Vincent put his pen down when he heard the unmistakable sound of Father moving toward his chamber entrance. The cane tapping on the ground and his soft shuffle as he walked. “May I come in?”
Vincent looked up. “Of course.” Father moved slowly into the room. He stopped in front of his son.
“You weren’t at breakfast. Jacob said you returned to your chamber early this morning.”
“Father, what is it you wish to say?”
“I’m very worried, Vincent.” Father took a seat. “Lately you’ve been so preoccupied with Catherine that I’m afraid we’ll lose you as well.”
Vincent studied Father’s face and saw the worry and stress etched on his countenance. He clasped his hands and leaned back in his seat. “Last night, I found myself at the Chamber of the Falls. I realized that you had spoken the truth. That Catherine could not be alive. I was in utter pain; my heart was breaking anew in a million pieces as I faced my deepest fear. To never see her face again. To finally say goodbye. For a moment last night, Father, I almost allowed myself to believe again that she was alive. I saw her standing there. Beauty that has never faded. She called to me. It was then that I knew that she was really gone. That I was headed back into madness if I kept believing. I told her goodbye, Father.”
“I know it must have been difficult for you, my son. But for Jacob, you must move ahead.” Vincent nodded at Father’s words.
“She made me believe that I was worthy of love. She loved what she saw when she looked at me. She made me believe that I wasn’t a beast.”
“You said that for just a moment you believed that she was alive again. What happened?”
“Her words to me. She kept telling me that she as alive. That she was in New York.” Vincent stood and began pacing. “But, Father, I know that it was only what I wished to hear. That ten years had not passed. That she had never been taken from me. I need to face the reality of all that happened.”
“And now, my son?”
“Now, I will arrange to take Jacob to his mother’s grave.” He stopped and faced Father. “Tonight.” Then swiftly he left the chamber to find his son.
Figuring she would continue to sleep for a few more hours, Joe left the brown stone. He went to his office and pulled out the old file on Cathy’s case. The file that the D.A.’s office had officially closed many years before. Joe went through it looking for something that would indicate how he could get in touch with Vincent or his father. Since Diana had left the state for another job eight years before, he didn’t know of anyone else who could help him. Something nagged at him. “Pipes.” Cathy hadn’t thought he’d heard her. “Messages on the pipes.”
Twenty minutes later as Joe stood in the sub-basement of Cathy’s old apartment building he took the hammer he’d brought with him and started banging on the pipes there. He didn’t have any rhyme or reason to how he hit the pipes. Only the hope that someone would respond. Someone who could help him. He was beginning to tire ten minutes later, when he heard a voice above him.
"Hey! What are you doing down there?”
Joe moved back up. “Um, just checking the pipes.” The man he faced looked at him.
“You’re the D.A. aren’t you?” Before Joe could answer, the man continued. This time with a voice held down to a whisper. “Who you trying to contact?”
“Vincent,” Joe answered. The man didn’t flinch.
“Don’t know anyone by that name.”
“What about Mr. Wells?”
“Write a message, I’ll get it to him.”
Joe took his pocket-sized planner out of the inside of his jacket pocket. After writing down a few words, he folded it up and handed it to the man. Before allowing him to take it, he asked, “How can I be sure I can trust you?”
“I knew Cathy. She was a good person. You were her boss and good friend. She trusted you. She also trusted me.”
“Get this to Mr. Wells. I would prefer it be delivered directly to Vincent.” The man started to say something. “Yeah, I know you don’t know anyone by that name.” Joe let the man take it and then he made his way out of the building.
Father was shelving some books when the Helper stepped into the chamber. “Father, a message for you. It’s from Joe Maxwell.” The man held the paper out. As Father grasped it, the man said. “He said it was really for Vincent. I told him I didn’t know anyone by that name.”
“Thank you.” The man left the room and Father opened the paper.
“News about Cathy’s case. Meet me at the Carousel. Midnight.” It was signed “Joe Maxwell.”
Father pocketed the note. Until he knew what Joe wanted, there wasn’t any way he was going to mention this to Vincent.
“Father, you were crying in your sleep,” Jacob said when they returned to their chamber later that day. “Were you dreaming of Mother?”
Vincent smiled at his son. So intuitive. “You’ve also been dreaming of her.” The boy didn’t answer. “I’ve decided to take you Above. To her grave.”
“Tomorrow night.” He saw that his son was about to protest. “You will have time to prepare for the goodbye you wish to give her.”
“Thank you, Father.” Jacob embraced the large frame of his father.
