AN UNWELCOME DISTURBANCE

By Beverley Thomas

 

Vincent knew his chamber well, the darkness was no challenge to him because of his night vison. Looking across to his bed he could hear the soft shallow breathing of the occupant.

A sweet voice whispered his name, beckoning him forward, like a beacon to a lost ship in the night. In all his wildest dreams Vincent never felt, the way he did right now. A chink of light flowed through his chamber, enough to reveal his masculine physique to the waiting angel on his bed, softly she called his name again. His pulse raced in his vains as his strong legs carried him onwards. Vincent knew that she saw his nakedness, although he felt uneasy, he still moved towards the bed.

He stopped on something warm and soft, picked it up, and found it was silken underwear.

A new heat cursed through his body, his already male hardness began to throb uncontrollably, as he slid between the sheets.

"Catherine," he whispered, as his body touched hers, a shiver of pleasure shook his now over excited body.

"Vincent, are you cold, you are shaking."

"No, Catherine, I am not cold, you just have this strange way about you that makes me weak."

He put his arm around her, and softly laid a kiss on her head. Before he could pull away, she turned her face towards him and kissed him. This took Vincent by surprise and he found himself responding, her lips were so sweet. He began devouring her kisses with his own. Finally when they broke apart, Vincent looked deep into her eyes,

"Oh, Catherine, your kisses make me feel intoxicated."

"Don't talk Vincent, love me! Now is our time, send me into oblivion with your love."

Again they kissed but, this time, it was lit by a fire burning out of control. Stroking her velvet neck as their kisses intensified her nipples hardened and enlarged against his golden chest making him shiver with delight.

His gentle hands made their way over her body, his fingers quickly found the nipple of her right breast, as his tongue traced its way along her neck and down to the left breast kissing, nibbling at the delights that were being offered to him. Sighting with absolute pleasure, Catherine's long graceful fingers entwined through Vincent's hair as he sucked and teased her, taking them to a place that he had never been before, not even in dreams.

Slowly he let his hand glide over her. Quivering at the exquisite feel of Vincent's touch, Catherine let her own hands explore Vincent's well sculptured naked body, as his lips returned to hers, sending new shock waves between them.

Vincent wanted so much to please her that he had forgotten where they were. Voices echoing in the distance brought him to a sudden stop.

"What is wrong," Catherine asked. "Is there something wrong, please tell me?"

He responded by putting a finger against her now moist swollen lips. Vincent's keen hearing had picked up the voices before Catherine, but it wasn't long before she also heard them.

They waited hopefully until the voices went by, but to their horror, they stopped outside Vincent's chamber.

Father and Mary, were both in an excitable state.

"He is not here Father, as you can see his chamber is in darkness."

With a sudden swoop Catherine drew the blanket up over their heads, and with a soft laugh she placed a kiss on Vincent's manhood.

"Catherine!" Vincent implored, "please, they will hear us."

"He must be above with Catherine," Mary assured Father, who by now was in a very agitated state.

"At a time like this, he should be here, not shilly shallying about up there."

"Now Fater, Vincent wants to be with Catherine, they need one another and, anyhow, Vincent didn't know that this emergency was going to happen."

"No you're right, as usual Mary my dear, but we must get going, the sentry said an intruder at the park entrance. One of our family went Above, and was followed back. Come Mary we must send a message to Vincent with Pascal, then go and see what is happening."

Gradually the voices moved away, until they could no longer hear them.

Vincent sat up, and pulled the blanket back.

"Where are you going Vincent," she asked in a puzzled voice. "Surely you aren't leaving now. We have come so far, you can't leave me like this."

"Catherine, Father spoke about an intruder, I must go, they may be in danger."

"Of all the time to have an emergency, this wasn't the right time." Catherine felt let down, but knew that Vincent had to go.

He told her that he would not be long.

Once dressed, Vincent hurriedly kissed a very bemused Catherine and headed for the tunnel where he knew he would bump into Father and Mary, as if he was just coming Below.

