Halloween

Allison Duggins

Catherine had been running in and out of the office all day doing odds and ends for Joe to finish up on a couple of cases. A warm breeze was blowing through one of the windows.

"Indian summer is a little early." Catherine commented as she finally sat down at her desk for the first time since she arrived at the office. She sat with her head in her hand when suddenly her phone began to ring.

"Blast! What I wouldn't give for 5 minutes peace in this place." She complained as she reached for the phone.

"Hello? Catherine Chandler."

"Cathy? Hi. It's Jenny."

"Jenny! Am I glad to hear your voice."

"Joe been running you ragged again?"

"Yes, he has. Anyway, what's up?"

"What are you doing for Halloween? Do you have any plans?"

"Yes, I have plans but thatís besides the point. What's up?"

"I'm having a get-together and I really want you to come. I've already asked Joe and he's coming. Nancy and her family are coming too."

"I don't know, Jen." Catherine stopped in mid-thought, remembering the Halloween party she went to with her father. Could she convince Vincent to come with her?

"Cathy? Are you there? No excuses. Why don't you bring him along?"

"Who?"

"This mysterious someone I keep dreaming about."

"Jen..." Jenny's sixth sense always caught Catherine off guard.

"Don't play games with me, Cathy. I've known you had someone special in your life for a long time, so you might as well bring him along and finally introduce him to your best friends."

"I'm not sure if he'll come but I'll ask him." Catherine said recovering her composure.

"Ok, I'll see you later. Maybe we can grab a late lunch or early dinner together."

"See ya later then, Jen. Bye."

Catherine started to scribble a note to Vincent when suddenly she heard her name from across the room. She looked up from her note and was surprised to see Kipper and Geoffrey coming toward her.

"Kipper, Geoffrey. What brings you two here? Nothing wrong, I hope?" She asked with concern.

"No." Kipper said. "Vincent asked us to bring you a message and this." Geoffrey pulled a rose from behind his back and gave it to her with a smile while Kipper handed her the note. Vincent's note was short.

"Catherine,

I felt your fustrations all day. Hope all is well. Know that I am with you always. Forever. V."

Her eyes filled with tears as she hugged both boys and told them that she was fine and to tell him she would see him soon. After they left she sat back in her chair, deciding the best way of asking Vincent about Jenny's party.

Later that night, Catherine was waiting on her terrace when she felt a soft tug around her heart and a warm presence gently wrapped his arms around her.

"Vincent." She whispered as she leaned back into his broad chest. "I've missed you."

"I've missed you too, my Catherine." He whispered into her hair as his embrace tightened.

"I have something to ask you but..."

"You know you can ask me anything, Catherine. Tell me."

"My friend Jenny is having a Halloween party and she'd like for 'us', she emphasized the word, "to come. When she asked me, I hesitated. She told me 'No excuses. Why don't you bring him along.' Vincent, Jenny's known I've had someone special in my life but she had never asked me about you. I would really like for you to meet her and my friend Nancy. Joe's invited too. I wondered if maybe..."

His mind reeled with the possibility. He remembered the party where he met Bridgett O'Donnell and how no one even glanced at him other than to remark about his "extraordinary costume". Nor as he and Catherine walked the streets of the city.

"Yes, Catherine. I would like to meet Jenny and your other friends. I want to attend this party with you."

She turned and looked up at him and smiled.

"Catherine, you ask so little of me and my world. You offer so much. At times I've wished you had someone to share our secret with. Maybe Jenny and Nancy could be those people for you. Maybe even Joe."

"Oh! Thank you, Vincent. It would be nice if they knew.

"I just hope they understand about me."

"Know this though, you are all that matters to me, Vincent. For me, there can never, never be anyone but you. You must believe that. You are my life, without you there is nothing."

There was a glint in his eyes that she couldn't quite figure out. His arms felt so safe and secure, she never wanted to leave his embrace.

"I believe that now, Catherine. I do." Sighing softly, "I must go." He whispered with regret. "But...''

