The Tower And The Beast

Catherine and Vincent's Second Halloween


by Thomas Mc



Author’s Note:  Like everyone else, I have my own take on how the never seen, second season Halloween episode might have gone. This is my version of that particular episode. The story is set a week and a half after the Remember Love TV episode and a short time before the Ashes, Ashes Episode. Also, it only seemed right that Brigit O’Donnell should play a small part in the evening’s proceedings, even if only from a distance.



Chapter 1:   New Tradition


Rudy Galloway, the security guard at the front desk, called out a greeting to Catherine as she rushed past him. Stopping just long enough to retrieve her mail, she smiled and called out a greeting back to Rudy, wishing him a happy Halloween. She pulled out two book-sized packages with the rest of her mail and, as she closed her mailbox, she heard the elevator bell sound. Tucking it all under her arm, she rushed into the elevator that had just opened and pressed the button for the eighteenth floor. This was a very special night and she did not want to be late. While the elevator rose, she glanced at the two packages, then took a surprised closer look as the recipient names and the return addresses on them registered. Both packages had come from Derry, Ireland, but she was particularly surprised by the delivery address on the first package, because it was addressed to ‘Vincent’ – in care of Catherine Chandler. The second package was simply addressed to Catherine Chandler.


As soon as she entered her apartment, she set her briefcase, the package addressed to Vincent, and the rest of the mail on the small table located by the door. She made her way into the living room while she tore open the brown paper wrapping of the package that was addressed to her. The box was one of those heavy-duty types used to ship items that were easily damaged. When she opened the box, she found it contained a mint condition, first edition copy of the book 300 Days. Inside the front cover, it had been personally inscribed to her by the author.


To Catherine with great affection.

I hope you will find that magic place

between the worlds

that you and Vincent are looking for.


Brigit O'Donnell.



As she started to leaf through the book, a slip of paper fell out. It was a note from Brigit.


Dear Catherine,


I had no address for Vincent, but I suspect you know how to find him, so I sent the other package through you. I also wanted to thank you for what you did for my father and me. I will always be grateful to you for your kindness and understanding. Write me sometime and let me know how things are going between you and Vincent. I harbor a great hope for the two of you. You both made me believe in magic again. Maybe someday even the wall between your worlds will finally crumble away and your dreams will come true.


Love, Brigit



Catherine was touched by such a wonderful gift. She had confided to Brigit that night how much she envied her friend, Jenny, who had a first edition copy of this book. As she stood there gently caressing the leather binding and carefully flipping through the pages, she thought back to that Halloween last year when she and Vincent had both met Brigit. Vincent had told Catherine about the conversation they had when he and Brigit had gone walking in the park. Based on the letter, it appeared that Vincent had told Brigit more than he had realized or Brigit had understood more than they had expected. Regardless, that had been a wonderful time when Catherine and Vincent, for one whole night, had found – as Brigit put it – the magic that lies between worlds had made the walls between them to grow thin. They had been able to spend that entire evening and night together moving openly around the city without fear of who might see them. They had even spent a large portion of that night riding together in one of the city’s many horse-drawn carriages. That was also the night when she had fully realized that there was more than simply gratitude in her feelings for Vincent. They had ended that magical night by watching the sunrise from the park bench on the jogging path by the bridge.


Reluctantly, she pulled herself back to the present, set down the book, and went into her bedroom to change into her costume. She was supposed to meet Vincent at seven and she was already running late. She also didn’t want Vincent to have to endure Father’s arguments about his safety for too long. She had to hurry. She took a quick shower and put on her costume and makeup in record time. She had been planning on this night for weeks and had taken great pains to get just the right costume for tonight. As she got ready to leave, she took one final look in the mirror to see how the costume looked and smiled in self-satisfaction. Vincent was definitely going to flip when he saw her in it.


Running out the door, she grabbed the invitations and the package addressed to Vincent. She wondered what Father’s reaction would be when he heard that Vincent had gotten mail addressed to him from Ireland. It should be interesting.


* * *


Jacob knew before the discussion started that he wouldn’t be able to talk Vincent out of going to this party any more than he had been able to last year. Going to this party with Catherine was something Vincent wanted too much to pass up. He also suspected that Vincent wanted this as compensation for not being able to go with Catherine to her lake house in Connecticut just a little over a week ago. He sighed and gazed pleadingly at his stubborn son. “Vincent, you don’t know how much I have been dreading the return of this day, ever since last year!” 


They both paused as a message on the pipes announced that Catherine was on her way down and was moving very quickly. Vincent sighed as he watched Father, now pacing up and down the room, muttering to himself. They both knew all the arguments, both the pros and the cons. “Father, you know that it is the safest day of the year for me to go Above! And last Halloween is a perfect example of how safe it is for me.”


“There are no safe days for you! Don’t you remember how close you came to being involved in an IRA shootout?”


“But Father, that had nothing to do with my appearance,” Vincent responded. “In fact, my appearance made it easier to help them and get out safely.” Vincent chuckled. “Everyone involved told the police that they couldn’t describe the person who had helped them because he was wearing a Halloween costume.”


“I suppose you are determined to go regardless of what I say,” Jacob responded.


Then Vincent brought up what he considered his two most telling points. “This is the only day of the year that I can spend time with Catherine openly Above, and you know that Catherine would never do this if she thought there would be any danger.”


Jacob had to admit, at least to himself, that, as Vincent had pointed out, he had experienced little difficulty in pulling it off last year despite being entangled in the assassination attempt against Brigit O’Donnell. He finally capitulated as gracefully as he could. “At least I can count on Catherine to do everything in her power to keep you safe.”


That last statement gave Vincent pause. More than anything else, it brought out to Vincent just how much Father’s attitude toward Catherine had changed since last Halloween. A year ago Father thought that Catherine could only bring him pain and eventually destroy him. Now Father thought of Catherine as someone he could count on to protect his very unusual son from harm in the world above. The concept made him chuckle to himself.


As Jacob stood there looking at Vincent, he wondered what had caused that amused reaction in him. Then it occurred to him that Vincent did look pretty good in his costume, such as it was. Vincent had on his best cream-colored, ruffled shirt and some well-worn, then re-dyed, brown leather pants. He was wearing a pair of knee-high black leather boots that Mouse claimed to have found. Jacob was afraid to ask for details. Over that was a dark purple, buccaneer-style coat with brass buttons and a four-inch-wide black belt with a huge brass buckle. He was wearing his long, deep-green, hooded cape to complete the costume. Basically, it was just Vincent dressed with a little more flair than usual, like someone dressing up in their Sunday best. Combined with his powerful lion-like features, the overall effect was like some magical creature from a romantic swashbuckler fairytale.


