The Watcher – first scene
The night sky glittered with a vast blanket of stars but the balcony outshone them all. It shimmered with a warm golden glow cast by a constellation of twinkling candles. Inside, past the balcony doors, more tapers flickered in the shadows and in the fireplace a cheerful blaze radiated comforting warmth and wrapped the room in a cozy closeness. Catherine was lighting the last few candles, when a soft smile graced her lips. Tonight, we will move toward love.
Catherine had taken special care to prepare the intimate atmosphere for the evening. She had also spent a great deal of time perfecting her appearance. Her honey colored hair was simply styled, falling to softly caress her shoulders. Her makeup, though understated, enhanced her natural beauty. The dress she had finally chosen to wear was both elegant and enticing. Completely modest in the front, the back was cut deep to the waistline. Slipping it on earlier, she had shivered at the thought of Vincent’s gentle touch on her warm bare skin.
As she blew out the long slender taper used to light the countless wax pillars, she felt a faint stirring deep within her soul. Vincent. Catherine turned toward the open balcony doors and there, just where she knew he would be, stood Vincent.
Her face reflected all the wonder and love she felt for this extraordinary being. She wanted to fly across the unbearable distance that separated them and fling herself into his waiting arms. Instead she cloaked herself in calmness, walked across the room and stepped out onto the balcony.
Standing face to face, no words were necessary. Their eyes spoke of their love, their need, their hopes, and their dreams.
“Two years ago…tonight,” she said, gently breaking the silence. Those four little words released a flood of memories. It was the night that changed their lives forever, the night they celebrated this evening.
Vincent had felt Catherine’s joy and anticipation all day. He had also been aware of an underlying hesitancy, a slight nervousness. Now, glancing past her shoulder and seeing the carefully decorated and candlelit rooms, he understood her feelings of trepidation.
When his gaze shifted to the apartment, Catherine dropped her eyes. Vincent always refused to cross the balcony threshold. He never wanted to intrude into her world, a world so different than his own. But tonight…if only he would take one small step forward…
Her hopeful green eyes met and held his crystal blue orbs. “I thought maybe we could go inside…by the fire?”
This time it was Vincent who felt the need to lower his eyes. He knew beneath that simple wish there were more complicated desires. A light rocking of his shoulders from side to side mirrored his indecision. He looked up and encountered her serene countenance.
“It’s warm,” she gently pressed him, sending all of her love flowing along the bond.
Vincent held her gaze a moment longer before once again glancing away. Suddenly within his mind he heard the soft echoes of Catherine’s voice. “Vincent, we can’t waste it.” “ It wasn’t courage Vincent, it was love.” “I would sacrifice everything for you.” “There is no darkness Vincent, when you are with me.” “You deserve everything.” “These are my hands.” “Still, he was the greatest knight of all.” “I’m not scared.” “Don't be afraid to want it.” “I love you.” “Will we ever be truly together?” …
Shifting his weight, Vincent gathered all of Catherine’s love close to his pounding heart. The decision made, he looked directly into her hope-filled eyes and took a small step forward.
Suddenly, Catherine's phone began to ring.
to be continued…
April Twelve’s sequel:
Catherine started, and Vincent stopped - darn! That's what she'd forgotten to do… unplug the phone. And she had had it in mind, just before he'd arrived. Another ring, and her recorded voice started to recite the message.
No, not tonight. Tonight is ours. World, please stay away. With a small apologetic smile, she backed inside the apartment and reached the small table where the answering machine babbled. She bent, and, unceremoniously cutting off her own voice, she unplugged the device. Aware of Vincent's gaze upon her, she slowly and deliberately put the wire and plug on top the phone, and lifted her head, to look at him. Then, unhurriedly, she returned to him.
“As I was saying, it's warm… and now, it's also quiet,” she said with a little, hopeful smile.
He couldn't help smiling in return, dropping his eyes for a moment, and when he looked at her again, it was clear that he had not changed his mind.
The relief he felt in her was surprising and flattering, but he had no time to ponder it, as with a smile of pure delight she turned and preceded him into the apartment, and the sight of her bare back for a moment swept off any other thoughts.
Catherine stopped just below the two steps leading to her living room, to welcome him with a radiant smile, and at last, as she had so often imagined, in so many different scenarios during her unbridled daydreaming, he took that step and entered her apartment. Not to rescue her. Just to stay with her.
He was in her world. He had crossed that threshold, and stopped, uncertain, looking around. The room was dark, and the warm glow of the flickering candles and of the flames in the fireplace had transformed this corner of her universe into something welcoming, comfortably resembling his own world. He turned to look at her.
“Yes… it's warm. And beautiful. Thank you.”
