Nine Third Season vignettes by Sue Haley

Contents:
THE ELEPHANT'S CHILD - Tony Ramos
CATHARSIS - Vincent's grief
A GYPSY NEVER FORGETS - The healing begins
WHO MAKES YOU JEALOUS? - Joe's own thoughts
"SOMEBODY ELSE IN YOUR LIFE" - Elliot has met Vincent
"...IT CHANGED EVERYTHING" - Extracts from Diana's diary
DEAR MR MAXWELL - Joe gets a letter from a young boy
GLIMPSES - A letter not sent
OR, IF YOUR WISH BE TO CLOSE ME... - Diana's pain

........................



THE ELEPHANT'S CHILD


I decided to learn to read... for her. So she'd be proud of me... and so I could read those stories myself. It wasn't as hard as I thought it'd be! I already recognised my own name in print... and my father's from the death certificate... "from injuries sustained in a road traffic accident" I can read that now too, not that I didn't know it already. I've found all sorts of advantages when you can read - not just for books. Want ads, lost and found, special offers, hey I even started reading newspapers! I saw her picture in there several times... months ago... but I couldn't read what it said then. Now I wish I couldn't read 'cos when I saw her picture again last week I bought the paper so I could take my time over it.

She's dead! She'd been missing and now she's dead! I went to the graveyard on the day of the funeral... oh, nobody saw me, I made sure of that. So many people there... but he wasn't there. He couldn't go till it was dark... I saw him then but I didn't know what to say to him so I stayed out of sight. I will talk to him one day... when it doesn't hurt so much. He goes there a lot at night.

Just think... I learned to read for her and the first proper thing I read was that!

........................

CATHARSIS


He had seen it's beauty before... admired it from a distance but now, for some reason that he could not identify, it beckoned him... He wanted to FEEL it's power. He made his way to the heart of it. It was a difficult path but he reached it surprisingly quickly... though not without doubts along the way:- What if it crushed the life from him? What if it swept him away and dashed him against the rocks below? What if...? But the pull was too strong to resist and at last he stood in the full force of the water and it beat against his body mercilessly. His own strength rose to meet it... to match it blow for blow and the union with it was exaltation! He became part of it for an eternal instant and his soul rejoiced. And she was there too! She was PART of the cascade. He wanted to live there, die there in that embrace but the power overcame him. He was filled with sorrow that she would never again be with him. Now he would surely be slain by the torrent... carried away and shattered forever. He could resist no longer and he allowed the water to lift him from where he stood. Not in an angry wave was he lifted, but so gently, as on the delicate wings of a butterfly... and carried through the curtain of his tears and floated into the stillness of the waters below. He marvelled that it should be so but more wonder followed...

As he looked up at the falls he saw that she was still there! She smiled at him, as she would for the rest of his days, and her tender voice echoed through the roar...

"I will always be here"

........................

A GYPSY NEVER FORGETS


From his attire you would have thought that he lived Below:- fingerless gloves, patched knees - generally raggedy. But no, his home was Above with his grandparents. Now, as he approached the drainage culvert he looked hesitant, almost shifty. But for the flowers, you would have said he was definitely up to no good! He looked around one last time before entering quickly, trying not to be seen. The children who had been by the grill had seen his approach and retreated behind the safety-door where they now stood silently to discover his purpose. Tony tapped on the pipes - no recognisable message.

"Should we fetch someone?" Kipper whispered.

"Wait!" Zak commanded softly.

After a pause Tony decided that there must be someone there, a sentry perhaps so he said out loud,

"It's not much. I couldn't afford much... but I wanted you to know that I heard and I'm sorry." His voice was strained as he fought with his emotions. "Please see that Vincent gets the flowers. Tell him they're from Tony - He'll know" He laid the flowers on the dirt and slowly turned to go, "Please" he added "It's important."