Jacob laid his hand on Vincent’s shoulder. “Well, as costumes go, yours does look pretty good,” he admitted as he gave Vincent’s shoulder a squeeze trying to convey his love and concern in that one gesture. He thought for a moment and smiled. “Though it’s really just you, being you.”


Vincent placed his hand on Jacob’s shoulder, acknowledging his gesture. “Thank you, Father!” Vincent nodded, then his eyes lost focus, making it look like he was gazing off into the distance. “Catherine is very near. She should be here any minute.” 


Jacob looked at Vincent, concern still present in his eyes. “At least be careful, and try not to draw attention to yourself.”


Vincent responded. “Do not worry, Father. We will be lost in a large room full of people in very elaborate costumes. No one will even notice us in that kind of crowd. I have no desire to be the center of attention.”


Jacob nodded and released a great sigh. “I pray you’re right.”


A minute and a half later, Catherine entered the chamber through the upper level doorway and took their breath away. Jacob and Vincent both stared up, their mouths hanging open, at the vision that appeared at the top of the spiral stairway.


Over a light green body stocking, Catherine wore a long diaphanous dress that looked as though it were made of spider web silk and shimmered iridescently when she moved. On her back were attached translucent blue, green, and yellow butterfly wings that measured four feet top to bottom. She wore glittering, forest green shoes, and in her reddish-brown hair was a silver tiara bejeweled with sparkling emeralds. Her eye shadow and rouge contained glitter that sparkled in the flickering candle light and seemed calculated to bring out the color of her emerald green eyes. At her waist she wore a belt made of silver leaves chained together on which hung a small pouch that appeared to be made of large green leaves and looked as though it might just contain fairy dust. In her hand she carried a faceted glass rod topped with a glowing silver star. The overall effect was of an enchantingly beautiful forest sprite. The only apparent imperfection in her costume was the plain brown package that she carried in her other hand. Catherine almost seemed to float as she glided gracefully down the spiral stairs, everything about her shimmering in the dancing candle light. At the bottom of the stairs, she was met by a stunned Vincent. Catherine and Vincent stood for a long time, face to face, while each drank in the sight of the other. Jacob looked on equally stunned by the magical picture they made together. There could be no doubt that these two magical creatures belonged together.


The spell was finally broken when Eric and Ellie came running into the room shouting about something that revolved around the phrases “He is not!” and “He is so!. They both skidded to a halt at the sight of Catherine and Vincent standing there in their costumes. Both children stood and stared openmouthed at the scene before them.


Ellie was the first to speak, as the word “wow” came out in a soft sigh.


Jacob cleared his throat. “Eric, Ellie, what is all this yelling about?”


Catherine and Vincent reluctantly took their eyes away from each other to look over at the two children.


Eric spoke up. “Ellie said that Samantha said that Rebecca said that Vincent was going to a party Above.” He looked back at Vincent and Catherine uncertainly.


Vincent responded. “That’s right Eric. Catherine and I are going to a Halloween party at the top of the Empire State Building.”


“But you can’t do that,” Eric protested. “If you go Above, you’ll be seen!”


Catherine responded. “That will be no problem because it’s Halloween. When Vincent is seen up there tonight, he’ll be just one more person in a costume. As a matter of fact, everyone at the party we’re going to will be in costume.” Catherine smiled at Eric, a twinkle in her eyes. “Today is the one day in all of the year that Vincent and I can safely go out on a date in the city above. We did it last year and no one ever realized that he wasn’t wearing a costume.”


“Oh.” Eric seemed to, still, be a little unsure about it.


“Told you so, silly,” Ellie chimed in, as she reached out and smacked Eric on the top of his head. Then she ran out of the chamber.


“Hey!” Eric called out and chased after her.


The smile on her face edged over into one of mischief as Catherine waved the brown package and announced to Vincent, “Something came for you in the mail today, Vincent.” She handed the package to him.


Jacob sputtered, nearly choking as he stared at Catherine in disbelief.


Vincent’s face showed surprise and confusion as she handed him the package. His face visibly brightened when he saw whom the package was from. There was a definite gleam of excitement in his eyes as he carefully opened the package.


Inside the heavy-duty shipping box Vincent found a brand new book bound in high-quality green leather and titled in gold-embossed, old world-style lettering.


The Magic Between the Worlds :

The Collected Short Stories of Brigit O'Donnell


Jacob just looked at them both in stunned silence as Vincent opened the book.


On the inside of the front cover near the top was a plate that read Limited Special Edition  -  # 0001 of 1000 and below that it was inscribed:


To Vincent with great affection.

Thank you for showing me that there

is still a place for magic

and fairie music in this world.

I hope you find that dream you are looking for.


Brigit O'Donnell


Inside the book, he found a note in between the first two pages. Setting the book down, he opened the note.


Dear Vincent,


After talking to you and Catherine last Halloween, I decided that the world could always use a little more magic, so I put this book together. I have also started work on a new novel based on some ideas I got from our talk. Most of the short stories in this new book are old ones I wrote years ago, but there are three new ones that I wrote after meeting you and Catherine. Since this book was inspired by you and Catherine, I dedicated it to you both. This is the first copy of a limited first edition. (The special leather binding was the publisher’s idea.) The regular release run is due out from the printer at the end of next month. The entire limited-edition run was already sold out by the time it started rolling off the presses. It’s lucky I had the first 5 copies reserved. Enjoy.


Love, Brigit


Vincent, slightly dazed, announced to Jacob, “Father, it’s from Brigit O’Donnell. It’s her newest book.”


As Father looked at him, eyes wide with surprise, Vincent handed him the letter, then picked up the book and again opened it up. He looked at the dedication page, then read it aloud: “Dedicated to Vincent and Catherine who showed me that magic can appear in the most unlikely places.” 


Catherine could practically feel the childlike glee from Vincent as he flipped through the book, stopping to read the first few lines of each story. Finally, with reluctant resignation, Vincent closed the book and handed it to Father. “It’s getting late. We had better go.”


“Please, be careful!” Jacob called after them as they passed through the doorway, out of the chamber. He didn’t even bother telling them to try to avoid being noticed since that would not be possible with them looking like they did. Jacob shook his head as he muttered under his breath. “Those two are going to be about as un-noticeable as a fireworks display.” With a shake of his head, Jacob prayed to whatever higher power was out there to keep them safe.


Jacob exhaled in a resigned sigh, then looked down at the book he was now holding. He knew enough about rare and valuable books to understand what an incredible treasure he held in his hands. Slowly he settled into his chair and re-read the letter from Brigit to Vincent. Then with extreme care, he opened the book and began to read.


