NIGHT VIEW, 2004,
by Sandy Chandler Shelton
 

inspired the following vignette:


DON'T WORRY, WE WON'T FALL
Linda Stork

 

When Catherine arrived at her apartment, she was drained by the heat wave that had hit New York. She saw that someone had slipped a note under her door and eagerly picked up the envelope, recognizing the flowing calligraphy immediately. She smiled as she slipped the note out, but the message was very cryptic.

Catherine

The night is warm, so dress in something loose and cool. Meet me at the threshold at 9PM.

Vincent.

Her weariness seemed to melt away and her spirit lifted at the anticipation of seeing Vincent tonight. After a refreshing shower, Catherine slipped on a thin, flowing blue summer dress, with flat black shoes. She was curious about the evening Vincent had planned for her. Now she only had to wait until dark.

When Vincent saw her emerge from the shaft of light in her basement, he was enthralled by the vision of Catherine. She looked cool and so delicate, and the skirt of her dress seemed to float around her legs. He enfolded her into his arms for a gentle hug.

Catherine savored the comforting feel of the strong arms encircling her. "What surprise do you have for me, Vincent?" she asked.

"An adventure, Catherine." He replied mysteriously.

She felt a thrill of anticipation. She noticed that because of the extremely warm weather, he wasn’t wearing his cloak.

Vincent led her through the tunnels, going in a direction away from the home chambers. She had never travelled this way, before. They emerged from the tunnel into a maintenance area next to an elevator. Vincent turned to Catherine. "We will take the elevator, but not in the conventional way," he grinned. He climbed onto the roof of the elevator, and reached down to pull her up with him. "Now, hold on to me. Don’t let go!" he teased.

He then pushed a button on a control attached to the roof of the elevator. Catherine quirked her eyebrow. Who would install a button on the outside top of an elevator??

"Mouse," Vincent answered her unspoken question.

Catherine quickly grabbed Vincent as the elevator lurched into motion, and he firmly held her within his arms as they sped up the shaft. The elevator stopped at the top floor, leaving the elevator about 10 feet from the top of the shaft. Vincent opened a maintenance access door and they emerged onto the roof of the building. This high up, there was a fairly stiff breeze.

"Vincent, where are we?"

"This is the roof of one of our helper’s apartment building," he smiled, "We have had tunnel access for many years. I come up here often, and Mouse installed the control button so I wouldn’t have to climb up the cables."

Catherine held tightly to Vincent’s hand as he led her to the edge of the roof.

"Do you trust me?" he asked mischievously.

"You know I trust you implicitly," she replied.

Vincent sat on the edge of the roof, with his legs dangling over the side, then carefully guided Catherine to sit in front of him. She clung fiercely to his arm, but she was not afraid.

"Oh, Vincent, what a beautiful view!" she exclaimed. She glanced down, experiencing a rush of vertigo, then quickly looked back up. "We must be at least 30 stories up!" she gasped. "I thought my apartment was high, but this building is so much taller."

Vincent pointed. "There is your apartment building, over to the left. And look, through those buildings, we can still see part of Central Park."

"The stars are so much brighter from up here," Catherine said, contentedly.

They sat quietly for a few minutes, and Catherine relished the warm, comforting pressure of his arm across her breasts. The absence of a barrier between their legs and the dark expanse of the night added a spark of danger that resonated inside her. With Vincent’s arms securely around her, she felt safe and secure. This was much better than sitting alone in the top of a tree in Central Park.

"I come up here to blow the cobwebs from my mind, Catherine. It is such a tranquil place, but the wind is always brisk. We are high enough that the sounds and distractions of the city below can be forgotten."

Catherine could feel the warm tickle of Vincent’s breath on her ear as he whispered, "I came here the night I returned you to your apartment when we first met. I was so overwhelmed by your acceptance of me. When you hugged me that night…it felt so…right. It frightened me. I had never felt that way about anyone, before. And I knew there was something – a bond – that was like nothing I had ever experienced before."

"Vincent, after I recovered from the operations on my face, I would stand on my balcony for hours, just looking into Central Park and wondering where you were, and if I would ever see you again. I felt…something was missing. I was so happy when you left that book for me." She twisted a little to look up into his eyes. "You are so precious to me."

"I came up here many times over the next few months. I felt your turmoil as you made changes in your life. I…I wanted so much to see you again, but knew it would be better for both of us to let you forget me."

"Oh, Vincent, I could never forget you. You were my rock to cling to whenever I doubted my strength to make my life more meaningful. Any time I would falter on my new path, I would imagine you standing in the tunnel doorway, nodding encouragement to me. You were always close to my heart."

Catherine relaxed back into the shelter of Vincent’s chest. She closed her eyes and savored the sensation of his heart beating against her back and his strong arm holding her safe against him.

"Look, Catherine!" Vincent was pointing to their right. "There comes the moon!" They watched as it rose slowly over the skyscrapers and illuminated the city with a cool silver glow. "I knew it would be a full moon tonight, and wanted to share this precious view with you."

Vincent carefully rose and pulled Catherine up beside him. "The moon was full the night you returned home after your father died. I came up here and relived the kiss you gave me that night. I did not respond then, because I was so surprised…and…I was afraid you were only expressing your gratitude."

"Oh, Vincent! It wasn’t just gratitude."

"I know that, now," he smiled. "I knew then, but was afraid to admit it. Catherine, I’m not afraid, now."

He pulled her closer and she felt his lips settle gently on hers. So sweet. So warm. There was no hesitation, no awkwardness. His arms tightened around her waist, as all space between them vanished. Vincent deepened the kiss, moving his lips softly against hers, then, slowly, reluctantly, he released her. They were both breathing heavily.

"Do you like my surprise?" he whispered softly.

Catherine smiled up at Vincent. "This is the most wonderful surprise you could have given me! I will treasure it, always.

 

 


 

 

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