His legs were like jelly as he tried to run. Of all the times he and Catherine had been alone together in his chamber, tonight had to be the night that something had gone wrong. Vincent cursed under his breath and then chastised himself for doing so. He knew that whatever happened the tunnels and their community always came first. He ran towards the voices that were coming from the lower half of the tunnels. And listened to the messages that were being sent along the pipes, so he knew part of what was going on before he got to Father. A new arrival that Catherine brought down Below had, apparently, gone Above and had been followed down by an over excited ex-husband. Luckily he was seen entering by a sentry who quickly gave the alarm.

Rounding the corner quickly, Vincent came face-to-face with the stranger, who had his arm wrapped around his eldest daughter's throat and in his hand was a knife. He looked at Vincent with disbelief and momentarily his hand slipped, this enabled Vincent to disarm the stranger,but he still clung to his daughter and shouted,

"I'll kill her freak if you come any closer, whatever you are, you had better move away NOW," he shouted, "or I will kill her, make no mistake about that." With a swift movement of his arm, he took a gun from his pocket, and turning to his ex wife, Simone, he said, "You thought I wouldn't find you and the kids. Why," he shouted again, "did you think you could hide them away from me. You're a stupid bitch. You know there is no where on this earth you can hide from me." A movement at the back of the crowd caught his eye. "Anybody move and, I swear, I'll kill them all."

Vincent backed away to where Father was standing and they spoke in a whisper trying to decide what to do. Just at that moment the stranger hit the floor with a whimper and standing over him holding his gun was Catherine. The girl ran into the waiting arms of her mother, while Mouse and William held the stranger's arms behind his back.

Once the stranger was dragged to his feet, they walked towards Father's chamber to sort out what must be done, as the man was a big threat to the community and their world. William now took charge of the gun, as Vincent praised Catherine for saving the girl's life and God knows how many others he would have shot before being cornered.

Suddenly he heard Mouse shout, and the gun went off.William lay on the floor but, thankfully, the gun had fired towards the ceiling of the chamber. As quick as a flash Mouse dashed after the fleeing stranger, but Vincent knew that Mouse would never catch him. So Vincent ran in the direction of footsteps, overtaking Mouse. Vincent told him to slow down, as he could see that Mouse was having difficulty breathing.

Vincent ran fast and could see the stranger just in front of him, he knew the way led to the chamber of the falls, and tried to shout to the stranger that the way became narrow and that it sheered off. In blind panic the stranger continued his frantic run, until a piercing scream, made Vincent stop suddenly, then he carefully rounded the sharp bend, stopping close to the edge. Looking over he could see the stranger crumpled on the floor below. Vincent had no doubt that he was dead, but knew he had to climb down to make sure, and take the body,back to the waiting community.

When Vincent reached the infirmary he laid the body on the table, and then went in search of the others.

On reaching Father's chamber Vincent caught sight of Catherine, who was still being congratulated by Father and Mary for her good deed.

Vincent could see that Catherine still looked shocked and dazed, but his immediate thought was Simone and the news he had to tell her. Catherine noticed Vincent's movement towards Simone, and knew it had to be bad news, so she made her way towards them in time to hear Vincent apologise. Simone looked at Vincent and taking him by the hand she said,

"He was a very cruel man, but I loved him. Thank you for trying to save him, but his soul is at peace, a peace he couldn't find on this earth." With this she walked towards Catherine and hugged her, taking the children she left for her own chamber.

"Vincent, do you think she will go back Above, now he is gone?" Catherine said it with a sad heart.

"Who knows Catherine, it is up to her now. Perhaps when the healing is over."

Father declared that there had been enough excitement for one day, and now it was time everyone went to their own chamber to try and get some sleep.

Saying goodnight to Father and Mary, Vincent and Catherine, made their way, not Above but back to Vincent's chamber.

Meanwhile back in Father's chamber Mary returned only to find Father deep in thought, as Mary approached him he looked up and said,

"Mary, can you imagine what would have happened if Catherine had not come along when she did?" The room was silent for a moment and then Father answered his own question, "He might have killed that girl and anyone else who got in his way."

Mary patted his shoulder and replied,

"Well it's a good job that she was here then, wasn't it, or it could have been a disaster. What I can't understand is how Vincent and Catherine received the message and reacted so quickly."

With this statement, Father turned to face Mary with a shocked expression on his face, he asked Mary what she was trying to say, as he was too tired to play games with her.

