minus a few details,” Joe accused.

“No,” Cathy stressed.” I told you everything I remember. I was pretty messed up by the time he showed up.”

“You’re trying to tell me you don’t remember that?” Joe asked incredulously, pointing at the screen frozen with the image of Vincent in full rage.

“I know what happened. I just don’t remember it happening.”

“Splitting hairs there aren’t you?”

“Look Joe, by the time he got there the drugs were starting to take effect. I only vaguely remember the crash at the window.” Pausing, Cathy offered, “I’ll tell you anything you want to know-“

“Damn right you will,” Joe interrupted.

“-Just not here,” Cathy finished.

“Now you’re dictating terms. I think not.”

“I’m not trying to dictate terms, or to bargain with you.” Pausing to gather her thoughts, she added, “I will tell you everything. But my first priority is to protect my family. Switching tactics, she added, “I once told Moreno that if he ever treaded on my personal life, my resignation would be on his desk by the end of the day.”

Joe looked at her almost daring her to tell him the same. Instead, Cathy said, “I will not discuss Vincent here. My place, you pick the time.”

Glancing back at the screen, Joe shook his head in disbelief at what his eyes were seeing. Without looking at the screen, Cathy tried to ease the tension out of the room, by saying, “He isn’t always like that. He was just having a bad day.”

“That’s a bad day?” Joe couldn’t believe his ears.

“Ok, a really bad day.” Cathy reached out, turning the television off, she added,” Not exactly his good side.”

“How would you know? You never looked at the screen,” Joe questioned.

“I don’t have to,” she replied.

Joe looked at her and asked, “So, what are you doing this evening?”

“I suspect I will be spilling my guts out to you.”

“You got that right. Now get outta here before I change my mind. Just remember though, you’re not off the hook yet.” Joe decided to hear her out before making any decisions.

Cathy left the room, shutting the door behind her. Catching Rita’s questioning glance, she let out a breath she didn’t know she had been holding, and muttered to herself, “dodged that bullet, for now.” Putting on her game face, Cathy asked Rita to get Edie and meet her in her office.

When Rita returned with Edie, Cathy, already sitting at her desk, looked up and asked them to close the door. She had a project she needed their help with today.

“What’s the parameters?”Edie asked, all businesslike.  

“I need the files on any case I investigated where a death occurred before or during the investigation,” thinking for a moment she added, “I also need a cause of death for each one.”

“Names and dates included, I assume,” Rita asked.

“Yes,” Cathy answered as she scrawled out a note to Vincent. The trio dispersed out onto the floor to begin the search.

By the end of the day all the files had been pulled. Cathy thanked the ladies for their assistance as she flipped through the files and slipped the ones she was looking for into her briefcase.

Later that evening a knock sounded at the door letting Cathy know Joe had arrived. Opening the door, Cathy greeted him, “Joe,” Cathy gestured him into the apartment. Upon entering Cathy closed the door and locked it out of habit.

Stepping into her apartment, Joe said, “You know, I almost thought you might not be here tonight.”

Shaking her head, she replied, “No. I’ve lived with too many secrets. It’s time I came clean with all of it.” Remembering proper social etiquette, Cathy offered, “Have a seat. Want anything to drink before we get started?”

“You think I need one?” Joe teased.

“You might,” Cathy lightly tossed out. Both were trying to ease the tension in the room.

“Got a beer?”Joe asked as he sat on the closer of the two dinky little sofas.

“Coming right up,” Cathy said as she disappeared into the kitchen to retrieve his beer, she grabbed a bottle of Perrier for herself. Sitting opposite Joe, Cathy set the drinks on the table between them.” So, what’s first? Personal or Professional?

“Personal?” Joe questioned, not quite sure where Cathy was headed with that statement.

Cutting straight to the chase, she admitted, “He is the father of my child.”

Joe desperately wanted to avoid that subject.” Let’s keep to professional.”

Professional it is,” Cathy agreed as she reached for a stack of papers sitting next to several leather-bound books. Joe, also, reached into his briefcase and pulled out several files.

Unbeknownst to Cathy, Joe already had copies of Cathy’s activities from the past two years. When Joe had hired Diana Bennett to search for Gabriel under the guise of looking for Cathy, Diana had uncovered several similar unexplained deaths had occurred and she was the common factor in many of them. During her investigation, Diana had already pulled some of the same files as Cathy had that day….

“When did you become aware of his… whatever it is he does?”

“When I investigated my own case. Vincent had told me that we were connected on some unknown deeper level. That he could experience my emotions at the same time I did. I didn’t really understand it at the time and neither did he. He just knew it was, it existed. When I discovered Carole Stablerhad been killed, Martin Belmont came after me. Vincent thumped him on the head and slashed his torso. Steve Driver had his neck broken and was also slashed. Ralph Manconi was mauled at his kidneys. I shoved Lyle Van Gelder into the wall. We didn’t stick around long enough to see what became of him.

“Do you want to go in order or have them clumped together?” Catherine asked.

“Let’s go in order.”

“That would be the Peterson case. A brother and sister, Ellie and Eric Peterson. You would know it as the Ridley Hall case. Ellie was sold out of Ridley Hall to NojPaymai. Vincent took down Freddie McIntosh, Noj’s right hand man. I hit Noj in the nose and kicked him Vincent finished him when he pulled him through the wall. I don’t know what he did to him. I was busy getting Ellie out of there. He was defending me and Ellie.”

“The next was The Subway Slasher.”

“He did that?”

“No. Jason Walker was responsible for those. I took out Kim Nakahara. Red Scott took off running. I don’t know where he went. Jase ran off, Vincent followed. Jase grabbed a rope to swing across the Abyss. The rope broke. He fell to his death. He was defending his own name”

“What is the Abyss?”

“It’s a hole in the ground, of unknown depth, where Vincent lives.”

“Then there was the case against Leo Mundy. He as working in cahoots with Lewis Arthur, who, in turn, worked for Elliot Birch. The only two Vincent had a part in was Thomas Wind. He received a back slashing, but he was not killed. Vincent threw Donald Stone down hard, he died from his wounds. Leo Mundy tripped and fell out the window, he was subsequently hit by a car, and still managed to survive. He was defending me and a lot of senior citizens.”

“Then there was the time Vincent was kidnapped by a gang calling themselves The Suits. Tony was the first to die. Vincent broke free from the chains they had used on him. He slashed him and threw him down, killing him. Python was also thrown. Patricia was taken out by Isaac Stubbs. Chris and Howie shot each other. Anyone else I took out after the explosion. They were part of Shake’s gang. I took them down, but I don’t know if The Silks caught up with them. He was defending himself.”

“Then Charlie Flynn’s death followed that Silks mess. I got shot in the back so I don’t know the exact details. What I do know is Alex Daniels, Ned Trust, and George Michaels died at Vincent’s hands. Mitch Denton survived.  I have no idea where he went. But I would be not be surprised if he showed up in the future sometime. Once again Vincent was defending me.”

“When Brigit O’Donnell came to town, she and I got caught up in her father’s mess. A man calling himself Donald Pratt shot Michael McPhee. Vincent took out Jamie Harlon, who was Donald Pratt. Pratt being the alias he used. Sean O’Reilly was taken to the hospital and arrested. He died before a trial could be convened. Vincent was defending me and Brigit O’Donnell.”

