“What do you mean, you’ll quit?” Joe Maxwell asked the dark haired woman standing before his desk. The dart game had been forgotten as well as the rubber band around his fingers. “You can’t quit, Radcliffe. We’re in the middle of this case.”
“Joe, I really need some time away. Please.”
The assistant district attorney studied Catherine Chandler. Her face was pale and drawn. There were circles under her eyes from lack of rest. She had made quite a few mistakes lately – giving him one report when he’d asked for another.
“You’re not sick or something?”
A slight smile crossed her face. It was unusual for Joe to verbalize any feelings he had toward her. “No, I’m not sick. I just need some rest.”
“Sure.” He lowered his eyes to the desk. “How long do you think you’ll need?”
“A couple weeks perhaps a little more”
“If you’re sure that’s all you need.” She nodded at his words. “Look, I know I work you too hard.”
“Joe,” she interrupted. “We all work too hard. It’s the nature of the job. I’ll be fine, really.”
When she left the office, she walked and walked. Searching for an answer that was elusive to her. Searching for peace within herself. She took a few moments to return to her apartment and call her friend Nancy Tucker in Westport. She had been trying to entice Catherine to visit.
“I may come up in a few days, Nancy.”
“That’s wonderful, Cath. Call me and let me know what train you’ll be on. Paul can pick you up at the station.”
She didn’t spend long in conversation. Nancy would have picked up on her unease and insisted she come right away. Suddenly she realized that Nancy wasn’t the only one who could read her – Vincent would be feeling her confusion and worry. Catherine attempted to block those emotions from streaming through the Bond.
The Bond. As she left her apartment building and began walking again, her thoughts were on the man with whom she shared that wonderful gift. Vincent. When she had been attacked and left for dead in the park over a year before, he had been her savior. Taken her to a safe place where no one could hurt her. He and his father, Jacob Wells, had cared for her and mended her wounds. She’d spent ten days in darkness due to the bandages covering not only her scarred face but also her eyes.
She hadn’t been able to see the man who rescued her, but from the first moment he whispered to her “You’re safe. You’re safe now.” she had trusted him implicitly. He had gained her trust from the start. He’d read to her. “Great Expectations.” He comforted her when she was frightened. She loved the way he had said her name for the first time.
When she’d asked him for their location, he hesitated and then finally the story spilled forth. They were far below the city. A community of people who lived together in harmony. Working and helping each other. Jacob Wells was a physician and the patriarch. Vincent told her of how he had been found behind St. Vincent’s hospital and brought to his father. That was how he had received his moniker.
She remembered the day when he was feeding her some of William’s soup. She’d reached out to touch him and encountered what she thought was fur. She withdrew her hand in bewilderment. Being sightless and confused by her environment, she wasn’t really sure what she felt. When she was restless and Vincent had offered to send for the tea she liked, she got out of bed and wandered around the room. She tore the bandages from her face and found what appeared to be an old headlight to use as a mirror. Gazing upon her face, the wounds red, she was horrified. How could she face the world with injuries so horrible? It was then he appeared over her right shoulder. The reflection was distorted and she was startled. Whirling, she hurled the object at him. She saw his features become sullen as he left the room. She started to run after him but lacked her own inner strength to go on. Sinking to the bed, she remained there until he entered the room once again. He had her clothing in his arms.
Catherine was so ashamed of her reaction toward him. She was in anguish over her own destroyed features and knew that whomever Vincent was, he had more inner strength than she ever would have. He told her he’d never regretted who he was, until then. More shame filled her.
When she lifted the cloak off of his head in order to look fully on his unique features, she smiled. His hair was long and golden. His eyes were the color of sapphires and held so much warmth to them. His brow, nose and upper lip resembled those of a lion and his jaw was very strong. She saw that he had elongated upper and lower canines and his hands were coated in a fine down with a thicker layer of hair towards the wrist. His fingernails were long and appeared sharp. Despite his differences, she could sense that he was more of a man than what he thought. In a different time and under other circumstances, Catherine would have believed that he’d stepped out of a fairy tale. He had been her knight in shining armor – rescuing her instead of letting her die alone on the cold ground of the park. His heart was true and pure. Yet she also realized that he would protect anyone and anything he cared for.
He had told her many months later after she’d had plastic surgery on her face, that he could feel what she was feeling. And as time went on, she felt his unrest, his happiness, and his pain. The Bond they shared was deeper than friendship or love. It was what would connect them always no matter where they were – together or apart.
And now, Catherine realized, Vincent would sense her unease. She tried to lighten her mood by concentrating on objects around her. She focused on the ceramic pieces in the shop window imagining what each could hold – plants, trinkets, and so on. Just underneath her concentration her unrest remained. Soon, she felt the need to press on down the sidewalk.
Several hours passed before she felt the fatigue of her emotions and her physical activity. She would have to lie down. But where to go? Her apartment was out. Too many people who could disrupt her there as well as the ringing of the phone. She knew that on any other day the Tunnels would make her feel comfortable and allow her rest yet that was too close to Vincent. She wanted to spare him from her anguish. Briefly she considered taking the train to Westport but put that out of her mind when she realized that Nancy would have her own questions.
The answer came to her then – Peter Alcott’s. Her family friend and lifelong physician. Since he was also a Helper and close friend of Father’s and Vincent’s, he would understand why she chose not to reveal her mood to them at this time. He would also make sure she received plenty of rest.
Catherine stopped at a payphone half a block away and dropped a few coins into it. She dialed Peter’s number and waited for him to pick up.
“Susan?” Catherine asked upon hearing Susan Alcott’s voice.
“Cathy?” the other woman responded.
“I didn’t know you were visiting your father.”
“I just got in yesterday. How are you?”
“Is your dad around?”
“He just went out for a few moments. Can I have him call you?” Susan only heard silence on the other end. “Cathy, is something wrong? You’re not hurt are you?”
“Do you think he would mind if I stopped by?”
“Of course not. How soon will you be here?”
“As soon as I grab a taxi.”
“See you then!” Both women hung up.
Cathy saw a cab approach and signaled it. Once in the back seat, she found it very difficult to keep her eyes open. Briefly she allowed the Bond to open. She had to know if Vincent had felt her suffering.
All characters are the property of Ron Koslow, Republic Pictures, and CBS. No infringement is implied or intended. Story is purely for entertainment purposes only. "The Bond" copyright 2002 ® Wendy Littrell
"The Bond" copyright 2002 ® Wendy Littrell
Crystal Tunnels - My Beauty & the Beast page
Wendy's Wonders - My Main Page!