STICKY FINGERS

By Wendy de-Veryard

(The following story was written as part of the CABB Challenge)

He stood in front of the mirror, trying to gauge the effect he would have on her, little knowing that as he waited Catherine was still in her apartment getting ready and singing an old song that she hadn't heard in ages.

"You walked in to the party like you were walking into a yard, you had one eye in the mirror and, you watched yourself walk by…" Catherine sang along as she varnished her toe nails pink, and blew them dry in-between singing.

"And all the girls dreamed that they'd be your partner, that they'd be your partner, and you're so vain, I bet you think this song is about you, you're so vain…I bet you think this song is about you, don't you, don't you…"

Her toenails dry at last, Catherine set to with her finger-nails, and at last when they were dry, she put on her make up, her dress, and picked up her purse and keys to head below.

A little later as she stepped into his waiting arms at the foot of the threshold, Catherine was still humming the tune to herself until moment he settled her down and she was able to step back and look at him. Then Catherine gasped. "Vincent…what have you done to yourself!"

Vincent stared open mouthed, not knowing whether to run or to stand his ground. Furiously he searched the bond trying to gauge her reaction to him. Was she shocked, was she surprised, he didn't look that bad surely…Father had said it was hardly noticeable.

Vincent decided to act the innocent.

"What? What's wrong Catherine?"

Pursuing her lips, Catherine sucked in a reply, "Nothing Vincent, nothing at all," while to herself she thought, 'perhaps he doesn't know.'

But Vincent couldn't keep it up "It was little Cathy." He informed her now.

"Little Cathy? Taken up hairdressing now has she?" Catherine tried not to laugh.

"No that was Lena."

"Lena's taken up hairdressing?" Catherine laughed gaily.

"No, I mean well sort of."

"Vincent would you mind telling me clearly why you have great chunks of hair missing?" Catherine stifled a giggle.

Vincent sighed deeply, "I was hoping you wouldn't notice. I stood in front of the mirror all evening convincing myself it wasn't so bad and then Father assured me it wasn't so I came to meet you as arranged."

"Dear Heart when something is different about you I always notice…" Catherine was saying at the same time as he spoke to her, and added "What?"

"What do you mean what?" Vincent asked with humour.

"The mirror bit, backtrack what did you say?"

"I said I stood in front of the mirror all evening trying to gauge your reaction…should you notice…"

"That's what I thought you said, that accounts for it then."

"Accounts for what?" Vincent looked at his love fondly.

"A song I've been humming all evening, I must have picked up the mirror vibes from you…never mind forget it, go on what was you saying?"

Flustered for a moment at the sudden change in direction, Vincent took a while to catch up with her.

"You know your hair?" Catherine tapped her own head for emphasis.

"Oh that."

"Yes that, so do tell how come you're missing some locks?"

"It was little Cathy."

"Yes we've established that." Catherine grinned at him, he could be so infuriating at times. So adorable at others. When she thought about it that tune she had been humming and singing for the past couple of hours suited him perfectly. She could just imagine all the girls dreaming that they'd be his partner, but Vincent vain? Never!

"Sorry, what did you say?" Catherine suddenly realised he'd been speaking to her.

"You mean to say you didn't understand?"

Catherine looked away sheepishly, "No not exactly, I wasn't listening, can you please repeat it?"

Vincent exasperated sighing deeply, and filling his lungs to begin to tell her all over again. Then he hesitated, making certain she was listening this time.

"Go on I'm all ears. You have my undivided attention." Catherine smiled up at him.

"Well Lena took little Cathy to a fun fair today, and she bought Cathy some…" his voice trailed away, "What? What are you looking at now?"

Catherine was looking at him quizzically, "What's that?"

"What's what?"

Catherine pointed and there tucked under his hair and lying tight upon his cheek was something reddish brown. Catherine could see how she had missed it earlier it was almost camouflaged with his hair. Reaching out Catherine touched it and drew her hand back quickly, "Yuk what is it?"

Vincent touched the area and smiled, and smiled some more, then burst into laughter leaving Catherine bemused.

"Okay what's so funny?" She grinned at him.

After a moment or two Vincent managed to get himself under control, "As I was saying…Lena took Cathy to the fun fair and bought her a toffee apple…" He spoke faster now, getting it out before he was interrupted or ignored again. "And Cathy came home covered in the toffee between her fingers. I only offered to lick them clean, unfortunately, Cathy decided to stroke my hair with her free hand, hence my hair became matted with sticky toffee."

"Oh I see and Lena had to cut it out?"

"Yes."

Catherine nodded, now she knew why he had chunks of hair missing. But hold on, why had he laughed, what had he found so funny?

Vincent's lips twitched, knowing she would soon realise, and waited for her to question him further.

"So what was so funny?"

Without a word Vincent pointed to the piece of sticky toffee stuck to his cheek and grinned.

Catherine didn't understand what he was trying to tell her, but she was given the distinct impression by his demeanour that he was trying to instigate some sort of response from her.

"What is it Vincent? I don't understand."

A little shy at having to explain the situation, Vincent spoke softly, "Little Cathy told me she was saving some toffee for you. I took it to mean that she had left some in the kitchen, but maybe…" He left the sentence unfinished, as he realised how ridiculous that sounded. How would a child know how desperately he wanted to feel Catherine kiss him again, like she had kissed him to thank him for his kindness after her father had died?

A little overwhelmed and a great deal flustered, Catherine could hardly believe that's what Vincent implied… 'No he couldn't, he wouldn't…would he?' Well there was only one way to find out…

"Oh well if that's the case, I'd better take it then." Catherine leaned in on him, and gently probed the toffee with the tip of her tongue.

Vincent shuddered, the feel of her tongue on his cheek, her warm breath fanning his neck. He longed to embrace her tightly and draw her lips to his.

Cleaning him thoroughly, but lazily so, Catherine took delight in her actions, nibbling the little bit of toffee until it was all gone, and when it was, she felt quite disappointed. Never had she done anything with Vincent quite so erotic, and have him let her do so willingly. Not only that, but if his glazed eyes were anything to go by, he had enjoyed every moment of it.

"There it's all gone. It was delicious." Catherine told him, as she drew away and identified the longing in his eyes.

"Actually." Vincent's voice was gruff, and he could hardly believe he was about to say what he had in mind.

"Yes?"

"Unintentionally, little Cathy might have left some more elsewhere."

"Oh. Where?"

Slowly Catherine became aware that Vincent raised his hand, and carefully touched his lips with one long clawed finger. "Here." He whispered hoarsely.

A whimper left Catherine, unable to contain it, and without hesitation she moved in on him, but hovered just level with his lips, "I can't see anything Vincent…are you sure?" She whispered huskily, jubilant at the pace of his rising and falling chest, signifying his excitement at her closeness.

"I'm sure." He husked, and gently closed his eyes, waiting in hopeful expectation.

Catherine smiled, jubilant, and brought her feather light lips down upon his, "Mmm, Vincent you were right." Catherine licked his lips, "Mmm delicious, better than the first."

Against his mouth he felt her smile, but it didn't matter. It didn't matter that she had guessed that small untruth, for at last, at long last her lips were exactly where he had always wanted them to be.

And as they moulded together and brought their bodies close into a tighter embrace, both thanked God for the little child with the wavy blonde hair and her two handfuls of very sticky fingers.