“Then there was the time I almost moved to Providence. He was captured by a professor and a grad.  student. The student, Jonathan Gould stabbed Professor Hughes with a screwdriver. Vincent broke Gould’s neck. He was defending himself.”

“The deaths in the William Coleman case were as reported in the files.”

“The Perotta case was next. Laura Williams was the one who came to me with the information that Perotta was killed by Danny Yates. Yates was slashed by Vincent but not before Yates shot Jack Davis. Vincent was defending Laura, whom the three cops had kidnapped. He was defending Laura Williams who had been kidnapped and they were about to kill her. Laura grew up in the community.”

“Henry Pai was the next to receive help from Vincent. Henry accidently stabbed Peter Chang with a knife Peter brought anticipating a fight with Henry. Peter’s grandfather sent a gang into the community looking for Henry. As a result, Vincent was called on to defend his home. The following deaths are not included in any files. Bruce Cho was slammed into a wall. Tommy was shot by Bruce Hong. Chan died when Vincent broke his neck. Kuo died the same way. Chang Shin Li died when Tommy threw a shuriken Star at Vincent. Vincent ducked at the last minute and the star hit the old man. He was defending his home.”

“The unknown new drug on the market was next. The man responsible for the drug was a man named John Pater. He was the one who Killed Jimmy Moreno. John Pater used to be a part of Vincent’s community. He threatened to spill the beans about the community and thereby expose Vincent.”

“John Hodgekins I took out by shoving him over a banister. Vincent slashed Franklin Cussut. During the Taylor investigation. He was defending me and Erika Sylven.”

“Then there was the time Paracelsus, John Pater, kidnapped me. I was missing for at least six days. Vincent killed a man calling himself Erlik. Erlik killed Winslow, a friend of Vincent’s who lived in the community. Paracelcus got away, again. Vincent was rescuing me.”

“When Brigit O’Donnell came to town, she and I got caught up in her father’s mess. A man calling himself Donald Pratt shot Michael McPhee. Vincent took out Jamie Harlon, who was Donald Pratt. Pratt being the alias he used. Sean O’Reilly was taken to the hospital and arrested. He died before a trial could be convened. He was defending me and Brigit O’Donnell.”

“The next time John Pater showed up was when John killed Lou Gaither.”

“Laura Williams got involved with the Lincoln, deaf gang. The gang scattered but Rinaldo Gutierrez was taken out by Vincent when he slashed him across the neck. Laura turned state’s evidence. She participated in an almost break-in. Other than that, she committed no crimes.”

“The other one where someone turned state’s evidence was Lisa Campbell. She testified against Taggert. I shot his right-hand man, Colin Hemmings. Vincent slashed John Farley across the face and threw him against the wall.”

“Then there was that stalker I had picked up last spring. I did not see what had happened as I was in the trunk of the car at the time. I can imagine though.”

“Then there was the next time I encountered Elliot Birch the Gorrdonistas from San Irisado were after him. Raymon Martinez was mauled by Vincent and Mario Riveria was disemboweled by Vincent. Carlos Santana was thrown to the ground, hard. Tyler and Morley were shot. Not exactly Vincent’s style. I got involved in that one when Elliot wanted me to break a man named Stanley Kasmariak out of the hospital. Turns out Kasmariak was his father. He and a pilot died when their helicopter exploded. Vincent defended both me and Elliot Birch.”

“Then there was the time that Vincent witnessed the murder of a prostitute. The fourth out of five. Cameron Benson and Dale Mercer were the guilty ones and for obvious reasons Vincent could not testify. They lured me to an abandoned theatre with the intent of killing me. He was defending me.”

“Recently, last spring, he killed three men who were paid, by John Pater, to look and act as police motorcycle cops. Defending himself he killed them by swiping, evisceration, and mauling. He was defending himself. In that one Bernie Spirco was killed by Paracelsus, John Pater.”

“Paracelsus was killed not long after by Vincent. Paracelsus egged Vincent on by telling lies and half-truths. So, in a way Vincent was defending himself and the community and his father.”  

“Are there anymore?”

“A couple deserve special attention. One I have no connection to the other I was the victim. The first was the case of the murders of the Ruck family. Vincent was responsible for those when they invaded his community. His actual home. He killed Micah, Lizzy, Tranck, Dak, Jez, Jared, Hog, Derek, and Hobby. Zeke ran off before anything happened to him. He is about eleven years old.”

“Then there was Steven Bass. He is an ex of mine. We dated in law school but I broke up with him when he got too controlling of me and my time. He lured me out with the story of having an inoperable brain tumor. Then he took me to a huge mansion telling me he had bought it and we were going to live in it as husband and wife. I noped out of there by jumping through a window. I stopped Vincent from killing him. Instead Vincent put him in a wheelchair and he is in an institution for the criminally insane. After the domestic abuse he put me through, I do not feel sorry for him, other than the lost potential he once had.”

“The other case was with a man named D’Mitri. I never did learn his last name. He came over here to find a woman he loved. He was from St.  Petersburg, Russia. He was rescued by Vincent when he almost drowned after jumping ship he worked on. He brought pneumonic plague to the community. He and Ellie Peterson were the only ones who died in the epidemic. Luckily, they were able to contain it before it spread to our streets.”

“You would not know anything about these three cases.  But, I included them to come clean with everything.”

“So this ‘bond’ you share draws him to you?”

“Yes and no. Yes, he knows where I am and no, he does not intrude into my life unless I am in danger. Which is the reason I wanted off the streets. Yes, it keeps me out of danger, but it also keeps them out of danger. And no, before you even ask, he has never been violent with me.”

“Have you ever felt this connection you keep talking about?”

“A couple of times. The first time was when he and father got trapped in a cave in. I knew he was in danger and could tell people were trying to rescue them. I could actually hear the pick-axes beating on the rocks. And, the time I went to California. Vincent warned me that someone was coming. I had enough time to smack him with my elbow, grab a tire iron, and run.”

“So does this happen with everyone he knows?”

“No. As a true empath he senses others emotions. The closer you are to him, both physically and emotionally, the easier it is for him to do. It’s like if you were here with him, he would have a sense of your emotions. But, if you were on the street, he wouldn’t be able to discern yours from anyone else’s. With me it’s different, he can sense me anywhere. No matter how far away I am, which is why he sensed my danger in California before I knew it was there.”

“That makes, what, forty some odd deaths? And I only found out about half of them?Just out of curiosity, there anything else you’re not telling me?”

Forty-two attributed to Vincent, four to me, and one to other man, named Cullen. A man named Jonathan Thorpe. He was an antiquity’s dealer, who had some unsavory habits and dealings. He attacked one of the residents and fell into the Abyss.  Vincent was not present at the time of the incident.”             

 “Look Cathy, I gotta tell you, I’m having some difficulty with this. As your friend, I wonder how you fell for a guy like that. On the other hand, as the DA I should throw your ass in jail.

“You know I’m out of here if you do.”

“You saying you’ll run?”