"Well," replied Mary, "how often have you seen Vincent's chamber in complete darkness? Now think hard by the way we have not got a shortage of candles at the moment, so that's not an excuse you could use. Don't you think it a bit strange that they appeared on the scene almost at the same time as everyone else."

Father gave a cough and said,

"You mean, you're trying to tell me that Vincent and Catherine were in his chamber, even though there were no candles lit. Don't be so ridiculous, there was no noise coming from there anyway, and without light how could they see what they were doing." With the closing words of his statement he realized what Mary was implying. With a sudden, "Good grief." and an apology to Mary for his outburst. "What do they think they are doing? This is serious Mary, what are we going to do?"

"Well, I am going to make us a cup of tea, and then when I come back, perhaps we can discuss this if you have calmed down."

Placing the tray down on Father's desk, Mary could see that the time away, hadn't altered Father's intense anger.

"Do you think that Catherine understands what this could do to Vincent, he will probably want more than she could ever give him."

"Father." Mary surprised herself by the tone of her voice, to the one she had always secretlyl oved and respected. "Oh Father, if this is how you are going to react to all of this, it makes me sorry I told you what I only thought was going on. I don't know if it is, I thought it would please you to know that Vincent is leading a normal life like any other consenting male of his age. Don't forget that they are both intelligent people, who have, I must say, been in love for over three years. How else would you expect them to behave after so long?"

Father stared at Mary just as if she had blasphemed all the way to hell and back.

"Mary, get hold of your senses for just a moment."

"No Father, you come to yours. It's none of our business what they do, unless it concerns the safety of this world. It is nothing to do with you or me."

After this heated exchange of words, Mary bid Father good night. With blushing cheeks, she turned and told him not to let his tea go cold, and walked quickly away.

Alone once again, Father reflected on what Mary had suggested was going on. He didn't know for sure if there was anything going on, so what was all the fuss about, but then again, what if there was! How could he go up to Vincent and ask him directly; as Mary said it was none of his business. A smile crossed his face as he remembered Mary's outburst. The way her face lit up with a glowing blush, which made her look very pretty. Giving a cough, he glanced around the room, fearing that someone might see the stupid grin on his face, when he thought of Mary, well he wasn't that old, even he was capable of tender moments.

* * *

Once inside the darkened chamber, Vincent and Catherine clung together and said nothing for what seemed like an eternity. Catherine began removing Vincent's clothing,

"Are you sure you still want to do this Catherine?" asked Vincent in his velvet voice that sent delightful shivers down her spine.

"Yes Vincent, I do now, more than ever." Without another word he lifted her into his arms and kissing her he took her and laid her on the bed. Within seconds all clothing was removed and tossed who knows where. In no time their hands roamed over each other's body. Catherine moaned and sighed with absolute pleasure, when at last Vincent took her completely to himself. With easy movements that brought pleasure to each soul, united, at last, in completion of each other's search for fulfilment. The rocking rhythm of every movement brought wave after wave of pleasure to each of them, and at last drenched by the waves of ecstasy that poured over them they found their release. Clinging to one another Vincent could hardly speak, his voice was a deep husky sound,

"I love you, Catherine, we are now one, complete together."

"Oh Vincent, I love you too. I feel so different, I can hear and feel your heartbeat, I feel the pleasure in you that I brought, we truly are one, no one can ever part us now."

Wrapped in each other's arms they slept.

* * *

Just before dawn, Vincent was bidding Catherine goodbye, at the entrance to her basement. their kisses that were passionate before were now tender,but just as wonderful. He had never experienced anything so deliriously happy before. What he and Catherine shared last night was more than he had ever hoped for, he had always known that Catherine was deeply in love with him, but he had never truly believed that they would become lovers.

After they exchanged words of love and devotion to each other Vincent reluctantly made his way back to his world Below, wearing on his face a smile that he could not remove, as he felt thel ove and joy that Catherine carried in her heart, not knowing that Catherine carried that self-same smile, as she felt the same from Vincent's heart.

On reaching his chamber Father was waiting inside for him.

"Good morning, Father, is everything alright? You look as if you have not slept all night. I hope the events of yesterday didn't bother you, it is all over now Father, have no fear."

