Alison Duggins

Peter's phone rang as he entered his office.


"Dr. Alcott? It's Joe Maxwell. I know you're Cathy's doctor and her friend. Have you seen her lately?"

"No, why?"

"She hasn't been to the office in the last few days and I haven't heard from her. She usually notified me when she's going to be out. She didn't have an emergency that you know of, did she?"

"No, now that you mention it. I haven't heard from her myself. She'd call me to let me know how she was or if she needed to talk. Thats not like her."

"She's not sick or anything, is she?"

"No. I'm sure she would have contacted me if she was. Did you try her at home?"

"Yeah, all I got was her answering machine and there's no answer when I knocked on her door earlier. Is Vincent ok? Have you heard anything from Jacob? Could she be with them?"

"No, they would have contacted me if anything was wrong with Vincent and she would have told me she was down there if Vincent needed her. This is starting to worry me."

"Me too, doc, believe me."

"Did you try her friends Jenny and Nancy?"

"Yeah, Jenny called me at work to ask where Cathy was. She wanted to make sure she wasn't out of town on assignment for me. Her friend Nancy wasn't home and I didn't want to worry her."

"Where are you now?"

"In the lobby of her building. I already checked with the doorman and he hasn't seen her recently either. I was going to ask the manager to let me into her apartment. I wanted to make sure nothing happened to her. Make sure she's not lying on her floor hurt or something."

"Wait for me there, I'll be there in five minutes. I have a spare key to her apartment. I'll also contact some of the helpers in case they might have heard from her."

"Ok, I'll call Greg Hughes to meet me here too. He's a detective at the 33rd precinct."

"She wasn't working on anything dangerous, was she?"

"No, and there haven't been any threats but..."


"I know, I know. I don't want to think about it either but we should have him there just in case."

"See you soon."

While Joe was waiting for Peter, Devin walked into the lobby and headed up to Catherine's apartment, hoping he'd catch her at home before he headed below. Once he got there, he knocked on her door. As he waited, he heard her answering machine come on and Jenny's voice tinged with worry asking why she hadn't given her a callback since she had left several messages.

Five minutes on the dot Peter walked into the lobby of Catherine's building. He met Joe and Greg by the front desk and they proceeded up to her floor. As they exited the elevator Joe bumped into a gentleman getting onto the elevator.

"Oh, excuse me." Both men said at once.


"Peter, what are you doing here? I was just on my way to see you. I was looking for Cathy. I called her at work. They haven't seen her. I was going to ask her to come with me to see dad."

"Joe and I were coming to check on Cathy ourselves as a matter of fact."

"She's not home. I just tried knocking on her door. And her friend Jenny left a message on her machine that got me a little concerned. She hasn't heard from her either and she sounded like she's worried sick."

"That's not good. Joe hasn't seen or heard from her either. No one's heard from her. That's why we're here. We're worried too."

Joe introduced Greg to Devin. They shook hands. All four men went back to her door and Joe loudly banged on the door."

"Cathy? Its Joe. Open up."

Peter used his spare key and slowly opened the door. Greg swept the living room with his eyes before he let the others enter her apartment.

Greg stayed by the door as the others entered. Devin headed toward her bedroom as Joe went to check the kitchen while Peter checked the balcony.

"Peter, Joe!" Devin yelled from the bedroom.

Running in with Greg on their heels, they found Devin kneeling on the floor with Catherine's head cradled in his lap.


"I just found her lying on the floor. I can't get any response from her. Peter...if she's..."

"Don't even say it, Devin." Peter examined her. "She's alive. I need to get her to the hospital. I can't believe Vincent didn't know anything about this. He usually sent for me if he knew anything was wrong with Catherine."

"Jesus, Radcliffe." Joe clasped her hand. "She's so cold. Vincent? He would have known about this, right?" He reached toward her bed and pulled the bedspread over her. Joe looked at Peter with concern.

"Usually with their bond he would know if anything happened to her." Peter answered as he rose to his feet.

"Do you think something's happened to Vincent?"

Devin said "I wish we knew, Joe."

Greg called for an ambulance while Joe called Jenny to let her know what happened. Joe was able to calm Jenny enough so that she would meet them at the hospital.

While the ambulance crew attended Catherine, Devin drew Peter aside. Joe hovered while the crew worked.

