Dreams of Thee

Chapter 11

 

Father was bent over his desk preparing the work schedule and lesson planning for the next several days.  He raised his shoulders, flexing them to loosen the tension there.  Mary had promised to help him with the rest of the lesson plans, but her tardiness in arriving told him the children in the nursery were taking longer to settle into sleep than was normal.

He poured another cup of tea as he thought of his beloved son. Vincent and Catherine had been gone for what seemed like forever to him but, in reality, he knew it had only been 48 hours since they had departed the tunnels.  Part of him was happy for Vincent, but at the same time, the old fears rose to haunt him.  There was much of Vincent’s chemistry which was still unknown.  The one fear which Father pushed away was the possibility of a child. Surely Catherine would take precautions.

As he stared into the teacup, he pondered the relationship between his son and this extraordinary woman who loved him.  Secretly, he had assumed they had been lovers for some time; but after the note they left, he realized how wrong he had been.  Even to be as old as Vincent, to possess all the scholarly knowledge which he did, he realized how very innocent Vincent truly was of the more intimate relationship between men and women.

His thoughts turned to dwell upon Catherine. He found as he analyzed his emotions regarding her and the events of the past weeks that he still had unresolved hostile feelings. A woman who has everything one could wish or hope for in life, who attempted to kill herself, was beyond his realm of understanding. Perhaps I am growing old and lack compassion for the young and the problems they must face today. He knew that, for the sake of his relationship with his son, he must resolve his feeling of resentment and bitterness toward Catherine since that fateful night.

Finding no resolution to his problem, Father simply abandoned it to ponder at a later time.  A smile played at the corners of his mouth as he wondered what Vincent’s reactions had been to sexual intercourse with Catherine.  He was so innocent.  Then he remembered how very innocent he, himself, had been with Margaret, and the joy he felt as they discovered their own sexual life together.  Nothing in his vast readings had prepared him for all they experienced together.

 “Would you care for more tea?”

“Mary, I’m sorry, I was wool gathering, indulging in some memories of long ago.  We can get started on the lesson plans if you are still up to doing this.”

“Yes, I’m ready. And Father, there is no need to apologize for remembering Margaret, your life together.  Don’t deny it either; the look on your face gives you completely away.”

“I’ll get us some fresh tea,” he told her, and taking the tea pot, he hurried toward the kitchen.  Are my thoughts really that transparent? he wondered as he prepared the tea. I must be more careful, he mused as he left the kitchen.

************

Vincent lay stretched out on the floor, head and shoulders propped on avariety of pillows.  The book they had been reading lay beside him.  He had heard the shower stop several minutes ago, so he knew Catherine would be out soon.  He stared at the bedroom door, realizing how very much he missed her, and she had only been out of his sight, away from his touch, for twenty minutes.  The door opened and she stepped into the room. “Vincent, where are you?”

“Here, beside the fireplace, on the floor.” As she walked slowly toward the sound of his voice, his heart rose to his throat at the sight of her.  She was dressed in a gown of pale spring green silk, and the robe was shades of the same green with spring flowers in peach and apricot.

Her senses had adapted to her blindness.  The sound of his voice and his breathing were all she needed to aid her in walking within five inches of where he lay.  The placement of the furniture was familiar to her, so rarely did she bump into it or stumble in her attempts to move about.  An inner sense guided her, as well as the awareness that Vincent was always close at hand, watching and protecting her.

She slowly sank to her knees then, finding his legs, she moved upward until she could stretch out on top of his hard, muscular body.  She wiggled against him before she settled into a comfortable spot, her head nestled on his shoulder.  His arms enfolded her as his senses were filled with the perfume she wore, and his heart was filled with joy.

“Have I told you, Catherine, how very enjoyable I find this new way you lie with me when I read to you?”  His voice was warm, filled with the emotions which even now threatened to overpower him.  The feelings, emotions they had shared so fully in the last two days were still new to him, emotions which heneeded to articulate and which she, in turn, needed to hear.  “You look so beautiful tonight, so beautiful.”

Raising her head, she kissed him lightly, sighed, and laid her head back on his chest.  They continued to lie in each other’s arms, content to hear the steady twin beatings of their hearts.

Vincent picked up the book and began to read as Catherine snuggled closer against his chest, enjoying the deep vibrations of his voice as he read.  The resonance of his voice gave Catherine goose bumps and he laughed when she first shared this, the first of many small secrets.  He wanted to know why he had not known this before, and she had responded by telling him they both had been wearing too many clothes.  This caused him to smile even more.