* * *


Vincent and Catherine came out of the tunnels fairly close to the Empire State Building. The party they were going to was located at the top on the observation deck level. They took their time, enjoying the feel of the city as they strolled down the streets towards their destination. For Vincent, it was a thrill just to walk openly with Catherine and not fear that they would be seen. They drew the attention of several people as they walked by, but they were only looks of appreciation for their costumes, and Catherine was drawing just as much attention as Vincent.


When they reached the main doors to the building, two doormen dressed as skeletons and wearing doorman caps held the doors open for them.


There were already eight couples waiting at the elevators when they walked up. Several of the couples acknowledged them with smiles and nods. Vincent and Catherine both were complimented on their costumes. One of the elevators opened and a little more than half the people waiting stepped in. Just as the doors closed, three more people showed up. One of the new arrivals was dressed in street clothes and asked where the party was. Shortly after that, the other elevator opened and all the rest, except one couple waiting for some friends, boarded.


Vincent felt a delicious shiver of anticipation as they stepped through the elevator doors. It was such a novel experience to actually go into the elevator, rather than ride on top of it. This was the one day of the year when the whole world seemed to shift in his favor, and he was determined to savor the experience.


A man in a skeleton costume and wearing a bellhop’s cap was standing by the controls. As soon as everyone was aboard, he pressed the button for the observation deck floor. “Next stop All Hallows Eve,” he announced.


The person dressed in street clothes called out, “Twelfth floor please,” and the operator accommodated him.


Just after the man got off on twelve, one of the women in a sexy witch’s costume leaned over and addressed Catherine. “That is a very lovely costume you’re wearing, dear.” The woman glanced over and up at Vincent. “And your escort is absolutely magnificent,” she added, tilting her head towards Vincent as she winked at Catherine.


When the doors opened again, it was to the sounds of a party already in full swing. Another skeleton pair wearing medieval helmets crossed their pikes and barked out “Halt! Who goes there?” Catherine handed them the two invitations. The invitations were examined and returned, then they were allowed to pass.


Just beyond the guards, another skeleton handed them each a tall goblet of wine and welcomed them to the party. Vincent took a small sip of the wine and looked down at the goblet in surprise. The wine was very good – he could swear that he tasted a hint of honey – and it was also very strong.


They entered a large glassed-in area. A live band was playing and several couples were dancing, while all around the room knots of people were in deep conversation.  The members of the live band were all dressed as skeletons, and a banner over the stage read The Grateful Undead. Outside the glass walls on the open-air part of the deck, dining tables had been set up. People were sitting munching on snacks or drinking their wine while gazing out over the city or watching the other revelers enjoying themselves.

Chapter 2 :   Blending In


As Vincent and Catherine circulated among the crowd, Catherine spotted a knot of familiar faces. Her father was there with Kay, talking to some of their friends. Her father was wearing the same civil war uniform he had worn last year. Kay was dressed as Scarlett O’Hara. Jerry was dressed as Count Dracula, and his daughter was wearing a very tight tiger costume. Tom Gunther was dressed as an alien. The sexy witch from the elevator she now recognized as a friend of her father’s, but she couldn’t recall the woman’s name.


Catherine had not expected to see so many familiar faces and decided to wait a while before talking to them. She didn’t want to spend too much time trying to explain Vincent to friends of her family. Without realizing it, she had quickly finished off her glass of wine while Vincent had only taken a couple of sips. Vincent took her empty goblet and deposited it and his with the next waiter they passed.


 After spending several more minutes exploring the party, Catherine pulled Vincent out onto the dance floor. The band was playing the kind of slow dance music where the couples held each other close and just sort of shuffled their feet. After a moment’s hesitation, Vincent tentatively put his arms loosely around her and joined in the dance. Catherine looked up into his uncertain eyes, then, with a sly smile, tightened her arms around him, pulling their bodies closer together. The next second she rested her head on his shoulder and gave a contented sigh. Vincent paused, momentarily stunned by her actions, then finally relaxed, let his arms close in around her, and they were swaying in time to the music.


Catherine was soon totally engrossed in the feel of Vincent’s arms around her. The feel of him and the goblet of wine she had recently consumed made for a very heady and powerful combination. For the present, she felt like she was floating halfway to heaven. Catherine looked up into Vincent’s eyes and gave him her most dazzling smile, her eyes misting over, then she laid her head back against his shoulder. Vincent could feel the waves of love and contentment washing over him through the link they shared. The force of it was almost overwhelming. A peaceful smile settled across his face as he was immersed in Catherine’s emotions.


A minute later, Catherine’s father and Kay passed close by. Charles looked over at Vincent and Catherine, nodded to them and smiled. Then with a wink at them both, he twirled with his partner and disappeared into the throng of dancers.


Catherine smiled up at Vincent and chuckled softly. “I guess he approves of you.” 


The next dance was a little faster. It was the type for doing the box step. Vincent had no trouble with it. A waltz followed, and Vincent easily shifted into the proper steps. It was quickly becoming apparent to Catherine that Vincent, at least, knew how to dance.


Catherine nodded to several acquaintances as they passed on the dance floor. They all smiled back, and they all glanced at Vincent with obvious curiosity. Catherine looked up into his eyes and saw that he had noticed the looks they were getting. She chuckled, her eyes full of mischief. “They all want to know who this handsome hunk is that I’m dancing with. My father is going to be bombarded with questions by all our friends tomorrow.”


The next number was another slow dance which suited Catherine just fine. Vincent had to admit that he also enjoyed the intimacy of the slow dances. During that dance, Catherine spotted Elliot, dressed as a vampire, watching them from the crowd at the edge of the dance floor. They danced through five more songs before Catherine finally capitulated and they left the dance floor.


“Let’s get something to eat and sit down for a while.” Catherine hung on to his arm as they made their way to the outside observation deck. The outside temperature was in the middle-fifties, and there were propane outdoor heater lamps scattered among the tables to keep the chill at bay. Together they went over to the buffet table and selected various snack foods to try.


“Frankly, I could use a little rest,” Catherine commented as they walked up to a table for two in the corner. She wobbled just a bit as she sat down and giggled. “I guess I shouldn’t have drunk that whole glass of wine on an empty stomach.”


While they were sitting at their table, a man dressed as a skeleton wearing white formal tails came up to them. “Would you like something to drink? We have wine, iced tea, soft drinks, water, and fruit juices. We also have coffee, hot chocolate, hot tea, and hot spiced wine if you need to keep the chill away.”


Catherine had caught on to the fact that the people working the party were all dressed as skeletons and she couldn’t help herself. She looked at the waiter and dead seriously commented, “Don’t you feed the help here. They’re all wasting away.”