She looked up at him with a curious look, their faces so close they could almost touch. Vincent dared to do that which he only dreamed about. Gently he lowered his head to hers and caressed her lips with his own. When he released her and looked into her emerald eyes, he was glad to see the look of delight that sparkled there. With that, he quietly slipped over the edge of the terrace and vanished into the night.

Catherine touched her lips, remembering Vincent's gentle touch and was a little shocked that he initiated the kiss. Just one shy kiss and she was hopelessly hooked.

Vincent paused on the rooftop, surprised at himself for initiating the kiss between them. He marveled at how soft her lips felt and felt Catherine's delight at his boldness.

The rest of the week passed in relative silence but with so much work for both of them, there was no time for either of them to repeat what happened on her balcony. While working in one of the lower tunnels, Vincent paused as he remembered the boldness he felt when he kissed Catherine's soft lips. Like Catherine, one kiss and he was also hopelessly hooked.

Mary noticed the far-away look in Vincent's eyes as she passed the work detail to tell them she brought lunch.

"Vincent? Vincent?" She touched his shoulder gently.

Startled, he looked to see Mary standing next to him.

"I'm sorry, Mary. Did you say something?"

Mary laughed. "You seemed so far away, Vincent, with a curious look on your face." She beamed at him. "Did something happen between you and Catherine last night?"

He shyly answered. "Yes, I kissed her."

"Well! Its about time."

He hung his head while Mary continued.

"Vincent, I'm glad you finally kissed her. We all know how much you love Catherine and how much she loves you. I'm just surprised it took you this long to realize that you two belong together. Believe me, Vincent, I'm happy for the both of you. We all are."

"Thank you, Mary. I'm just not sure what happens next or what to expect."

"Don't worry about it, Vincent, when the time is right, you'll know what to do."

"You really think so?" He asked.

"Trust yourself, Vincent."

Finally Halloween arrived with the rustle of leaves blowing across Catherine's balcony. Tonight she would be able to introduce Vincent to Jenny, Joe and her other friends. Maybe, just maybe she might be able to coax Vincent into kissing her again. Little did she realize that he had the same thoughts about her when he awoke that morning.

As Catherine got ready to go to work, she glanced at the costume she picked out for Jenny's party. 'Costume' wasn't exactly the right term she thought as she picked up the tunnel dress that Mary had made for her.

"I wonder where Mary got the material. Its beautiful." She said out loud as she fingered the light blue silk of the dress. "I hope Vincent likes it." She thought to herself.

As Catherine hurried off to work, Vincent was in his chamber trying to decide what to wear for the party. After a few minutes, he decided on the outfit he wore at Winterfest. "Catherine always thought I looked good in this." He said out loud.

"Catherine would like you in anything, Vincent." Pascal said from the chamber entrance.

"Pascal! What are you doing here? Is anything wrong?" He grasped his hand as he walked into the room.

"I wanted to see if you could help me in the pipe chamber if you're free?"

"Of course, Pascal." He placed the outfit on his bed. He picked up his cloak and followed his friend out of the chamber.

Hours later, Vincent and Pascal took a break from their labors.

"Pascal, can I ask you something rather personal?"

"Sure, Vincent. Go ahead."

"Um...um...I'm not sure how to ask this?'

"Is it something about you and Catherine?"

Vincent shyly nodded his head yes. "Do you think the others would approve if I..." He trailed off, too shy to continue.

"Approve of what, Vincent?" A wide smile showed on his face. "Are you thinking of asking Catherine to marry you? Its about time and the others would agree with me."

Vincent's head snapped up in surprise. "How did you know?"

"I think everyone would be thrilled with the idea. You and Catherine belong together. You won't believe the plans..." He trailed off, realizing he said more than he should have.

"Thank you, Pascal. You gave me something to think about. Please don't say anything to anyone."

"All right, I promise, but I want to be one of the first to know after Father of course. Come on, lets get this job finished so you can go to that party with Catherine."