“I’m saying that there is no way I can have this baby here. You have me arrested and held; the baby would be born while I would be in custody. I can’t let that happen. They’ll take the baby from me and Vincent won’t be able to find it. If it looks like him, the scientific community will go nuts. Hell, for all I know they may go nuts over the blood chemistry, even if the baby does look like me.”

“So what is he?”

“Human. Someone altered his DNA prior to his birth.”

And you know this, how?”

“He was tested once.”

“By who”

“Professor Edward Hughes”

“Refresh my memory. How did he die?”

“Stabbed by Jonathon Gould.”

“Who died…?”

“Vincent broke his neck.” Cathy then made Joe an offer he couldn’t refuse, his curiosity wouldn’t let him.” Here are Vincent’s journals. They contain his version of what happened and how it affected him afterward. This may be part of the reason he got sick earlier this year.  If it helps any neither one of us wants to go back to that period in our relationship. The only way for me to do that is to quit investigations. Which, as you know, I have done.”

Thinking a few minutes, Joe finally offered, “Is this the real reason you quit investigation and refused the position?”

“To be honest it is a major reason. But the others hold true also. The last thing I need is for someone to go poking into my past. I’d much rather remain anonymous.”

Look, I know you and Jenny are going up to Bridgeport next weekend, you go and then come see me when you get back. ‘Till then, I don’t want to see your face anywhere near the office. How much of this does Jenny know?”

“Only that I’m pregnant. Nothing else, not even his name.”

“Just tell me one thing, why him?”

“When I was in college, we had this one professor, who showed up with a clear vase and a bunch of rocks. He proceeded to fill the vase with large rocks. Told us to let him know when the vase was full. After we all agreed the vase was full, he poured pea sized pebbles into the vase. About this time we were wondering what was next, so not very many of us said the vase was full. He proceeded to take a bag of sand and poured it into the vase. At this point the majority of us felt it was full. When we said so, he poured a pitcher of water into the vase. I can’t remember what the lecture was on, but the point is, he is the water that fills me completely and the vase that holds me.”


Though Lovers Not Be Lost

Part Four: Building a Life Together


One week later, Cathy walked into the courthouse and headed straight for the directory. Running her eyes down the list of names the found the one she was seeking. After receiving her hearing date in the mail, she had contacted the judge requesting a private conference with him prior to going into the courtroom.

Once seated in Judge Stone’s private chamber’s he asked, “So what brings you here this early?”It was 7:00 am; Court did not usually start till 8:00 am.

Cathy got right to the point, “I would like to forgo the publication of my name change, as required by law.” Stone held out his hand; Cathy placed her name change petition papers in his hand.  

Pulling the papers closer to him, he examined the papers. Talking to himself, he reviewed the papers. Says here you would like to hyphenate your last name to Chandler-Wells…so that you will have the same last name as your child.” Pausing he glanced up, asking, “How old is this child?”

“I am currently pregnant with the child.”

“And the baby’s father?”

After having to deny Vincent’s existence to anyone but those who already knew him, she guardedly asked,” what would you like to know?” She wanted specifics rather than mistakenly revealing too much about Vincent.

What is his name, and is he in agreement with your taking on his name?” Pausing, he added, “assuming Wells is his last name.”

Nodding, Cathy confirmed, “His name is Vincent Wells.” She than added, “His name will be on the birth certificate. And he is aware that I have petitioned the courts requesting the name change.” She hoped it was just enough information to thwart off any further inquiries.” As stated in the petition, I would like my name and the baby’s name to match, so as to avoid confusion later; specifically, when the child is of school age.”

A slight look of confusion crossed the judges face.” Confusion? In what way

“I’ve gone to school with kids whose mother have remarried. When the school has to contact the parents, the administration uses the name ‘Smith’ because that’s the name of their child. But reality is, mom is married to ‘Jones. ’I don’t want that for my child. I want my child to carry the Chandler and the Wells name. Both the father and I are in agreement on this point. He knows I have petitioned the courts, and he supports me in this decision.”

“And why don’t you want to publish?”

“Because of my job, You’re Honor.” Explaining, she added, “I am a lawyer, working in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. I have been directly responsible for the conviction of several individuals. I don’t necessarily want to publish my new name, but, more importantly, I don’t want to publish my address.” Catherine danced around the topic, trying to avoid the real issue. She didn’t want any of Gabriel’s unknown associates tracking her down.

Judge Stone was a little shrewd himself.” You wouldn’t, by any chance, have anything to do with John Moreno being arrested, now would you?”

In a way, Catherine was glad Stone had caught on so quickly. It would make her answer more palatable.” I can’t comment on that case. Another Judge has issued a gag order.

“Name change without publication is granted, effective immediately.” The decision was made.” My secretary will have the paperwork ready for you in about …” he looked at his watch, “Forty minutes.”

As Catherine stood up, she shook hands with the judge, saying, “Thank you, you’re Honor.” She gathered her purse and briefcase and left the judge’s chambers to sit in the outer office. As she waited for the final paperwork, she made a mental checklist of the things she still needed to do. She still needed to go to the Social security offices and to the DMV. Afterwards she would head to Jenny’s office, from there they would drive up to Nancy’s place in Bridgeport  Nancy’s father’s retirement party and Becca’s baby shower.

                Being your slave, what should I do but tend

                Upon the hours and times of your desire?

                I have no precious time at all to spend,

                Nor services to do, till you require.

                Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour

                Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you,

                Nor think the bitterness of absence sour,

                When you have bid your servant once adieu.

                Nor dare I question with my jealous thought

                Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,      

                But like a sad slave stay and think of nought,

                Save where you are, how happy you make those.

                So true a fool is love, that in your will,

                Though you do anything, he thinks me no ill.

                                                                                Sonnet 57



The day was beginning to wear on Cathy by the time she made it to Jenny’s office. Walking inJenny saw Cathy was now noticeably pregnant. Although Cathy had never said how far along in her pregnancy she was or when she was due, Jenny guessed she was about five to six months along. Jenny was thinking that maybe she got pregnant the night she was asked to leave after the watcher had tried to drown her. Jenny was hoping she’d get a chance to talk to Cathy about the baby and the marriage Joe told her about. She also wanted the scoop on what was going on with her and Joe. All she knew for sure was Joe had his nose buried in some books that Cathy had given him to read. Things did not turn out the way Jenny hoped.  

Cathy got in the car and was out like a light before they got to the first red light. Cathy slept entire way to Nancy’s. In fact, Jenny had to wake Cathy up when they got there.  “Wake up, sleepy head. We’re here.”


“Hon you were out cold before we even hit the on ramp.” Jenny told Cathy as they got out of the car and headed for the trunk to get their luggage.  

“Sorry about that. I’m sure you have all kinds of questions.”

“Ya think?” Jenny stated as Paul pulled into the driveway.

“Can I help you ladies with your luggage?” Paul asked as he got out of his car.  

“Sure.” Both Cathy and Jenny said in unison.

Looking at Cathy, Paul said, “Nancy never said anything about you being pregnant.”

“That’s because she doesn’t know.”

“Oh please, let me get my camera so I can capture her reaction on film.” The deal was struck. Cathy would follow Paul upstairs while he got the camera, Cathy would freshen up a bit. Once the camera was gotten Cathy and Paul went down to the kitchen where everyone else was working on dinner.