"Peter, I'm going below to check on Vincent. With Cathy like this, I shudder to think how he is. I can't believe he didn't know about this or try to contact you. Do you think..."

"Jacob would have called me if anything happened to Vincent."

"I know. That's what's so strange."

"I'll let you know what I find out. Keep me posted on Cathy."

"I will."

Devin went below while Peter, Joe and Greg met Jenny at the hospital with Catherine. The doctors took Catherine to the exam room and told Jenny and Joe they would let them know as soon as they could about her condition. Greg went back to the precinct afterwards to check if anything went on at her apartment building. He told Joe he would let him know if he found out anything.

Devin walked into Father's chamber. He looked up and was surprised to see him.

"Devin, what a pleasant surprise. Its so good to see you." Father embraced his wandering son.

"Dad, have you seen Vincent?"

"Yes, he came to me a few days ago and said he was going away for awhile. Told me not to worry. He and Catherine had quarreled and that he needed time to think. He wouldn't tell me anything. You know how Vincent is. He left this morning. Why?"

"Did he seem all right to you?"

"He did look tired. I tried to talk him out of leaving but he told me he needed to go. Why do you ask?"

"Something's happened to Catherine."

"My God, what?"

"I don't know. I met Peter and Joe Maxwell outside her apartment. I stopped by to say hello before I came to see you. They told me they hadn't seen or heard from her for a few days. They thought something happened to her since she wasn't down here either. We went into her apartment and I found her lying on the floor."

"How's Catherine? Is she all right?"

"I don't know. Joe and her friend Jenny went with Peter to the hospital. He said he would let us know when he knew something. Right now he's worried about her and I suggested I'd come here to check on Vincent for him."

"I'm surprised Vincent hasn't come running back to be with Catherine if something like this happened. Vincent wasn't himself after he returned from Catherine's that night. He wouldn't tell me what they argued about but I could tell it upset him greatly. If something happened to Catherine, maybe something affected Vincent as well."

"I've got to find Vincent. Make sure he's ok. I have an idea where he might have gone. I just hope I'm not too late."

"Let me know the minute you find him, Devin."

"I'll take Mouse with me. If anyone can find him, he can. When we do, I'll send him back with news."

Devin found Vincent with Mouse's help at the nameless river that he goes to. They were both surprised he didn't know they were there. He sent Mouse back to contact Father. Vincent was putting supplies onto a raft he built. Devin noticed Vincent stumbling as he reached for a cloth bag. He looked up as Devin approached.

"Vincent! Thank God. I've spent the last two hours trying to find you. Jesus Christ! You look like hell. You look like you're about ready to pass out." Devin stared at his face. "Looks like you haven't slept in days either. You wanna tell me what's going on?"

"Go away, Devin."

"I can't. Father and Peter sent me to find you. Something's happened. Catherine needs you."

"No. I've given her her freedom. We quarreled a few days ago and I told her to find someone else to be a part of. I told her I loved her but she needed to be free of me. I came below and that's when I told Father I'd be going away for a few days. I didn't tell him that I've decided I'm not coming back. Without Catherine... I closed the bond between us to help her. So she wouldn't know..."

"You've done more harm than good. We found Catherine lying on her bedroom floor, we couldn't get a response out of her. I thought...Peter told me she was alive but he needed to get her to the hospital to run some tests."

Vincent looked at Devin in horror.

"What do you mean you couldn't get a response out of her?" Vincent opened the bond he had with Catherine. He leaned against Devin as he concentrated.

"Nooooo! Devin, I can't feel her anymore. There's nothing, numbness, cold."

"You once told me you thought you couldn't live without Catherine. Looks like she can't live without you if her condition is any indication."

"I must go to her." Vincent stumbled as he turned away from Devin. He grabbed Vincent before he could fall.

"You can't. She's in the hospital and you're in no condition to get to her at the moment."

Mouse came running up and told them that Peter and Joe were waiting in Father's chamber for them. Devin and Mouse supported Vincent as they made their way back to Father's chamber. When Vincent walked into Father's chamber Joe blasted him with both barrels.

"What in the hell did you do to her? Father told me you two had a fight. I can't believe you would just go and leave her. Where were you? She loved you, man, and you go and do this to her." Joe advanced on Vincent with his fists clenched. Devin grabbed him by the arm.