As Jacob and Vincent slept, both dreaming about the chestnut-haired woman that they loved, Joe was waiting impatiently at the Carousel. The spot where his former boss, Moreno, had been killed by Gabriel’s men. Cathy hadn’t risen from her bed all day. She’d slept on and off. Barely had she touched the food he’d brought her that afternoon. A shadow caught his attention. Slow moving.
“Mr. Wells?” Joe called into the darkness.
“Mr. Maxwell, you requested a meeting.” He remembered the slight British accent from their meeting ten years previous. “About Catherine’s case?”
“I could get in a lot of trouble by giving you the information I have.”
“There are many people who still grieve for her. I doubt that anything you say could alleviate their pain.”
“She’s alive, Mr. Wells.”
Father felt like he’d been punched in the heart. “Why do you say such nonsense? I was at her funeral. My son . . . “ He stopped before he gave his son away.
“Your son was with her on the rooftop when he believed she died.”
“How do you know this?”
“Cathy told me.” Before the older man could protest any longer, the story spilled out. Joe told him about her comatose state, about the beginning of the autopsy, the switching of someone else for Cathy, putting her into the witness protection program. Everything. He told the story up until the events of the night before and her emotional state. “She’s losing herself,” Joe continued. “For so long she lived for the day that she would be reunited with your son. And now that she’s so close to him and unable to contact him, she’s given up hope. Especially after what she told me happened.”
“What happened?” Father found it hard to find his voice.
“She had a vision or something. She said he told her goodbye.”
Father remembered his conversation with Vincent from that morning. “I told her goodbye, Father.” He realized Vincent hadn’t been dreaming. The Bond had re-opened for them.
“Where is she now?”
“In a brown stone a few blocks from here. For five more days, she’s still officially in the program.”
“May I see her?” Father cleared his throat. “Tonight.” Joe nodded and pointed toward his car.
Once they were on their way, Father carefully chose his words. “How do you know about my son?”
“Don’t worry, Mr. Wells. The only thing I know is his name and that Cathy loves him more than anything in this world. She won’t say anything more.” Joe turned the corner. “Last night when she was crying, it was as if she was so alone. I knew that I had to find Vincent. Bring him to her. Only then will she be okay.” There was silence for awhile. “So why all the mystery about Vincent?”
“He’s very special, Mr. Maxwell.” Father looked out the window. “Very special.”
Cathy was half awake when she heard the door close. She wasn’t sure how long she’d been laying there. Joe had drifted in and out of her room most of the day. Her dreams were empty – as empty as her soul. She’d tried constantly to re-open the Bond with Vincent but it was as if there was nothing there. It was worse than when their connection had been lost when she’d become pregnant. She felt as if she was floating in an abyss and she kept sinking deeper and deeper. Voices floated through the air. More than one person.
“Cathy,” Joe said as her door was pushed open. “I’ve brought a visitor to see you.”
She couldn’t respond. The only visitor she wanted was Vincent and she knew it couldn’t be him.
“She’s not answering. Maybe if you talk to her, she’ll wake up and listen.”
The tap and shuffling steps were familiar to her. Then the sweetest voice she’d ever thought to hear spoke her name. “Catherine, is it really you?”
Tears streamed from her eyes. Father! But it couldn’t be. She heard the person creep closer to her bed.
“Catherine?” She opened her eyes all the while praying that it wasn’t a dream.
She saw tears on his cheeks. “Father!” she cried. In one motion she jumped from the bed and embraced the tunnel patriarch. “Oh, Father! It is you!”
“My dear, you are the most beautiful sight I’ve seen.”
They clung to one another as both cried happy tears. Finally she pulled away and looked at Joe who was still standing in the doorway. “Joe, how did you . . . ?”
“Luck, I guess.”
“Does Vincent know?” she asked. Father shook his head.
“Not yet,” Joe answered. “I’m hoping Mr. Wells will tell him.”
“I think you should tell him,” Father told the prosecutor. Both Cathy and Joe stared at the older man. “I think it’s time that you speakwith my son. He will believe you, Mr. Maxwell. And in time will understand so many things.”
“Uh, sure. How do I meet him? Where?”
“The sub-basement of Catherine’s apartment. Tomorrow morning.” The man told Joe what he needed to do. “Someone will meet you.” Father turned back and gazed into Catherine’s face. “You have been missed by many, my dear. Please don’t despair.”
She nodded as he spoke. Vincent would be returned to her tomorrow. And with that – all of their hopes and dreams.
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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