We Must Go With Courage

A Classic Mosaic Story

by Alyssa G., JoAnn Baca, and Debbie H. Bluerose


PART NINE 

Vincent headed slowly to Catherine's, hoping to find the words that would allow her to understand his hesitations, to allow them both to continue finding joy in the simplicity of being in each other’s company. But what if Devin was right? What if that was no longer enough for Catherine? What if it was no longer enough for their love? But what if he hurt her? And what if, by doing so, he lost her forever? He had hurt Lisa and lost her. The thought of the same thing happening with Catherine...it was too much to bear! There were so many questions that he thought unanswerable, and yet, as he reached Catherine's balcony, his heart felt relief at knowing at least one thing for certain--it was here, with his Catherine, that he could always find the answers to a lifetime of doubts and questions. All it would take is courage...

His mind drifted back to another night when he had spoken with Catherine of the need to go forward with courage and with care. She had looked so beautiful then, the light of her love shining from her eyes and her heart. Even then she had wanted more, and yet she had waited for him to be ready. What would she say now that he was here, that he was trying to find that courage within himself...would she accept that there was an equal need for care?

He tapped lightly on her glass door and turned back to face the city lights. A moment later the door opened and her arms came around him from behind, her voice gently caressing the back of his neck with a whispered, "Vincent."

"Catherine, there's something I must say to you, something that is difficult for me. I ask only that you hear my words, that you not simply offer me words of comfort without truly considering all that I have said."

Catherine let go of Vincent and came to stand beside him at the low wall of her balcony. "You know that you can tell me anything, Vincent. There is nothing that we can't share, that we can't face as long as we face it together."

Vincent sighed and let his hair fall forward to cover his face. "I wish I could believe that."

"All you need to believe in is us...in our love."

Vincent turned then and placed his hands gently on Catherine's arms. "Do you remember another night on this balcony, when I told you that I had to share with you something that was not beautiful, something that was a painful truth for me?"

Catherine reached up and gently touched her hand to her beloved's face. "I remember."

"My...hesitations...about us...about what we can allow ourselves to be...come from what we spoke of that night."

"Vincent..." Gently Catherine took his hands in her own and kissed them as she had on that other night. "I knew then , as I know now, that these hands WERE made to give love...to share in the love that is between us."

Vincent closed his eyes, letting the tears he felt gathering slip down his cheeks. "And if I hurt you, as I once hurt her?"

"You could never hurt me, Vincent; you must know that."

Angrily, Vincent pulled back from her to face the city lights again.  "You won't even consider the possibility that I could hurt you! How can we even try to go forward if you won't hear my fears?"

Catherine took a deep breath and moved to close the distance between them again. "I'm sorry." She wrapped her arm through his and leaned her head against the warmth of his shoulder. "I am listening, but I guess I just don't see things as you do. I know that you would never intentionally hurt me, and that's enough for me."

"And if the hurt was unintentional? What then?"

"What are you so afraid of?" she asked him in the quietest of whispers. "Vincent, look at me...please?"

He turned to her, his head still down, his eyes unable to meet her gaze.

"You told me once that Lisa left because you loved her. Is that what you think I'll do, that I'll leave if something goes wrong? Because I won't."

Vincent eyes widened and met hers as he felt the truth of her words through their Bond.

"And, Vincent, there's one more thing that you should know. I believe, with all of my heart, that things won't go wrong. But if it did, I would heal, and forgive, and love you still." Catherine paused here to wrap her arms around Vincent's neck and pull him close, her lips whispering softly against his ear, "And we would try again."

Tears began to flow down his face. How could he refuse to try when she was so certain in their future and in their ability to conquer anything?

She felt more than saw the slight nod of his bowed head giving voice to what his throat would not allow to pass. Slowly, with great care, she delicately kissed his forehead then pulled back slightly with her arms still around his neck to wait for him to meet her eyes. He drew a deep breath to steady his shaking form and looked into her smiling eyes. A soft rain began to fall, washing away his tears. She didn’t move. He couldn’t let her stand out here in the rain, but there was still unease at the thought of moving inside her apartment with the balance so fragile.

“Meet me Below.” Vincent’s voice was hoarse with emotion as he choked out the short reply that was both a request and a plea.

“Below,” she confirmed.

*                      *                      *

Mouse and Devin had received many questioning glances as they pulled along their load under the huge white sheet. Carefully, they made their way to Vincent’s chamber and released the ropes to lift the burden off the makeshift wagon and place it beside Vincent’s bookshelf. The two matchmakers scurried back from the Hub of the Tunnels. Devin sent Mouse on to feed Arthur while he went about ensuring no one would be even thinking about disturbing Vincent tonight.

Vincent rather shyly helped Catherine down the final step of the ladder at the threshold entrance. His cloak had become slightly damp, but the man within the cloak had been spared the drizzle. They walked in companionable silence back towards his chamber. Butterflies stirred in Vincent’s stomach. He had been thinking about Catherine’s words and his decision as he rushed to meet up with Catherine again. He was so entrenched in his thoughts and the giddiness of having Catherine near him tonight, Vincent barely noticed the lack of interference from the Tunnel community on their trek down.

The tension was palpable by the time they reached the threshold to his chamber, but there was no turning back. The fact that a lantern sat off to the side of the main tunnel registered on some level in his mind.

Catherine stopped abruptly after a few steps inside, and Vincent had to rely on his excellent balance to keep from falling into her. Questioning green eyes turned back to look into blue eyes that held the same question. There was a large object that neither of them had seen before covered with a sheet.

Vincent moved in front of Catherine to uncover the object, automatically placing himself between any potential danger and her. The sheet fell away to reveal the kissing booth Mouse had endeavored to create for the couple. Vincent recognized to whom the scrolled handwriting belonged. A chuckle rumbled in his throat and amusement was sparkling in his eyes as he turned towards Catherine.  “Mouse,” he explained.

With that one word, Catherine raised a hand to shield a soft laugh. 

Vincent’s expression then turned serious.  He reached out and stroked her cheek, moving closer to her as he encircled her waist easily with his other hand. Cupping her cheek, he glanced at her lips then stared meaningfully into her eyes. “May I?”

Shivers of anticipation fired up Catherine’s spine as she nodded consent, not trusting her voice.

His lips softly touched hers. He felt the fire that small connection kindled in her and pressed more firmly into the kiss, supporting her head with his hand. They both were breathing hard with hearts racing at the line that had been crossed. He led her over to sit on his bed and turned to walk towards the outer tunnel.

“Vincent…” A small measure of apprehension crept into her voice. She didn’t want him to run away from this, from them.

He turned back and placed a finger to her lips where his mouth had so recently graced her. “I will be right back.” The statement spoke of promises yet to be fulfilled.

His intent was to light the lantern and place it in the entry way to afford them some privacy, but by the time his feet brought him back to the outer tunnel, the lamp was sitting there blazing forth. Beside the lamp was a note in Devin’s handwriting.

Don’t waste another moment, little brother. Faith has its rewards. ~ Devin

Smiling to himself and no longer afraid of the journey to come, Vincent returned to Catherine. “Care to try again?” he offered.

From further down the tunnel, Devin ushered a reluctant Mouse in the opposite direction. His little brother was finally growing up.

The End

 

contact JoAnn - joannb23(at)yahoo(dot)com
contact Alyssa G - ofcourseitquacks(at)yahoo(dot)com
contact Debbie Bluerose - butterflyfreedomatlast(at)yahoo(dot)com

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