"Some other time " she had said.
Vincent still wondered why she hadn’t told him what was troubling her. Her eyes had spoken to him of her anxiousness, but he couldn’t reach into her anymore to find the cause. Although reassured by her loving confidence, he felt helpless and unsure. Losing their bond had hurt him deeply, he missed feeling her love and warmth for him when they were apart. He suddenly realized how much he longed for her, to have her close with him. Now it was even more difficult to live apart from her. If only……..He let his mind wander for a short time….to be her husband and have a family of his own. Of course such a thing was only a dream. And yet….. she had spoken of gifts… Lately they were very close and he enjoyed her touch, he was happy knowing she would always love him. She had been very quiet the last few times he had seen her since his recovery, and even more radiant and gentle then he remembered.
He needed someone to talk to. He rose up from his chair and walked to Father’s room. Rounding the corridor he saw soft candlelight illuminate the hundreds of books that formed Father’s collection. Classics from Everyman’s library sat next to old paperbacks and old magazines, their subjects ranging from Biology to Literature. All the great names were there in faded gold: Shakespeare, Donne, Tennyson, Dickens and even some picture books on any subject Father could purchase. Plants, trees and other fauna, animals, architecture, Art, history and even fairytales had given Vincent an impression of the above world, when he was young. Father’s library had grown through the years to fill his son’s craving mind for knowledge of the outside world. Thanks to the helpers they had an impressive library by now.
Vincent knew he had been very lucky to have been adopted by this intelligent and loving man. Although he and Father did not always agree, they had a strong bond. He descended the stairs and saw his Father totally mesmerized in a book of poems. "Father " Vincent tapped him lightly on the shoulder "I need to talk."
Father looked up, "Of course Vincent." Sitting upright and removing his spectacles, Father motioned him to sit down. He looked at his tall son. Thankful as he had been for Vincent’s recovery, privately he still worried about him. Vincent looked rather sad these days. "Tell me" Father said, offering Vincent a cup of tea, "What is on your mind.?"
Vincent sat down and took a sip of tea before opening his mouth to speak. "I feel very peaceful the last few weeks," he began, "as if something was lifted off my mind. But at the same time I feel separated from Catherine, because of the loss of our bond…" He was silent for some time.
Father knew Vincent’s unique empathic powers had brought Catherine and his son together. Now it was gone he didn’t know how things would work out.
Vincent continued "I know our love has not disappeared, on the contrary; it has grown stronger. Last month she came to me with troubled eyes and I think she wanted to tell me something important, but when I encouraged her to tell me, she couldn’t, as if afraid for my reaction." He looked at his father again. "I don’t know what to do, I don’t want to force her telling me." He looked away sadly.
Father’s heart was full of empathy for his son. A long silence fell over the two men. "Vincent, he said finally; I think you should go to her and tell her how you feel.
"Yes, I will do that." Vincent rose slowly from his chair, he didn’t like to confront her with his private worries but it had to be done. "Thank you" he said, "I just needed to hear it from another."
Half an hour later he knocked on her terrace-door. Fortunately she was home. After a moment she opened the door.
"Vincent" she spoke happily and then embraced him. Shyly he returned her hug. She looked at him with brilliant eyes. "It’s so good to see you!" They had not seen each other for some days, her work taking a toll on her.
It felt so good to feel her soft body against his. She has gained some weight, he thought absently. Vincent let loose and studied her features closer, that look in her eyes …. he had seen it before, only he couldn’t fathom what it meant right now.
"Come" she said, taking his hands, "Come inside and sit with me."
Vincent looked surprised, he had never crossed that border before except when she had cared for him when he was ill.
"Please" her look grew desperate and he felt her hands tremble.
Vincent looked around him, and then nodded "Yes." She responded, relieved, with a smile. He let her lead him inside where he could see her bedroom and a view into the living room where several lamps were burning, showing a beautiful decorated apartment in soft colors. So like her, he thought, her warmth.
Now he thought of it, he barely remembered anything of his surroundings on his stay here. Back then he had been mostly unconscious and confused. Passing her bed he noticed several clothes, rather small, and some toys…. Maybe some gifts for the children below he thought and didn’t comment on it when she saw him glance. She turned red; how would he take it?
Walking and sitting together on her couch, she spoke; "I had hoped you would come to me tonight, I need to tell you something."
Vincent gave her a reassuring look; he was inwardly relieved she brought the issue up. "Yes, I know" he said softly, curious at her secret.
She saw him looking intensely at her and a reassuring smile lit up his eyes. That gave her the strength to begin. "Remember we talked about children, about having a family."
"I always thought it to be a dream, never to come true." Vincent looked intrigued, where was she going?
"When you became very ill I was afraid…afraid that you would die. When you retreated in the tunnels below, I followed you into the cave, I knew there was a chance that I could lose you. That thought was unbearable. Vincent," she said softly and he saw her tremble again; "I love you so much." she took his hands in hers and stroked them.
Vincent felt a shiver going through him but he didn’t move.
Catherine continued, "When I reached you, you were in a terrible state, angry and roaring. You started to attack me," at this Vincent looked up in shock, "But when I cried out your name you suddenly recognized me and passed out. We fell on the ground together and when I listened to your heartbeat it was gone. I was desperate, thought you would die, then the only thing I could do was love you….I held you in my arms and touched you…and you responded."
Vincent looked at her stunned. They had actually become lovers? A line he thought they could never cross. He gazed tenderly at her.
"Our love was very beautiful, Vincent, and it brought you back to us."
Yes, Vincent thought, she was really there for him when he needed her most, even if it would have cost her own life! Again he wondered how it was that someone so beautiful could love him, an outcast, with nothing to give her but his heart. He let her continue.
Catherine lay his hands on her lap "And now" she whispered, "I am carrying your child!"
"A child!" echoed through his mind. He remained silent for a moment. This was hard to grasp.
Catherine looked at him uncertainly; "I know I should have told you earlier, but with your memory gone and our bond lost I was afraid it would be too much for you. I have only known this for a month now, I went to Doctor Alcott; he says the baby is fine and growing fast. I don’t even know if you want this child, Vincent, but I always wanted to have your children. I only never thought it to be possible until now." She hung her head.
Vincent took her face gently in his hands and their eyes met; his were moist but smiling and incredible gentle. "I am afraid too," he whispered, "for the future of this child, but" and he took her into his arms, "you showed me a new life, you gave me everything; and now you give me a child, Catherine; that is the most wonderful gift you could ever give me; you must believe that. We will face this together." He just held her, rocking her gently when she started to sob.
"I was so afraid", she whispered into his hair, "it happened so fast; your illness, Joe being almost killed and then this new life growing in me. I didn’t know what to do. How can I keep this a secret?"
Vincent thought for a moment; "We will think of something," he reassured her, "but for now we must enjoy our time together." He lay a hand on her belly. "This child is our hope, Catherine."
Vincent stayed with her that night holding her in his arms. Lying on his back stroking her hair softly he gazed at her tenderly. She was fast asleep now and she looked so happy. He knew he would always love her. He felt a blessed man. Tomorrow he would tell Father and think of a way she could keep their secret, above. Maybe she could take some months off the cases; but it would not be easy; Vincent didn’t want her to lose her job. He slept deeply that night dreaming about children playing in the sunshine.