"Joe, we need him right now. Let it go, for Cathy's sake."

Vincent stumbled as he walked toward Father.

"Vincent!" Peter grabbed his arms. "Here, sit down."

"Vincent, can you sense anything from Catherine?" Father asked him as he checked him over with his eyes.

"No, nothing. All I feel is numbness."

"What do you care?" Joe yelled. "Where were you? This bond you have, didn't it tell you something was wrong? How long was she there, in her apartment, alone, hurt..." He continued to try and pull away from Devin.

"No, Joe. After Catherine and I quarreled, I closed the bond between us. I knew without her my life would be meaningless. Without her I would die. I thought she would be free of me. I didn't know."

"A lot of good that does her now." Joe gave an angry stare at Vincent.

Vincent rose to his feet and started pacing the chamber. His anguish and concern plain on his face. Father tried to get him to sit down again but he just pulled away.

"You bastard! Peter told me she's still unconscious and the specialists aren't sure right now what's causing it." Joe tried yanking his arm from Devin but he only tightened his grip. Anger still blazing from his features.

Vincent grabbed at his chest and dropped to his knees.

"What have I done?"

"Vincent, you have to decide what is best for you and Catherine. She knew what she wanted before this happened." Devin told him. "We might lose Catherine if we can't get through to her. If that happens, lord knows what will happen to you. She needs you. You have the strength to resolve this but do you have the courage?"

"I don't know what to do? This numbness I feel through the bond. How am I going to reach her?"

"You have to keep the bond between you open. Maybe it will help bring her back. Its worked for you before, lets hope it will do so again." Father said.

Vincent tried concentrating on the bond sending his love to Catherine. He hoped he would feel her again as he expanded the bond fully. His shoulders slumped when he felt nothing from her as of yet.

"Somehow we have to get you to the hospital. We could lose both of you if you lose consciousness. Maybe having you close by might help bring her back too. You have to hang on, for Catherine."

"I don't think thats a good idea, Devin. If anything happened to Vincent up there, we'd lose Cathy for sure. We're running on sheer luck so far." Peter said. "She's stable for now. Its all up to you, Vincent. Like Devin said you have to decide now for both your sakes."

"Let me go, Devin." Joe pulled his arm out of Devin's strong grip. "Vincent, Catherine needs you. If I thought it would do any good, I'd take her away from you but that wouldn't solve anything. She loves you and you are the only one she would ever want to be with. But if you ever do this to her again, come hell or high water I will take her away from here, somewhere you'd never find her, and convince her that she is better off without you. This I promise you." Joe glared at Vincent.

Vincent rose slowly to his feet. Suddenly they heard voices outside the chamber entrance.

"She insisted on coming down." Jamie told Mary.

"Jenny, wait. I'm not sure he's even with Father." Mary tried to stop her.

"Where is he? Wait till I get my hands on him. I'll...I'll..." Jenny's voice rang through the chamber.

"Jenny, please calm down." Mary pleaded as they entered.

"There you are, you son of a bitch!" Jenny walked up to Vincent and slapped him across the face as hard as she could. Vincent staggered under the blow. She was furious.

"How dare you! How dare you stand there while Cathy's in the hospital like she is. She loved you. She told me what you two argued about a few days ago. I told her it would all work out. I was supposed to come over and keep her company tonight since she'd been crying every night since then."

"Jenny, let me explain." Vincent raised his hand.

"No! I don't want to hear any of your excuses. When Cathy comes out of this, I hope she dumps your sorry ass. You don't deserve her. She said she couldn't live without you. I didn't believe her. Now she's..." Jenny raised her hand to strike Vincent again when Peter grabbed her arm.

"Let me go!"

"Jenny, no. This won't help Cathy."

Joe grabbed Jenny and hugged her as she started to cry.

Vincent stumbled toward Father's chair and slowly sank into it. He put his head in his hands. Father placed his hand on Vincent's head. Jenny and Joe decided to go back up and stay with Catherine. Peter said he would leave too and get an update on her condition. Joe glared at Vincent from the chamber entrance.

"Remember Vincent, she loves you. I wish to god she didn't but she does."