Vincent dropped his head into his hands and shook it. The waiter only rolled his eyes. Then Catherine and Vincent both selected hot chocolate.


As the waiter walked away, Vincent went over to a nearby buffet table and brought back a plate of finger snacks for the both of them. “You mentioned an empty stomach,” Vincent remarked as he set the plate in the center of their table. He held out one of the treats to her. Catherine smiled her gratitude, then opened her mouth and he fed the morsel to her. He took a piece for himself and then held out another for her.


Catherin grinned at him. “Keep that up, kind sir, and you are going to spoil me.”  She cocked her head a bit. “I think I might just keep you around.”  Then she took the bite.


In a very short time, the waiter returned with their drinks. “Will there be anything else, sir?” he asked.


“No thank you,” Vincent replied.


The waiter looked Vincent up and down and remarked, “Fantastic costume, Sir. Would either of you like to enter the costume contest? The entry fee is only one hundred dollars, and the grand prize is a romantic, two-week Caribbean cruise for two, to Nassau, the Bahamas, and Cancun.”


“I’m afraid not,” Vincent replied. “Thank you anyway.”


“Very good, sir.”  Then the waiter moved on to the next table.


“I would have loved to enter us in that contest.”  Catherine chuckled. “But you would have had an unfair advantage.” The mischief in her eyes told him that she really had contemplated the idea. “Although it might have been interesting to see you lounging beside the ship’s pool or on the beach at Cancun.” 


Vincent thought he caught a hint of erotic overtone through the link as she said it, and he found he was having difficulty looking her in the eyes as an image of her laying on the beach popped into his mind.


Catherine blushed as she stood up. “I think I'll take this opportunity to powder my nose. I won’t be long.” She grinned. “Stay out of trouble while I’m gone.”  She went in search of the ladies room, leaving Vincent to enjoy the party scene by himself for a while.


Vincent sat there, taking in the marvelous sight of people in all kinds of costumes wandering around the observation deck or sitting at the tables deep in their own various conversations while the music filtered through the glass walls that surrounded the dance floor. He felt so relaxed amongst all these ‘ordinary people’ – it was quite incredible. Four different people stopped by his table and complimented his costume before continuing on their way.


An interesting group four tables over caught his attention. The woman was dressed in a blue gingham dress, white blouse, and sparkling red shoes. With her were two men in very interesting costumes. The younger man was dressed up as a man made of metal, and the older man was dressed up to look like a scarecrow. He had read and loved the stories as child and had heard descriptions of the movie. For a moment Vincent contemplated going over to join the group after Catherine got back. He and Catherine were a little too dressed up for the parts they would play in that group but it could work. Eventually his gaze again began to wander taking in the fascinating crowd.


While he was sitting there looking around, a very pretty young woman in a low-cut, medieval princess costume stopped at his table and looked him over. “I love your costume.” She smiled shyly at him. “It would be the perfect complement to mine.” 


She was flirting outrageously with him, and he could clearly sense her very real interest in him. She leaned enticingly toward him and Vincent was afraid that she would fall out of her top.


“Would you like to join me for a dance or two?” She cocked her head; the invitation in her look was quite blatant.


Vincent was so surprised by the attention and the offer, it took him a moment to gather his wits. “It’s a very tempting offer, but I am currently here with someone else.” Vincent was very conscientiously keeping his eyes on the young woman’s face. “Thank-you, anyway, for the offer.”


The woman shrugged and straightened up, easing his worry a bit, and gave him a wistful smile. “She’s a very lucky woman. I think I envy her.” He could clearly sense her disappointment at his response.


As the woman was turning to walk away, Vincent suddenly felt a quick flash of fear from Catherine, then it just as quickly shifted to annoyance mixed with a little bit of worry. Standing and looking towards the glass wall, he saw Catherine partially trapped in the doorway by three men.


“How about a little dance?” one of them said in an alcohol slurred voice as he tried to pull her towards the dance floor.


Vincent saw Catherine glance quickly in his direction and give a barely perceptible shake of her head. He was now feeling only annoyance over the link. She obviously felt she could handle the situation, and Vincent knew she didn't want him to create a scene. He also knew he could get to her quickly if she did need him, so he restrained his desire to leap to her aid. Then one of the other men also grabbed her and there was a quick flash of anger from her, but she still didn't feel in danger, so he maintained control and just watched.


Then he noticed Elliot Burch over to the left making his way toward Catherine, and in five leaping strides Vincent was in front of the three men. With a menacing snarl that exposed his fangs he slowly advanced towards the men.


“Hey, chill out, man!  Can’t you take a joke?” one of the three men remarked nervously to Vincent as they all backed off. The second man was muttering to himself. Vincent could only make out the words,  “. . . not part of the deal,” to his friend as they moved towards the other side of the room. One of the waiters appeared at that moment and urged the three men away from the dance floor to one of the more out of the way tables.


Vincent turned to Catherine with a chuckle, a flourish, and a bow. “May I assist you, my lady?” Ten feet away he spotted a very frustrated-looking Elliot Burch glancing at the three men, then looking over at Catherine and him.


“I'm fine, Vincent. Let’s go sit down,” Catherine replied as she glanced a bit worriedly at the people around them.


Vincent nodded. “Your wish is my command.” He took her arm and turned toward their table.


A few of the people looked at them as they moved away, but the incident seemed to have already been forgotten. One man dressed as a mummy gave Vincent the thumbs-up sign and a big toothy grin as they headed back to their table. Catherine frowned, worry written on her face. “I shouldn’t have let those drunks bother me. I could have dealt with them if I had to.”


“I know you had everything under control, but what self-respecting protagonist could resist coming to the aid of his lady fair?” Vincent responded, with a twinkle in his eye. “Besides, those nearby seemed to consider it nothing more than an interesting diversion.”


When they reached their table, the pretty young woman was still standing nearby. “Wow! That was awesome,” she said enthusiastically. Then her voice took on a teasing tone as she glanced at Catherine. “I still think your costume would be a perfect match with mine.” She shrugged her shoulders. “Oh, well, you two have a good evening. And it was nice meeting you, kind sir.” Then she smiled at them both and headed back into the crowd.


Catherine looked at Vincent and arched her eyebrows. “What was that all about?” she asked as they sat down.


Vincent shrugged with a hint of a lopsided smile and a playful gleam in his eye. “She tried to pick me up while you were gone.” He picked up his cup of hot chocolate and took a sip. Someone had brought fresh cups while he had been aiding Catherine against the three drunks. “Mmmm! This is quite good.”


“You really are having a good time, aren’t you?” Catherine scowled back at him.