Cathy stepped around the corner into the kitchen. The counter blocked Nancy’s view of Cathy’s baby bump.” Surprise. I actually made it!”

Looking up Nancy smiled and chided, “Well it’s about time. Just where the hell have you been?”


Nancy flipped the pot holder in the air, and said, “Well duh.”

“You asked.”

“And you have a smart answer for everything. Get over here and give me a hug.”

As Cathy came into view, Paul took a photo as Nancy did a double take.” What happened?” she asked gaping at the sight of a pregnant Cathy.

“If you don’t know by now…I’m not going to tell you,” Cathy kidded. Looking at Nancy’s mother, she added, “you think she needs a refresher course?”

“Not my job anymore. I already explained that to her once,” Mrs.  Hoyt, Nancy’s mother, declined having to explain the ‘birds and the bees’ to her daughter…who had two children of her own.

“Very funny,” Nancy added. Nancy thought a moment, then said, “wait a minute here, does that belong to who I think it belong to?” Nancy finally asked as the realization hit her that this could very well be Vincent’s baby.

Cathy smiled broadly and confirmed, that, “Yes.  It’s Vincent’s.”

“Well, it’s about damn time,” Nancy declared. Both Cathy and Nancy laughed.” You’ve only been dating the guy for what, two years now.”

“We’ve known each other for about two and a half years. We’ve been actually dating for about a year and a half.”

“So what took you so long?” Jenny asked.

“We started out as friends and things slowly progressed from there.”

“So, before I get distracted, want to tell me about the hand?” Nancy asked.

“Oh yeah, we got married too.”

“And just when did that happen?” Jenny asked.

“It was a spur of the moment kind of thing,” Cathy paused as the explanation of the circumstances her marriage took place sank into her friends’ heads.” And then all hell broke loose at work.”

“That’s what you call all that mess down there?” Mrs.  Hoyt asked.

“Yeah, what’s going on down there anyway?” Nancy asked.

Rather than answering any questions, Cathy said, “You know me, if there’s a can of worms laying around…I’ll either open it or step in it.”

“Is that why you had to disappear?” Mrs.  Hoyt asked.

Cathy nodded her head, once, then added, “And when I returned, I picked up that can and threw it back at Joe.”

All four ladies had a good laugh at that comment, even though Jenny knew Cathy wasn’t exactly telling the truth.


Cathy was both looking forward to, and dreading Mr.  Hoyt’s retirement reception the following evening. She knew most of society’s upper class would be there.  Many at the party were the parent’s of her friends.  The plan was that she would show up to announce her obvious pregnancy and marriage to everyone all at once. Get it over with in one fell swoop, so to speak. What she did not count on was the fact that the matron of society, Mrs.  Fitzgerald, was invited and had been best friends with Margaret Chase.

“That’s an interesting ring Miss Chandler,” Mrs.  Fitzgerald commented when she got close enough to Cathy to see her wedding band.

Cathy, having remembered her manners, cordially replied, “Thank you. It’s a combination of my mothers and my father-in-laws’ ex-wife’s rings. My husband combined them to retain their individual integrity and redesigned become something unique for us as well. And, the name is Chandler-Wells.”

“I knew a Wells, once,” Mrs.  Fitzgerald replied contemptuously.

Cathy dished the contempt back at Mrs.  Fitzgerald,” Oh you must mean Jacob Wells, I’m sure you know he was exonerated decades later. Yes.  He is my father-in-law, in case you were interested.”

“Weren’t you also the one who executed Margaret’s estates?” The contempt disappeared out of Mrs.  Fitzgerald’s voice.

“Yes, I was. And at the time she changed her will, she did not know that I knew Jacob. Nor did she know I was dating his son. I also followed her will to the letter. No deviation from her wishes. In fact, you can come down to the Chase Foundation offices and view the place in action and review any papers you wish. Just drop by anytime you wish.


At Becca’s baby shower the following afternoon, Cathy heard a familiar voice behind her say, “So….  I hear you’ve been sleeping with a friend of mine.” Recognizing the voice as Susan’s, Peter’s daughter, Cathy just laughed.

“Busted again,” Cathy said as she looked down fondly rubbing her baby belly.

Apparently both Jenny and Nancy heard Susan’s comment and simultaneously asked, “You know him?”

“You’ve actually met him?” Jenny asked.

Susan chuckled at their reactions.” Heck, I’ve known him since I was ten.”

Surprised, Cathy asked, “Not your whole life?”

Shaking her head, Susan turned to Cathy and explained.” Remember when our parents used to go on ‘date nights’ and we would spend the night at each other’s houses, depending on whose parents had gone out?” Cathy nodded.” When I was ten my folks were supposed to go out one night, and I was going to spend the entire weekend at your place. My mom ended up getting sick, your mom was sick already with cancer, my dad wouldn’t let me go over to your house and he flat out refused to let you come over to my house. He didn’t want your mom exposed to the flu, so it makes sense now. Back then it didn’t.

“I didn’t know she was sick either. Mom and dad tried to protect my by not telling me for the longest time. I didn’t find out how sick she was until she went into the hospital that last time. They never really prepared me for what was to come.”

“Yeah, well I was moping around the house, as only a disgruntled ten year old can,” all three laughed.” So dad decided to take me out on a date instead. That was my first Winterfeast,” Susan finished.

“Gee you could have at introduced him to me a little sooner. It might have saved us from a few dating hassles.”

“I doubt it. You know haw Father is about him.” Continuing Susan asked,” So how did you two meet?”

“In the park.”

“Central Park!?!” Susan exclaimed knowing Vincent only went out at night. Catherine laughed, and said “Yes.” She understood the unasked question, as being ‘what in the world were you doing in the park at that time of day?’

Later, the conversation turned to first crushes.  “And your first crush?”Becca asked Susan as they all sat around Becca’s living room.

“That’s an easy one,” Susan answered, jerking her head towards Cathy, she added, “Cathy’s husband.”

Cathy and Susan chuckled at her answer.

“You’re not jealous?” Becca teased Cathy.

“Why should I be? She was ten at the time.”  

“What about him?”

“Twelve,” Susan answered.

“That’s not what I meant,” Becca inquired trying to get more information on Vincent.

“I know. But I also know him. . . and then there was Father. He had a way of letting everyone know that where Vincent was concerned, he was off limits. Do NOT go there.” Turning to Cathy, she asked, “So how did you manage to get around him?”

“Forget me, I’m curious as to how Lisa managed it.”

“You know Lisa?”

“I helped her with some legal issues she had awhile back,” Cathy admitted.

“So who’s Lisa?” jenny asked.

“Vincent’s first crush,” Cathy answered.

Answering, Susan said, “I don’t know. Maybe she worked her ‘magic’ on Father too.”

Shaking her head, Cathy said, I doubt it. From what I understand, Vincent was about the only one who could stand to be around her for more than about two minutes. And, that includes Father.

Agreeing, Susan nodded, “Sounds about right,” shrugging her shoulders, she added,” Who knows. Maybe because she lived right there, Father didn’t see the growing attraction until it slapped him in the face.”

“At which point, he put a stop to it by sending her away,” Cathy finished.

“Which bring us back to my original Question. How’d you manage it?