While they finish their work below, Catherine and Joe are going over some minor details on a case that Catherine just finished.

"That wraps it up, Radcliffe. Good job."

"Thanks, Joe." She said as she picked up the file.

Suddenly there was a knock on Joe's door and Moreno walked in. "Cathy, I'd hope I would find you here. Sit down. I've got some news for you." They both sat down as Moreno leaned against Joe's desk.

"I just got off the phone with the mayor. He asked that you, Cathy, head up a new division the city wanted to implement. Its for battered women and abused kids. You'll be handling everything from counseling services to court appearances."

He smiled at her shocked expression.

"Thatís right up your alley, kiddo." Joe said.

"I'm flattered." She managed to say.

"You deserve it." Moreno said with a smile.

"How long will it take the mayor to implement this?" Catherine asked as he looked at her.

"At least two weeks to a month. In the meantime, I want you to take a couple days off and when you come back, I want you off the streets. You've had too many close calls in the past. I don't want to lose you but I'd rather lose you to the mayor than to some street punk or worse."

"Here, here." Joe said in agreement.

"You'll be up to your neck with your new responsibilities once the mayor's program is announced." Moreno said with a smile.

"Joe, if you need me, just leave a message on my answering machine and I'll get back to you." Catherine said as she got up to leave.

"Ok, Cathy. I'll see you when you get back on Monday."

As she headed out, Joe yelled as he ran after her. "Hey, I'll see you at Jenny's tonight."

She smiled at him. "Ok, Joe."

"Congratulations." Joe said as he shoved her out his office door then turned to speak to Moreno.

She went to her desk, picked up her purse and briefcase and walked toward the office door, saying goodbye to Rita as she passed.

"Congratulations, Cathy!" Rita said. "I heard about the good news."

"How did you find out before I did?"

"I have my ways." Rita smiled with a wicked grin. "Have fun at the party tonight."

Catherine left with a smile and hurried home to her apartment. Vincent sensed her safe arrival and continued with his preparations for the affair tonight. Catherine had asked him to meet her at 7pm. She glanced at the clock and saw she had an hour and a half before Vincent would arrive. She showered and began putting on her outfit and fixing her makeup for tonight.

Vincent was on his way to Catherine's when a message came over the pipes for him. Kim, a helper who ran a florist shop near Catherine's apartment had asked to see him. He entered Kim's shop through the secret entrance and softly whispered her name.

"Your message said you wanted to see me." He smiled at her.

"Vincent, thank you for coming." Kim told him. "I heard you and Catherine are going to a Halloween party. I have a gift for Catherine in honor of your Halloween date." She brought from behind her back a beautiful bouquet of red and white roses for him.

"Kim, they're beautiful. Thank you." He said with a slight blush to his cheeks.

"Hurry up or you'll be late for your date." Kim smiled at him and put the flowers in his hands.

He went back through the entrance and made his way to Catherine's building. As he hesitantly walked toward the front door of her building, the doorman inquired about which apartment he was here to see.

Vincent replied "Catherine Chandler."

The doorman opened the door for him. "She is expecting you, sir."

He made his way to the elevator where he overheard comments about how fantastic his 'costume' was. He grinned shyly in spite of being nervous as he entered the elevator and rode up to Catherine's floor. He walked to her open door where a vision of blue silk was waiting for him. Slowly she stepped aside as he entered her apartment.

"The doorman told me you were on your way up. I could sense you were near though."

"These are for you, a gift."

"Vincent, they're beautiful. Thank you." She placed the bouquet on her mantle.

"Catherine, you're beautiful." He whispered as he gathered her into his strong embrace. He looked into her eyes as he leaned down and pressed a gentle kiss. His arms held her steady as her legs gave way.

She recovered her composure as she held onto him. Reluctantly he released her and she went to the couch where her wrap was.

"Are you ready for this?" She asked.

"Yes, I am." He replied as he helped her with her wrap.

