Catherine lay on her back looking up at the ceiling; her hands were draped casually over her swollen stomach.
Vincent lay beside her, his head resting on his elbow studying her profile.
"I've been thinking," she said "About when heís born."
"What makes you think that heís a he?" Vincent interrupted.
"I just feel it and heís a part of you so heís a little boy."
Vincent chuckled, "He could just as easily be a girl."
Catherine turned to look at him. "It might be logical but what you said is a contradiction in terms."
His eyes twinkled with mirth "Tell me what you were thinking and I will tell you if I was thinking the same."
Catherine screwed up her eyes suspiciously. Vincent often knew what she was thinking. He put his hand on top of hers and said, "Not always I don't."
She grinned and leaned forward so she could kiss his nose. They were lying on his bed in his chamber whiling a way an evening.
"Go on, tell me what you were thinking, itís about the baby, I know."
"Vincent," she cried.
His eyes were dancing with laughter, "I'm sorry, itís just that we always talk about the baby. We canít stop thinking about him."
"I know," she smiled; her face was right next to his and they gazed into each otherís eyes. "Iíve been thinking about my apartment. I think I should move."
"Move? To where?"
"Well," They were almost nose to nose now and he could feel her breath on his face. "I think I should buy a small house. Somewhere you could come without having to climb so high. Also I would like a garden, somewhere he could play."
"Well, It would be nice, butÖ."
"I know what youíre thinking, but there must be a way to get you in without being seen."
He was thoughtful for a moment and she waited, enjoying their closeness as he did so.
"Have you thought about a house with a basement and tunnel access?" he said.
"Hmm, but how?"
"Mouse will know how to locate it and dig through to make an entrance, then I could come and go as I pleased."
"Vincent, that would be wonderful." She giggled. "Imagine coming home from work and you were there in the house, our house."
And so it was, Catherine was able to find a house with a basement and Mouse was able to find a contraption to help him dig out a doorway.
Vincent stood in the newly made entrance, "Youíve made a good job on this, Mouse."
"Mouse work hard so Vincent and Catherine can be together."
"I think Catherine will be very pleased."
Mouseís eyes shone with pride as he nodded.
The removal men had delivered the boxes and furniture and Catherine looked around the room with dismay, where should she start? She put down her bag and coat and sighed. She had been excited, looking forward to coming down from her apartment, as one of the children had put it.
The little house was perfect, everything she wanted. There were three bedrooms, one of which she would use as a study and the other would be a nursery. There was also a large kitchen, with basement access, a utility room, a lounge and dining area.
"Catherine." She looked up and there was Vincent standing in the doorway to the kitchen.
Her smile lit up her face as she went into his waiting arms giving him a welcoming hug.
"I was just trying to figure out where to start."
"You can start with the bedroom," he suggested giving her a little push in that direction.
She nodded wearily as her mind disentangling itself from her work thoughts to her home. Opening the door she gasped.
Vincent had already been in and made up the big double bed. He had placed candles all around the bedroom and they gave out a soft warm glow.
"Oh Vincent," she sighed.
"I knew you wouldnít want to start unpacking boxes when you got home. I thought you might like to have a hot soak which I have also prepared for you. Kipper has made us some food for when you."
"That sounds wonderful." She said stepping out of her shoes and going towards the bathroom."
Vincent stood watching. Opening the door she gasped again. The room was also lighted by candles and the steaming water has rose petals floating on the surface.
"Oh Vincent!" she said again.
"I will come back in an hour and half and by then you will be relaxed and we can spend the evening together."
"Yes. Thank you."
He nodded and stepped out and down the stairs with hardly a sound.
Catherine looked around the bathroom and then back to her, their bedroom, she corrected herself. This was more than she had ever hoped for, a turning point in their lives; a place where they could be together. She began undressing and pinning up her hair in preparation. She hoped that she had thought of everything. Vincentís safety was the utmost importance because technically he was in her world now.
Stepping into the hot sweet smelling water she sank down and it caressed her skin making her tremble as her body accepted the quick change in temperature. It felt good for her feet not to be bearing the weight of her body any more and each part of her began to relax.
Her apartment had been light an airy. She could look out at anytime across the city and at night see the lights twinkling. In some ways she would miss that. One of the first things she had done when she had come here was to buy heavy drapes and blinds for the windows, so there was no chance for anyone to see in. There would be no natural light but it was a small price to pay to have Vincent feel safe.
She ran the soapy sponge over feet and legs, slowly up her arms enjoying the sensation. She felt warm inside and there was a constant glow around her making the smile a permanent fixture on her face. Was it really possible to be this happy?
Vincent was writing in his journal and he could feel that glow, he too wondered how it was possible to be this happy. He had enjoyed making up the bedroom and wrote his thoughts and feelings down. He would let Catherine to unpack the boxes as he didnít feel right going through her personal belongings, although once she had said gently, "Nothing I have his personal from you." Still, maybe they could do it together.
All of a sudden there was an explosion within him, a leak of gushing air. It was so odd it caused him to drop his pen and look up. A stillness came inside him, a hollow place where there was nothing and for a moment he couldnít understand what he was feeling and then he knew. Catherine!
He was up on his feet and running back through the tunnels to the house. Catherine! It was not a long journey when walking, now as he was running, his cloak and hair flying behind him, it seemed endless. Every moment he wasnít beside her was a moment too long and he ran quicker than he had ever run. He shoved open the basement door, flew across the room out of the door to the kitchen and out to the stairs where he took them four at a time.
In the bathroom he saw her hair under the water and plunged in his hands underneath her arms and dragged her to the surface.
"Catherine!" he gasped lying her down on the bathroom floor. For a moment he couldnít think what to do. He knew from Father about basic first aid, but it was something he had never had to do and his panic was clouding his thoughts.
"Catherine!" he gasped again and realised he was totally on his own. No one could help him and no one could help Catherine except him. He let out a roar of frustration and fright. He tried to feel for her pulse, but his fingers could feel nothing and he couldnít tell whether that meant there was no pulse or he was not picking it up.
He tilted back her head and put his fingers over her nose and for the first time he put his lips to hers and tried to blow. What ever should have been happening wasnít; he tried again and then roared with frustration and anger.
Instinctively he shoved her over so that her back was to him and placed his big hands each side. Gently he pushed them inwards and upwards, nothing, he tried again, nothing and then he felt something small inside of him. It began to grow filling that hollow which stopped aching immediately. He pushed again and suddenly Catherineís diaphragm expanded and water came out of her mouth. Anxiously he leaned over her and she began to convulse with coughing as water sputtered out with every breath.
She rolled on her back her eyes fluttering open and there was panic in them until she saw Vincentís face looking anxiously at her. Whatever happened as long as she was with him, she was safe.
He leaned back on his haunches, "Catherine, you gave me such a fright."
"Iím sorry, I donít know what happened," she whispered, her throat feeling sore and her stomach solid.
"I think you fell asleep in the bath."
"Oh!" she gasped. "The baby!"
He looked down at her baby bump and they each realised it was the first time he had seen her completely naked. They both felt embarrassed Catherine sat up and at the same time Vincent reached for a towel and wrapped her in it.
Later and because there was no where else to eat, they lay on the bed in their house and ate from a tray Vincent had collected from Kipper.
"The doctor said the baby should be fine as I probably hadnít stopped breathing anyway."
"You will go in for a check up just the same though?" Vincent asked.
"I promise," she said with a smile. "And I wonít have any more baths, unless I am supervised."
Vincentís eyes twinkled. He approved of that.