“It wasn’t easy,” was all Cathy said.


Monday morning rolled around after a long weekend of Parties. First there had been the retirement party on Saturday night then the baby shower on Sunday. Cathy knew the upcoming week would also be busy. She and Vincent would be moving into the big house, as it was being called.  And, Jenny would be moving into her old apartment, which needed to be repainted plus the carpets still needed to be cleaned. Although Cathy knew it would be a long week, she also knew the time had come to tell Jenny and Nancy the truth about Vincent. Vincent had given her permission to do so during her trip to Connecticut.

“Ok. I know you two are dying to know the truth,” Cathy opened with at breakfast, this being the only chance she had has to be alone with the two all weekend.

“I’m all ears,” Jenny said.

“As long as It’s ears only. You can’t tell anyone what I am about to tell you. Vincent’s life depends on your silence.” The ladies looked confused, but promised not to tell.” Vincent does not look like a normal man. He is so different, in fact, that if the scientific community were to know of his existence, they would kill him while trying to find out what happened to him. And if the baby should take after him, they’d do the same to it.

“Which is why you insisted on absolutely no baby shower?” Nancy guessed.

Catherine nodded.” Also, because of his differences, our marriage is not legal. It’s also not common law either since New York does not recognize common law marriages.”

“They don’t?” Nancy asked.

“None of the surrounding states do,” Cathy informed them.” Look Jenny, I know you will accept this, it’s right in line with your imagination and psychic tendencies, but Joe with his logical mind is having trouble wrapping his head around the whole thing. And, I don’t want to come between you and Joe, but it could cause some difficulties.”

“Joe already knows about this?” Jenny asked almost put out that Joe knew before she did.

 Cathy nodded.” Joe found some film footage of Vincent, he called me on it. Most of his differences are in his face and hands. Vincent’s face looks like a cross between a man and a lion. It’s a manly face, but at the same time it has leonine features. His body is that of a man, as are his hands and feet. His finger nails are razor sharp and a cross between nails and claws. Other than that he looks like a man. A little hairier than most, but a man none the less.”

“How’d he get that way?”Jenny asked.

“We don’t know. What we do know is that it was done deliberately. Someone, whether it be in utero or at conception, altered his DNA.”

“Which is why you said you couldn’t be together.” Nance finished, remembering Cathy’s statement from a year and a half ago. Then asked, “So what changed? How are you making this work?

“Right,” Cathy answered the first question.” What changed is I got pregnant with his child. We renovated my grandmother’s old house to make it safe for him to stay there. We also have a home where he lives.

“Where could someone like that live safely?” jenny asked.

“Underground. There is a whole labyrinth of caves under the city. There is a whole community that lives there. And, everyone there depends on that place as a sanctuary. It’s where I went after my kidnapping.  Vincent was the one who found me.” Pausing she continued her story.” In fact that’s how we met two and a half years ago. It was April 12, I had been assaulted and Vincent didn’t think I’d make it to a hospital, so he took me to his father, who is a doctor. Somehow during those ten days, a bond was created between the two of us, and as a result he can, normally, feel what I feel. He also, can normally locate me through the bond. That’s what we call it.

“Normally?” Jenny had caught the word and wondered what that meant.

‘Yes. We hope it’s only been temporarily interrupted by the pregnancy, rather than the illness he suffered last spring. That’s why Vincent couldn’t find me at first. I had to tap out an SOS for him to locate me. Under normal circumstances, Vincent is able to locate me through my emotions.”

“So what’s Joes beef about this whole thing? Sounds to me like you found your soul mate.”

“Vincent has done some things in my defense, that Joe is having a difficult time reconciling with. As a friend Joe wants to accept, but as the DA he knows he should have both of us arrested. Him for what he has done and me for hiding the facts of what happened. He could also have me disbarred. Until then I am not to set foot in the office per his orders.” Switching subjects, she added, “as to the soul mate, my mother agrees with you.” Both Jenny and Nancy were confused, again.” My parents witnessed our marriage and my mom explicitly referred to Vincent, by name, two different times in the trust she had set up for me.” Cathy then went on to explain how her parents had witnessed her marriage to Vincent and described what had happened with the discovery of the trust packet.  “We actually got married on August 12th. We were cleaning out dad’s apartment and saw my parents over by the window. Mom motioned me to look in my dad’s jewelry box where I found their wedding rings. Then she let me know she wanted me to put the rings on. While I was doing that, dad let Vincent know he wanted him to put them on my left hand. That’s when he got on one knee and proposed. The next day we found the trust packet that my mother had drawn up for me before her death. Dad didn’t tell me about it upon her request. It was to be a wedding gift for after I got married and I was not to know about it before hand. It was literally her wedding gift to me and Vincent. The envelope included his name also, and in my mother’s hand writing.”  

Chills went up and down the ladies spines and goose bumps crawled up their flesh.

Cathy also told them’ “I had had my name legally changes to include his last name, to deflect any inquires into our marriage. The baby was conceived late last May. The baby is developing faster than anticipated. Which is why I don’t tell anyone any dates for either event. As far as I am concerned it’s nobody’s business unless I tell them otherwise.”

O mistress mine, where are you roaming?

O stay and hear, your true love’s coming,

That can sing both high and low.

Trip no further, pretty sweeting.

Journeys end in lovers’ meeting,

Every wise man’s son doth know.

                Feste’s Song, Twelfth Night

Meet me at the big house,

                                Love Always, V.

Jenny dropped Cathy off at the big house, as the note Cathy had found in her luggage had directed.

 Cathy wanted to see how the project had progressed in her absence. She discovered, much to her surprise, that Vincent had finished moving the remainder of her things into the house and that everything was in place, she had moved this weekend and hadn’t lifted a finger in the process.


Item, I give unto my wife my second best bed, with the furniture.

                                Shakespear’s will, 1616


 Joe vacillated trying to decide what to do about Cathy. He knew if he turned her in, she would most likely take the full blame to protect Vincent, or plead the fifth and be held in contempt. Either way she would spend a long time sitting in jail. He was pretty sure she would never tell anyone about Vincent, which left one option, taking the blame herself. That option would most likely earn her a lifetime sentence, or worse, the needle. Joe had made up his mind.

Cathy answered the door bell, after checking to see who was there. She opened the door, for a face to face meeting with Joe. He was alone.” Joe.”

“I’d like to meet Vincent, Cathy.”

“You’re not here to arrest him are you?” Cathy asked as she looked up and down the street.

“No. And I’m not going to tell the authorities about your involvement. I’m leaving the records as they stand.” Joe simply stated.

Opening the door wider, Cathy invited him into the house.” Come on in, he’s in the kitchen.”

Joe’s first face to face meeting was of Vincent’s back and elbow deep in dish water. Not exactly the manly picture Joe had in mind.

Cathy laughed at the perplexed look on Joe’s face.

“What’s so funny?” Joe asked, as Vincent turned around to look at what Catherine was laughing at. Vincent even chuckled at the look on Joe’s face.

“The look on your face is priceless. Vincent meet Joe, Joe, Vincent. Why don’t you two go to the to the front room to talk. I’ll finish up here.” Catherine offered.” Would you like something to drink, Joe?”

