Catherine lead Elliot through the tunnels praying he wouldn't ask too many questions. He had seen more of her private life tonight than she was ready for. But she couldn't leave him either. As much as she loathed him for various reasons she couldn't help but care for him as well.
As they walked in silence she thought about the first time she met Elliot and how intrigued she had been by him. Within a short period of time she felt herself falling in ove with him. Looking back on it now she felt very ashamed. The hurt she must've cause Vincent.
She would be forced to deal with Elliot a few more times. A man of his power often had run-ins with the DA's office. That's what lead her to be in the situation she was in tonight. But each time she met up with him she fund herself learning more about him,, and began to understand him more.
In another part of the tunnels Vincent was laying down wounded. As he bandaged a severely slashed hand, Father entered his chamber. He glanced in the basin and saw the water had turned red with blood.
"What happened Vincent?" he asked as he sat down.
Vincent remained silent as he wrapped up his hand.
"Is Catherine ok?" Father asked gently waiting for a response. Vincent only nodded his head in the affirmative.
"I wish I could keep you safe. Protected. I love you. Both of you," Father admitted softly.
Vincent thought for a moment. "The grave is a fine, safe place. But if we live, we bleed."
Catherine had led Elliot to a dead end in the tunnels.
"Perhaps we should turn back," Elliot suggested nervously. He was beginning to feel claustrophobic.
Reaching behind a gate, Catherine pushed a lever. The door opened slowly. "We are under Central Park," she explained pointed to the way out. Turning to face him she explained that she had to trust him with a lot this night. "You must forget everything you have seen and heard."
"Why?" Elliot began. "I felt something behind that kiss."
"No," Catherine said with a small sigh. "It can't be."
Looking up at him she saw the hurt in his eyes.
"There's someone else," he said.
"I'm sorry Elliot," Catherine replied with a sadness.
"That makes two of us," Elliot said quietly as he turned to leave.
Vincent sat in his chamber alone. His had was bandaged and he was feeling drained from the events of the night. Catherine walked into his chamber quietly and sat beside him.
"I saw a side of Elliot tonight that I've never seen," she said quetly. "The boy he was, and the man he could be."
"I felt your reaction when he kissed you," Vincent said with a look of sadness.
"I did react for a brief moment," Catherine admitted. "I wish it had been from you."
Turning to look at her, Vincent took her chin in his hands and turned her face to look at him. Bending down he gave her a long tender kiss.
Catherine pulled away relunctantly. Within a moment they were locked in another kiss.
"A-hem." Father's voice said behind them. "I'm sorry to interrup, but I wanted to give you some Aspirin for the pain."
"Thank you Father." Vincent said resound.
"Nice to see you again Catherine."
"Nice to see you too Father." Catherine said before he walked out of the chamber. Catherine began to gather her things. "It's late, I should go home and take a shower. Try to sleep and hour before I go to work."
"Stay with me Catherine. Stay here tonight." Vincet said softly putting his hand over hers. She felt his warmth, and felt his love.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes my Catherine." He walked over to his dresser. Opening the bottom drawer he pulled out the nightgown she wore during her stay after her father's death. "Perhaps you'd like to wash up?"
"That would be nice." Catherine replied taking the soft, well worn nightgown from his hands. "I'll return in a moment."
While Catherine was in the bathing chamber, Vincent went about to adjust things in his room. First he placed Catherine's purse on the chair next to his desk. Then he put a stack of books away, copies of Jane Austen's novels that Brooke had borrowed recently. Finally he took the basin he had used to clean his wounds earlier into the common area near his chamber. It housed a water faucet and a drain. By the time he returned to his chamber Catherine had returned from her bath.
She sat on his bed wrapped in covers. Her shoulder length hair was dripping wet and she felt herself shiver.
"Put these on please," Vincent said wrapping his cloak around her. He then sat on the bed and wrapped his arms around her. Snuggling close Catherine fell asleep in minutes.
The following morning Catherine awoke in Vincent's arms.
"I have to leave," she whispered softly in his ear. "I need to go to work."
Vincent has been watching her sleep for over an hour. Admiring her beauty, he quickly kissed her on the top of her head. "I love you Catherine," he said as he moved to let her off the bed." ~~~~~
Less than an hour later Catherine was in her apartment and ready to go to work. It was only 9:30. She wouldn't be that late to work.
In the cab she thought about last night and this morning. Vincent has kissed her again before she returned to her apartment. She touched her lips as she remember the sweetness of that kiss. The perfect way to start off a new day.
When Catherine arrived at work the next morning Joe was already waiting for her by her desk.
”Hear about Burch last night? It’s all over the papers this morning.” He was holding a copy of The New York Times.
”I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Catherine replied innocently.
”That’s not what the papers are saying. Seems there was a woman out there helping him out. Fits your description. What are you getting involved in Radcliffe?”
”I really don’t know what you are talking about. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to get to work.”
Catherine worked quietly at her desk the remainder of the day. She had files to close on previous cases. At the moment no pressing cases had come into the office which made for a slow and lazy day.
After work was finished Catherine took a taxi back to her apartment. It was Friday. Tomorrow morning she was going to take a train up to see her friend Nancy. It had been nearly a year since she’d spent time up there. This time she was just going up for a day. Nancy had invited her to go shopping at a Farmer’s market near her home. Rumor had it that summer fruit should be in abundance. But for tonight her time belonged to only Vincent.
She carefully took out her favorite candles from a hutch and placed them around her living room. Then she took a quick bath to wash away the remains of the day. She pulled out a pair of comfortable jeans and an old sweatshirt. Even though Spring was already in the air, the nights were still quite chilly. Quickly she ate some left-overs and then lit the candles. After that task was finished and her dishes were clean and in the drainer, she went to the balcony to wait for her beloved.
Vincent arrived on her balcony a few moments later. He embraced her and tentively looked into her eyes. For a moment her breath caught in her throat. Was he going to kiss her? Or let the moment pass? He placed his hands softly on her face and bent down to give her a quick kiss. Tightening her hands around his waist Catherine pulled him closer for a longer kiss. Their lips parted relunctantly. Vincent held her close to him for a moment before breaking the embrace.
"I brought something for you. For your trip tomorrow," Vincent said holding out a book.
Taking it from his hands Catherine read the title. "Sense and Sensebility."
"It's a romance I thought you would enjoy."
"Thank you Vincent. I've heard of it before, I've just never read it." Catherine replied turning the book over in her hands.
A few moments later Catherine invited him into her apartment. A waltz was playing on the radio. Taking her hands in his Vincent asked, "Would you like to dance."
Wordlessly she wrapped her arm around him and began to step with the music. She loved dancing with him. They had shared a dance once, after Winterfest. She didn't even know he knew how to dance. He explained to her after that all the tunnel children learn how to dance before they are twelve.
Later they settled in on the couch. Catherine sat with her head against Vincent's shoulder. Within a minute she was asleep. He gently caressed her hair as she slept softly kissing her forehead.
To be continued...
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