“Thank you, Vincent. For these two years.”
He shook his head lightly. What words to offer, to tell her what those years had meant to him? But she had already stepped in front of him. “Yes, it's warm enough here…” she said with a teasing, smiling look, leaning against him, and her hands were on his chest, close to the cloak fastening, “… would you take your cloak off?”
The enticing thought of her bare back flashed in his mind, his hands itching to… why did she wear that dress tonight? A hug was out of the question. No… not… yet. He covered her hands with his own, and lightly caressed their backs. Then, fascinated and terrified at the same time, he realized that he was taking her hands and putting them on the clasp of his cloak. He didn't have time to think, What am I doing? I am inviting her to… because a surge of joy, of her joy, at the intimate hint enveloped him, and, after a moment, she fumbled with the cloak fastening. He could feel her hands trembling a little under his, which still could not help continuing to caress the backs of …
The door bell rang, harsh and loud.
“No, no, NO!” she growled, actually growled, as her forehead fell against his chest and her hands became two fists.
For a moment, they stood absolutely still, the thought crossing both their minds that her world was conspiring to keep him out. The door bell rang again, louder and longer. Catherine raised her head to look at him. “Vincent, I… I'm sorry… this is not…”
I should go… Say the words, you know you must. Simple words, he had said them before. But she had worn that dress for him… he didn't want to go…
Again the bell rang.
“Maybe I should…”
“NO! This night is ours!” she snapped, the whirl of her distressed emotions engulfing him.
“Miss Chandler?” the female, piercing voice came through the door, while an insistent knocking accompanied the calling.
“Shhh! She's my neighbor….” Catherine whispered, turning her head toward the door.
They both looked, fascinated, while a piece of paper was slipped beneath the door, and then silence fell again. Vincent's hearing could perceive the steps of the woman going away. The relief he felt was overwhelming. And surprising.
Releasing a deep sigh, Catherine turned to look at him again. “Maybe next year we we'd better celebrate Below….”
“I hardly believe we would have a quieter celebration, but I love those two words,” he replied with a little smile.
She tried to say something tender, or witty, or just sensible, but then gave up and just looked at him, and they both smiled, lost in each other's eyes. The almost overpowering emotion pushed Vincent to break the silence, with the first thing he could think of. Casting a glance to the piece of paper peeking beneath the door edge, he asked “Don't you want to look at it? It may be something important.”
But Catherine was not willing to let the precious moment fade away for anything on earth - let alone yet another of the countless petitions for or against her neighbor's likes or dislikes. “Everything important to me is here…” and disengaging her hands from his, she put her arms around him and laid her head on his chest, looking up at him.
His heart began to race. Her eyes were tender, inviting. His arms, his hands were begging him to let them go and embrace her, to caress that nude back, that woman who adored him, as her intoxicating feelings were telling him in no uncertain terms. No, not yet. But… her mouth was there. Waiting for his. Yes, waiting for his, he could not pretend not to sense it. It was different, it had fangs, it was not a human mouth, but she wanted to feel it on hers. Yes, she did. She had thanked him for these two years…
His hand slipped into the silky mass of her hair, and he cradled her nape, while his other arm encircled her shoulders. And then, while his unfastened cloak at last slipped from his own shoulders and fell at their feet, he released his mouth to follow its will.
Even more than the exquisite feeling of her full, soft lips, it was the explosion of joy he felt in her that shocked him. As his lips tenderly brushed hers, caressing and loving that so much dreamt of mouth, he savored that joy, the joy he was giving her. It was overwhelming, incredible.
He had to pull back to look into her face. It was the face of ecstasy, mirroring the ecstatic feelings he could feel in her. The eyes almost closed, the lips slightly open, waiting for more, for more, please. And he had waited two years to give her this joy?
Again, his mouth took hers, more deeply, more tender and more passionate, following the safe beacon of her joy which taught him what to do, how to kiss her, how to move his lips and tongue, pleasing her as much as he could, until her knees gave away. He quickly scooped her in his arms, and with a few steps he reached a couch and sat, laying her across his thighs, her head in the crook of his elbow, and hurriedly bent to kiss her again and again, the urge to feel her joy at his touch too imperious.
She had buried her fingers in his mane, and he caressed her arm, still not daring to allow his hands to slip beneath and caress that bare back, which he felt was waiting just for his touch. No. Not yet. And their mouths spoke with abandon the tender language of love, which needs no words.
But some words did need to be said.
“I love you,” he whispered at last against her mouth, each word a caress on her lips.
The joy in her erupted anew.
“Say it again…”
“I love you…”
“I love you…”
“Aga--” but their mouths needed one other, they had their own language: the words, the tender words, were cut short.
