The tunnels were unusually warm this summer. The heat wave above had seeped its way down into the hub and the tunnel residents didnít have to wear as many layers of clothing, and not one to be a fan of the heat, Vincent ever the self-conscious individual, debated whether or not to take off his vest and shirt.
Very few people had seen him without any clothes; Father and Mary had, but for medical reasons only. As soon as Vincent grew old enough to recognize that he was different he stopped showing his body to anyone save Devin. Brothers keep certain secrets for each other and besides, it was hot. With that mental struggle over Vincent decided to give in to the heat and take off his top, What can it hurt? he thought to himself, Iíll just pull down the tapestry for a little while no one will disturb me.
Just removing his vest felt cooler to him and gave him the confidence to take off his shirt. However, Vincent was so focused in his mental conversation that he didnít notice the visitor at the door. So when he turned around to drop the tapestry...
"Catherine! I didnítÖI umÖplease leave..."
Catherine was so engrossed in the beautiful sight of him in front of her that she didnít hear what was being said to her. "Vincent...uh...did you say something?"
"Catherine, I didnít know you were thereÖyou should goÖshouldnít see me like this...". Vincent, making a beeline for his cloak, nearly knocked Catherine down to get to it.
Catherine was in awe of the sight and the feel of him as he accidentally nudged her. "Vincent, stop! Donít leave, I think youíre beautiful!".
Vincent, not believing his ears, turned around and released a breath he didnít know he was holding. "Catherine you donít have to say anythingÖ"
Catherine went to the entryway to drop the tapestry and turned to Vincent "You know, I think itís rather hot down here.".
Vincent sensed through the bond the mischief on Catherineís mind. "Catherine, we canít do this! Iitís not possible..." Her touch was like a flame, mesmerizing yet terrifying. He wanted this so badly, but years of aloneness and fears had him ready to run like a rabbit.
"Yes we can, weíve waited long enough." Catherine knew she had to take this slowly, for fear of making him run out into the main tunnel partially clothed, to create a bigger problem. "Itís OK, Vincent, I wonít hurt you." Slowly she walked over to him, taking off her clothes as she went. "Weíll go as slow as we need to."
"Itís all right. I wonít force you to do anything you donít want, but I want to touch you." She guided him over to his big bed and motioned for him to sit down.
"Vincent, we have to try. Let me tell you how I feel. I have loved you since those ten days when you saved me. I know it took me a few months to realize it was love, but since I did realize it there has been no other for me."
"Catherine, I loveÖ."
"I know". She put her finger up to his lips to quiet him and then she leaned in for the kiss. His lips felt so soft, just as she imagined they would be.
Vincent had never felt such fear and such pleasure "CatherineÖ"
"There is so much more that I want to share with you Vincent, if youíll let me."
"Please...please show me, Catherine..." and she did.
And as the tunnels started to cool down, one particular chamber was starting to heat up.