Catherine stopped at the entrance of the chamber, leaning against the wall, gasping for breath. At 6 months she felt more like she was 9 months pregnant. Father had checked on her and he too was amazed by the fast growing life inside her but he remembered Jacob had been born after 6 months. Maybe this was due to Vincent’s different genes, he thought. He had not dared to tell her. He hoped Vincent would find the courage to tell her soon.
He noticed she was ok with the whole situation, although a little uncertain about her pregnancy. After the tunnel-accident in which she had lost her memory he had tried to make her as comfortable as they could, assuring her that her former life would come back to her. When he let her go back to Vincent’s room, he urged her to come to him immediately if anything was wrong.
Catherine eased off the operating table; "Yes I will, thank you." she whispered, stroking her belly softly. She bent with difficulty to grab her shoes and put them on. Completely in thought she walked away. Who was her husband? Would he be searching for her now, worried about her? She wished she could go above to find out, now that her head-wound was healing. She would ask the strange man who had taken care of her this week. Never in her life (well at least with what she remembered now) could she have imagined someone like that existed. Even in this short time she realized his life held this community together. Without them he would die…
She was still very shy around him although he had been very kind to her. ‘Vincent’ his people called him. She didn’t find him in his room so she went to the teaching room that was near his chamber. These were one of the few places she could find on her own. She had not yet met many of the inhabitants here but Vincent had told her over 50 people lived underground. At the chamber-entrance she looked inside. Vincent sat amidst a bunch of children, a book in his lap. He was reading them a story, Jane Eyre, if she was not mistaken. She had reread the story several times at High school captured by the dramatic love-story. She sat down and listened until he finished the story.
Catherine awoke from the story. Her past! She remembered her past! At least until her 20’s. She studied law, traveled to Europe for a time and then started to work at her Father’s firm. She was a lawyer! After that everything became a blur. Her Father, she had to tell him about the baby! How happy he would be! Strangely she didn’t remember anything about a relationship that could have led to this. She now uncomfortably remembered how empty her life had been. Through the dates with several men, she never had found anyone who could complete her. Even Tom Gunther wasn’t Mister Right, though her father saw him as an ideal son in law.
Was Tom the father? At what she knew of him children weren’t on his agenda. So what could have happened? Was this baby the result of a doomed relationship she had once had or did someone truly love her? A feeling of disturbance rose up inside her and made her frightened, what if she was a single mother; forced to raise this child alone?
She rose up again and stared at Vincent, now completely alone except for a little boy he was talking to. His voice had a calming effect on the child and …on her. Somehow listening to him made her feel safe again. He always seemed so caring and calm, so in contrast with his looks. She remembered from previous lessons he never raised his voice or had to get angry with a child. He seemed to have endless patience. Not that he would have to get mad anytime; the children obviously loved him and were very well behaved. They were not as brutal as the streetwise kids she remembered in the city above.
Catherine walked inside when the child was about to leave.
"Robin," his gentle voice rumbled, "you have done very well today, but try to concentrate more on your spelling". The child nodded, smiling now, this talk with his teacher had made him feel better about himself. As the youngest, (he just had become 7,) and the newest member of the group, he still was very shy and a little afraid that he would make a mistake and that Vincent would get mad at him. He was happy to find out quickly he had nothing to fear. Not with Vincent. Since Robin came from an abusive home-situation, he was extra looked after by Vincent. Vincent gave him the chance to learn to trust people again. It seemed to be working.
He gave Robin a pat on the shoulder, "See you next week. By!"
Robin tiptoed away, hardly noticing her. She walked further inside and stood behind him. "Vincent."
He turned, a little surprised he had not heard her come in. "Catherine. I…come sit down." He noticed her tired expression and grabbed another chair and offered his hand. To his relief she took it with no hesitation and he helped her sit down.
"That feels better, thank you." She smiled at him.