“A good cup of coffee, if you have it.”

“Coffee it is, coming right up.  Instant ok?”

Joe nodded affirmative.  After Joe had reconciled himself to the fact of Cathy’s relationship with Vincent, Joe, with the help of Vincent’s journal’s, had come to the conclusion that Vincent had suffered enough. His conscience was punishment enough.

Vincent was nervous to be alone with a man who could easily have him arrested even though he had heard Joe say he would not do that to him. But he did invite Joe to have a seat on one of Catherine’s ‘dinky little couches. ’Vincent sat on the other across from Joe.

Joe was just as apprehensive about being alone in a room with someone who was capable of the things Vincent had done in the name of protecting his loved ones. Joe broke the ice when he pulled Vincent’s journals out of his briefcase, saying, “I brought these back for you. Thank you for trusting me enough to read these. But for the life of me, I can’t figure out why you trusted me with them.”

“Catherine trusts you. And, I wanted you to know my side of the story and what each of those events cost me emotionally and how physically draining they were on me.”

“Strong emotions will do that to you,” Joe said as Catherine entered the room with coffee for Joe and tea for Vincent. When Catherine left the room, Joe asked, “So, will you tell me about this bond thing you mentioned in the journals?”

“I am what you might refer to as a true empath, although I don’t quite fit into that category either. I can sense others emotions, but not actually experience all of the emotions of every person I come in contact with, as a true empath would. The better I know someone the easier it is for me to pick up on those emotions. Distance also plays a role. The closer I am physically located to a person the easier it is for me to pick up on those emotions. For the most part, it will take me a few exposures to an individual to nail down the exact emotion with someone new. Catherine is the one exception to all the normal rules. I always feel her emotions, and experience them, regardless of distance. It’s how I can locate her so quickly. Catherine was different, I could feel her emotions before I saw her in the park. For some unknown reason I was drawn to that area of the park that night. I could feel the need of someone. As soon as I touched her to roll her over, I knew it was her need calling to me. As she recovered from her injuries I could feel the bond grow stronger.”

“And now? Has it returned yet?”

“No, it has not,” Vincent regretfully admitted.” We are beginning to think her pregnancy has somehow blocked the bond, so the baby can bond with her without our bond overshadowing the mother/child bond. At least that is the hope, rather than my illness causing the severance of the bond between us.”

Was ever woman in this humour wooed?

Was ever a woman in this humour won?

I’ll have her, but I will not keep her long.

What? I that killed her husband and his father,

To take her in her hearts extremest hate,

With curses in her mouth, tears in her eyes,

The bleeding witness of her hatred by,

Having God, her conscience, and these bars against me,

And I, no friends to back my suit at all,

But the plain devil and dissembling looks-

And yet to win her, all the world to nothing!Ha!

King Richard, King Richard III

“Why don’t we go get Cathy. I want to get her take on this whole bond thing again,” Joe asked as the doorbell rang. Vincent headed for the elevator located in the library while Catherine answered the door.  As Cathy headed for the door, Joe poked his head out of the front room and asked, “Can I see you after you answer the door?”

Cathy nodded in Joe’s direction as she opened the door.” Ok Joe, you’re in trouble now Jenny found you.”

“Surprise,” Nancy poked her head around Jenny, “Turn abouts fair play, now let us in before it gets any colder.”

Cathy let them in and turned to Joe teasing by saying, “You’re busted now. She tracked you down Joe.”

“Joe’s here?” Jenny squealed as Cathy closed the door behind the ladies.

“In the living room, though why don’t we all go to the library so Vincent can join us too?” Cathy invited. Walking to the elevator, Catherine took out a key to unlock the door so Vincent could join them in the library. As Vincent walked off the elevator he noticed the two newcomers to the group. Then Catherine introduced them, “Vincent, this is Jenny Aaronson and Nancy Tucker; Jenny, Nancy, Vincent.”

“Hello, ladies.” Vincent said with a slight gallant nod of his head. Nancy, Jenny and Joe sat on the overstuffed leather sofa, while Catherine and Vincent shared an oversized leather recliner.

Joe, once again broke the ice getting straight to the point, by asking, “So tell me about this bond thing, Cathy. What’s your take on it?”

“All I know is that it exists and that it has saved my life more than once. Other than that, it’s a really special love that develops when someone knows you better than you know yourself. I’ve never felt so intensely loved, special, and protected or secure in my life. And, even without the bond those feelings still exist. If anything, they have grown stronger on my end. Vincent is still troubled by the loss of the bond, and I know it. He hasn’t said as much since he first told me, but I know it’s there none the less.

“So when were you first aware of its existence?” Joe asked.

“Eight months after we first met. He told me about it when he came to visit one evening. At first I didn’t comprehend the full magnitude of what he was telling me.”

“When did you comprehend the full magnitude?”

“When I discovered Carol Stabler had been killed by Martin Belmont and his crew and then they came after me. That’s when I started to get an inkling of what was happening with the bond. As time went on, I began to understand more and more.

Jenny started to ask a question, but Cathy stopped her with a glance. Now was not the time, just let Joe take the lead here.

“Does this ‘bond’ run both ways?”

“Not normally. Most of the time I don’t feel his emotions.”

“Most of the time? The implication is that you have at some point.”

Vincent and Catherine had decided to tell Joe about the tunnels, if Joe sounded sincere in his promise not to have Vincent arrested. Now was the time to do so.” Once when he and Father were caught in a cave in below. Otherwise I feel a calming sense of contentment and love.”


“Vincent lives in a series of tunnels, caves, and chambers far below the city streets; many feet below the subway, water system, and electrical lines.”

“A whole community lives there, separate and apart from above. Catherine is one of a few that has an entrance directly connected to a private residence,” Vincent added.

“In tunnels, like the homeless live?” Joe was a little concerned.

“No. We live much further down than the homeless usually go. We post sentries to discourage any encroachment into our home. There are those who do live above that assist us in living comfortably. Catherine has become one of these helpers.  

Joe thought for a moment, then realized, “Wait a minute, Sammy, the sandwich guy, at work is one, isn’t he?”

“Yes. William, the cook below, makes my lunch. Sammy delivers it to me. I pay so that I will not take away from the food budget below.”

Father, Dr.  Alcott and William devised a diet for those women who are pregnant. Catherine’s diet has been modified a bit and is much stricter than most,” Vincent added.

“Dr.  Alcott? Peter Alcott?”

“He went to medical school with Father,” Catherine supplied.” Turns out he’s been a helper from the beginning.”

“Anyone else I should know about?”

Catherine decided to jump in with both feet and bring up what she had been trying to do for Olivia and Luke.” Kanin Evans. He was the only one who was hiding from the law, without our knowledge, when he arrived in the tunnels.”

“Why does that name sound so familiar?” Joe asked trying to pinpoint where he had heard the name.

His cold case landed on my desk last spring. He was recently convicted of vehicular manslaughter where he jumped bail for years, the boy’s mother spotted Kanin in a hardware store. Like Vincent, he sentenced himself to life below, away from his entire life, friends, and family. Not to mention his future, never to see the plans he had for the future come to fruition. When his own father died, he was listed as deceased himself. His previous life was over. But over the years he did manage to build a new life for himself. He is now a stone mason by trade and has learned to be a pretty fair carpenter as well. He is also married and has a son. His wife is also pregnant with their second child. Due to her age, it is not an easy pregnancy. I know he has to do some time, but I’d like to see if his time can be shortened some for hardship reasons.