“Yes, I am. Try your chocolate.”


His smile was edging into a grin, and she could see the tips of his fangs peeking out. She gave in, laughed, and picked up her fresh hot chocolate.


Catherine and Vincent sat there for a while munching on their collection of snacks, enjoying their hot chocolates, and watching the other people around them. Finally, after all the snacks and chocolate were consumed, Vincent stood up, bowed, and held his hand out to Catherine. “Come, my lady, let us dance again.”


Catherine smiled back as she accepted his hand. “I would love to, kind sir.” And back towards the dance floor they went.


As they passed the table with the Oz group, the young woman dressed as Dorothy waved and called out, “Hey-there! Would you like to join us in the movie group contest?” 


Catherine looked over, did a perfect, classic, double take, and shook her head, laughing. Vincent steered them both over to the table. He nodded his head to the young woman and replied, “I am honored that you ask.” He tilted his head to Catherine. “But I am already otherwise engaged.” 


Dorothy smiled at him very sweetly. “Oh, please, it would complete our group, and the prize is dinner for six at that new movie themed restaurant that just opened on Broadway.”


The older man (Scarecrow) jumped in. “We would all appreciate it, and it would certainly improve our chances of winning.”


Catherine gave his hand a little squeeze, that familiar hint of mischief in her eyes. “We couldn’t make it to the restaurant, but it wouldn’t hurt to let them include us for the contest, would it?”


Vincent looked at Catherine and saw her eyes dancing with amusement. He also could feel her amusement tinged with slightly erotic overtones over their link and couldn’t help wondering what had produced that particular reaction in her. He looked back at ‘Dorothy’ and shrugged his shoulders. “I suppose it will be okay.”


Dorothy reached for a form sitting on the table. “Great. I just need your names.”  She looked at them expectantly.


Catherine responded. “It’s Catherine Chandler and …”  She glanced at Vincent, her eyes shining then continued, “Vincent Wells.”  Vincent could feel both amusement and a very strong rush of pride from her as she gave his name to them.


Vincent saw her write down Catherine’s name with Glenda – Good Witch of the North next to it. His own name was followed by the words Cowardly Lion.


The younger man (Tin-man) responded. “We’re glad to meet you both, and thank you.”  He indicated himself. “I am Dominick.”


The scarecrow spoke next. “My name’s Kenneth.”


Dorothy finished, “And my name really is Dorothy.”


Vincent bowed to the three. “It’s a pleasure meeting you.” He looked over at Catherine. “Now, if you three will pardon us, I believe the next dance has our name on it.” Then he directed Catherine towards the dance floor. As they approached the glass door Vincent spoke. “You certainly are getting bold.”


She looked up at him. “I don’t know why I did that, but I couldn’t resist it. There’s just something about this night that makes me feel so free and daring.” Then she giggled and smiled at him as she stepped through the door. “And I couldn’t resist the picture of you as the cowardly lion.”


Again there was that faint hint of erotic overtone coming over the link from her. Vincent noticed a distinct blush rising in her cheeks as she looked away from him and wondered – again – what he was missing. Catherine, at the same moment, wondered what Vincent would think if he realized that, in the movie, the cowardly lion was the only character that wore no clothes. Again, she felt herself blushing as they stepped through the glass door.


“Besides,” Catherine continued after a second, “they won’t mind if we don’t go to the restaurant with them. I’m sure they have other friends they would rather take.” 


Soon they were dancing in each other’s arms, and all seemed right with the world. Several other dancers smiled at them, and they both found themselves getting into the fun. The young girl who had flirted with Vincent danced by on the arm of a handsome pirate. As she passed she waved to them. Catherine gave Vincent a little nudge in the ribs. “You seem to be very popular tonight.”


Vincent smiled down at her. “If so, it is only the reflected light of your beauty that makes me so.” His words and the sparkle in his eyes made Catherine feel warm all over.


A few minutes later, as she was glancing at the other couples dancing around them, Catherine spotted Elliot having a heated discussion with the three men who had accosted her earlier. Surely Elliot wouldn’t resort to something as sophomoric as setting up a peril scenario so he could save the day. She shook her head, telling herself that she was just misinterpreting the evidence. That just wasn’t Elliot’s style. She put it out of her mind and went back to enjoying the feel of dancing in Vincent’s arms.


Dorothy and the Tin Woodsman danced close by and they both smiled and nodded to Catherine and Vincent. The sexy witch Catherine met in the elevator also smiled and winked as she danced by on the arms of man dressed as a satyr.


As the current dance ended, an announcer stepped up to the microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a few announcements for you all!” He waited for the crowd to quiet down. “First, I would like to say that this event has raised over four hundred thousand dollars for the children’s wing of Saint Vincent’s Hospital.” A general cheer went up from the crowd.


Vincent looked at Catherine in surprise. She hadn’t told him about the charity aspect of their outing, nor, he now realized, how much the tickets to this thing must have cost.


The announcer held up his hands and the crowd was again quiet. “Now for the costume contest.” Several preliminary awards were given out. There was the scariest costume that went to a very scary and realistic looking grim reaper. The most unusual costume went to a man dressed as a jack-in-the-box. The best romantic movie couple award went to her father and Kay as Ashley and Scarlett O’Hara. The best movie fantasy character group award went to the Wizard of Oz group. Catherine clapped enthusiastically as Dorothy  (her name turned out to be Dorothy Sloan) went up to collect the prize for the group. There were several other minor categories including best historical romantic couple, most authentic period costume, most realistic, funniest, and silliest costumes.


The band played a little fanfare and the announcer called out. “Now for the big moment. For the best individual costume of the night.” He waited a beat while he checked a piece of paper. “The grand prize of a two-week cruise for two goes to the Jack-O-Lantern man.” The crowd cheered.


Like everyone else, Catherine had noticed that particular costume earlier. The man wore a green one-piece suit with inch thick padded vines twisting all over the suit. There were several large leaves attached to the vines. His hands also looked like leaves. Over his head, he wore a large Jack-O-Lantern made from a real pumpkin. She knew it was real because once when he passed close she had caught the faint aroma of fresh pumpkin.


As the man, accompanied by a very pretty and sexy blonde vampire, went up to claim his prize, Catherine nudged Vincent. “Maybe you wouldn’t have had such a big advantage after all.”


After the grand prize was given out to the cheering of the crowd, the band came back out and Vincent and Catherine returned to their table, which was currently vacant and cleaned off. A few seconds later Dorothy and her two companions came by to thank them for joining her group and offered them two of the diner certificates.


Vincent shook his head. “No, you keep them. We have no need of them, and I’m sure you have a couple of friends you could share them with.”