He left, rather reluctantly and walked a little way from the culvert before stopping. He couldn't just leave like that, not knowing. He sat there on the damp grass, turning it over in his mind for two or three minutes, then stood up and made his way cautiously back to the grill. The flowers were gone! Tony was elated. He yelled "Thanks!" and once in the park again he raced most of the way home. By the time he was tucking into his breakfast there was a vase of flowers by a stained glass window in a chamber deep beneath the city and two hearts were lighter than before.

........................

WHO MAKES YOU JEALOUS?


I gotta admit, it came as a shock. How did she know? I've only spoken to her a couple of times. How did SHE know I was in love with Cathy when I didn't know myself?

I don't understand what happened here. I thought Cathy was just a good friend. Sure, I tried to ask her out a couple of times - but she was always busy.

I knew I cared about her - I got worried about her more than once. That time she got shot when she was working on that Docker's Union thing. And when she got worked over after Pirotta was shot. Mind you, I didn't help her much then - I was too close to that case 'cos it reminded me of my Dad...Come to think of it I'd never talked about him to anyone since I was in college - but I told Cathy. She was great about it afterwards.
She really stuck by me. Especially over the Taylor Investigation. She dug me out of a very big hole that time. Yes - we were good friends.

But was I in love with her? I admired her. She was beautiful - no doubt about that, but I admired her for more than that. Her work was excellent. Look at the Nolan trial. I know I was sore when Moreno handed it over to her but I was sure proud of the way she handled it.

Her commitment - that's what it was - she never gave less than a hundred per cent. Well.... she's sure given a hundred per cent now!

Why did I say Elliot Burch? - I wasn't `jealous' of him. When she came back after the 'flu - only it wasn't the 'flu - she said then that there was someone special. If I'm honest with myself that hurt a little bit but I think I'd already given up on my chances. Anyway, she said "you have a heart like his". WHAT THE HELL was THAT supposed to mean? Anyway - she wasn't talking about Burch - no way!

Then again - what was all that stuff with Burch and the CIA a while back? I never knew how that ended. There were lots of things I never knew; When she got back from LA she said someone was waiting for her. Burch was out of the country then so it couldn't have been him. She was going to Providence, then changed her mind at the last minute... Not that I wasn't happy to have her stay, but she never said why.

When that guy was watching her. There was definitely something she wasn't telling me.... I don't think I'd ever been so scared for her as I was then. I wanted to hold her and make it all better. Like the night I held her, crying in my arms, when we found Jimmy Morero's body. I was just comforting her though wasn't I?

When she went missing, I was looking for a FRIEND. When she died, I lost a FRIEND. But when Jenny was crying in my arms I could so easily have joined in with her!

Walking into her apartment... after they found her... I heard a voice say "bag her hands" - sounded like it was a thousand miles away - I was hurting. I WAS hurting.

I guess I couldn't admit to myself that I loved her - 'cos I was afraid of losing control.

........................

"SOMEBODY ELSE IN YOUR LIFE"


I met him tonight - the man you loved.

I could only see his outline. A big man. A very big man. I had a gun in my hand. I could have killed him any number of times. When he said his name, I wanted to, but I had to be sure he was the one so I let him speak.

He SAW the man who killed you Cathy - so it wasn't him. He wants my help. Why should I help him?

"Because you loved her too"

Oh yes, Cathy, I loved you. But I lost you - I kept on losing you. Before I knew you I was so sure of myself: who I was, what I wanted and how to get it. That night at the museum I was expounding on the value of art, how it enhanced the quality of humanity.... but I was looking at you Cathy. I remember telling you your father should be proud of you. Hell, I was proud of you and I'd only known you a couple of hours!

"Call me" you said and it was like you'd popped out of a magic lamp and granted me three wishes. I remember walking with you and telling you about my dreams - I can still hear the saxophone! Even as we spoke my dreams were changing but when you kissed me it was like the whole city had changed. Then I just wanted to be with you more and more. Remember when I brought lobster to your office? Boy, I'd never seen you look so determined - I thought I was in real trouble for that stunt.