Together they left the apartment and made their way down to the lobby. The doorman informed her that the carriage she requested was waiting. There at the curb was a white carriage with two white stallions in the lead. Vincent looked at the carriage with delight and was surprised to hear the driver address him by name.

"Vincent, are you ready to depart?" The driver said as he stepped down from the carriage.

"Devin!" He exclaimed as he recognized his brother.

"None other." He replied as he embraced him.

"What are you doing here? How...?

"Chandler here," he embraced her, "told me about the Halloween party when I called her last week. I told her I would be in town and that I wanted to surprise you. She asked me if I wanted to go. She also told me she was going to surprise you with a carriage ride. She explained that the owner happened to be a helper who offered the use of his carriage so I contacted him and just weasled my way in to take the carriage out for him." He laughed.

"I am glad that you will be there, Devin." Vincent said.

Catherine added. "Jenny knows that Devin is coming Ďcause I called her after he called me. I thought having him there also would make you feel more comfortable. She said she would be delighted to meet both Vincent and his brother."

Vincent helped Catherine into the carriage and settled down beside her. He wrapped his cloak around her as Devin placed a warm blanket over their legs. Devin climbed up into the driver's seat and off they went. They arrived at Jenny's apartment building just as Joe was getting out of a cab. Vincent helped Catherine out of the carriage while Devin kept the horses steady.

"Radcliffe?'' Joe questioned. "You look stunning." He admired her outfit.

"Joe, I'd like you to meet Vincent and his brother Devin." She said pointing to Vincent first then to Devin.

"Mr. Maxwell." Vincent said reaching for the outstretched hand. "I'm honored to finally meet you. I've heard many fine things about you."

"So, you're Catherine's mysterious friend Vincent." Joe said as he shook Vincent's hand. "I'm glad to finally meet you too. Sometimes I wondered if Radcliffe was making you up so the office yentas would stop trying to fix her up." Joe kept glancing at Vincent, sensing something...

"Whoa! That guy's built. And tall! That face... Hey, wait a minute. That face looks real. I'm not sure if its a mask or not. Do I really want to find out? He seems nice and very protective of Cathy." Joe thought to himself. He glanced at the other man. "Devin, nice to meet you." He shook Devin's hand as well. Joe decided to wait and ask Devin about Vincent. He knew Catherine would probably hit him or deny everything.

"Well, we better get to Jenny's before she calls out the hounds to look for us. She has been looking forward to meeting you for a long time. I don't want her to think you backed out now." Catherine said looking at Vincent.

"Right you are, Radcliffe." Joe said.

"May I?" Vincent and Joe both asked offering their arms.

"Thank you, kind sirs." She replied as Devin held the door open for them.

"I'll be up in a few minutes after I get these guys settled." Devin called out as he closed the door and led the carriage and horses to an out-of-the-way spot until they were ready to leave.

Devin met them at the door to Jenny's place but before they could ring the doorbell, Jenny appeared in a satin red gown and a rose behind her left ear.

"Jenny, Cathy, I love your outfit." They both said at once. Devin just whistled.

"Cathy, that dress is drop dead gorgeous. Where did you find it? Come in, all of you. Joe, you look dashing as always in that tuxedo."

"Why thank you, Jenny." Joe said as he mysteriously pulled a red rose out of nowhere.

"Jenny, I'd like you to finally meet Vincent." Catherine held his arm and placed her hand on his chest as he shyly looked at her.

"And this is his brother, Devin." She said pointing at Devin.

"Nice to finally meet Cathy's mystery man. You too, Devin." Jenny replied as she lead them into her apartment.

"Cathy, Nancy and Paul arrived a few minutes ago. She's over there in the tigress costume." Jenny pointed to her balcony window. "Paul and the children are around here somewhere."

Catherine looked at Vincent. "Go see your friend, Catherine. I will be fine with Devin and Joe."

"Are you sure, Vincent?"

"Yes, I'm sure. Go." He said as he gave her a gentle hug.