As Dorothy and her escort turned away, Catherine’s father came up to their table. He glanced at the retreating trio, then turned back to his daughter and her friend. “Happy Halloween, Cathy,” he greeted her. “I don’t believe I’ve met your friend.”  He paused, waiting to be introduced.


Not having any way out, she performed the introductions. “Father, this is Vincent … Wells.” She wondered if he had noticed the momentary pause. “Vincent, this is my father, Charles Chandler.”


Charles held out his hand. “Pleased to meet you.”


Vincent reluctantly extended his hand. “The pleasure is mine, sir.”


Charles’ eyebrows climbed halfway to his hairline as he saw Vincent’s clawed and furred hand. After only a moment’s hesitation, he took Vincent’s hand in a firm grip. “Your costume is excellent, right down to your furry gloves. My compliments.”


Vincent relaxed a little in his relief. “Thank you.”


Charles continued. “Kay has deserted me for the powder room, so I’m temporarily without a dance partner.” He smiled at Catherine, then addressed Vincent. “Would you object if I borrowed my daughter for a spin around the dance floor?”


Vincent nodded to Charles. “Not at all, sir. Go right ahead.” Then as Charles took Catherine’s hand Vincent added, “But don’t forget to bring her back.”


With a laugh, Charles led his daughter off to the glass enclosed dance floor. Catherine was desperately trying to anticipate his possible questions and develop plausible answers. Charles expertly swung his daughter onto the dance floor, and Catherine was reminded that her father had always been a good dancer. It was he who had taught her most of what she knew.



Chapter 3 :   Family Ties


As they were dancing, Charles initiated the conversation. “How have you been doing lately, Cathy?  I see so little of you since you left the firm.”


“I know. It seems like we’re always just missing each other.” She did feel a little guilty about her part in their lack of contact. “But I’m doing great, Dad,” she added to her reply.


“How’s your job going?  Is your boss treating you right?”  he asked.


“The work is hard and sometimes Joe takes advantage of my generous nature.” She shrugged her shoulders. “But the work is rewarding. I’m very happy there and feel proud of my accomplishments.”  She smiled. “Actually, Joe is very dedicated and very supportive. He’s demanding and he pushes me to do my best, but he supports me when I need it and appreciates the work I do … He’s really the perfect boss.”


Charles smiled at her. “I’m glad to see that you have finally found what you were looking for.” He whirled her around. “And what about this Vincent fellow?” He chuckled. “I like what … little … I can see of him so far.” He smiled. “Where did you meet him?”


The question left her flustered because she hadn’t figured out how to answer that one yet, so she just blurted out. “In Central Park.”


He noticed a rather peculiar, unreadable look cross her face when she mentioned Central Park. “I could see the sparks between you two from the other side of the dance floor.” Again, he chuckled. “How serious is it between you two?”


Catherine became introspective as she considered her response for a few moments. “We’re still in the process of figuring that one out.” Then she got a look of pure mischief in her smile. “But I’m working on improving my chances of landing him.”


Charles’ eyebrows climbed as he took in his daughter’s expression. “The poor guy hasn’t got a chance.” He smiled. “It’s that serious, is it?”


Catherine’s expression became a wistful half smile. “I think it could very well be.”   She got very sober. “But he’s been hurt before, and his defenses are formidable.”


Charles understood that both her feelings and their difficulties must run very deep. He could also tell that she was reluctant to discuss it. “I wish you both luck, and remember that I’ll always be here for you if you need me … for anything.”


Catherine smiled and her eyes got a little misty as she heard the sincerity in her father’s voice. “Thanks Dad, I really appreciate it.”


They danced in silence for a while then Charles decided it was time to change the subject. He thought for several seconds, then laughed. “I don’t know if you realized it, but that little incident with the three men earlier?” He chuckled again. “I think Elliot was coming to your rescue, but Vincent beat him to it.” He shook his head. “And one of those men works for Elliot. It was funny seeing him frustrated in such an ironic manner.”


Catherine huffed to herself and then she laughed. “I do seem to have a habit of jinxing his plans, don’t I?” She thought about it. “I really don’t believe he planned it. Elliot may be devious, but he would never resort to that kind of stunt. He would consider it beneath him.” She thought about it a moment. “Although I wouldn’t put it past one of his underlings to think of it to try to gain his favor. Either way, I doubt if he is very happy about it right now.”


The rest of the dance and the next one were spent pleasantly exchanging tidbits of news and gossip about all of their friends and acquaintances from her old life. Catherine found that she was really enjoying this time with her father and was reluctant for it to end, though she was getting antsy to get back to Vincent. She was wondering if it was wise to leave him on his own for too long.


* * *


It had been a few minutes since Catherine had been taken away to the dance floor by her father and Vincent was looking out over the city. He always loved looking at the city lights at night, but he had never done it from this high up.


“Good evening. Mind if I join you?” Vincent looked up to see Kay standing at his table. “My date has made off with your date, so I thought I might sit with you till they come back. By the way, my name is Kay.” Vincent was caught off guard by her unexpected appearance, but he quickly recovered. He knew this could be tricky. He would have to be extremely careful about what he said to her.


“Please join me,” he responded, as he indicated the chair Catherine had recently occupied. “My name is Vincent.”


Kay was momentarily startled as she caught sight of his furry, clawed hand. “That is a most impressive costume you have. It looks so real, right down to your claws.”


“Thank you,” Vincent responded, as he fought the urge to hide his hands.


“Where did you find that mask? It’s incredible,” Kay said in admiration.


“Actually, I suppose you could say that I made it myself,” Vincent replied, trying to stay as close to the truth as he felt safe in doing.


Something about the way he had phrased his answer sounded a little off to Kay, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. “Well, you should go work for Hollywood as a makeup artist with a talent like that.” The waiter came by the table and Kay ordered a glass of wine. “How long have you and Cathy known each other?” she inquired after the waiter left.


Vincent was nonplussed by her question, and he replied without thinking, “About a year and a half.” Then he thought that he shouldn’t have been so accurate. In fact, it had been almost exactly a year and a half since that fateful night he had found her dying in the park.


“And what do you do when you’re not busy putting every other costume to shame?” she asked with a winning smile.


Vincent thought fast. “I teach.” Then he fired back with a volley of his own. “How long have you known Catherine’s father?”


She grinned. “We’ve been together about twelve years.” She noticed him glancing at her ringless left hand. “We are only very good friends.” There was just a hint of wistfulness in her face. “No one will ever be able to replace Caroline in his heart, though I have tried to be there when he or Cathy have needed me.” Then her face brightened. “You and Cathy go well together. I’ve never seen her so happy. Charles has certainly noticed, and I know it makes him happy.”