They lay before the fire; even though the weather was warm, Catherine wanted a fire.  Vincent had obliged because earlier Catherine had told him she had dreamed of making love to him in front of the fire place—and he had been moved to tears.

Catherine turned her head to face Vincent, her fingers moving to caress the side of his jaw. Without missing a word, he brought her fingers to his lips, kissing them as he read.  A smile played at the corners of his lips as he savored the texture of her fingers against his lips.

“Vincent, for a moment, as I was getting out of the shower, I thought I saw faint streaks of light again. It was like before, only they seemed to last a fraction of a second longer.”

The book flew from his hand.  His arms reached to hold her closer.  “The return of your vision would make my happiness complete.  Would you like for me to phone Peter, ask him to come over when he is free?”

“No, let’s wait a little longer.  I told him about them when we came Above, and he assured me it was no cause for alarm.  He will call us, knowing him, within a few days.  I don’t wish to share this time with anyone.

“Vincent, my heart is so full, but I want to be able to see you.  What if I my eyesight never returns?  I miss the sight of you so much.  The color, the warmth of your eyes, the way you look when something touches you deeply, your funny half smile, the look of peace on your face when you are resting. I want to not only be able to feel your body but to look at you.  When we love, more than any other time, I want to see.” The tears fell from her eyes, falling onto Vincent’s neck.

He felt her anguish as she struggled to gain control of her fears.  Rolling over on his side, taking her body with his, he gathered her closer into his arms.  He was aware of the delicate state of her emotional health from all Peter had told him.  He was also aware of the great price to her health she had willingly paid to share his life, his world - the struggle she had fought in silence to protect him, the gift she had given to him in her unshakable belief in his goodness, in the beauty of his soul and his body.

Nothing, not even her own health or well-being, had mattered to Catherine, only loving him, only being a part of his life, his world and loving him. He thought of the hours of lost sleep she sacrificed in order to spend minutes or hours with him when all he could—or would—offer was to hold her.  She had accepted a life with him, on his terms, and had willingly walked a tightrope, balancing her own needs against his needs, his fears.  His own regrets were strong; the part he had played in causing this damage to Catherine was not one he found he was able to reconcile.

Before the accident when he first found Catherine, he knew of his difference from others, the way new tunnel dwellers looked at him.  After Lisa he knew, only too well, he was incapable of giving love.  Pain was the only thing he had to offer.

When had she slipped into his heart?  When had he started to believe, as she did, that he was beautiful?  Why had he continued to deny his own sexuality after Lisa?  He realized he could not begin to truly help Catherine until he was willing to face himself, to delve into his past and face the half-truths, the memories which haunted him.

He stroked her back, trying to ease the tight knot he found there, as he kissed her forehead.  He was unable to speak, so profoundly had his thoughts come to him of his own role in the steady deterioration of her health.  The path he was about to travel was more frightening than anything he had previously experienced. It was a path, a journey he would willingly risk if it meant his beloved Catherine would see again.  No self-pain was too great when her happiness and well-being would follow.

“I like the feel of your hands on me, the way I feel warm everywhere you touch,” she whispered as she laid a trail of light kisses across his neck and throat.  She found his mouth by instinct, slowly moving her lips against his.  His lips parted, allowing her access.  She continued to tease his tongue, caressing then slipping away to stroke against the sensitive skin beyond the outer edge of his teeth.

He slid his own tongue past hers, slowly caressing her mouth in turn, until they were both panting as their lips drew apart. “Catherine,” he breathed against her throat as he felt her small hand slip inside his pants, arousing him even further.

“Love me, Vincent, please love me.”

Robe, gown and trousers lay in a heap, forgotten, as they moved against one another.  Each time they made love, their joy exceeded what they had previously known.

Vincent fondled and stroked her as he sought to cover her whole body with kisses.  When Catherine had done this to him, only hours before, he was so sated, so drained, he thought he would never gain control of his shaking, trembling limbs.  He gloried in the taste of her body and her reaction each time his mouth sought her breasts.

Her hips rose against him, her fingers sought to caress him, to draw him inside to release her—and himself—from this sweet pain she felt. “Please, Vincent, please,” she whispered as she experienced the second climax she had felt since his mouth began assaulting her body.  He continued to kiss and caress her until she had reached the highest plateau, then he plunged inside her to carry them upward until the sun exploded over them. They drifted into a sated sleep, blissful and contented.

