Chapter 12

April Twelve

The light tapping on the French door window panes came exactly when she needed it. She grabbed the ring from the box and hurried to the balcony. There he was again, larger than life.

The vision, no, the sensation of his strong, great hand in her own, while she tried to slip the gorgeous ring onto his long finger… a ring too small for such a large furry finger, but she tried anyway… let me, Vincent, please… don’t be afraid… no, I won’t hurt you, everything will be all right, you won’t hurt me either… and the sensation of fur was suddenly on her face, a sweet caress…

"Catherine… "

She slowly opened her eyes. The fur was no longer just a sensation. His hand was there, caressing her cheek.

Again! She could not help chuckling. What a strange day! Reality fighting with dreams to be the most bizarre. Bizarre like a Winterfest Round Robin… a Winterfest Round Robin… ? What's that? she giggled, still confused.

"What?", he asked, smiling. The book was still open, in his lap, his arm around her shoulders, and his fingers retreated quickly. Not quickly enough. She captured his hand, and kept it close to her cheek with both of hers.

"Joe asked me to marry him."

"What?", he repeated, but the smile had disappeared, and his sudden movement to try to look into her face made the book plop on the floor.

Giggling, she put her arms around his chest, and snuggled closer. "Yes, and he gave me an engagement ring. You saw the whole thing and were… jealous.".

She felt him relaxing a bit. "Catherine, you barely slept a minute. As soon as I realized you went to sleep, I woke you up.". He lightly caressed the bump on her head. "It's not a good idea for you to sleep, not for a while yet anyway.".

"Vincent, did you hear me? You were jealous in my dream." she said, poking him a little.

She felt his broad chest rise in a deep sigh, while his arm gathered her closer "Was the ring beautiful?"

"Oh, yes, a diamond. Big and shiny. And you were jealous." she repeated, looking into his eyes.

He held the look for a long, delightful moment, and she could almost sense the thoughts, the possible replies fighting in his mind… another long breath. "Yes." He closed his eyes, and slowly opened them again, a touch of… darkness? in them. "If a man asked you to marry him, and gave you a ring… I would be jealous.".

Joy bubbled in her heart, and she knew he felt it. "And I tried to give the ring to you." Again laughing, she took his hand, brought it to her lips, brushed a kiss on the back of it. "But it was too small for your finger."

He looked at their hands intertwined, her pale, slender fingers almost lost in his big furry ones. "What gift would you like for Winterfest, Catherine?" he asked, pensively.

The playful mood vanished. It suddenly struck her that something deep and important had been revealed by that innocent joke. She lifted her head to look into his eyes, but he was still contemplating their hands.

You! Why can’t I just reply honestly? You, and you can skip the fancy wrapping paper. C’mon, Chandler, say it. He asked.

He chose this moment to look into her eyes, while he brought their hands to his chest, to his heart, and kept them there, hers buried below his, the slow beating of his heart resounding in every single cell of her body, making her own heart race like crazy. Words failed her. Again, as with Elliot, as with Michael, the thought of another man had worked its magic. The wall of reticence thinned somewhat, and in his eyes she could see… oh…

C’mon!! You're a lawyer. You can’t be speechless… Speak up… kiss him, something!

"What… All… all I want for Winterf… "

Click…

Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay

Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious

If you say it loud enough…

The passionate look in their eyes changed into a wide open stare. Mary Poppins was singing, aloud… beneath their couch.

"Catherine… what… what is that?"

She closed her eyes, willing that darn voice to shut up, crazily looking for a "rewind" button in reality to get back to square one, the one with that "oh…" look in his eyes… or at least hoping that she had again fallen asleep and was dreaming and would wake up now… to no avail…

Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay

Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious…

… what if I kiss him anyway… ? Not exactly violins and harps to accompany our first kiss, but…

… but Vincent was already disengaging himself to see what was going on under the couch. His darn sense of propriety wouldn't allow any romantic moment to be accompanied by Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay. Rats!

Resigning herself to the inevitable, her dark side wishing and willing to kill Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews and even Walt Disney… They knelt in front of the couch and peered underneath. Three neatly wrapped packages sat there. One of them was singing.

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