She walked toward the balcony window and waited patiently for her friend to finish her conversation.

"Nancy?" Catherine asked.

"Cathy, you look wonderful." Nancy said as Catherine hugged her.

"Is Vincent with you by any chance?"

"Over there with Jenny." She pointed toward the front door.

"Which one? They're all gorgeous!" Nancy said as she admired Vincent, Devin and Joe.

"Vincent is the one with the cloak. Devin, his brother, is next to him. The man in the tuxedo is my boss, Joe Maxwell."

"Finally, I get to meet this mysterious Vincent of yours."

"Let us get a little comfortable and we'll get together with you somewhere."

While Nancy and Catherine are talking, Devin managed to steer Joe over to the bar, leaving Jenny and Vincent alone.

"Vincent, can I have a word with you in private, please?" Jenny asked.

He nervously looked to Devin then Catherine but both were occupied.

"Don't worry, Vincent. I just want to talk to you. Get to know you better and I don't want anyone overhearing us." She smiled encouragingly.

He nodded and followed Jenny to her balcony. Devin and Joe were talking in a quiet corner after getting something to drink.

"Devin, can I ask you something about Vincent? You can tell me to shut up, punch me in the mouth or whatever. That isn't a mask that Vincent has on, is it?" Joe questioned.

"What makes you ask?"

"I don't know. Something about him makes me think its all real and not a costume. Not that it matters though as long as she's happy. And boy does she look happy. Radcliffe and he sure look good together. You can see the love they have for each other surround them when they are together."

"You're right, Joe. Itís not a mask. I hope you can accept him as a friend for Catherine's sake. Otherwise, you will lose Catherine's friendship. She would disappear if she had to, in order to protect him."

"Yeah, I could tell by the way she looks at him."

"Joe, Vincent has had to lead a different life because of the way he looks. He never thought he would find a love like Catherine. Someone hurt him a long time ago and he's still trying to get over it. Her love is the best thing that has happened to him and I don't want them to have to justify to you the way they feel."

"Devin, believe me. The last thing I would want is for either of them to be angry with me. Cathy can be a fireball when she's angry and Vincent... well, I wouldn't want to cross him."

"Thanks, Joe. I know they would appreciate your understanding about this. Hey, I hear the Yankees are doing pretty good this year." The conversation faded.

Vincent and Jenny stepped outside onto her balcony and waited until they were alone.

"Vincent, I want to thank you for coming tonight. I'm sure it took great courage."

"Great courage, indeed."

"What I'm trying to say is... Somehow I know your appearance isn't a costume."

He looked at her in shock and nervously looked around deciding whether to leave.

"Don't worry. Cathy didn't say anything to me."

He looked at her as she touched his arm.

"I'm not sure how I know but it doesn't matter. As long as Catherine is happy, its ok with me. And you do make her happy." She said pointing into his chest. "If I hear otherwise, you will have to answer to me. Cathy's happiness is all that matters to me." She smiled at him.

"Do any of her other friends know?"

"No. You are the first." He told her.

"I'm honored. Now lets go find Catherine before she starts to worry about you and I'd like to get to know that gorgeous brother of yours better."

Jenny led Vincent back into the living room and over to where Catherine was standing. He took her hand as Jenny grabbed Devin and escorted him over to the couch. Joe was busy talking to Paul and Nancy.

Catherine glanced at the stunned look in Vincent's eyes. "Are you all right?" She asked with concern.

"Jenny knows about me." He told her.

Her eyes widen with surprise. "What did she say?"

"She said she knew my appearance was not a costume. That as long as I make you happy, its ok with her. She didn't seem at all surprised."

"Well! I'll have to have a long talk with her later. Right now, how about some punch?" She led him over to the buffet table.

Jenny joined Nancy and they wandered over to get a glass of punch also. Paul found Joe and Devin in a corner and joined them.

"Nancy, I'd like you to finally meet Vincent."

"So, this is the mystery man who drove you to my place last year in tears. I'm glad to see everything worked out for the two of you."