Fearful his weight would injure Catherine, Vincent rolled onto his hip.  She stirred under him, her arms reaching to pull him back across.  “You are so soft and warm...this feels so good,” she murmured against his chest.  He gave in to her gentle murmuring, laying his body across hers again, holding much of his weight upon his muscular thighs and arms. She moved against him, a whispery sigh escaping her lips as she drifted asleep.

He drifted in a peaceful place, electing to neither sleep nor to awaken.  Images of Catherine filled his mind, causing a faint smile to appear, as he remained in this gentle place of soft shadows.

He floated for a long time, discovering the beginnings of a few truths about himself, when he felt her stirrings.  He occupied himself for the next few moments in kissing her awake, which he found most pleasant.  He rose, helping her to her feet, and announced he wanted a bath.

His arm slid firmly around her waist as they walked toward the bathroom.  He guided her to the tub, spread the bath mat across the floor and then helped her sit down.  Vincent pulled the drain stop up, turned on the water and folded his long legs into the tub.  He knew better than to fill the tub before getting in.

Catherine sat on the mat smiling at him, her hand resting on the edge of the tub.  She felt the water rise a few inches, then she stood and stepped into the tub with him.  Vincent’s hands reached out to stop her.  “Don’t move,” he said as he rose from the tub.  He stepped onto the mat and re-entered from the opposite end so his back, not hers, would be against the faucets.

The water rose precariously as he sank into the tub. Vincent nibbled on her neck as he reached his long arms to gather up the soap, cloths and sponges.  They were like two happy children as they lathered and splashed each other.  “We should be in the bathing pools or the Mirror Lake, where we could have all the water we want,” he said.

They played as children until the water began to cool.  As Catherine sat on the edge of the tub drying, Vincent slipped into the shower to rinse all the traces of soap from his skin.  The rinsing took a while, but he knew he could not hurry the process.

When he finally left the shower, dried off and returned to the bedroom, Catherine was standing against the balcony doorway.  He walked up behind her and drew her into his arms.  She leaned back against him, enjoying the coolness of his body against her.  “I never thought you would feel so comfortable with me that you would walk about nude.”

“Neither did I.  Does it displease you?”

“No, on the contrary; it pleases me greatly.  Your body—the feel of you, your skin against mine—is so wonderful.  I keep thinking it must be a dream, and I’ll awaken to discover none of this happened.  If it is a dream, Vincent, I wish to never awaken.”

“I wouldn’t wish to awaken either, if it were a dream and I had to again spend my days in longing, wanting you but ever afraid of my fears of harming you.”  He gathered her into his arms and walked toward the living room.  He laid her on the mound of pillows they had left earlier, poked the fire back to life, and then he went to the kitchen to prepare their meal.

Peter had realized they would not spend much time eating or cooking, so he had wisely purchased quick, easy to prepare items.  One such thing Vincent found he enjoyed after his first taste was shrimp.  His tastes in foods were, of necessity, simple, but he found he craved the wonderful taste of the various seafoods Peter had purchased.

“I’m surprised that you are so at home in the kitchen,” Catherine commented to Vincent as he carried in a tray of food.

“Why should this surprise you?  If there is work to be done in the tunnels, and you are physically capable of doing it, you are simply expected to do it.  Doesn’t your world work that way, too?”

“Unfortunately, things don’t happen that way very often in my world.  The work ethic seems to be slowly disappearing from my world and people wish to do as little as they possibly can in order to get by.”

“There must be a great many people in your world who lack respect for themselves, their families, and their co-workers, if they will settle for simply getting by.”

Vincent arranged the food in what had become his customary manner on Catherine’s plate.  He slowly but steadily eased into her world of darkness, introducing the skills needed to survive if this became her permanent world.  She was mastering, with fairly good skills, the art of eating and not having her food fall from the fork.

Their evening meal tonight had been a simple one for Catherine to master and gain additional self-confidence. Vincent saved the most difficult of foods for the mid-day meal, rather than the evening, when Catherine was tired.  He could see a difference in her – she did not nap as often nor as long as she had in the tunnels or when they had first come Above.

He was tireless in his efforts to help her become physically strong and healthy again; each morning he led her through a long session of isometric exercises to gain back the muscle tone she had lost since the accident.  Catherine never minded doing the things he wanted because she knew how much her health meant to him, and they always ended by Vincent giving her a body massage.

 

Chapter 12

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