She couldn’t sleep. She’d been tossing and turning for more than an hour. She’d had one of those delightfully intimate dreams about Vincent, and had subsequently awakened to a very large and lonely bed. She’d been turning over in her mind the idea of going to spend the rest of the night with Vincent. She’d fantasized about quietly entering his chamber and slipping into bed with him. She suddenly decided she was going to do it. She got up and put on shoes and an overcoat, grabbed her keys and was off.
She had grown accustomed to spending many weekends Below, but ever since her relationship with Vincent had begun to take physical turns, almost a month ago now, he’d come up with reasons why she shouldn’t stay over. She understood why; he wasn’t ready to cross into the sexual realm yet, and her presence either offered too great a temptation or put too much pressure on him. Poor Vincent. He’d spent his whole life telling himself a physical relationship with a woman was out of the question. It was remarkable he’d come as far as he had in so short a time.
“Catherine!” a voice called out. She stopped. A sentry called to her from his hiding place. “You’re here late. Is anything wrong?”
“No,” she replied, looking around for the peephole. “I just couldn’t sleep, and I thought I’d see if I could sleep any better here Below.” Well, it was mostly true.
“Should I send Vincent a message that you’re here?” the sentry asked. “Of course, he might not hear it.”
“No, don’t wake him. I can find my way. Good night.” She continued on her way, trying to be careful to keep her anticipatory feelings quiet. She arrived at Vincent’s chamber and entered on tiptoe, listening carefully.
She could hear his breathing, the slow, relaxed breath of sleep. She started to feel sleepy already herself. She approached the bed and had to stifle a sigh. He looked... so gorgeous, so innocent, like some magnificent, leonine angel. She quietly took her coat off and hung it over a chair, then removed her shoes. She was just about to lift the blanket to slip into bed, when she stopped. What was she doing?! This was way outside the boundaries of their relationship, not as far as it once was, but still. Had she lost her mind?
She picked up her coat and her shoes and moved to leave as quietly as possible, but...
“Catherine?” Vincent asked doubtfully, half-awake, as if not expecting an answer.
For half an instant, she contemplated not answering, but with his acute senses, he’d realize she was here in the next moment anyway. She walked back to the bed and timidly said, “Hi.”
“Catherine, is... is something wrong?” He could feel nothing amiss through the bond.
“No,” she answered quietly.
“Why are you here?” he asked.
Television characters, in such situations, invariably made up some ridiculous, involved lie to explain their behavior. They always paid for it too. She sighed. There was only one real option: the truth.
“I’m sorry, Vincent. I shouldn’t be here. I had a dream about you, and I woke up feeling very lonely. Well, I couldn’t go back to sleep, and finally, on an impulse I decided to come here and sleep with you in your bed. I was just climbing in and I stopped myself. I don’t know what got into me, Vincent. I was just escorting myself to the door, when you caught me. I’m really, truly, very sorry, Vincent. Please forgive me.” She stood, coat and shoes still in hand, staring at the floor.
Vincent, stunned as he was by this confession, could not help but also be amused by her predicament. He said, in a very serious tone, “On one condition.”
She looked up meekly, her head still bent, awaiting the condition with trepidation.
Vincent drew the covers aside and said gently, “Come to bed, Catherine.” She looked at him in amazement, accidentally dropping her shoes. Vincent chuckled as she bent to pick them up. She was obviously flustered, but she got a grip on herself in short order.
“Vincent, are you teasing me?” she asked, sitting down on the bed to face him.
“Yes. I thought you had it coming.” He paused as she looked down in obvious disappointment. “But if you’re here to sleep, then stay.” Her head popped back up.
“Yes. You did come here to sleep, didn’t you, Catherine?”
She dropped her chin in the beginning of a nod, but honesty prevented her from completing it. She looked away.
She looked up at him timidly, unable to completely hide her mischief. “Well, you can’t blame a girl for hoping one action would lead to another, can you?!”
Vincent tried to suppress his smile. “I suppose not.” He paused, Catherine watching him intently. “Come to bed, Catherine.”
Catherine scrambled under the covers and was nestled close to Vincent in an instant. “Catherine, I reserve the right to send you away later if need be.”
“Fair enough,” she said with gusto, hugging Vincent tightly. After a moment, and more quietly, she said, “Thank you, Vincent.” She yawned. “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time.”
“Likewise,” he said softly.
Her drowsy eyes opened again, after a delayed reaction, and she smiled at him.
“I’ve had the same experience, Catherine, of waking to find myself alone. Sometimes I come to your balcony and watch you sleep for a time.”
It was Catherine’s turn to be surprised by his actions. “I hope next time you come in,” she said seductively.
“Perhaps. Let’s see how tonight goes.”
She smiled again and yawned greatly, snuggling closer. “Good night, Vincent.”
“Good night, Catherine.” He kissed her forehead, and tried to focus on the sleepy feeling that was settling over her. In truth, he didn’t expect to sleep any more this night, with Temptation herself asleep in his arms. But he thought he should make an attempt, and he realized with some surprise that he was starting to get that fuzzy feeling. He closed his eyes, and his last thought before drifting off was that there must be something extremely comforting and familiar about their shared embrace, that it could lull them both off to sleep so easily.