Jenny said "I'm not sorry I hit you, Vincent. You deserved it. I'm not going to let you hurt her again. You've lost her as far as I'm concerned and I'm going to convince her too." Anger was still in her voice. Peter just smiled as he left.

"Now Vincent, tell me what you two argued about." Father asked.

"Catherine wanted to move below and be with me. I told her she had a life above. That what she wanted for the both of us I could not give her. She said she didn't care about her life above. That I was wrong about what I couldn't give her. I told her I would not allow her to give up her life for me. She said it was her life. I told her that I was willing to give her up. That our relationship would have to end so she could be free. She tried to plead with me. I told her my decision was final. I had to leave after that, I heard her crying. If I had stayed, I never would have let her go. I heard her scream my name. I closed the bond between us. It was hard enough bearing her anguish when I told her. Now its too late. I've lost her."

Devin grabbed his shoulder. "Its never too late to say you're sorry, that you were wrong. And you are wrong you know. No matter what Father told you in the past."

"You're right, Devin, I was wrong about you and Catherine, Vincent, and I am truly sorry. I thought she would leave you like Margaret left me. I know now that Catherine would never leave you. She loves you with everything she is. I regret that this had to happen to you both. You have to hold on, for Catherine's sake as well as your own. Hopefully once Catherine's condition improves, Peter will be able to bring her below and the two of you can heal each other."

"I hope you're right, Father. I will hang on for Catherine."

Jenny, Joe and Peter return to Catherine's room. Lin and Henry are waiting for news outside her door.

"Peter, how's Vincent? Did you talk to him? All the helpers are worried about the both of them. We wanted to wait here to see if there was any change."

"Let me talk to the doctor who's covering for me and I will update you all shortly." Peter went to talk to the other doctor while Jenny and Joe told them what happened below. Peter returned a short time later.

"There was some improvement. She cried out a little while ago. Her vitals are stable. She still hasn't opened her eyes yet. But any sound is good."

"Can I see her?" Jenny asked.

"Sure, Jenny. Go to her but don't stay too long."

Jenny walked into Catherine's room and sat down next to her.

"Cath, wake up. I need you. I got so angry with Vincent after what he did to you that I went below and I hit him. I slapped him as hard as I could, I was so mad. I wanted to wring his neck. I've never seen Joe as angry as he was with Vincent. He's convinced you're better off without him and so am I. I'm not gonna let him hurt you again."

" shouldn't...have hit him. It wasn't his fault. It was mine. I never should have pushed him like I did. If I had let it go, maybe..." Catherine raised teary eyes toward her.

"Cath, you're awake. Peter, Joe, she's awake."

Joe came charging through the door. Peter entered shortly afterwards.

"Radcliffe, your boyfriend...I could kill him right now. For what he did to you. I'd...I'd..."

"Joe, don't. Please, for my sake, let it go."

Catherine sobbed in Jenny's arms.

"She's awake," Vincent cried. "I can feel her again."

"Thank God." Father exclaimed.

"I'm so glad." Mary wept on Father's shoulder.

"Dad, I'm going to go up and check on her myself."

"Devin, tell her...tell her l love her. Just tell her I was wrong and that I want her with me always and to please forgive me. I'll do anything she asks, just please don't leave me. Don't let Jenny and Joe convince her. I need her."

"Count on it, Vincent."

Devin arrived as Jenny and Joe were trying to convince Catherine to leave Vincent after what he did to her. Peter was trying to talk her into forgiving him.

"Cathy, listen to reason."

"Radcliffe, you don't need him."

"Cathy, honey, he loves you, remember that."

"Hey, can I join in this discussion?" Devin smiled as he walked into the room.

" is he? Does he still feel...I can feel the bond between us again. I've hurt him with my selfishness. I hope I haven't lost him for good this time. After what I said..."

"Cathy, he loves you. He wants to make a life with you. He realized he was wrong and wants to make it up to you. He is so sorry for doubting."

"Radcliffe, don't listen to him. Vincent is a jerk. After what he did to you. You don't need him in your life. I'd give anything if I could make you forget him."

"Joe, you don't understand. Vincent is my life. Without him, there is nothing. I accepted that when I went after him after the incident with Paracelcus' drug."