Vincent dared to look straight at her and saw her fear of him was gone. He was glad she had come to him. Maybe he could tell her now. …"What brought you here? Tell me what I can do for you," he whispered.
Catherine studied him for a moment before answering. He had the most beautiful blue eyes full of compassion and wisdom. Why hadn’t she noticed that before? And yet sadness seemed to be behind his smile always…She wondered why.
Vincent felt her gaze upon him and became uncertain what she would think of him but her eyes told him she cared for him. "I remember my father" she began, seeing his eyes light up, "And I know I am a lawyer, but my memory stops then. You said you knew where I live. Please, take me home!"
Vincent’s voice was very soft now. "I would like to do so, but this has been your home for the last 2 years. And your father …he died 2 years ago Catherine. He suffered a stroke."
She sat in shock. "No!" She started sobbing and Vincent felt helpless as never before. He didn’t dare to hold her yet.
When she was able to speak again she realized something; how could he know this and more important, was he speaking the truth? Anything could have happened in 2 years. She couldn’t believe she would have become a homeless person; no matter what would have happened.
Vincent saw her doubtful look. "You came to live here out of free will, not because you were in trouble/" he reassured her. "I didn’t want to withhold your former life from you but I was afraid."
Catherine locked eyes with him. "Of what?
"I was afraid that you would leave without knowing this world and me. Afraid that our secret wouldn’t be safe anymore."
Catherine calmed down a little bit. She understood him, but that didn’t explain everything. She felt exhausted after this day; it was difficult for her to concentrate on the conversation. "Will you bring me to your room? I’m tired." she asked. She saw the relief in his eyes as she let him take her arm on the way back.
Later that night she lay thinking in bed about everything. She couldn’t sleep, tossing around. When she finally slept her dreams were full of her trying to find a way out. Every-time she went home to see her father he vanished as soon as she touched him and then it was like the sky fell upon her, rocks falling on her.
Screaming she awoke, crying,.her heart beating wildly Someone was at her side holding her and rocking her in his arms. "Shush it’s only a nightmare," he whispered, holding her steady and stroking her back. "It’s over now."
She held onto him grateful that there was someone there before she realized it was Vincent.
"Yes I am here".
"I am afraid, so afraid."
"I know," he said, I felt it."
Catherine cried her heart out until she felt a little better. She now felt how soft and strong his body was and relaxed into him enjoying their embrace.
Vincent felt her heartbeat slow down and whispered: "Shall I get you something to drink?"
"Yes," she mumbled, her throat feeling raw and dry. "I would like that".
He released her gently and turned to grab the tinned metal water-can that stood at the table and filled a cup from his closet with it. "Here." He put the cup to her mouth while supporting her back.
Catherine drank the whole cup and gave it back to him. He put it on the table and came back to her. "Now try to sleep, I will be nearby" he whispered, tucking her in. Catherine’s look of fear at his mentioning going away made him dare to ask her if she would like him to stay with her in the armchair beside the bed.
"Yes" Catherine felt suddenly much safer. Vincent sat down in the big chair. In this darkness only the gleam of his eyes was visible. Like a big lion she thought, a lion to guard her. With that thought she dozed again and this time her dreams were peaceful.
Next morning Catherine sat on the bed reading. Vincent had a collection of classics and she enjoyed the ability to read so much. Somehow in her memories her time to do such things had been caught in her nervous dates with men. Anything had been better than being alone at night. She now even remembered going out with Ed to the discos and she didn’t like discos. She loved classical music. She looked around at the other side of the room: a little jukebox sat at the corner. Maybe Vincent had some records. She laid down the book and eased off the bed. She walked a few steps and then suddenly felt dizzy. She tried to walk on but her vision became a blur.
"Catherine"! Before she fell Vincent had caught her. She felt a shudder go through him as they touched. He trembled and lay her down in the bed. He sat down at the edge and stared at her in anguish. "Catherine, I felt you go! Are you all right?"