Vincent became a tiny bit self-conscious as he responded, “I am extremely fond of Catherine. Her happiness means everything to me. She also has spoken very highly of you and what you’ve done for her father.”


At that moment, Charles and Catherine returned to the table, much to Vincent’s relief. Almost on their heels, the waiter arrived with Kay’s wine. Catherine also ordered a glass of wine for herself. After exchanging a few pleasantries, Charles and Kay headed off into the crowd.


“That was certainly an interesting experience.”  Vincent sighed with relief.


The waiter arrived with Catherine’s goblet of wine. She took a few sips then, looking down into the glass, she spoke. “I didn’t know for sure how to answer some of his questions.” She shook her head and looked up at Vincent. “I’m afraid I told him we met in Central Park.”


Vincent sighed. “I told Kay that we’ve known each other for a year and a half.” He shook his head. “I wonder what conclusions they will come to when they compare notes.” Then he smiled, grabbed Catherine’s hand, and stood up. “Let us dance.”


Leaving her half-full glass on the table, she followed Vincent on to the dance floor. Very soon she was once again reveling in the feel of dancing in Vincent’s arms.


Midnight was fast approaching and Catherine and Vincent prepared to leave. As they stepped into the elevator, her father and Kay came up right behind them. Then the doors closed on the four of them.


“Well, did you enjoy the party?” Charles asked Catherine.


“Very much. It was actually good to see you again. Since I left the firm we don’t get to see each other often enough. Maybe we can get together next week,” Catherine replied.


“I would like that very much.” He paused, running his schedule through his mind. “But we’re completely snowed under for the next month and a half on this McMillen Industries contract case. Even our meals are turning into strategy conferences.” Charles frowned. “I’ll see if I can sneak a couple of non-working lunches in when the partners aren’t looking.”


“It’s the same thing with me. We have cases lined up like boxcars all through December and January,” Catherine responded, realizing that her schedule was as hectic as his. “After that, we could spend some time together. I know February is usually a slow month for both of us.” Catherine was hoping her father would be free then and they could really spend some time together.


Charles thought for a few seconds. “That sounds like a very good idea. Maybe we could spend a few days or a weekend out at the lake house in Connecticut together.”  He looked over at Vincent a moment deep in thought. “Maybe you could even bring your friend Vincent out there.” Charles noticed a look of deep sadness flash across his daughter’s face, then quickly disappear. He couldn’t help wondering what he had said to bring that on. He was unaware that she had contemplated that very thing just over a week earlier only to have her hopes crushed by the realities of Vincent and his tunnel community.


“It sounds like a possibility,” Catherine replied quietly, trying not to look at anyone else in the elevator.


Vincent, sensing her mood and knowing the cause, took her hand in his and gave it a gentle squeeze. She squeezed back acknowledging the comfort it gave her.


Kay, who had been looking at Vincent at this point, had noticed a flicker of pain flash across his face and the squeeze he gave Catherine's hand. Catherine's response had also sounded empty and just a bit sad to her. Maybe Charles would know what that was about.


The elevator doors opened and they exited the building. There was only one taxi currently waiting in front of the building.


“We can share this taxi,” Vincent offered, just as a second taxi pulled up to the curb.


Charles asked them, “Where are you headed?”


“We’re going to the Central Park amphitheater,” Catherine answered. “They’re putting on a midnight Halloween concert.” She had been looking forward to this since she had first heard about it.


Vincent looked at Catherine in silent inquiry and, getting an answering nod, added,  “You are welcome to come with us, if you’d like. The program should be quite good.”


“I’m afraid we’re going in the other direction,” Charles responded. “Why don’t you two go ahead and take this taxi and we’ll take that other one.”


“Are you sure?” Catherine inquired.


“We’re sure,” Charles replied. “You kids go on and have fun.” He smiled at her. “We have our own plans.”


Catherine and Vincent got into the taxi. “Delacorte Theater, driver,” Catherine told him.


* * *


As the cab pulled away, Kay looked with puzzlement at Charles and inquired, “And what are those plans we have?” She arched one eyebrow as she looked at him.


Charles turned to Kay smiling. “Not getting in the way of their time together. I think she has finally found the right one, Kay. She really looked happy.”


Kay smiled back. “I think you’re right, Charles. I do like him.” She sighed. “Any girl would swoon over that voice of his. I wonder what he looks like under all that costume and makeup.” She chuckled. “Although he does look pretty magnificent in his costume.”  She looked in the direction of the retreating taxi. “From what he told me, she must have met him right about the same time she was mugged.”


Charles looked at Kay, startled. “She told me she met him in Central Park.” Kay looked back at Charles in surprise as he continued. “She has always said that she doesn’t remember those ten days she was missing.” He looked back the way the cab had gone. “I wonder if he …” Charles shook his head, shrugged his shoulders, and taking her hand stepped over to the other taxi. Just before getting into the taxi, he took one last glance in the direction Catherine and Vincent had gone, a look of curious contemplation on his face.


* * *


After he had reached Central Park, the cab driver complimented them both on their outfits. “Those are really great costumes you both have on. That mask you've got there is so real looking. Where did you find it?”


“Thank you. Actually, I sort of made it myself,” Vincent responded with amusement. This was becoming a common refrain for him. He glanced over at Catherine, catching the smirk of amusement that flashed across her face.


“I bet your young lady there gets a kick out of it, too.” 


“Oh, I love the way he looks,” Catherine assured him as she caught and squeezed Vincent’s hand, her eyes sparkling in amusement and a hint of something more.


“I guess it was worth all of the work you had to put into it then, aye, Mister?” The taxi driver glanced at Catherine in admiration.


“Definitely!” Vincent agreed, also looking at Catherine.


“Well, here we are,”  the driver announced as he pulled over. They got out and Catherine paid him. “Have fun now, and be careful,” he called as he pulled away.


Catherine and Vincent walked over to the free concert that had already started. As they found a pair of empty seats and sat down, Vincent felt a shiver run up his spine. This was the first time he had ever been able to listen to a concert while above ground and surrounded by normal people … well, nearly normal, considering some of the costumes he spotted scattered throughout the crowd. He put his arm around Catherine and felt her rest her head on his shoulder. Everything seemed so hyper-real and yet so completely unreal at the same time. Tonight, the very air seemed to sing with magic as the music, and Catherine’s emotions washed over him.


Finally, the concert was over and the crowd began to disburse. Hand-in-hand, Vincent and Catherine walked through the park. As they walked around, one of them would comment on whatever drew their interest. Most of the time though they were just quietly enjoying each other’s company.