The bliss was dizzying. Catherine never thought she could be so happy. Vincent was there, he was in her, with her, for her. His mouth, his warmth, his love, his arms, his scent, his hair… she was buried in him. His kisses gave her a pleasure she could never have dreamt of, and she drowned in the deep, unbelievable feeling of his love, of his unequivocal surrender to the evidence of their love.
He slowly released her mouth, and rested his forehead against hers. “Tell me…”
She weakly smiled, still brushing her lips against his. Yes, she wanted to say something. “Vincent… I… I never felt you this way.”
It was Vincent's turn to smile.
“You are not just kissing me… It's almost as if… as if you were inside me… inside my mind… inside my heart…”
His tender smile, which she could feel rather than see, became even more tender.
“Is this the way… the way you feel me?” she whispered. “Are you allowing me… to… ”
He closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. When he opened them again, the look on his face was one Catherine had never seen before. And then, slowly releasing the sigh, again he closed his eyes, and she was inundated by a tidal wave of love, gratitude, happiness, wonder, an exhilarating ocean she drowned in. Vincent had opened his heart.
Catherine was ecstatic. Trembling, she hid her face between his neck and shoulder, holding him tight, and absorbed the flood of Vincent's inebriating emotions, discovering at last the wonderful side of his love he always was careful to keep secret.
With tears in her eyes, she finally pulled back, to look into his face, almost shy now. “Vincent...” she managed to murmur, with a shaking voice.
“Yes… yes.” he replied to her unasked question. Yes, I love you so.
“Ki… kiss me. Please kiss me…”
His mouth took hers again, and again, and again… her entire self was focused there, welcoming him, his exquisite tongue, his soul, his heart, and acutely feeling his ardent need, his desire to please her, nothing else but this burning urgency.
But in the rapture of delight, something was missing. Something important. No. This was not right.
She closed her eyes at those words, a fresh flood of exultation invading her. But she had to say it anyway.
“I never thought it was possible to be so happy.”
“Yes… I can feel it. It's… inebriating.” The new, low, enamored tone of his whispering voice was another wondrous surprise.
“I'm not giving you the same joy.”
He pulled back a little. The tender little kisses exchanged amidst these words stopped. He looked at her, a wondering look in his eyes.
“You know what I mean, Vincent, don't you?” she asked, caressing his chin with a finger, but also preventing him from diverting his head, his eyes… as he wanted to do.
“I want to feel your pleasure, Vincent,” her hand caught his cheek, his chin, and her eyes looked deep into his. “You are kissing me only to give me pleasure.”
“This joy I feel is much more than I ever dared to…”
“You're holding back. Why, Vincent?”
He closed his eyes.
“Vincent, I'm your woman, you're my man. Now… we both know it. I want to love you like you love me.”
Vincent released a heavy sigh, and leaned back against the couch back.
“I don't want to just be adored, Vincent. I want to adore you as well.”
He lifted his head to look at her again. She touched his mouth with her fingers.
“Please… please kiss me and find pleasure in it. You aren't. You're just drinking in my pleasure.”
They held the look for a long time. The emotions raging in both of them filled the void left by the unspoken words.
“Please, Vincent… please, my love… I'm yours….”
And again, he bent to kiss her. He took her mouth and his tongue again filled it, and suddenly, a dark, sensuous stream licked the border of her soul. A sensation that made her feel woman, female like never before. Mesmerized, she basked in that unbelievable feeling. He stopped, released her mouth and took a deep breath, and another, and another, without leaving her lips. And then, changing angle, imperiously he entered again, mastering her mouth, tasting her tongue with slow, deliberate sensuality.
She was almost beyond thought. This was the side of Vincent she knew was there, which she wanted to get to know, to bring to light and worship. She was weak with bliss, completely lost in him, and if before the joy was overwhelming and all encompassing, now she slowly, delightfully began to feel the heady stir of arousal. The dark, velveteen stream of his pleasure engulfed her, and he again left her mouth to breathe heavily, while she drank in his burning breath and offered him her open mouth, begging him to… Suddenly, he raised his head, and a low, roaring sound escaped from his throat.
It ended with a strangled noise as he abruptly took her shoulders, moved her off his lap and stood, taking several quick steps from the couch.
“F-- forgive me”, he said, panting and leaning against the mantelpiece, his hands gripping the stone, his head dropped between his arms.
Disoriented at the brusque interruption, still dizzy with the wonderful feelings he had given her in those few precious moments, Catherine felt almost painfully the lack of his arms around her, of his mouth against hers, of his soul caressing her soul. She stood as well, a little unstable.
“You did not know what you were asking for, but I did, and I was foolish enough to…”
“Please, Vincent, what are you saying?”