Catherine didn’t respond immediately, she had to come back a little. Her vision became clear again. She looked at him and was stricken by the worry and love in his eyes. In his panic he had forgotten to put up a mask before his true feelings for her. He took her hand and stroked it softly.
"I …I think I am all right."
He let her hand go and his gaze traveled from her face to her belly. "The baby; is it…"
Catherine followed his gaze and smiled at him: "Everything is all right." She sat up again and saw the relief in his eyes. Suddenly a thought came up: he was the baby’s father! He must have been afraid of her reaction, she realized now, afraid to tell her of their shared past, their relationship. He really loved her. He would not have taken her by force even though his looks could have given one the wrong impression. In these past two weeks she had come to know him as the most caring, gentle creature she ever met. She had lost her memory but not her intuition and it told her this man could never hurt her.
Still it was a shock; carrying his child…would it be normal? Or like him? She needed to make a decision about keeping this child.
Vincent turned to go and fetch some tea for her. She called out to him; "Please wait! I need to talk to you. "
He felt the despair in her heart and came back to her. "Tell me." he said gently, curious at what she had to say.
"You are my baby’s father aren’t you?" Half of her wanted to hear him to deny it, the other half was still unsure.
Vincent froze midway. "Yes." he whispered hanging his head, not daring to look at her. Her rejection of their child and her leaving, the chance of an abortion; it all loomed up before his mind’s eye. His first reaction was to flee but he stayed. She at least deserved the truth whatever she would do now. He took a chair and sat next to her.
Catherine beckoned him; "Please tell!" she urged.
Vincent told her about their marriage 2 years before and how amazed they had been at her pregnancy. Catherine was certain about him speaking the truth but for now she felt only friendship for him. It was hard to imagine she would have fallen in love with such a strange creature and yet...
She listened to his story without interfering and then spoke: "I need some time alone to think." she whispered. She looked at him for confirmation and saw the uncertainty in his eyes at her remark, but he nodded. He didn’t speak anymore; the rest would be up to her.
Catherine turned. "I need some fresh air to clear my mind; I won’t stay long."
Vincent knew she cared for him but he didn’t know if it would be enough. His child’s life lay in her hands now. He sat up and looked around when she was gone. Staying was useless; maybe someone could use his help. Making himself useful would probably take his mind off the fears in his heart. Making a few notes in his diary he left the book open on the table, lost completely in thought. He grabbed his cloak and hurried out of the room.
At the end of the tunnel that led to the park-entrance Catherine stood enjoying the sunlight that shone around the corner. Just standing here and feeling the soft breeze was wonderful. She really had missed that. She was glad Vincent didn’t keep her a prisoner below as she had assumed in her irrational fear in the beginning. But with her memory gone and his claim he was her husband she didn’t know when to act or to leave. And now this amazing fact: that the child she carried was his…
She leaned her head against the rocky wall. After the first shock, she put things into perspective. Although he claimed to be her husband he had not once tried to touch her that way. He slept in another room and he always treated her with kindness and respect. He had given her his room and everyone was full of concern for her health. These people seemed very poor and yet she was treated as a princess. This was going to be more complicated than she had expected. She did not want to hurt him but she was terribly afraid of the new life growing inside her. She needed to know more about him. What was he? And why had she fallen in love with such a strange being? And what made her decide to have his baby in the first place? To take that risk?
She wouldn’t torture herself any more. She stood upright. I will confront him with all my fears and then make a decision. Entering his room again she stopped, disappointed. He wasn’t there! Catherine slowly walked in at sat down at the table. In the dim candlelight it was hard too see much; most of the candles were out now. She reached for the matches at the table and her fingers encountered a leather-bound book. What? Oh. She lit a few candles anew and looked at the book. Maybe another classic she thought absently. Reading had lost its appeal for now. Reading a few lines she pulled it closer. This was his writing! Obviously he kept a diary. She closed it and looked at the cover; dairy 1990 it said. Then she put it open again and noticed the handwriting on the inside cover. Loving for always, Catherine, it spelled, 1989.