Father raisedhis head and looked at his son, the conversation with Mary still recoiling in his head. How could he put the question to Vincent? What would his reaction be? Father for once was lost for words. How should he put the question to him. The half truth came easily to him as he answered his son.

"No Vincent, I did not sleep very well last night, I kept thinking about the mad man who tried to kill his own daughter, that he said he loved. We must step up security if someone like that could walk in here, who else might!"

Yet again Vincent caught himself thinking selfishly, he had enjoyed himself in Catherine's arms last night, and forgot all about the event that took place, until he saw his Father, looking tired and withdrawn.

He wanted to tell Father about the love he and Catherine had shared, but knew this was the wrong time. There were more important issues to discuss. Father was right, a breach had been made, that put their world in jeopardy, so the news of his and Catherine's love would have to wait for another time. He could well imagine Father's attitude if he started going on about himself and Catherine, while the safety of their world was at stake. Looking around Vincent's chamber, Father mused at how tidy the room was. If Vincent and Catherine had consumated their relationship here last night, they made sure that they did not leave any evidence behind.

Getting up from the chair Father said toVincent,

"I shall be calling a community meeting later this morning, so we will have a lot of planning to do beforehand, that is if you have not made plans to see Catherine.

"No Father I have no plans for today, that includes Catherine. I will, however, be seeing her later this evening, when I go Above to her apartment tonight. So whatever needs to be done, I shall be here to help." Vincent could not help being curt towards Father. Why did he always praise Catherine one minute, like last night, he was calling her a heroine, now he was being cool. He knew that Father liked and trusted Catherine, but he also knew that Father was afraid that she was going to hurt him. Not physically but emotionally, the sooner he told him of their plans the better. Vincent turning toward Father said,

"I'm sorry Father, I should not have snapped at you, of course I will help, where shall I start."

Before preparing for the meeting Father and Vincent went to see how William was feeling after the past evening's events. They found him in his kitchen, studying one of his favourite recipe books.

"Good morning, William, how are you today?" Father asked with sincere concern for his friend. Replying in a cheery voice, William pronounced himself fit and well, despite the ever growing lump on the back of his head. Taking a look at his injury; which was sustained when he was knocked to the ground by the stranger, Father replied, "Let me be the judge of that."

Flinching at the touch of Father's hand William stated,

"Honestly, I feel fine, it's a little tender sure, but I will be fine."

"Of that I am positive William, but take things easy for a day or two, it's for your own good, you know a bump on the head can have serious consequences if not taken care of . I will send one of the children to help you, if you won't listen and rest, I will have no alternative but to send you to the infirmary for a few days. By the way, there is going to be a council meeting later this morning around 11.30, if you feel up to it I would like you to attend even though you wont be to actively involved, your comments and suggestions regarding improved security will be greatly appreciated."

On leaving Vincent spoke a few words to William, but William had already noticed how quiet he was this morning. He did not seem depressed but preoccupied with other thoughts. Catherine no doubt, thought William chuckling to himself, as he imagined the huge four tiered wedding cake he had planned to make for them when they finally named the day, hopefully it wouldn't be too long.

Directly after leaving William, they headed for Simone's chamber to see how they all were. Father was quite concerned for the psychological effects the events would have on them, especially Victoria, the eldest daughter, believing Mary would be with them Father began to wonder what kind of mood she would be in this morning, he must try to have a private word with her before going to the Great Hall with Vincent.

On reaching Simone's chamber they found everything to be near as normal as it could be. The younger children were playing and did not seem to be affected by what had happened. But Vicky told Vincent, that she was still a little shaky, but was free now to get on with her life. She sounded much older than her 12 years, after pointing out that her father had, at long last left them forever she went back to watching over the younger children, while their mother was with Mary.

Vincent remembered so well the circumstances under which they had come to the world Below. For the past three years Vicky's parents had been divorced, the ex husband started to have access to the children a few hours a week. Simone didn't want this, but the law stated he could, so she had to go along until she could find a way to leave and hide away from him. After the novelty of seeing her father wore off she reluctantly told her mother that her father had offered her drugs. Simone was very frightened by this and decided not just to leave that place but the city altogether.

