Letters to Father
by
Joan W.

 

Author’s note- This story is written solely for the entertainment of the Beauty and the Beast fans. No copyright infringement is intended.

 

Father was not alone, but he was lonely. It had been many years since his son had left the tunnels to begin a new life Above with Catherine.

At first, it wasn’t so bad, with the memories of their beautiful wedding, and with their frequent visits. But gradually, over time, those visits had lessened.

Although he was overjoyed at the birth of his Grandson, Jacob, it seemed that he spent even less time with Vincent as the daily demands of marriage and fatherhood took their toll on his son’s time. He understood that Vincent had new responsibilities, but couldn’t help feeling a bit abandoned. He missed him so much.

Fondly, he recalled their many games of chess, the stories told and retold, and all of the books he had read to him as a child. He remembered all of the fatherly advice he had given, though it was not always welcome, and he remembered the laughter and the tears, the hugs, and their lively debates.

One day, while rummaging through his wardrobe, Father found the old box. He had saved Vincent’s letters, and had lovingly placed them in an old teak box, adorned with cast iron hinges.  The letters were bound by large rubber bands, some were tattered and yellowed from age, and others crisp, just like the day Vincent had written them. Carefully, he lifted them out of the box, reverently removing the rubber bands one by one. Sitting on the edge of his bed, he began to read.

The first note was written on a page of an old coloring book. It was of a puppy, and Vincent had definitely colored outside of the lines.

 

FIVE YEARS OLD


Handwritten note with drawing of puppy: Dear Fadder, I need a puppy. I promiz I will take care of it. Devin said he would help me feed it. He won't eat much. Pleez fadder give me a puppy for my birthday, Luv Vincent

Vincent never got that puppy. Instead, he gave him the book Patches the Playful Puppy, which he read to him for at least a year until the puppy yearning had finally passed. Father smiled tenderly. Vincent’s kittenish face was still vivid in his memory, as were the soft sighing sounds his tiny son made while falling fast asleep in his arms.

 

SEVEN YEARS OLD

Handwritten note on notebook paper: To Father, I want to know why I am so different from Devin. He calls me fuzzy all of the time. I don't like that. Please make him stopit. From, Vincent

Even then, Vincent knew he was different from the others, which bothered his child greatly. He honestly had tried to intervene, but just as he suspected, Devin continued to call his brother Fuzz or Fuzzy. Later on in life it became a rather strange form of endearment, one that Vincent had come to accept and even appreciate.

 

TEN YEARS OLD

Handwritten, neatly written on lined paper. Dear Father, I wish I could play baseball like the other boys. Pascal, Winslow, and Devin said they would teach me and I promise I won't get hurt. You will not have to worry about me I will be careful. Devin said I could have his old baseball glove, and it fits me. Please Father let me play; I'd make such a good shortstop. Devin says I have long legs, good for sliding into home plate. We can practice in the Chamber of the Winds, and we wouldn't break anything there. Thank you Father. Your loving son, Vincent

Ahhh, that had been one wish that was easy to grant!  Not only did he grant it, but he also gave him a baseball bat of his very own! The Chamber of the Winds, however, proved to be an inadequate baseball field, because it was too windy to play ball there. He would play catch with Vincent in the tunnels sometimes after dinner, as he enjoyed baseball too, and used to go to the games when he had lived above.

 

TWELVE YEARS OLD


Handwritten note, in cursive on  a plain sheet of paper: Dearest Father, I am so sad. I miss Devin so much. I know why he is gone, and I feel as though I am to blame for it. I know it was all my fault. I scratched him, I didn't mean to do it, he just made me so angry. I tried to explain that I didn't tattle on him, but he wouldn't listen to me. What have I done? How can I tell him that I am sorry now? Please help me, I don't know what to do. Love, Vincent.

 

For years his son had carried guilt in his heart, blaming himself for his brother’s disappearance. Somehow, he had helped Vincent through that terrible time of loss, held him when he cried, gave him counsel, parental support. The healing process was a long and difficult one, but they had survived it together. Twenty years later Devin returned home and all was eventually well.

The next letter he knew would be the most difficult to read and he dreaded doing so. He recognized the yellowed parchment, knew what it held.

 

SIXTEEN YEARS OLD

Handwritten letter on plain paper: Father, I can't belive you would send her away. I love her so, and I miss her, she was everthing to me Father, everything. Why would you do that? I know what I did was wrong, and I am sorry, so very sorry. I will have to live with it for the rest of my life, knowing that I hurt her, that these hands hurt her. But I never got the chance to tell her how sorry I am, to apologize, and will never have the opportunity now. How could you? I know it can never be Father. I know that now and will not forget again, as I have learned by lesson well. I hurts so badly ... Vincent

Reading the letter was harder than he expected. He remembered pulling Vincent away, quieting him, telling him, “No, Vincent, no…” and, afterward, sending Lisa away. He knew that Vincent blamed himself for her departure but nothing could have been further from the truth. Lisa had toyed with Vincent’s affections, never really loving him. Father knew it all too well, and wanted to spare him a broken heart. However, Vincent had finally discovered that he had sent her away, and was angry, so angry. Then all of the sickness came … Tears welled in Fathers eyes.

He was so deep in thought that he hadn’t heard Vincent approach.

“Father, may I come in?”

Quickly, he pushed the letters that were lying on the bed into a pile.

“Of course, by all means, please come in,” he replied hoarsely, trying to sound nonchalant.

Vincent noticed the pile of letters on the bed, recognizing them as his own, and attempted to mask his surprise that Father had actually saved them. He also noticed Father’s cheeks were wet. He had been crying. Suddenly, the realization came to Vincent that Father had been reminiscing about… him.

Vincent bent down, placing his arms around his parent, hugging him tightly, and said, “I'm sorry, Father, that I haven’t been here for you as much as I should. I promise you that in the future I will visit more often. I love you…”

 

******

 

True to his word, Vincent visited nearly every day. Catherine also brought Jacob in the afternoons after his nap. Father enjoyed reading the old worn book Patches the Playful Puppy to his grandson.

 

On a bright summer day while Father was reading in his chamber, Joey, one of the tunnel children, came running into the room. “I have a letter for you.  It’s from Vincent.”

“Thank you, Joey.”

 Father proceeded to open the letter, written on a page torn from a coloring book. It read:

Handwritten note, in crayon, on a papge with a colored in drawing of a puppy: Dear Grandfadder, I need a puppy. I promiz I will take care of it. Fadder said he would help me feed it. He won't eat much. Pleez grandfadder give me a puppy for my birthday. Luv, Jacob

 

He laughed aloud and shook his head. Thankfully, some things never change.