Fascinated she stared at her own handwriting. There was so much confidence in the phrase. And the book was brand new, not as old and faded as the other books in Vincent’s library. She must have bought it for him above when she still lived there. Anxiously she looked around to see if there were more like this one. On a shelf in the closet with the little elephant in it she saw several more diaries, older than this one, going back 15 years. She stood up and walked to it taking out the year 1987, which was the year, he claimed he had met her. After a hesitation she opened it and began to read.
January 14th 1987
Tonight I took a walk in Central Park and found Catherine…
Catherine looked up; eyes open. Then she continued reading. …
Obviously someone had attacked her. She has several wounds in her face and body and Father says one of her ribs is broken. I cannot understand why anyone would hurt this young woman. Father is angry because I broke the rules but if I had left her there she would have died. I understand Father’s fears but could not have done otherwise. She is still unconscious.
January 16th 1987
Father’s treatments have proved themselves; she is looking better today. Mary has washed her and helped me to put her into clean clothes. Most of her bruises and concussions have paled. This afternoon she awoke. I tried to comfort her but she is very scared. I am happy Father has bandaged her eyes too because seeing me won’t make things easier. I gave her some soup; she eats better now, but upon touching my hand she moved away scared again. I didn’t dare to stay after that.
January 17th 1987
Even when she awoke I could feel her healing. But the amazing fact is I also feel her every mood. I am usually able to detect the moods and needs of the people I love, but this is different. I can feel she trusts me. I hardly know her and yet inside I know her heart. Day by day we’re getting more connected. She has told more about her life and I have tried to tell her as much about myself as I can. I wish I could hold her close to reassure her. I dare not. She has suffered so much pain and fear. I know she feels shattered.
Father has pushed me to take her above as soon as possible. His fears linger still, anxiously as he has always been for ‘the topsiders’ as Mouse calls them. I’ve promised to bring her home when she is ready.
January 28th 1987
Today she has seen me! Somehow she got off the bandages and surprised me when I came back. I felt her fear and strength when she threw a bowl at me. I have never felt so miserable in my life as today. After fleeing out of my room in shame I stayed out of sight until I dared to open my self to her feelings. Much to my surprise she is sad, not because of herself but because she feels she has hurt me after our time together. This gives me the courage to return to my room and confront her again.
Catherine stopped reading, thinking back to her (clearly now) second encounter with Vincent two weeks ago. Her old self had had more courage than the person she was now she realized in shame. But then she had known who she was. She continued:
The way she looked at me when she pulled my hood down; when I dared to look at her again: so much kindness. She has accepted me! When I brought her back home, she turned to me and put her arms around me. At that moment I realized I loved her. An impossible relationship…I know I will never see her again. I hope she is well…
Catherine was touched by his simple words. She wondered when they had met again, if she only could remember! And the ‘bond’ he had tried to explain…He always seemed to know when she was sad or afraid, that was true. She recalled all the times he had just been there for her out of nowhere.
Upon turning the page she found a newspaper article. ‘Chandler found…10 days gone…’ Reading it quickly she looked at the date: 23 January 1988. He had told her the truth. The photo of her looked gruesome. She stopped, mesmerizing. She touched her cheek where a scare still rested. So that’s where that scar came from! Her father was a rich man Vincent had told her; he must have paid for plastic surgery. On the photo she seemed thinner too. She looked down at her swollen ankles and sighed. Reading Vincent’s journal had given her answers to some of her questions. She relaxed a little, Vincent didn’t seem to come back soon and she didn’t want to pry further into his private writings. Whatever he was, he seemed to be an honest person who cared about her deeply.
