(This story is written strictly for the free enjoyment of fans of the "Beauty and the Beast" television series. No copyright infringement is intended.)

Sweet Release


A little still she strove, and much repented
And whispering "I will ne’er consent" – consented

- Lord Byron


Catherine found Vincent in his chamber, standing next to his bed. He had not met her at the threshold and looked slightly rumpled, as if he had been napping. He looked a little vague, as if he was still half in a dream. She hoped it had been of her, but she could feel nothing from their bond – as if he had shut it down.

She flung herself into his arms, desperately wanting that embrace which comforted her like nothing else could.

Vincent reflexively hugged her against his chest. She could feel his soft hair against her neck, knew that he had bowed his head over hers to inhale her scent, as he always did. It seemed to be an unconscious action and she loved it because it brought his mouth closer to her.

She liked the smell of him too as she put her head on his chest – a sort of spicy scent she attributed to a combination of Rebecca’s candles and the Tunnel-made soap. His own male scent was a tantalizing hint of musk that rose from beneath his many layers to his exposed neck.

She could feel his heart beating quickly against her ear, his chest muscles were tense. As she pressed herself closer, she could feel his manhood bulging against her stomach. That was a sensation she found arousing. Usually he did not let her get close enough to feel it.

He was breathing raggedly, she realized, as his fingers massaged the small of her back. She gave herself up to pure sensation then, let her love and desire for him run along their bond. She felt him shudder and a sudden maelstrom of passion and desire returned from him. Then she felt his chagrin before he quickly shut down his side of the bond. But now she knew his need matched her own. She felt a fire kindled between her legs and her crotch muscles ached and throbbed with her need for him - for something much more than a hug.

She ran her hands over his chest, felt his heat, even through the layers of his clothes and rubbed her pelvis against him again, wanting him so badly she was weak with it.

Abruptly, he let her go, moved swiftly across the chamber, left her standing abandoned, with a chill that had nothing to do with the usual cold temperature in his chamber. He stood stiff and tense, his back to her. Then he leaned his head against a wardrobe, his arms straight at his sides, his hands clenched into fists.

Catherine sagged, a frustration raging in her, desperation piercing her heart and soul. She sat down hard on the edge of his bed, suddenly unable to accept his denial and rejection - again. She shouldn’t have come unannounced, she realized belatedly.

However, her thwarted passion would not dissipate this time, perhaps because she could still sense Vincent’s own need, however much he tried to shield it from her. This time, she had felt the full power of it!

It was suddenly all too much for her, the last straw.

Her right hand, on its own volition, crept below the waistband of her pants. With a few quick strokes along her wet and swollen clitoris, she brought herself to a climax. The blessed relief washed over her in a tingling wave and she sighed softly. She had forgotten how nice that sensation was, was amazed that she remembered how, after so long. She bowed her head and closed her eyes, spent.

Then, the thought that her emotion might have been transmitted along the bond suddenly shocked through her. After all, that was why she was so out of practice! She had not wanted Vincent to feel it – as he almost certainly would.

She straightened her spine, guilt and remorse vying with a sudden desperate need to escape. She looked up and saw that Vincent was facing her, his face hidden in shadow, his arms straight at his sides, his fingers spread apart stiffly, as if in shock. Her worst fears had been realized.

She dropped her eyes quickly, hot tears falling freely. She felt shamed and defeated for succumbing to weakness.

She had to leave. She rose unsteadily to her feet and staggered towards the door, blindly, careening into something hard. It took a moment for her to realize it was Vincent, that he had moved to intercept her. He clasped her to him again, one hand pressed to her back, the other behind her neck. She didn’t dare touch him and kept her hands at her sides.

What must he think of her? She felt his hand move to the front of her neck and a soft-backed finger pressed under her chin, forcing her to look up at him. She was sure that he would never forgive her and braced herself for the harsh words she deserved.

What she saw, when she finally steeled herself to open her eyes and look at his face, shocked her. His eyes were dark with desire. His breath rasped from his open mouth, exposing his canines. Then he opened his side of the bond and it transmitted his extraordinary, undiminished love for her - and a deep, undeniable need.

He moved his hand from her chin and suddenly took her hand into his, the one she had used to pleasure herself. He drew it to his face, snuffled her fingers, then put them in his mouth, tasting and nuzzling them gently, his eyes closed.

Then he looked down at her again, a plea in his eyes. Sudden understanding dawned in her, but amazement paralyzed her. She couldn’t believe it!