The area around the amphitheater was heavily patrolled by mounted police at night, so Vincent normally would avoid this part of the park, but tonight he was able to walk around openly among the other people and even occasionally exchanged greetings with one of the officers. Catherine even recognized one of the officers with whom she had dealt on a couple of cases.


The officer hailed them, so they stopped and talked for a few minutes. Vincent was a bit nervous as the officer glanced over at him several times while they were talking. The officer didn’t give him more than casual acknowledgment except when he complimented them both on their costumes. Finally, he said that he had to continue on his rounds and turned his horse back up the path he had been following. As they walked away, Catherine and Vincent both sighed with relief.


“Sorry about that, but I couldn’t just ignore him,” Catherine told Vincent.


Vincent nodded towards the departing policeman. “I don’t think we need to tell Father about that encounter.” He chuckled. “I believe it would surely give him a heart attack.”


Catherine laughed. “I think you may have a point there.”


Twice they came across lovers entwined on one of the park benches, oblivious to their passage. Both times, Vincent felt a twinge of desire wash over him, uncertain if it was coming from Catherine or himself ... or maybe both of them. They also crossed paths with several other couples out for a romantic moonlight walk. Three of those couples even had on Halloween costumes


As they were walking near the edge of the park, they noticed an all-night deli across the street. It had been several hours since they had left the party and they were both just a little hungry. They looked at each other and headed for it, intending to get a light, late night snack. As they were crossing the street, they noticed two people in cheap plastic masks enter the deli. When they reached the door, they could see that both men had pulled out knives and one of them was waving his dangerously close to an old woman’s face. She was backed up against one of the booths with nowhere to retreat to. Vincent caught a flash of fear that quickly turned to anger and determination. As he looked inquiringly at Catherine, knowing how she felt about knives, he saw her hand was already on the door. She could not just ignore the situation, especially with that knife so close to that woman’s face. He shrugged his shoulders and nodded his understanding and support to her.


As Catherine pulled open the door, they both heard one of the two shouting at the man behind the counter, “Hurry up, old man or I’ll slice her up good.” Both men turned at the sound of the bell on the door only to be faced with Vincent lunging at them his claws outstretched and his fangs exposed as he cut loose with a blood-curdling roar. Both robbers were stunned by the apparition before them then Vincent hit them both with his full weight and speed, knocking them to the ground. One of the knives skittered across the floor towards the door where Catherine stopped it with her foot. Vincent hit the ground in a roll and came up on his feet on the other side of the two. The old woman was looking at Vincent with a look combining relief and fear in equal parts. Both of the men had lost their masks and were revealed to be young teenagers. As they struggled back to their feet, Vincent raised his clawed hands and roared at them again. The boy who still had his knife dropped it, wet himself, turned, and bolted through the door that Catherine was still holding open. The other boy tripped over his own feet twice as he scrambled out of the shop. The old woman finally shook herself free of her momentary paralysis and ran around the counter into the arms of the old man.


Catherine watched the two young men running up the street for a couple of seconds, looked over at Vincent and busted up laughing. Catherine staggered over to Vincent and held on to him to keep from falling down with laughter. Soon there were tears running down her cheeks as Vincent also began to chuckle. After a couple of minutes, she got herself under control and turned to the couple behind the counter staring at them with mouths hanging open and requested a take-home box. She got a couple of napkins and the take-home box from him and carefully picked up the knives preserving any fingerprints and put them in the box.


When the old man behind the counter finally recovered his wits, he thanked them and asked if there was anything he could do for them. They each got a hot tea and they split a sandwich. All the time they were in the deli, the old couple kept peering at them from behind the counter. Vincent distinctly heard the words Creature of the Park spoken by the old woman. When they finished their little late-night snack, Catherine tried to pay for it, but the man refused her money. He told her that it was the least he could do after they had chased those two robbers away.


After Vincent and Catherine left the deli, they headed towards the other side of the park.


“What are you planning to do about those two kids?” Vincent asked.


“They didn’t really look very experienced to me. I’m going to run their fingerprints to see if they have records. If they do, I’m going to have a couple of friends of mine among the police go by and give them a serious scare. If they don’t have a record then they probably won’t try anything else for a long time, so I will probably let it drop. Give them a chance to straighten themselves out. That way there will be no questions about you to answer.”


The rest of the night they wandered the city together, enjoying each other's company and unwilling to let the magic night come to an end. Finally, as the first faint glow before the dawn appeared in the sky, they found themselves in a familiar location.


After watching the sunrise over the bridge from the same park bench as last Halloween, Vincent insisted on escorting her up to her apartment door this time. Catherine was quite happy to be able to ride up her elevator with Vincent. When they reached her apartment, she unlocked and opened her door then turned to face him. She wasn’t sure whether it was the two glasses of wine or the magic of the night that engulfed her at that moment. As they stood before her open door, she yielded to her impulse and suddenly threw her arms around his neck and stretched up on her tip-toes to give Vincent a quick kiss on the lips. She ended up putting a little more passion into it and holding it a little longer than she had intended. As he stood there stunned, she said good night and went inside.


Catherine closed her door, then leaned against the wall as she felt her heart racing and shivers running up and down her spine. That kiss had been so impulsive. She probably would not have done it if she had taken the time to think about it first. She could still feel the unique touch of his lips against hers. She felt like a giddy schoolgirl after her first real kiss. Finally, she pushed herself away from the wall and went to her bedroom. All the time she was getting ready for bed, she kept going over that kiss in her mind. As she fell asleep, she vowed that somehow there would be many more like that.


Vincent stood at her closed door for several seconds. That kiss had been so sweet and he had sensed the surprised passion that was behind it. He could also sense a kind of excited giddiness that was now coming over the link as he turned and headed for home. All the way back to the home tunnels, he walked in a daze. He didn’t come back to earth until he reached the central part of the community. He stopped by Father’s chamber and found him asleep with Brigit’s new book open on his lap. Smiling down at him, Vincent gently removed the book, closed it, and set it on the desk, then he put a blanket over Father. As he headed to his own bed, Vincent decided that tomorrow he would ask Father if they could invite Catherine to Winterfest, this year. It took a while, but Vincent finally fell asleep still thinking about Catherine’s kiss.







‘Beauty and the Beast’ and its characters are owned by Witt-Thomas Productions and Republic Pictures. No infringement on copyrights is intended. This story is presented merely for the enjoyment of fans. Original concepts and story elements may be used by other authors as long as appropriate credit is given.


Author’s Note:  Every costume described in this story (with the exception of Vincent) is based on costumes I have seen at parties with my own eyes, including Catherine’s costume (seen at a college Halloween party) and the Jack-O-Lantern man (seen at a party at my son’s day care).