A dim light gave shadows on the wall where Vincent, Tobias and Mouse were working. They made a hole in the wall using metal axes. With the arrival of a few new members in their small community; they needed extra rooms. This one would be for a girl of 12 Doctor Alcott brought to them. She had no family left and was crippled. Father had decided she would get her own room near to his and the kitchen so she would be close to all the facilities. The 3 men looked gray from all the dust that came free. They didn’t talk. After 3 hours work Vincent felt the sweat rolling from his forehead to his neck. Still he didn’t stop. The other two had noticed his frenzied movements but didn’t comment. Eventually he would talk if he was ready. Chop! Another huge piece of rock broke lose. Although used to his inhuman strength Mouse and Tobias looked up in surprise. For Vincent it was as if he drove all his fears and worries into the wall with every hit.
He stopped for a moment to wipe the long strands of hair out of his face. Catherine! She should be back by now. He’d deliberately shut out the bond for the time being so he could think freely, but now he reached out for her again. She was ok. He sighed, relieved.
Vincent turned to Mouse "I’m going now."
"Ok" mumbled Mouse, staring after him. Vincent dropped his pickaxe in the corner and said goodbye. He went past the bathroom to take some towels with him for a steam-bath. Here below they shared all the common things. Most people below only owned their own clothes and a few personnel items. After the bath he felt a little better, but still exhausted. This day had taken its toll on him.
Somehow Catherine felt it hard to keep her curiosity in check. His simple writing really had done something to her. Very slowly she picked up the nearest journal on the table and turned a few pages back. These were more recently.
October 3th 2001
Disaster has stricken our little community today. A big part of the lower tunnels have collapsed and with it several people have gotten seriously injured or died. My heart was shattered when I learnt that Catherine was one of the injured. I was at work in the far reaches of the Crystal cave when Mouse confirmed my fears. When I finally dug out the bodies, I carried Catherine’s bruised body to my room. I could see she was alive but unconscious. Father has assured me the baby is alive and that she is ok except for a bad head-wound and concussion. I stayed with her all night. Samantha takes care of the children.
October 4th 1989
This morning when I awoke, I felt her stirring. My heart rejoices but not for long; she hasn’t stayed awake. I pray she will recover.
October 5th 2001
Father has organized a clean-up now that all the dead are buried. All the adult males of the community with Mouse in front have started shoveling dirt. I am happy Mouse is so active again, with so much energy. Jamie was one of the worst injured, but she is getting better. She has a broken a leg and I have taken it upon me to look after her beside Catherine. Twice a day I bring her food and talk with her. Mary takes care of help with bathing. Father is still very busy treating wounds, scrapes and bruises. He hasn’t talked a lot about the collapse. It’s still a mystery how it could have happened. Father has announced a council-meeting for next week to decide where the homeless will get new rooms. This afternoon Catherine has awoken. When I wanted to comfort her she moved away in fear. It is as if she doesn’t know me anymore. Father says she has suffered a head-concussion and lost her memory. I don’t know what to do. Father has taken over my caring for her. I don’t want to frighten her. I miss her. What will happen if she doesn’t regain her memory? I have never felt so alone since I met her. What will I tell Jacob?
October 8th 2001
It is no use to avoid her any longer, Father pushed me and he stays with us to make her more used to me. She is very weak and insecure. Father has won her trust and it is now clear she has lost all her memories from the last ten years. It is as if our life together was just a dream. This evening I have asked her if she would like me to read to her. Somehow this all feels like deja-vu. She agreed after a hesitation. I think she is getting bored in bed and that she longs for knowledge; who she is, were she is and what we are to her. After 2 chapters of a Winter’s Tale I can see she is more relaxed. She is dying to ask questions, but is still afraid to do so. I start telling her about myself and our community and she listens eagerly. I am not ready to tell her about our relationship although I cannot wait very long to tell her. The baby will come in a few months. She has to know the truth even though it might frighten her. When I tell her she used to be a lawyer, she is excited. I think her sense of justice is still there. She urges me to tell her more about her life above and I tell as much as I can. She’s shocked when I tell her about her father’s death. It hurts me to see her so sad and lost. I find it hard to speak any longer and leave her to her own thoughts.