Did you know Vincent then?
No, I don't think so. He couldn't have sat back while.....
Unless.....
Perhaps he did love you enough to do that even then.

All I know is that I trust him and I believe what he said. I'll go see Joe Maxwell and I'll speak to Cleon again.

* * * * *


Joe doesn't like me much! But he wants to find your killer too. He didn't like the idea that maybe Moreno is on the take but I think he'll check it out.

He hurt me though! He said I only ever used you if there was something in it for me. That's not true Cathy. Okay, so when the DA's office were trying to make a case against Max Avery, I took my chance to try to make you see that I'm not one of the bad guys. I just wanted your trust back. Then you came to see me - you looked like a different person - behaved like a different person. You were somehow cornered but I never knew how. No explanations, just a shopping list you couldn't fill at Bloomingdales! You wanted my trust then. How could I withhold that, or anything, from you? It didn't matter why you needed those things - all that mattered was that you were in trouble and I had the power to help you.

I can't help you now so do I.... but who is he?

I used to think it was Vincent but I know better now.

* * * * *


Cleon murdered, tell Vincent tonight that I can't go on with this. I'm sorry Cathy.

* * * * *


"There is a child"

You had a child!
Vincent wouldn't say if it was his child but it must be. I can't even decide how I feel about that but I'll carry on now because the monster who killed you has your child.

I still haven't seen Vincent's face. Why won't he let me see his face?

* * * * *


Now Joe knows Moreno is dirty and he knows where you died. It knocked him sideways, I could see that. He wants to know where my information came from but I can't tell him. That would be breaking a trust and we both know how important trust is.

Remember when I was trying to build the Tower and you agreed to come to see my dream in the making? Ever since I was a child I've wanted to build bigger and better than anyone else - even sandcastles! Burch Tower meant so much to me.
It meant too much.
If only I'd agreed to stop it when you asked me to I could have....... No! When you agreed to marry me Cathy, it wasn't because you loved me, it was because of something else. I knew how much the Tower meant to me but even I didn't know that I could let it ruin my chance of happiness with the only woman I've ever loved. But your reasons were a mystery to me then. I still can't imagine why you would be willing to marry me when you were in love with Vincent - or how he could let you do it.

I'm meeting Vincent again tonight. Maybe I'll ask him.

* * * * *


He saved my life tonight. They shot him twice but still he saved my life. It's not the first time either - Now I know HE was the one who saved us back on the docks that night. He sounded like.... I don't know what he sounded like but it was the same.

And I saw his face. Now I know why he was a secret.

I called after him but he disappeared off into the night. Maybe he crawled off to die somewhere and I'll never get to thank him.

How did you meet him Cathy? Where? When I knew I had a rival, I flattered myself that he must be very special, but this man. Man? I know from the way he speaks of you that he loved you very much but you had a child together! How do I deal with that - now that I've seen him - in action?

I can't stop thinking about that night on the waterfront, after the helicopter blew up, when I kissed you.... And later, when I told you things I'd never told anybody before. You listened and you understood. It felt right to tell you those things. You were close then.

Oh Cathy, I did love you!

But you already loved Vincent. It was that night I really knew there was someone else in your life. When that door slid open and you said we were below Central Park I had so many questions. But you were already starting to move away from me again. I was in no doubt when I left you there that I was competing with someone else, and losing.

But there was no evidence of the other man, not that I could see. I didn't have you followed - there was never any question of that - but no-one saw you out with him, not in restaurants, not at the theatre, nowhere. So where was he? Who was he?

I know the answer to that now and some things are starting to make sense.... but I still have so many questions. Who do I ask Cathy?