"You mean you're the one who brought Vincent back." Devin exclaimed. "Dad didn't go into details about it but from what he told me you took an awful risk. Dad told me he went below the catacombs. I'm told he wouldn't come out for anyone, not even dad. He said Vincent threatened them. I thought the others brought him back from the area and you stayed with him afterwards."

"Are you sure this is what you want, Cath? He treated you like your feelings didn't matter. Ohh, I am so mad at him." Jenny tried to convince her.

"I will accept Vincent on whatever terms he gives me as long as he doesn't send me away again. I couldn't bear it again if he did. I need him too much."

"That's what Vincent told me to tell you. He begged me to ask you to please not leave him and to forgive him." Devin bent down and kissed her cheek.

"Cathy, as your godfather I think you should forgive Vincent. He looked like hell when we were below. If Devin hadn't found him when he did, we probably would have lost you and him. He loves you."

"Peter, I want nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with him. I love him with all my heart. As I said, I'll accept Vincent on any terms he's willing to give me."

"Ok. Let me run a few tests and if everything's back to normal, you should be able to go home in a day or two." He left to set up the tests for her.

"Devin, please go back to Vincent and tell him... Tell him I love him and accept whatever he wants. I'll do anything to be with him."

"Will do, Cathy. I'm glad to see you awake. You scared me back at your apartment. You're my sister-in-law as far as I'm concerned. I love you and I'll help in any way to make the both of you happy."

"Thank you, Devin. Hurry."

"As Vincent is so fond of quoting 'With love's light wings'." With that Devin left the room and returned below. When he walked into Father's chamber, he let out a low whistle. "Boy, you are one lucky man, Vincent. She loves you and will accept any conditions you want with this relationship. Jenny and Joe are trying to convince her she's better off without you. I don't think they will have much luck though. Now its all up to you."

"I will do whatever it takes to make Catherine happy. She is my life." Vincent glanced at Father. "I want Catherine to move below and become my wife. We need each other."

"You're right, Vincent. Its time Catherine and you were together. I'm sorry this stubborn old man stood in your way for so long. We will do anything you need to make this possible. As a matter of fact, Devin, why don't you and I go above and tell Catherine she is welcome to our world."

"Dad, I think that would be the best news she could receive right now."

"Vincent, I want you to stay in your chamber and rest. You will need all your strength to help Catherine recover. I'll have William bring you some soup and I am going to have Mary keep an eye on you as well." Father told him as he left to change.

Jenny and Joe were still trying to convince Catherine she was better off without Vincent when Father and Devin walked through the door.

"Cathy, after what he did, you don't deserve him. I can't believe you still want to be with him."

"He's my life, Jenny."

"Radcliffe, listen to Jenny. I'd do anything to make you forget him. I know I never said anything but...I care about you. I don't want to see you hurt by him again."

"Ahem." Devin cleared his throat to let them know they were there.

"Catherine, my dear, how are you?"

"I'm fine, Father. How's Vincent? I'm sorry for involving you in this. All I wanted was a life with him. He didn't change his mind, did he?"

"No, Chandler. You're still stuck with him as far as he's concerned. Dad convinced him to rest but he's worried like hell about you." Devin kissed her cheek.

"Yes, Catherine. I am worried about you as well. As soon as you are released, would you please come below and stay with us. I think it would do the both of you good to be near each other."

"Are you sure, Father? I don't want to be a bother or cause any problems."

"No, we need you down there. Vincent needs you with him as much as you need to be with him. I wanted to offer you a place in our world with him. We want to do whatever it takes to make you and Vincent happy."

"Thank you. That means a lot to me."

"I'm holding Vincent to his promise." Jenny said.

"Me too." Joe said. "I meant what I said. I will take you away from him by whatever means necessary if I have to. If he ever hurts you again, I'll do whatever it takes."

"Don't worry you guys. I've decided to stick around for awhile, if that's ok with you, dad. I'll keep an eye on both of them. Make sure Vincent honors his promise."

"Devin, that would please me greatly."

Peter came back and told everyone that the tests are set for the morning. If all goes well, she could go home that night.

"Peter, Catherine is coming below to stay with us. We think it would do the two of them good to be with each other."

"Sounds like an ideal plan to me, Jacob. I'll bring her down as soon as she's released."

"I want to be there too." Jenny said to Father. "I need to make sure this doesn't happen again."