Using what money she had to get to get to New York, and a new life, things started to get better for them. Simone managed to get a job in Catherine's office as tea and cleaning lady. For two and half years they felt safe, everything was fantastic.The children loved the school they attended, and made good friends. Simone liked Catherine, she was good to her, and always stopped to have a chat.

One afternoon Vicky was looking out of the class room window when she noticed a car like her father's parked across the way. She went cold when she noticed the driver; it was her father. On the pretence of feeling ill, she asked to be excused. From the secretary's office she phoned her mother at work, to tell her that he had found them. A sense of foreboding sent shivers down Simone's spine, and she felt faint, she knew it was him by the description her daughter gaver her of the marks on his face. She had made them with a frying pan the last time he had tried to beat her up. Simone felt the room spin. I must get to my children she whimpered as everything went black.

Catherine had just entered the room as Simone fell to the floor. Quickly she got to her and turned her onto her side facing her. Everyone gathered round but Catherine asked for them to move away, so Simone could get some air. Joe brought a glass of water,

"Jees Cathy, what's wrong."

"I don't know yet Joe, give us a moment."

Simone stirred and looked into Catherine's lovely face.

"Are you alright Simone."

"I must save my children, he will get them if I don't get to the school and pick them up."

"Who will get them, what's wrong please tell me Simone, I might be able to help."

Soon Simone filled Catherine in on what had happened. Catherine told Simone to go home and wait for her, after making a note of her address and the school where the children were. Once she was alone Catherine picked up the phone and dialled Jenny's number, she was supposed to have lunch with her, but that was impossible now, but Jenny would understand.

Catherine knew if she wanted to take Simone and the children Below she had to ask Father first. Quickly she got to a Helper's house and asked to relay a message on the pipes Below the house, and told him what to say; the answer came swiftly : yes all is okay. Father had swung into action, straight away; he knew that Catherine was a good judge of character and knew she would only resort to this method if the situation was desperate.

"Vincent." The call came loud and clear, and brought Vincent back to reality.

"I am sorry Vicky, I was miles away."

"I could see that, Father is gone he said to see Mary."

"Right, I must go see you later."

Walking towards Father and Mary, Vincent thought about his night of passion with Catherine, a smile spread over his face and a strange sensation passed through his body. Suddenly he knew that Catherine also felt his stiring and was sending them back to him. All too clearly he remembered the way they explored and discovered new territories on each other bodies caused a new stiring deep in his loins, catching his breath. A warm feeling stole over him, he knew that was his Catherine, telling him she too had those feelings.

Most definitely he must think no more of Catherine this morning, or he wouldn't get anything done.

Mary accompanied the two men to the Great Hall, she was very quiet. Normally she would be bubbling over with suggestions and ideas, but today she seemd different, especially towards Father. Unless Father spoke to her, Vincent noticed she would not speak to him. How come when I have wonderful news to tell, there is always something more pressing to be done or nobody really wants to know. I told Catherine that Father should be told first thing this morning, as soon as the meeting is over I will take Father for a short walk and tell him then, I don't think I can keep this to myself any longer. Once at the Great Hall Mary busied herself with the seating arrangements, normally a meeting would be held in Father's study but today everyone would be attending even the children.

* * *

When the meeting was over and the new security measures had been reinforced, word had to be sent to helpers Above, the children were eager to help, as it got them off from school for the day. So armed with paper and pencils, the children wrote out the memos that were to be sent Above.

After packing away maps of the tunnels,Vincent turned to Father and said,

"When we get back to your chamber, do you think I could have a private talk with you. There is something playing on my mind and I would value your opinion."

Looking curiously at his son Father replied,

"Of course Vincent." He was tempted to say 'and I would like a word with you' but held his tongue.

Mary called from the doorway,

"I shall go back and help William with lunch." She had overheard Vincent asking Father if they could have a talk, and she didn't want to be there is Father started ranting and raving at Vincent before he found out all the facts. She was still angry at Father for not being very understanding towards Vincent. Granted he had reasons to be protective of him, but where Catherine was concerned he was being hysterical. Why was he so against the fact that they were in love, and wanted to spend most of the time they had together. Mary understood Father's worries wholeheartedly for Vincent, as she also shared them, but why wouldn't he accept the fact that he was a grown man. Mary let the last words echo around in her mind. That's what it is, it's not the fact that he slept with Catherine, it's the fact that he is grown up and makes his own decisions, on his own, without consulting him.