October 9th 2001
This morning she was eager to see me appear at her bed. After two more chapters of Dickens, Mary has brought tea and we talked. I think the ice has been broken yesterday. She asked more questions and I sense no direct fear from her anymore only shyness. I gave her personal things; the few items she has from her former life above and hope it will bring back the memories. She’s happy with her toilet-bag and the other items but nothing rings a bell within her. When she sees the photo-album; everything from her youth comes back to her. Of course there are no photos of me or us together in it which makes her even more suspicious. She doesn’t show it. Inward I am proud of her courage. I don’t know how much longer I can convince Jacob that he can’t see her yet.
Catherine looked up surprised; Fathers first name was Jacob, but she had seen him yesterday. Who was Jacob?
May 14th 1989
Catherine has told me she’s pregnant. I’ve never seen her so radiant. I feel totally amazed and happy. I’ve never thought I would be able to give her a child at all and now this miracle. I pray everything will go all right. I feel so blessed with her. I try to keep my worries about this new life from her and hold her in my arms. After the difficult times we have endured ; my illness and her abduction, I have found new hope in the future.
Catherine lay the book down, illness? He hadn’t told her, he always seemed so strong. It was hard to imagine the big lion weak or sick.
She was disturbed in her reading by Vincent’s footsteps in the hall. Quickly she put the book back on its place and tried to look calm. She felt like a bad child. Vincent had sensed her awkwardness, but he assumed she still wasn’t totally relaxed around him so he dismissed it and bowed his head to greet her. Catherine studied him more closely. He looked exhausted and when he finally looked up, she thought she saw a tear in his eye-corner. Suddenly all her bravery was gone. What right did she have to spy in his private thoughts? The last pages had made a deep impression on her, his fears and overall sadness were clear to her. He’d given her all the chances to know him better these past weeks and now it was up to her to trust him.
"Please come sit with me" she asked gently. Vincent did so, surprised by her kindness and something else he hadn’t seen in her eyes for a long time: tenderness. He drank in her beautiful features for a moment and then looked quickly away, afraid to come to close. Then he felt her hand take his hands and stroke them gently.
She let go and continued: "Vincent, don’t worry any longer, I will carry this baby for you and we will see how things go. I am so sorry I hurt you. I…I want you to know I will try to make you happy."
She smiled at him and gently took his shoulders so he dared to look at her again. His eyes were now full of tears. "You always have, Catherine he whispered. Then she moved closer to him and took him in her arms. So they sat for a time.
Catherine felt his heartbeat slow down and suddenly realized how good it was to hold him. Her hands were in his long hair and she now felt how soft it was. She felt the strong muscles of his chest and shoulders and the soft fur on his arms. His fresh smell…Something else in her awoke. Her body responded to this intimacy. She felt her cheeks grow hot and flushed and an urge to hold him closer. Her body wasn’t the only one living a life of its own. Vincent was so relieved he let himself relax in her embrace. God, how he had missed to hold and touch her. He felt his arousal at her touch, he tried to stop it but he couldn’t help it. He did not dare to move anymore; afraid to drive her away. Shyly he moved out of her embrace, he hoped she hadn’t noticed it.
"I…I am tired" he stammered, embarrassed.
Catherine nodded, confused. These feelings… she needed some time to think. "We will talk further tomorrow" she whispered, enraptured by his blue eyes.
"Yes"…He broke free from her gaze and stood up. "Sleep well Catherine".
"Sleep well Vincent" He walked slowly away. Catherine undressed and crept into her bed. She couldn’t quite catch sleep. She had felt him respond but he had not acted upon it. He was a true gentleman. She turned and lay on her side. Her hand touched her growing belly. She stroked the skin; sometimes she could already feel the child moving. The child ; how would it look? Would it have his blue eyes and golden hair and fur or…She would have patience with this, "It will be okay, Cathy." she mumbled sleepily to herself.