He turned. A haunted look in his eyes. “Catherine…”
He could not bear to look at her. He turned again, once again leaning to look at the embers dying in the fireplace.
“Vincent… I… I liked what you were doing. Very much. You must have felt it…”
A long beat.
“And I felt that you… liked what you were doing. That’s what I… what you…”
“Catherine!” he raised his head and her name was almost a cry. “You don't know what you’re asking!”
“Tell me, Vincent… please,” she said, standing behind him, wishing to hug him and not daring.
“You were not… frightened?”
“Catherine, I roared!”
“Yes, you did. I found it… exciting.”
“Exciting.” Again, he dropped his head. “What if next time I do something you won't find… exciting?” he added, in a tense, low tone.
He turned, mane flying around his head in the rapid movement. “Yes… yes, you are my woman. It's incredible, it's beyond my wildest dreams, I never thought I'd come to say these words, but I cannot deny what I see in your eyes, what I feel in your heart, what I taste in your mouth. You want to be my woman. But…” and again, he closed his eyes and turned to escape her gaze.
“How can you say… that I am… your man? Are you so sure that I am a man?” he said slowly.
“No, wait.” He turned and looked into her eyes, his words tumbling, his hands frantically twisting against his chest. “I love you. I love you so much that I'm almost afraid. You are my life, my everything… yes, I allowed myself to kiss you, and the pleasure I've so incredibly given you is filling my senses and that must be enough for me. I don't dare to look for more, because… because… if… if… you… if I should… this time I just roared, but… what if I do something that you find disgusting? I don't know how I would react if I… if I allow myself to… to…”
“Catherine!” the desperation in his voice startled her, the flooding, harsh emotions filling her soul. “If I should feel any repulsion in you, for what I am, for what I do… I'd die.”
No exaggeration, they both knew it. He stood in front of her, a begging, burning, vulnerable look in his eyes.
She released a long sigh, closing her eyes. Thank you. Thank you for saying this, at last. “Please Vincent... please, hold me.” He took a step, and engulfed her in his arms, laying his head on hers, and both let their emotions flow freely between them. No, they would not allow their love to go back. They were moving ahead: they wanted to.
“Why did you wear this dress tonight?” he asked softly, stopping to struggle against his strong-willed hands. He had chastely laid them on the sides of her back, but he had been unable to stay completely away from her warm, smooth, soft skin, and the feeling was heaven.
She turned her head up to look into his eyes. “What do you think?”
“Catherine, I'm frightened.”
“You once told me that we would be truly together only when we understood how great our fears are and how great the sacrifice.” She smiled. “The sooner we understand, the sooner we'll be together.”
“There is no end to your courage, my love?”
“Not if you call me that.”
“I love you, my love.”
She smiled, and rose to her tiptoes to place a small, tender, moist kiss on his mouth. “I love you too.” And again she briefly kissed him, “and I want to love you.”
She lifted both her arms, and encircled his neck. No way to avoid her back now, and his arms crossed to hug her, his hands lightly resting on the edge of her dress, very still, very aware of the warm smoothness a few inches away. She kissed him. She caressed those unusual lips with her tongue, tracking the contour of his mouth and savoring every sensation she felt in herself and in him, secretly smiling at his struggle to maintain control of himself and his feelings. But he had no time to survey and restrain them -- it was a veritable attack, to which she felt he wanted both to resist and to succumb. She teased his tongue with hers, in a delightful moist duel which she pretended to lose, only to invite him into her mouth to explore the shrine of the treasure he had won. He could not help softly roaring his victory, and had no time to wonder if she… because she was already sucking his full, luscious lower lip, and slipping her tongue into the mysterious cleft of the upper one.
Abruptly, with a sudden, exhaled “Aahhh…”, Vincent raised his head, subtracting his mouth from the sweet aggression. But not letting her go.
There. The surge of keen pleasure she had felt in him was deliciously telling. She inwardly exulted. Gotcha! The cleft, mm? Let's see now who gives pleasure to whom… Believe it or not, I think we’re going to love your differences….
Smiling - no, grinning - she waited for him to again lower his head, which he did, with a defeated, expectant, almost humble look on his face. She looked at him through half closed eyelids, and graciously accepted his surrender, when he again offered her his slightly open mouth, begging without words for her tongue's ministrations.
She briefly licked his cleft, and again the reply was a swell of pleasure and a sharp inhalation. Against his mouth, she murmured, “I intend to make you roar, my love… and I will be very disappointed if you don't…”
His reply was the warm, deliberate touch of his hands placed wide open on her back and slipping slightly down inside it, to caress her waist, to pull her fully against him, and it was her turn to take a sharp breath.
“I like this dress…”
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