* * * * *


After almost a week I thought I'd heard the last of Vincent but then I got a message to meet him at pier 39. He doesn't mind me seeing his face now - and I know it sounds curious but he doesn't seem half as strange as I remembered him. Maybe it's because now I can see past the differences to the man. The man you loved. Something else struck me too - He is just as persuasive as you were! I was all for pulling out but he convinced me to go on searching for this monster - Gabriel. How Vincent loved you Cathy. He spoke of you tonight and I could almost touch his pain. Together with my own it was almost more than I could bear.

* * * * *


First Bennett came to see me again - she's smart! She'd worked out that I was there when Moreno died. She asked me what I knew and for a moment I wanted to tell her, let her have the responsibility, but only for a moment. Next thing I know I'm in this cell. My attorney thinks I'm insane for not telling him what happened. If I did tell him - then he'd really think I'm insane!

I'm here, charged with Moreno's murder and I have no idea how to play this one.

* * * * *


So... that's Gabriel. He doesn't look anything special.

He had me brought to your grave to meet him.

"We don't have to be enemies" he said with ice in his voice. Then, almost casually, he said if he'd known how much trouble it would cause, he wouldn't have killed you - like it meant nothing at all to him! I wanted to deck him there and then but I knew I wouldn't be allowed to get that close.

Oh Cathy... he said you never loved me.

I tried to say that you did but the words wouldn't come. You loved HIM. You had HIS child. HE was the one who took you away from me. Gabriel lit a fire in me and now he was fanning the flames. Forgive me Cathy but I'm burning with jealousy and all I can see now is that I can at least have some part of my life back if I just play ball with him.

He's not asking much.

I just have to betray Vincent, that's all.

* * * * *


He's here.... I just have to get him out in plain sight.

Look at him. What could he have given you Cathy? What?

"All I could. All I had. All I was."

God Cathy - what have I done?

........................

"...IT CHANGED EVERYTHING"


(extracts from Diana's diary)

October 10 1989 3.30am - Graveyard hunch paid off this morning, just after midnight.Hard to process the details. Hard enough trying to explain to myself what has happened, what I've found...

I found Vincent. I found him at her grave, half dead. Don't know if he's going to make it. Can't call the doctor. I'm scared, disoriented. Even though he's in the next room it's impossible to believe he's really there... The thought of him's too great to hold in my head.

8pm - Something made him violent but he's quiet again now. Can't imagine what happened to cause his injuries but I guess he's entitled to be mad at someone. It's only one side of him though... ...I know that he's capable of great tenderness too: He brought Cathy home.

* * * *


October 12 - Had to send Mark away. Can't really introduce him! I didn't lie but I didn't exactly tell the truth either. He's mad and he has a right to be. Vincent is still having bad dreams. I hope they stop soon. He needs proper rest and I need a new door!

* * * *


October 14 - He's gone. He left while I was talking to Joe. He had decided before that because the last thing he said to me was like a parting... ...only I didn't recognise it at the time.

Was that the first time he said my name? It has never felt so beautiful, just to have someone say my name. Now I've started to have dreams I can't explain.

* * * *


October 18 - A week has passed and nothing. Still no sign. I dreamt of him again last night. A strange dream: I held his face close to mine... but he couldn't see me. I spoke to him... but he couldn't hear me. I was with him but... he was alone. Impressions - Am I finally losing my mind? Probably. But his sadness, it's carried over into me... and these last few days especially.

* * * *


October 19 - I had to look for him... He saved my life. I tried to convince him to let me help but he refused. Somehow he believes that if he does it'll put me in danger. He told me to forget him... then he walked away. How can I?

* * * *


October 20 - Today I tried to convince Joe that Cathy invented Vincent. I gave it my best shot but I don't think he bought it. He thought too much of Cathy...
...but I guess I already knew that.

* * * *


October 21 - Last night I thought Vincent had lost all hope and would never let me help but this morning I found a message from him. Something has changed his mind. I'm glad. He trusts me now... He trusts me.