She slept. She was walking on a beach, the sun shone brightly at her. Beside her was Vincent. She looked up at him; his eyes were closed and his mouth-edges were lifted in a smile. She didn’t remember seeing him so happy before or so relaxed. Behind them the sea rolled on and a breeze stirred his long hair which shone golden in the sun. They walked barefoot and Catherine felt herself looking fascinated at his furred, clawed feet sinking into the sand. He opened his eyes then and smiled at her surprised look. She looked at him as seeing him for the first time and it occurred to her that he was beautiful to her. She stopped and touched his cheek with her right hand smiling back, drawn into his innocent blue eyes. Around them the sky turned ashen and the wind grew stronger. They didn’t notice enraptured in each others gaze. Vincent reached out to stroke her hair. This time she did not hold back and moved into his arms. For a moment they were as one. The wind blew harder and faster and the sun was gone by now.
Vincent’s eyes glowed in the thunderstorm that started next. "Catherine, we have to leave this place."
"Yes." she said, holding on to him. The flash of lightening blinded her for a moment and she felt Vincent’s arms go loose. When it was gone she looked out for him but he was gone. Fear gripped her heart. Struggling against the wind, she walked on, not knowing which way to go anymore. It grew darker and darker around her and sand flew into her eyes so she couldn’t see straight anymore. "Vincent?"
With a shock she woke up, trembling and sobbing. Beside her one candle still burnt just enough for her to see her bed. She couldn’t stop crying. Vincent was gone…no it was just a dream! She pulled her hair out of her face and leaned on her hands. What did this mean? Vincent…she wanted to be near him now, safe as she had always been. Happy and…Images came up before her, lighting her face. "I remember!" she whispered. More images of their happy times together flooded before her eyes. How could I ever not love him? She mused. She pulled the covers away and walked through the corridor following the faint light that led to his room. Inside she carefully walked to his bed and looked at him. He was sleeping fast; soft roars escaped him at times. She remembered his exhaustion the evening before and drank in the sight of him being safe and relaxed. She pulled the cover aside a little aside so she wouldn’t wake him and climbed into the bed, lying beside him and laying her head on his chest. They were together again and nothing would change that she thought, smiling. His steady heartbeat lulled her to sleep again.
The next morning Vincent awoke and yawned. He felt much better and moved to turn when he felt the soft body lying against him. Catherine’s right arm lay over his chest and her head in his armpit. She was sleeping fast. Very slowly he lay back and sighed. How? He turned his head to look at her: her long brown hair was spread over his shoulder and her mouth was slightly open, she was breathing calmly. He studied her beautiful face. Very gently he stroked her temple enjoying her soft hair with his fingertips.
Her eyes opened. "Where am I? O yes!" She turned; happy green met surprised blue. Catherine took his hand into her hands and pressed them to her breast. "I remembered last night, I had to be with you again." and then she was in his arms crying and laughing in his neck. Vincent held her close to him, the enormous burst of love from her almost made him fall back again. His heart was light again and he felt his energy return. He trembled in her arms finally letting his grief out.
Later that morning when she was still lying in his arms; a small boy not older than 2 years set a few careful steps into their room. He only hesitated a moment before coming towards the bed and tried to climb on it. "Mommy." One little hand touched Catherine’s arm.
She turned, staring at him until something dawned on her; his eyes…
Vincent sat up and took the child into his arms; hugging him. "Jacob, how did you get here?"
Catherine was silent for a moment, then: "This is Jacob?…
"Our son." Vincent answered her. "He’s too small to understand what happened. Samantha was looking after him, while I cared for you."
Catherine gently took Jacob from his arms into hers and looked at the child and then at Vincent again in amazement. Jacob snuggled into her embrace while she slowly adjusted to this latest miracle. "He’s beautiful." she whispered.