“Someone’s in trouble!” Father exclaimed as they heard a SOS coming over the pipes.
Vincent jumped from his seat and went to find Pascal. His father called after him to be careful. Vincent found his friend at his usual position at the pipes.
“Where’s it coming from?”
Pascal frowned before replying. “Her apartment building.”
“Catherine?” Vincent hoped.
“I’m sending someone else,” Pascal was saying, but he wasn’t heard as the tall man hurried off.
Vincent ran through the tunnels to the all familiar threshold between their two worlds. He found Jamie. She was ashen.
“Are you hurt?” he asked her.
She shook her head. Words couldn’t come to her. Vincent took her hands in his and soothed her with his words. Finally she began speaking. “Last night, one of the Helpers – from the Village,” her chin quivered and her voice was halting but she was determined to finish. “They saw you at the cemetery.”
“Yes,” Vincent said. “I went to Catherine’s grave.” He looked at her face. “Were you concerned for my safety?”
“After you left,” Jamie continued ignoring his question. “There was a woman.” Vincent didn’t speak. “A woman also went to the grave. She took the rose you left there.” Unconsciously he touched the leather bag at his neck. It held the rose Catherine had given him on their first anniversary. “The Helper said that it looked like . . . “ Jamie couldn’t say the name.
“Who?” Vincent asked. His voice rose in fear. “Who did it look like?”
“Her.” Jamie began crying. “It was a ghost. Her ghost found you, Vincent. There is no other reason, is there?”
For just a moment the man had allowed hope to return to his heart. Then logic superseded his emotions. “Just a street woman,” he told her. “That’s all it could have been.” He drew Jamie into his embrace. “She’s gone, Jamie. We’ve all had ten years without her. Somehow it has become more unbearable instead of easier.”
“What if it was her?”
Vincent held her back at arm’s length so he could look into her eyes. “We know that it could not be. Catherine rests in eternal slumber. Nothing you nor I could do will ever change that.” He took her hand. “Come, let’s return.”
Just before they reached the Library, he stopped her. “Which Helper saw this woman?” Jamie told him and he left her to go ahead. He would have to find this person. Rumors and stories had to be halted before they reached his son’s ears. He couldn’t allow Jacob to believe his mother lived. It would just be more painful for him.
Vincent didn’t return to his chamber right away after speaking with the Helper. He just kept walking and walking until he found himself in the Chamber of the Falls. He sat down and pondered the day’s events.
“Speaking of Catherine as if she lived is irresponsible,” he’d told the Helper.
“Vincent, I speak the truth. I remember her. I knew her. The woman I saw was her. The way she walked. The way she threw herself on the grave in tears.”
He’d studied the Helper at his last words.
“She’d lost someone close to her. Perhaps seeing the rose I had lain on Catherine’s grave was more than she could bear. In thought about the one lost to her.”
“Vincent,” the Helper had pleaded. “I wouldn’t be saying these things if I didn’t believe it were the truth. Catherine lives.”
“No!” the man roared. “Fate has been cruel. Our dream was over the moment I found her on the rooftop. The moment she whispered her last few words to me. When she died in my arms.” He had looked down to the ground so the Helper couldn’t see the tears in his eyes. “There wasn’t a heartbeat. Breath didn’t come from her.” Then speaking the hardest words of all, he had continued. “Catherine is dead. And I must always remember that.” He had walked slowly away then to be alone in his continuing grief.
Alive. Could Catherine be alive as the Helper swore to him? For her to run to the cemetery would have meant that she’d felt the Bond. These unimaginable thoughts couldn’t persist. They would only bring more despair. Yet he couldn’t help but hope. What if it was true? What if the sensation he’d felt had been the Bond? For a moment he allowed himself to bring her to his memory as if time had not passed. But time had passed. Ten years. Lonely years. If it were true – that Catherine had never died, then why had she been apart from him? It didn’t matter where she’d been. If it had been important enough, she would have found a way to tell him. Perhaps deep in her heart, she had realized that he’d been right all along. That a life together would never be. How his heart hurt. It had taken every ounce of strength he had to remain calm when speaking with the Helper. How he wanted to see her – if only once more! To hold her in his arms! To feel her body pressed against his! He let out a roar as the images and desires overcame him. It was too much for him. How could he be having these feelings? Nothing would come of them. But oh, to have a night together with Catherine that he could remember! No! His mind screamed. It will never be! She will never be alive to make him feel as she once did. To make him feel that he was indeed a man deserving of love.
“Where’d you go?” she asked him as he drug into the room.
“Had some errands to run,” Joe answered.
“You look like you lost your best friend. C’mon, what’s up?”
He didn’t respond to her question. “Are you hungry? I brought Chinese.” He looked at his watch. “Before it gets cold? I’ll be in the kitchen.”
As they ate, Joe stole a couple of glances at her. She was off in her own world again. Searching for something that wasn’t there.
“So have you given any thought to what you want to do now?” She shrugged her shoulders. “Come back to the DA’s office?” That elicited a laugh.
“Oh, Joe. What I really want is to find him. To be with him. To live in his world no matter what he says. I want that more than anything!”
“Is he so hard to find?” He tried to keep it light hearted for her. She laughed again. Then turned her attention back out the window. Joe kept his eyes on her while he ate. “I brought you one of the books you’d left in your desk,” he told her as he set “Great Expectations” on the table before her. Her eyes were dancing as they returned to him. “I thought you would enjoy having something from before.”
“Oh, Joe, that’s the sweetest thing you’ve ever done for me.” Cathy smiled. “Yes, I would love to re-read this.” She took a bite of her rice. “Thank you.”
“You’re troubled,” Father said as Vincent entered the Library. “Even more so than last night.”
Vincent sighed as he sat down. “I heard news about Catherine today.” He looked to meet his father’s eyes. “A Helper tells me that she’s alive.”
“What nonsense is this! What cruel words!”
“It’s true, Father,” Vincent said. “The message on the pipes today was Jamie.” He proceeded to tell Father about their conversation and then the one he’d had with the Helper. “Everything about the woman he saw, was Catherine.”
“You don’t believe one word of it, do you?” Father asked. “Surely you realize that even the small amount of hope you may feel could destroy you.”
“Then you must disregard this nonsense.”
“A woman arrived at the cemetery mere moments from the time I laid the rose on her grave. Could she have felt the Bond? Would it have brought her there to find me?”
“Vincent,” Father sighed. “There is no more Bond. Not with a dead woman.”
Although his words were harsh – they were the truth. He felt a numbness seep through him. Such a paralyzing sensation as he’d first felt when he’d felt the life ebb from her a decade earlier.
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. "Courage and Care" copyright 2002 ® Wendy Littrell
"Courage and Care" copyright 2002 ® Wendy Littrell
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