"Not everything, Nance, but we're working on it." Catherine said with a smile.

"Its nice to meet you, Nancy. Catherine has spoken of you." Vincent said shyly.

"Just make her happy, Vincent, thatís all any of her friends want."

"I have vowed to love and protect her with my last breath."

"Vincent, any secret that you may have, you can trust me to keep safe. You look exactly like I imagined you to look like based on what little Cathy was willing to tell me. She can explain the minor details later. You two look like you belong together." Nancy whispered.

"Thanks, Nancy. You don't know what your words mean to the both of us. I'm sorry I couldn't have told you both about him sooner."

"You're forgiven, just let us know when the wedding is." Nancy embraced her.

"Yeah, Vincent's incredible and Devin may be just the rogue I need right now." Jenny whispered.

"Jenny!" They exclaimed.

They wander over to where Paul, Joe and Devin are discussing baseball. Nancy pulled Paul aside as Jenny went to mingle with her other guests.

"Vincent, Devin's been filling me in about you." Joe said with a wink. "Radcliffe had always said she had a secret she couldn't tell me about and now I know why. I just want you to know that your secret's safe with me and now with Cathy's new job, its less dangerous too." Joe shook Vincent's hand. "I mean it. Anytime you need anything or you need Cathy, let me know."

"Thank you, Joe. I will." Vincent seemed more at ease now that Catherine's friends knew the truth about him.

Catherine pulled Devin aside while Vincent and Joe were talking.

"Devin..." She glared at him.

"Hold it, Chandler. I just confirmed what Joe suspected after he met Vincent. We started talking and Joe didn't seem too surprised about it though. He was afraid you'd slug him if he asked you himself. He cares about you, Chander, he doesn't want to lose your friendship over something minor like this."

"At least I don't have to keep it from him anymore."

Catherine and Devin turned back to Joe and Vincent. She leaned against Vincent as he put his arm around her.

"Cathy, I meant what I said. Your secret is safe with me. I would never betray your trust. I wouldn't want you to up and disappear on me." Joe said with conviction as he shook Vincent's hand. "I've felt the brunt of your anger too many times, Radcliffe, and I don't even want to see Vincent get angry."

"Now that your friends know, Catherine, you won't be as tense around them." Nancy and Paul joined them afterwards.

"You're right, Vincent, it will be nice to confide in someone other than Peter."

"You mean Dr. Alcott knows about this setup." Joe exclaimed.

"Peter Alcott has been a helper when Vincent's father founded their community thirty years ago. I only found out myself recently that he was a helper." Catherine told Joe.

"Devin, would you go and bring Jenny over here. There is something I want to ask all of you." Vincent asked.

"Sure, Vincent, be right back." Devin went and told Jenny that Vincent wanted to speak to everyone.

When she arrived, he asked everyone to move to the balcony, out of earshot of the other guests. Catherine looked him with curiosity as he again wrapped his arm around her.

"First, I would like to thank you all for your understanding. It has been very hard on Catherine and I'm glad she can finally share her life with her friends. Second, we have a special celebration coming up in my world and I would like all of you to be there." He explained about Winterfest and how important a celebration it was.

Jenny, Nancy, Paul and Joe readily agree to attend.

"It sound wonderful, Vincent." Nancy said.

"I'm glad because besides our Winterfest celebration, there is something else I wish to do while you are there."

"Vincent, you're not thinking what I think you're thinking?" Devin and Joe both said at once.

Vincent dropped to one knee.

"Oh my god! You are." They both exclaimed at once.

"Catherine, will you marry me?"

Jenny and Nancy gasped while Devin and Joe each had a wide smile on their faces. Catherine looked at Vincent in shock.

"YES!" Catherine shouted. "Vincent, are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure."

"Of course I'll marry you. Winterfest will give us plenty of time to prepare. I just hope Father doesn't hit the roof when we tell him."

"Don't worry about the old man." Devin said. "He told me the last time I was here, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. I think he and the others were just waiting for the word from you to put their plans into full swing."