Still holding her hand, Vincent moved away from her slightly, using his other hand to undo the laces which closed the flap at the top of his pants. Then he pressed her hand to his lips again, caressing her palm, holding it as if it were something infinitely precious.

The invitation was unmistakable now and Catherine found herself completely unable to deny it. Her curiosity about this part of his hidden anatomy was extreme. A thrill ran through her and she felt suddenly short of air. She breathed deeply.

Thankfully, he wore no underwear. She ran her free hand below his waistband, far down, past a soft mat of hair, far enough to cup his balls. They were large and covered with fine, velvety fur. They seemed to heat up as she explored them. She wished she could see them, but resigned herself to kneading them gently, weighing them in her hand. She heard him whuff explosively and felt his tense expectation through their bond. He held her hand tighter, his fingers locked into hers, lightly clenching and unclenching.

Catherine shifted to where his penis was struggling. She found it enclosed in a sheath, hot and swollen under her hand. Gently, she freed it from its uncomfortable curve and urged it upwards, lifting his clothes so she could lay it vertically against his belly, also covered in lovely soft fur. His penis extended and stretched almost to his navel.

He was delightfully long and thick and she sighed with erotic pleasure at the sight. Under her hot gaze, it throbbed.

She moved her hand so she could lift her sweater and press her naked stomach to his, trapping his heated organ. She rubbed up herself up and down it, felt it stiffen further, engorged.

Then she put her hand behind his penis and began to move her torso in slow circles, enjoying the heat which rose from him, felt him quiver down his length in reaction.

She moved her hand slowly up his column, massaging and stroking, until she reached the flared crown. Grasping this in a tight grip, she ran her finger around the head, massaged it, lightly stroked around the opening.

Vincent tensed against her, shuddered massively, then growled. She could tell he was close to climax. His penis was pulsing, ready to explode. She squeezed it tightly then, pulled him upward slightly. She bent at the knees so she could slide his long length between her breasts and then pressed herself hard against him.

She felt his sudden release through the bond. A white explosion seemed to flare behind her eyeballs and she gasped with his passion. Vincent growled deep in his chest and threw his head back. His juices shot out over her breasts and belly, an exquisite slick warmth that made her sigh in satisfaction and lean her head against his chest. Although he made no other sound, she could feel his roar of release through their bond, right to her bones. She held him tightly around his waist with her free hand until he calmed, spent. She felt his cheek against her hair and his soft breath on her neck.

Catherine wanted desperately to taste him, as he had her. She moved away from him slightly, clasped his free arm and captured his wrist. She brought his hand to her belly, using it to rub off some of his juices. Then she lifted his hand to her mouth, inhaled his unique musky scent, then softly licked the residue from his fingers and palm, tasting and savouring him for the first time. She turned his hand over so she could feel the long soft hair on her cheeks, then kissed his hard, deadly nails.

Vincent’s hand curled around hers softly, then he rumbled deep in his abdomen, clasped both her hands against his chest.

He pressed his face down on hers, capturing her lips in a kiss so sensual that it made her legs weak, forcing her to lean against him for support. He pushed her arms down and wrapped them behind her, lifting her slightly and pushing his mouth harder onto her own, massaging her mouth and capturing her upper lip in his cleft. She sighed with pleasure as she felt his love for her along the bond. She transmitted hers in full measure back to him.

She pressed her belly to him, feeling the slickness between them, his heat merging with hers, skin to skin. A vibration was making her skin tingle and she realized he was purring, a sensation so wonderful that she wished she had more exposed skin with which to feel it.

Vincent lifted his face off hers to look at her and she felt as if she were drowning in his eyes, now so full of sated passion that she felt a thrill down her spine.

She extracted her hands from his so that she could hug him, feel his solid body against hers through the layers.

She pulled away from him slightly and looked down between them. His penis, now retracted into its foreskin, was draped flaccid over his waistband.

Catherine sighed. He seemed completely unaware of how sexy he looked. He was the stuff of erotic dreams and Playgirl centrefolds. She just couldn’t leave him that way, she thought, suddenly possessive. What if someone walked in?

She carefully eased his organ back into his pants, repositioned his clothing and re- tied the flap.

Then her brain started to function again.

What had just happened? She had wanted his body for so long, and now he had taken the initiative in a fashion she had not considered in her wildest imaginings. He had shed his modesty and restraint. Why?

