Closing his journal and recapping his pen, Vincent smiled warmly as Catherine stepped into their chamber. “Hello, Dearest. How was your afternoon?
"Hi." Dumping the canvas bag she'd been lugging onto the floor, his Beloved gave him a glum look and dropped to a chair. "Oh, today was just perfect."
Oh, oh. Vincent frowned. No hug? No kiss? No . . . anything? “Catherine, what troubles you so?"
"This! Ohhh . . .!" She kicked the canvas bag with her left foot. "The next time I volunteer for anything, remind of this, will you?"
"What have you volunteered for?'' Kneeling, Vincent began to undo the sack's fastenings.
''To untangle that," his lady sneered. “Mouse, being his usually helpful self, made a mess, and I promised Mary that I'd fix it for her. Just look in there!" Catherine exclaimed, affording the contemptible object of discussion another swift kick.
Peering in at the tangled skeins of yarn, Vincent recovered his composure just in time. Laughing out loud at this moment, he knew, would have immediately sealed his doom. Being the big, good-natured beastie that he was, he offered, "Would you like me to help?" Praying that she would say no.
''Thanks, but no. You have lessons to do for tomorrow's classes, don't you?"
God was kind. Vincent gave her what he hoped was a sincere look. ''Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.”
Nodding her head, Catherine sighed. "I thought so. Well, I may as well get started.'' Mumbling under her breath, she grabbed the sack.
Returning to his writing, Vincent kept his head down, hiding a smile. Surely he hadn't just heard his lady curse, or had he? When Catherine dumped the contents of the bag into her lap, still muttering, he bit down fairly hard on the inside of his jaw, fighting off the urge to comment. She was cursing, and quite adeptly, too.
“Beloved, are you certain you don't need my assistance?'' he offered again.
Blowing her bangs clear of her eyes, she glared at him. “I said I'll do it."
As she bent to her task, Vincent looked over from time to time, noting her progress. His helpmate was nearly chin deep in all shades and measures of yarn, which gave her the overall appearance of a quite colorful shrouded mummy. A frustrated, beautiful mummy.
Gleaming blue eyes focused on the wool. Fascinated by the motion and alluring sway of the yarn, those eyes shifted in cadence with the undulations of her slender fingers working thorough the strands. Up and down went the yarn, back and forth, trailing along the floor. Did he dare? Would she destroy him if he did? Or perhaps he could make her laugh? A sudden look of pure devilry filled Vincent's eyes.
It was a lucky thing for Vincent that Catherine was a woman of infinite patience and had a strong heart, for with a sound somewhere between a growl and a snarl, her majestic hulk of a lover put down his pen, tensed his knees, and pounced.
Twisting the yarn once more to all "hell and gone" in his claws, he tugged on the dangling end of the skein she was fighting to retain control of. Eyes the color of shimmering sapphires locked gazes with her as he whispered teasingly, "Mine!"