"Plans?" Catherine asked.

"Pascal had mentioned that the others have had our wedding on their minds for the last two years. I think they were hoping one day to put their plans in action." Vincent told her.

"Mary, Sarah, William, Rebecca and the others have been meeting and planning your wedding for the last two years." Devin began. "They all knew how this relationship would turn out so they got together to start planning. All they needed was an announcement from you to put everything in motion. Believe me, this will be the biggest event in the history of the tunnels. You don't have to plan anything, Chandler. Mary included me in on their plans from the beginning and told me to tell you when the time came to see her. She'd like to help you with your wedding gown." Devin grinned then suddenly a thought struck him. "Unless you already have a gown in mind."

"I was thinking of my mother's gown. I always thought I would wear her gown when and if I ever got married." Catherine said. "I think my father stored it somewhere. I'll have to ask Peter when I see him."

"Are you talking about me?"

A voice came from behind them. There stood Peter Alcott MD, dressed in his white lab coat and stethescope draped around his neck.

"Dr. Alcott, I'm glad you could join us. Did you have any trouble getting here?" Jenny asked.

"Not really. Your sister let me in and I immediately noticed Vincent and the rest of you out here."

He gave Catherine a big hug then turned to Vincent and embraced him and Devin as well. He shook hands with Paul, Joe, Jenny and Nancy.

"Did I miss anything?"

"Only Vincent popping the question to Radcliffe here." Joe said with a smile and a jab at Vincent's ribs.

Vincent ducked his head in embarrassment as Catherine blushed.

"You mean 'THE' question?" He asked in astonishment.

"Yes, and she said yes." Nancy beamed.

"That I don't doubt." Peter smiled at Catherine.

"Peter, I wanted to ask you about my mother's wedding gown. Do you know where dad stored it?"

'You'll have to ask Mary about that." He answered mysteriously. "All I am allowed to say is that Mary had asked about your mother's wedding dress a while back. After Charles died, I found it and gave it to her to keep for you. You see, I knew this day would eventually come ever since Vincent's illness. The others knew it longer than I did and they have been setting things aside for the big day. Even Jacob got involved, setting storerooms aside for clothes, candles and other items."

"So thatís why William and the others needed the extra chambers." Vincent realized.

"Poor William had to horde certain things so he would have it for the wedding. Not that the helpers haven't offered to give him whatever he needed. You know how proud he can be at times. So when's the big day?" Peter asked.

"We decided on Winterfest to make things easier for Father and the others." Vincent told him.

"Winterfest is perfect." Peter said. "I assume everyone has been briefed?" Everyone nodded in agreement. "I thought as much with all of you talking about wedding plans. Jacob and I will do the honors of giving you away unless you would rather have Joe." Peter offered.

"No, Dr. Alcott. You should have that honor." Joe thanked him.

"Joe can do me the honor of escorting me to Winterfest since I won't be able to see Vincent till the ceremony." Catherine hugged Joe.

"I wouldn't miss it. Thanks, I would love to, Cathy."

"And Devin can be my best man." Vincent grabbed his shoulder.

"ME?" Devin asked in surprise. "You want me to be your best man? I'm shocked, honored."

"It wouldn't seem right to ask anyone else." Vincent said as he hugged Devin.

"Yes, Devin, please?"

"Well, in that case, how can I say no?" Devin said as he gave Catherine a hug.

"Just think, in two months we'll be married. I can't believe my dreams are coming true." Catherine cried as Vincent pulled her into an embrace.

"I can't believe it either. I love you, Catherine." He gently kissed her, no longer embarrassed to do it in front of the others.

Joe cleared his throat. "Why don't the rest of us get back to the party. Letís leave them alone to enjoy this moment."

The others readily agreed and went back into the apartment leaving Vincent and Catherine alone on the balcony. As they clung to each other, the dreams they both hoped for are finally coming true. As Shakespeare said "With love, all things are possible."