Vincent, catching her puzzlement through their bond, moved away slightly, his hands falling to his sides. He obviously reached a decision, because he wrapped his arms around her again and hugged her gently to him. His voice, when he spoke at last, his breath against her hair, was the silky whisper she loved so well, but deep with restrained emotion.

"Catherine, how can you forgive me? I did not realize the torture I was inflicting on you - or maybe I didn’t want to know. You shamed me with your guilt and remorse when you could no longer deny yourself relief, in my chamber, in front of my eyes – after I had left you in such need. Then you tried to run away, to leave me. Your self-disgust tore at me, made me loathe myself.

"I … it was too much to bear, Catherine. It broke my heart. I couldn’t let you leave like that.

"This situation was all my fault. I realized what a fool I had been to deny what I felt, what I wanted too ... but even more, what that denial was doing to you.

"I have been blindly selfish. I beg your forgiveness, Catherine. I … I can’t lose you. My life would be unbearable, hollow. I need you, like water or air.

"Whatever you want from me now is yours. I can no longer deny you anything – will not - and have no desire to."

Catherine looked up into Vincent’s eyes, stood on her toes and drew his head down to hers again, kissing him lightly, lovingly.

"Vincent, I don’t know what came over me. I was just so full of frustration, thwarted desire, terrible despair from a horrible day at the office, that I didn’t think. There is nothing to forgive. You give me so much joy, so much love … words are inadequate.

"Yes, I have wanted your body desperately. I want to make love to you for the rest of my life, but I know this is hard for you to accept, that you have fears, doubts.

"I did not mean to pressure you. Do not feel you have to accommodate my yearnings - unless they are also yours. Love-making needs complete surrender to mean anything. I do not want you as a lover unless you can promise me that."

Vincent clasped Catherine tighter to his chest, feeling as if a great knot inside him had suddenly dissolved. He was at peace with himself, possibly for the first time in his life.

"Catherine, you have proven to me, again and again, that love has no boundaries, no limits. My fears now seem those of a child afraid of the dark – pitiful in someone my age.

"You surprised me, Catherine, there on my bed. I have never seen anything so erotic - and I desired you then, beyond all reason, beyond all doubts. I wanted to ravish you on the spot - but I realized I had to let you know the depth of my remorse. I could think of only one way."

He took her left hand, the one which had pleasured him, and kissed her palm.

"Catherine, I could not have done for myself what you just did for me tonight. I have been denying it all my adult life. I had no right to expect you would want to touch me in that intimate way, to pleasure me so, when I have repeatedly denied you what you want most, so many times. You humbled me, made me realize the depth of your love for me.

"Catherine, I want to see where our love will take us now. I want to experience it with you, in full. I promise that whenever you wish, I will be your lover, without reservation.

"My body is now yours - just as my heart and soul have been since we met."

Catherine saw the truth in Vincent’s face, felt it in their bond, and marveled that such a small act of self-indulgence could have such a huge consequence for their relationship.

She felt immeasurably better now, but it was late and she had to work tomorrow.

"I must go now Vincent," she said regretfully, "but I’ll look forward to our next encounter. I could never deny you anything. My body is yours - has been yours to claim whenever you were ready. I lost my heart to you long ago.

"I’m sure you have more delights to reveal," she ended, looking at him lasciviously.

"As do you my love," Vincent responded, with an expression which made her crotch pulse.

Catherine sighed and leaned against his broad chest, closing her eyes, feeling his love blaze through their bond. She knew he meant what he said and that he would not keep her waiting. These next few days were going to be hell. She was tempted to phone in sick, but knew she couldn’t leave Joe in the lurch like that. However …

"I can clear my calendar this weekend, beginning Friday night," she whispered.

"Then expect me Friday on your terrace, the moment it’s dark," he whispered back.

She looked up at his face and saw the promise there.

"Good-night, Vincent. I think I would like to walk back on my own."

"As you wish, dearest Catherine. Good-night and sleep well."

She smiled and left him, walking as if on air, hardly noticing the long route to her threshold, almost sleepwalking up to her apartment. She was relaxed in a way she would not have thought possible. She heaved a sigh of contentment.

She felt as if her heart had been grinding, noisily banging about her ribs for years - and that she had only now realized it because it had found its rhythm, beating in harmony with the man she loved.

In his chamber, Vincent undressed and slid under the covers. He sensed Catherine doing the same and they fell asleep at the same time, physically apart, but joined with new promise.