"Yeah, I want to go also. Vincent is skating on thin ice as far as I'm concerned. If he screws up, I'm taking her back above and he'll never see her again. I promise."

"Joe, I'm sure Vincent will do the right thing." Devin said.

"Well then, I'll leave you with your friends. I need to check on Vincent and make arrangements for you as well. I'll make sure Vincent and his chamber are ready for you."

Catherine looked at Father with a surprised look on her face.

Father smiled at her expression. "Catherine, you and he belong together. You need to be together so the logical choice is to let you stay with him in his chamber."

"Thank you, Father. For everything."

"Devin, I'll have a chamber prepared for you as well. Come down soon. We have a lot of catching up to do and Vincent needs his brother close as well."

"Let me come now, dad. Chandler, I'll see you later." Devin kissed her and waited for Father who also kissed her cheek.

Everyone decided to let Catherine get some sleep. They said good night and silently left the room. Jenny told her they would see her in the morning. Peter walked into her room the next day after all the tests were completed.

"Well, kiddo. It looks like everything's ok. I want you to rest for a few more hours then I'll let you go below."

Jenny and Joe walked in just as Peter finished talking to Catherine.

"How is she, doc?" Joe asked.

"Yes, Dr. Alcott, is she really ok?" Jenny asked.

"She's fine. No residual effects that I can see. I want her to rest before I send her to Vincent."

"Cathy, we are going with you when you do go see him."

"Joe, that's not necessary."

"Yes, it is, Cath." Jenny told her. "I'm not letting this happen again. I'm still not sure this is a good idea, you going down there right now. I don't trust him."

"Radcliffe, I agree with Jenny. Maybe you should wait a little while before you try this again."

"Joe, Jen, I need him. I want to be with him. As I told you and the others, I'll accept Vincent on whatever terms he will give me."

"Honey, I think Vincent realized that he needs you as much as you need him. I want you to be happy. I've contacted your attorney as you requested. All the arrangements are in place. If they need you for anything, I will contact you."

"Thank you, Peter, for everything."

"I love you, kiddo. You know that."

"I do. I love you too."

"Ok. I'll get the paperwork started and get a message to them that I'll be releasing you at 1pm."

"Jenny and I will be back before then. I'm still not crazy about this but..."

"Joe, this is what I want. Please help me to do this."

"Ok, Radcliffe. See you later."

They left the room to let her rest. As Peter was finalizing things above, Father was getting things ready below for Catherine.

"Father," Mary said as she entered the chamber. "I've spent the morning with Vincent getting his chamber ready for Catherine's arrival. Have you heard when Peter is going to release her?"

"Yes, he sent a message that he was going to bring her below after 1pm. Jenny and Joe are coming with them as well. They want to make sure Vincent doesn't change his mind again."

"Don't worry, dad." Devin said as he walked in. "There's no way he's going to change his mind again. I'll make sure of that."

"Devin, how is he? I haven't seen him this morning." Father rose to embrace his son.

"Nervous as hell. He kept pacing back and forth in his chamber, moving things around. He was driving me up the wall. Kipper is with him now. I didn't want him left alone till Catherine came down. He's still scared Jenny and Joe will convince her to leave him."

"Now, Devin, I'm sure Catherine told them she's committed to Vincent."

"Devin, Father's right." Mary said. "Catherine loves him and she wants a life with Vincent. Now all we have to do is make things easier for them. Her moving below is a step in the right direction in my opinion."

"You're right, Mary, and I'm sorry for doubting. I just wish I..."

"What, Devin?"

"I wish someday I would find someone like Catherine, someone who would accept me for me."

"I'm sure you will, my son. Someone is out there somewhere for you I'm sure. Maybe you'll find someone right here at home." Father limped over and embraced him.

"I hope so, dad. God, I hope so."

"Now, Catherine will be here soon." Suddenly tapping could be heard over the pipes. Father looked up and listened for a moment. "It's Peter. He's at the Central Park entrance. Devin, go stay with Vincent. Try, if possible, to keep him in his chamber until Catherine gets here. He's still weak and I don't want him to exert himself."

"Ok, I'll see what I can do." Devin gave Mary a peck on the cheek before he left.

Devin caught Vincent just as he exited his chamber. "Devin, I was going to Catherine. I heard the message on the pipes."