“Does his family live above or below?”

“Olivia and Luke live below. Olivia was born there as was Luke. The baby will be born there as well,” Vincent answered.

“They’ll need to come above to prove hardship.”  Joe informed them.

“That’s not a problem. We can use one of the apartments for an address.”

“What apartments?” Jenny asked.

“We are converting the upstairs of the carriage house/garage into two apartments. That way those below can transition to above, if needed.  Or, those requesting to live below can transition down. I suspect the younger people will use them to go to college above, more so than the older people. This gives them an address to use.      

“Exactly how many kids live there?” Joe asked.

“I don’t know for sure, but I’d say about thirty or forty,” Catherine guessed.

“Forty-eight,” Vincent supplied the exact number, “of all ages from toddlers to eighteen years of age.

“What about school?” Nancy asked

“Home schooled,” Catherine answered, then added, “and, their system is better than any I have seen above. They have ten-year olds’ reading Shakespeare. Not only that, but they understand it too! They also go year-round.”

“Math?” Nancy took over the questioning.

“Fashioned after the system in Singapore. Basics are taught in all the disciplines from addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus from an early age.” Vincent supplied the answers to Nancy’s questions.


Both book learning and labs, in both the biological and physical sciences. We teach by example and use what we have around us to conduct the labs.

“I’m guessing that writing goes along with the reading? “



“We teach history and political science as well. Cooking and sewing are taught as is laundry and daily living skills.”

“What about SAT and ACT scores?

“Above average.”

“And if they want to go to college? How do they get around the requirements?”

“Address of a helper, listed as home schooled, entrance exams, SAT and ACT scores both and entrance thesis’. That is what we did with Michael.

“Michael? Who’s he?”

“A child who came to us when he was seven, after his mother died and his father shunned him.”

“So where do these kids come from?” Jenny asked.

“Some are born there, some are orphaned who slipped through the foster system, others were foundlings like Vincent,” Catherine answered.  

“Getting back to the original subject, I’d like to hear more about this school system,” Nancy, ever the mother, said.” You said they go year-round?”

“Yes. They generally advance around their birthdays and are integrated into the next level at that point.”

“Like a one room school house?” Jenny asked trying to equate the system to one she could identify.

“Yes and no. We have divided the children into age groups rather than grades, due to space constraints. But, each child is taught according to their abilities.”

“How are the ages divided?” Nancy asked.

“Birth to about two years of age are in the nursery. Two and three-year olds are in preschool. They meet for as long as their family is working in the community. Those that have no family are care for by the entire community, with Mary as the primary caregiver. Four, five and six-year olds are grouped together. Seven and eight are together. Nine, ten and eleven are the next group. Twelve, thirteen are together. Fourteen through eighteen are in the final group. We rotate class space and subjects throughout the day and week. For exercise we take the children to the park, go swimming, hiking through the tunnels, or take them to some of the larger caverns to play and run off some excess energy.

“Now why can’t I find a school system like that?” Nancy asked herself out loud.

“That’s ‘because they don’t exist here,” Catherine answered.

Switching subjects, Jenny said, “Ok, enough of the school talk, show me this fabulous house.

“Bottom to top or top to bottom?” Catherine asked.

“Bottom to top, since the bottom is closer,”       

“Elevator or stairs?”

“You have an elevator?”

“Somewhere down the line one of my ancestors had one installed. We changed it a bit so Vincent can duck out of sight quickly and easily.”

“Elevator up; stairs down. That way I can see it all,” Jenny suggested.

Catherine led everyone to a large, heavy mahogany staircase. Going down one flight she showed them the room to the left that would become a playroom and computer room for the children below and their child. The walls were finished but the furniture had yet to be moved into the room. To the left of the playroom was a laundry room, complete with laundry chutes from the upper rooms. To the right of the Laundry room was a wine cellar. One wall of which was a false wall leading to the tunnels. Cathy did not mention this to her guests.  Cathy’s office was located to the right of the suitcase. To the right of the office was a conference room complete with a small law library. The office and conference room were cut off from the rest of the house, save for one door located in Cathy’s office. The office had been decorated with the furniture from Cathy’s father’s study. The exception being the conference table. It was made of the same wood as the desk and could easily seat twelve. There were also built in shelves lining the walls, thanks to Cullen’s carpentry skills. The was also a private entrance from the outside into Cathy’s garden level office.

Going up the elevator, the group reentered the library, this room, also, had been outfitted with custom built in shelves. The shelves were filled with the books from Catherine’s and Vincent’s combined total lifetimes of being voracious readers. Her dad’s old furniture decorated this room. A huge fireplace was also located in the room, as was one in the formal living room.  

The formal dining room was located behind the living room. In true tunnel fashion, Catherine had her grandmothers dining set refurbished. She also had a beveled glass top placed on the table to protect it from scratches and potential stains. A pantry and a butler’s pantry connected the dining room with the kitchen, which was located behind the library.

The kitchen had been updated and modernized. The frosted maple cabinets and cupboards were accented with black and white granite/glass counter tops. The stainless steel appliances were restaurant grade. It was large for a small family of three, but not for someone planning on entertaining those from the tunnels.  

The ladies cut through the library to get to the elevator, while Joe and Vincent took the stairs. The second floor was divided into five bedrooms and two full baths. The rooms lined two of the walls. There were two full baths along the back wall servicing the four bedrooms. The bathrooms were finished but the bedrooms were not.  Two sets of stairs were located on this level. One set led downstairs. The other set led upstairs.

Once again the ladies took the elevator up while Vincent and Joe took the stairs. The ladies came up into the master walk-in closet, while the men entered a hallway between the master bedroom and a nursery. Joe did not feel right entering the bedroom, so he stayed in the hallway while the ladies toured the master bath and master bedroom.  

The bathroom was huge. There was a claw tub with teak ledge and a walk-in shower with no door located side by side. There was a double sink with an extra wing to be used by Catherine as a vanity. The master closet was a total build in, complete with dressers, space to hang cloths, and shoe racks. The master bedroom was two levels high with a circular staircase leading to an alcove where the bed was located. The headboard was made from the wrought iron from the original elevator cages, as were the side tables. Directly below the alcove was a small ‘first nursery. ’In this space was a bassinette, changing table with dresser, and a chair for Catherine to sit in while feeding the baby.  Along the back wall of the house there were also full-length glass doors leading to a balcony off the master bedroom.

Across from the master bedroom was a ‘second nursery. ’In this room was a crib, an armoire with drawers and closet space and a changing table, plus another chair for Catherine. This room had been painted to look like an open field, complete with flowers, forest and open skies. Someone even included several woodland animals, including a family of ‘Charmin Bears. ’Jenny, Nancy and Joe just about bust a gut when the realized what was on the wall.

The attic level was on the same level as the bed alcove.