Mary once thought she was becoming old-fashioned until Samantha told her she was the best, because she kept up-to-date on everything.

If it wasn't for the stack of magazine the Helpers brought her, she wouldn't know one pop group from the other. Anyway she liked the children to have knowledge of the world Above in case one day, when they were old enoug, they might want to leave.

* * *

Once everything had been put away and they were finally alone Father turned to Vincent and said,

"Shall I send for some tea, before we have our talk?"

This made Vincent nervous, Father was still in an unusual mood, he wondered if he and Mary had quarelled. Answering his Father, Vincent said he would make a cup of tea. This would give himself chance to go over how he was going to approach his Father with what he had to say. No matter how he would put it, he knew his Father was going to hit the roof.

Pouring tea into the cups Vincent discovered how nervous he was, the tea was spilling everywhere. After cleaning up the mess he had made he returned and sat down.

Vincent stared into his cup as if it held all the answers to his dilemma.

Clearing his throat Father broke the silence that hung in the air between them.

"Are you ready to tell me what this is all about Vincent, or has the cat got your tongue." This caused both to laugh and it put Vincent at his ease.

"Father, last night, Catherine and I became lovers, don't worry I will spare you the details. However, before you tell me that it is not right, or that I'm heading for a fall, I have also asked Catherine to marry me! She has agreed and we both felt that you should be the first to know."

Sitting dumbfounded, Father was lost for words. At least Vincent had saved him the embarrasment of having to ask, but he did not know whether to congratulate him or tell him he was being a fool. Father could not see Catherine giving up her job in the world Above, as it gave her so much pleasure, but he did know that she loved Vincent very much indeed and that she would never do anything to bring him or his people harm. In fact, Catherine had done a lot of good for their community and several times she had risked her life for others.

So putting on a brave face he asked Vincent when the wedding would be. Vincent looked at Father in amazement, he was sure Father would give him a great argument, leaning forward in his seat, Vincent explained to Father about their plans.

"Catherine and I would like to have a small party, to celebrate our engagement, as we have both decided to wait at least a year before we marry. This will allow Catherine time to finish her work Above with no regrets. During this time she will be able to prepare herself to move Below, so she can give devote herself to me."

At seeing how happy Vincent was, Father did not have the heart to try and shatter his son's dreams but, at the same time, he could not help thinking 'will it all end in tears'.

Forcing that last thought to the back of his mind he hoped that things would turn out right for both of them.

After hearing how and when they planned to marry, he realised that these things had been talked about and planned very carefully indeed. There was one factor that Father was not happy about, and that was bringing another stranger Below even for one day. Although he had met him, and he was Catherine's choice, to 'Give her away' Joe Maxwell was a stranger to the rest of the community even though he would be giving Catherine away, and even though to himself the man was not an entire stranger, Joe would be to the rest of the community.

* * *

Walking in the park with Jenny, Catherine was absolutely desperate to tell her friend what has transpired the night before, but she had promised Vincent that Father was to be the first to know, and share their joy. So holding back the urge to blurt out everything, she found herself telling her about the madman and how he tried to threathen his daughters and his wife, and how he had fled to his death at the falls. Jenny was horrified at what had happened, but she knew Catherine had a lot more to tell her than this from the dream she had the night before. Besides, Jenny knew that Catherine would tell her, in her own time, whether the dream meant anything, and hopefully fill her in with the juicy bits, that might have been left out of her dream. After calling herself a pervert Jenny decided to go shopping once Catherine had gone back to work. What kind of present was she going to get? Was it a wedding or simply an engagement present. She linked arms with Catherine and felt overjoyed for her friend and Vincent, they did make the most special couple.

Catherine was grateful that Jenny had not noticed the dreamy faraway mood she was in. She could not help thinking about Vincent and his magnificent body, remembering his every touch made her stomach do cartwheels and brought waves of passion crashing through her very being. Parts of her ached for their love making, muscles that she never knew she had whispered to her that last night had been no dream. Once Catherine was back in her office she wondered how Joe would react in a few months time to her proposal for him to give her away in marriage to Vincent. He must get to meet him, to know how wonderful he is, this had to be arranged and soon.