"No. Dad wanted you to stay here. He sent Cullen and Kanin to meet Peter and help bring her down. Please, Fuzz, stay here."


"Look, She needs you in one piece. If anything happened to you before she got here...All I'm saying is that the others can bring her here safely. Trust me, they won't let anything happen to her."

"All right, Devin, I will stay." Vincent returned to his chamber and sat in his big chair.

Kanin and Cullen made their way to the Central Park entrance. Once they opened the door, they saw Catherine sitting on a blanket with Peter pacing the entrance.

"Where's Vincent? I thought he would meet us." Peter asked with concern. Catherine looked at the two men with fear in her eyes.

"Is he all right? Does he still want me to come down? Please tell me."

Kanin knelt down so he could look into Catherine's eyes. "Vincent's fine, Catherine. Father wanted him to wait in his chamber since he's not quite himself yet."

"Besides," Cullen added. "It gives us a chance to help him. Now you just let us do all the work and enjoy the ride."

Catherine watched as Kanin and Cullen crossed their arms and Peter assisted her to her feet and gently into the arms of the two men. They carried her as far as the entrance of Vincent's chamber. Devin greeted Peter as he walked in.

"Peter, how was the trip down? Is she all right?"

"She's fine and right behind me."

Vincent walked to the entrance and took Catherine from the arms of his two friends. "Thank you." He said as he carried her inside. Devin motioned to Peter and they both stepped outside to give them some privacy.

As he gently lowered her to her feet, he heard her whisper his name. He crushed her to his chest. "Forgive me. Forgive me for doubting. What we have is worth everything."

Catherine cried as she remembered those same words she spoke to him when she came back from Westport. "I love you." She told him as he held her.

"Catherine, I..." He started to speak as he reluctantly released her.

"Vincent, please don't tell me you're going to send me away again." She reached for him as he backed away.

"No, dear Catherine. I need you with me. I'm just..."

"What, Vincent? Tell me."

"Catherine, what I've done to you. How can you stand there and forgive me?"

"You are everything to me. I need you. We can get through this together. Just don't send me away, please?"

He reached for her and gathered her into his arms. She felt so protected when he held her. He kissed her head and gently followed it with kisses to her forehead, cheek, jaw line and finally he allowed himself to kiss her as he always wanted to.

She almost swooned with the gentle kiss he gave her. She cried when he gently pulled away from her after the kiss ended.

"No, kiss me again. Oh god, kiss me again, Vincent."

He took her lips in a gentle kiss and slowly deepened it. His embrace tightened around her and she pressed her body against his. When the urge to breath became unbearable, they both tore their mouths away from each other.

"God, Vincent. What you do to me. Kiss me again and again."


Devin cleared his throat to get their attention.

"Sorry to interrupt but Jenny and Joe are here and asking to see Cathy."

"Please ask them to join us here, Devin. I would rather Catherine stayed here and rest." Vincent said as he helped her over to the bed.

"Vincent, don't leave."

"I'm not. They need to see that I intend to honor my promise to them."

Devin returned shortly with the others. Mary came in and immediately went to adjust the pillows behind Catherine's head. Father glanced and assessed the condition of both of them with his eyes as he came in. Joe still had an angry look in his eyes when he saw Vincent. Jenny also had an angry look when she saw him.

"Jenny, Joe, please forgive me for what I did to Catherine. I know what I did was probably inexcusable and I will do whatever it takes to make it up to her. I love her and I want her in my life."

"Its going to take awhile, Vincent, after what you did. Maybe, in time..." Jenny said.

"I still don't think this is a good idea, Radcliffe. What if he has doubts again? I wish I could make you forget him." Joe blushed as he put his hands in his pockets.

"Jenny, Joe, this is what I want. This is what I need. I have to do this. Be happy for me, please?"

"Everyone will be keeping an eye on her. And I'll be down on a regular basis to check on her and keep in touch with Jacob." Peter said as he went to Catherine and kissed her cheek.

"I'll be checking up on you, Vincent. To make sure she's happy. If she's not..." Joe glanced at him.

"I'll keep him in line, Joe." Devin said.

With that Mary ushered everyone out of the chamber. Vincent moved to Catherine's side and slowly laid down next to her. He took her in his arms and softly kissed her.

"Rest now. I'll be near."

"Mmmm. For how long?"