December rolled around, Catherine was feeling the effects of an advanced pregnancy. Although she was only six and a half months pregnant, everyone thought she looked ready to give birth any day. About ten days before Christmas Catherine started experiencing a backache. She, and everyone else, attributed it to having baked Christmas cookies the previous several days and her chair at work wasn’t helping any. The chair was becoming more and more uncomfortable. Vincent would massage her lower back at night in the natural hot springs every evening. The massages helped immensely. Every night the pain would go away and would return as about a half hour after sitting in her chair at work. Two days later that all changed with one sudden heavy pain.

Catherine got up from her chair, at work, and made her way to Joe’s office.” Joe I need to leave, NOW.”

It took Joe a couple of minutes to figure out why she had to leave. When he did, he grabbed his coat and asked, “where do I take you?”

“The big house,” Catherine stated. She did not have to say anything about gaining access to the tunnels from there.  

“Do I need to call Dr.  Alcott?”Joe asked.

“You call him while I get my things.” About forty minutes later a second contraction hit. Vincent had felt the first contraction and met Catherine at the house. Both he and Joe helped her below to their new chambers. Vincent and Catherine had decided they wanted the baby born there rather than in the hospital chambers. Peter had called Jenny before he left for the nearest entrance to his offices. Jenny made her way down from the park entrance. Jamie led Jenny down since she did not know the way yet. Joe and Jenny waited in Vincent’s old chambers a long thirty-six hours before a strong baby boy was delivered.


Following tunnel tradition, the baby’s name was not revealed to anyone until the naming ceremony. The only break in tradition was Peter needed the name to file the birth certificate. He was sworn to secrecy. The secret was not hard for him to keep as nobody knew that he knew the baby’s name. Also, he knew of the tunnels’ tradition concerning baby names, so it was easy to keep the secret.  

As for the paperwork to file a birth certificate as much information about Vincent was included as possible. His name and address were supplied and his occupation was listed as teacher. His mother and father were listed as unknown. His birthday was listed as January 12, 1954 and born in Manhattan, since that is where he was found.  

“It has been said that the child is the meaning of this life. Today we celebrate the child. This new life that has been brought into the world. We welcome this child with love, that he may be able to love;we welcome this child with gifts, that he may learn generosity; And we welcome the child with a name, upon which I believe Vincent and Catherine have decided.”

Vincent started, “The name we have chosen is…”Catherine joined Vincent on the reveal, “Jacob Charles Chandler-Wells.”


My lord, I have remembrances of yours

That I have longed long to redeliver.

I pray now you receive them

Ophelia, Hamlet




The Great hall was loaded with red and white roses on this clear beautiful day. Catherine and Vincent had decided to have a commitment ceremony to celebrate their marriage on the third anniversary of their meeting, April 12, 1990. Devin and Charles drove in for the event. Jenny, Joe, and Nancy were all in attendance as well. Peter walked the bride down the stairs to the great hall. She wore her mother’s wedding dress, which had preserved and stored. Vincent wore his best shirt, ivory and ruffled at the neck with a maroon velvet vest and formal brown velvet evening coat, coat tails and all. He wore matching tan pants and wore his thigh high soft brown boots.

Once Vincent saw how beautiful Catherine was coming down the stairs, his heart skipped a beat. He had eyes only for Catherine from that moment he saw her. Catherine took in the sight of Vincent standing at the front of the room and appreciated what she saw. Her very own Prince Charming was standing before her. She loved the majestic look he had about him.

Rather than having an officiator, Vincent and Catherine opted to read a poem.


Love means Believing in Someone


Love takes time. It needs a history

Of giving and receiving, laughing and crying…

Love never promises instant gratification,

Only Ultimate fulfillment.

It supposes a willingness to struggle,

To work, to suffer, and to rejoice.  (Vincent)

Satisfaction and ultimate fulfillment are by-products of dedicated love.

They belong only to those who can reach beyond themselves;

To whom giving is more important than receiving.

Love is doing everything you can

To help others build what ever dreams they have.

Love involves much careful and active listening.  (Catherine)

It is doing whatever needs to be done, and saving whatever will promote the other’s

Happiness, security, and well-being.

Sometimes, love hurts.

Love is on a constant journey to what others need.

It must be attentive, caring and open,

Both to what others say

And to what others cannot say.  (Vincent)

Love says no with empathy and great compassion.

Love is firm, but when needed must be tender.

When others have tried and failed,

Love is the hand in yours (Catherine)


In moments of discouragement and disappointment.

Love is reliable.

Love is a choice and a commitment to others’ true and lasting happiness.

It is dedicated to growth and fulfillment.

Love is not selfish.

Love sometimes fails for lack of wisdom,

Or abundance of weakness, but it forgives,

Knowing the intentions are good.

Love does not attach conditions…

Genuine love is always a free gift.  (Vincent)

Love realizes and accepts that there will be disagreements

And disturbing emotions…

There may be times when miles lie between,

But love is a commitment.

It believes and endures all things.

Love encourages freedom of self.

Love shares positive and negative reactions to

Warm and cold feelings.

Love, intimate love, will never reject others.

It is the first to encourage and the last to condemn.  (Catherine)

Love is a commitment to growth, happiness, and fulfillment of one another.  (Vincent and Catherine)

                                                Barb Upham


After the ceremony Father gave a toast.              

Peace ho! I bar confusion

‘Tis I must make conclusion

Of these most strange events.

Here’s eight that must take hands

To join in Hymen’s bands,

If truth holds true contents.

You and you no cross shall part.

You and You and heart and heart.

You to his love must accord,

Or have a woman to your lord.

You and you are sure together

As the winter to foul weather.

Whilst a wedlock hymn we sing,

Feed yourselves with questioning,

That reason wonder may diminish

How thus we met, and these things finish.

Wedding is great Juno’s crown,

Ah, blessed bond of board and bed.

“Tis Hymen peoples every town.

High wedlock then be honoured.

Honour, high hobour and renown,

The Hymen God of every town.

                Hymen, As You Like It

Cullen joined in the festivities with a poem of his own, which he carved into a beautiful piece of maple wood, which would accent the wood in the library.

That done, our day of marriage shall be yours,

One feast, one house, one mutual happiness.

                Valentine, Two Gentleman of Verona


Devin and Annabelle provided the comic relief in their respective toasts.


Let husbands know

Their wives have sense like them: they see, and smell,

And have their palates both for sweet and sour,

As husbands have. What is it that they do

When they change us for others? Is it sport?

I think it is: and doth affection breed it?

I think it doth. Is’t frailty that thus errs?

It is so too. And have we not affections,

Desires for spot, and frailty, as men have?

Then let them use us as well: else let them know

The ills we do, their ills instruct us so.

                Emily, Othello



Let us have one other gaudy night. Call to me

All my sad captains. Fill our bows once more.

Let us mock the midnight bell.

                Antony, Antony and Cleopatra


Peter was even heard to say:

Ay me, for aught that I could ever read,

Could ever hear by tale or history,

The course of true love never did run smooth.

                Lysander, A Midsummer Night’s Dream



*I have used Sebastian’s back story in “Badges of Grief and Patience” as written by Carole Whitehead with her permission.

** I have used the series of chambers as described in “Wedding Morning” as written by Carole Whitehead with her permission.

***I have used the character of Annabelle with Angie’s permission.