Singing to herself, as she sorted out the papers for the afternoon cases, Catherine thought of nothing else but Vincent and how she longed to be with him, and Below Vincent was feeling the selfsame things.

* * *

As dusk descended over the park Vincent found himself waiting on Catherine's balcony. As it was still early Catherine would not be home for a while, he settled himself on the floor underneath the budding rose bush. Thoughts of the night before until their goodbyes early this morning, went wildly through his mind. Vincent was so lost in thought, that he didn't see the light go on in Catherine's apartment or the shadowy figure that now stood over him. When a whisper of "Vincent" couldn't wake him, Catherine bent and kissed his lips. It wasn't until he found himself responding, that he opened his eyes, and realised it wasn't a dream.

"I hope you were dreaming of me, Vincent."

Vincent smiled and said, "Yes, Catherine, I was."

Rising to his feet Vincent wrapped his arms around Catherine wanting this moment never to end.

"What about Father, did you tell him Vincent."

"Yes, Catherine, my love, I did! Everything is alright and he is going to announce our engagement tomorrow night, that is if you agree."

With a great swoop, she hugged him tight.

"Yes, Yes," she shouted. Her arms pulled Vincent close and kissed him. Vincent held her in his arms, and carried her into her apartment, that had, until now been off limits. With a gentle kiss he laid her on the bed.

"Catherine, I feel so happy, everything I longed for, I now have. I thought my life was empty, now it is so full. Catherine placed a finger on Vincent's mouth,

"Ssh! no more talking, I have ached for you all day. I need you more than life itself, lay by my side, love me, we have all night."

Vincent closed the door, and while Catherine undressed he too undressed. Together they lay side-by-side. Their love making was gentle and yet a fire burned, they knew now that they had forever, and forever they would be together.

* * *

Below another joining was about to happen. Father went to find Mary to tell her the news about Vincent and Catherine. He found her in her chamber knitting as usual.

"Mary may I come in."

Mary looked up as Father's voice interrupted her counting,

"Yes of course."

Father sat down, in a chair facing Mary,

"I have some good news to tell you, Mary are you listening?"

"Yes Father I am," replied Mary.

"Then please will you look at me."

As Mary looked up, Father noticed that her cheeks were turning slightly pink again, and it made him feel like spring had suddenly come Below, it gave him such a warm feeling.

"Er!! Mary, Vincent and Catherine are to be married."

Before Father could say another word Mary said,

"And I suppose you gave them a hard time, before giving them your blessing."

"Mary! No I didn't. How could you think such a thing? I am pleased that they have finally made their decision and we can all sleep at night, instead of worrying where they are. You do me an injustice, Mary."

Mary was sorry that she said what she had, and now Father was hurt even more. A tear slowly trickled down her face, and it didn't go unnoticed by Father.

"There, Mary, don't take on so, it's not that bad."

"Oh Father, I am sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you. It's just that I want so much for Vincent and Catherine to have a happy life together."

"I know, I know, but everything is going to be alright now." Lifting Mary's chin, he looked into her eyes, that were brimming with tears. A pink glow covered her face and Father couldn't help but smile.

"You look lovely when you blush Mary," he whispered, and he kissed her as the tears ran down her cheeks. "I am sorry that I have always been so hard on you Mary," Father continued. "Everyone depends on me for guidance, and it can be a bit of a burden. Do you think you could share that burden with me, as my wife?"

Mary was taken aback, and didn't know quite what to say. She had been in love with Father since coming Below, she never dreamt that she would be anything but a helper to him. Of course she knew the answer to his question, and wasted no time in telling him.

"I would be proud to marry you, Jacob," she said his name a little hesistantly, but it felt right.

"I am no spring chicken Mary, please don't expect too much of me, but I promise you this, the time that is left to us on this earth I will love and take care of you, the best way I can."

"Oh Jacob, won't Vincent and Catherine be surprised, when they find out that they are not the only ones, to find happiness.

Father put his arm around Mary and agreed with her.

"From now on these tunnels are going to have a Father and a Mother."

The End.