* * * *


October 24 - So much has happened! When Vincent went to meet Gabriel I was so scared. I don't know why Gabriel didn't kill him... I was sure he would... but it doesn't matter now. When Vincent and his son were safe Gabriel was talking to me.. and I realised in an instant that you can't just lock someone like that away for a few years. The answer was in my hand... Cathy's gun... it was right.

* * * *


October 26 - Vincent came as he promised... but much more. He showed me his world. Can't describe it... it's so... unreal... perhaps I dreamt it? I met his family at the Naming Ceremony for his son. Everyone made me feel welcome.... Don't know when I'll see him again.

* * * *


November 17 - He visited tonight. The two deaths were linked to the tunnels. The motive isn't clear though. I have to find a way to follow this up without giving his world away.

* * * *


November 24 - Vincent got my message and came to see me again tonight. At first he didn't know the latest victim but then he realised that he was involved in a cave-in Below a long time ago... and so were the other two. A man died... his son went missing... that's who I have to find. The other helpers should be safe - no-one else was there.

* * * *


November 30 - Late. If only I'd realised sooner, Father wouldn't have had such a narrow escape. But...Vincent knew he wasn't dead... He is remarkable! He went straight to the place where Gregory buried him and pulled him out. Everyone was so relieved... including me.

* * * *


December 3 - Tonight I held Jacob in my arms. Can't put into words the way it felt. I think Vincent must know how I feel about him but... I can't tell him because then... who knows how things might change. But now I'm content... I have his trust and his friendship and if I must... I'll settle for that.

........................

DEAR MR MAXWELL

Dear Mr Maxwell

I want to be a District Attorney someday.
Please can you give me some advice?

Yours

Paul Strong (aged 13yrs 6mths)


Joe's first reaction when he read the letter was "Don't!" He looked at the pile of files on his desk and tried to remember the last time he actually saw the leather inlaid in the centre of it. It was true that some of these papers only needed his signature but Joe was very fussy about what he put his name on... He was the one who was responsible now and he'd carry the can if it was wrong. This letter needed some thought... make that a lot of thought! He tucked it in his inside pocket for later. Late that evening, as Joe was hanging his jacket up at home, he noticed the letter still there. He took it out and read it again then placed it on the table so that he would not forget it. At least on this table you could see it! He had snatched a meal earlier and now had indigestion so he poured a tall glass of water and ran himself a bath. A long soak was what he needed. He would also have time to think how to reply to young Paul.

Feeling suitably refreshed and much more relaxed, Joe settled at the table to write his `advice'. Dedication, loyalty and trustworthiness were qualities he would stress. Also hard work and teamwork were very important but he didn't want it to sound like a lecture so he decided to make it a more `chatty' letter. He made several alterations to his first draft but eventually he was satisfied with the result... but he had better type it... the kid would never be able to read Joe's scrawl!

Dear Paul

You don't tell me anything about yourself, except your age, so I have to assume that you realise you will need to go to college and then law school and that won't be a problem. And you already know you'll have to work hard to succeed - and that goes for any job, not just this one! You want to be a DA now but a lot can happen from 13 to my age - you should really have more than one option - in case things don't pan out for you. When I was your age I wanted to be a cop... but something happened to change that. I stuck with the law though and I'm not sorry. You will have to do that too but don't go missing out on other things: ALL experience is useful, you may not think so at the time but it is. You can't do this job if you don't know about people - how to treat them and who you can trust.

Be careful though - the DA has to be above suspicion so don't go getting yourself a sheet for some stupid prank while you're young or you could blow it. It may not be anything too serious but these things have a habit of coming out at the worst times and once the damage is done it can't be undone. The DA is elected by the people and it's the people who remember the headlines. Join a theater group too. This may sound odd but acting skills are very useful, especially in court. It will also help with the nerves - court is a bit like the stage - except the action is real and very important. You only get one chance to get it right so everything you can do to prepare yourself is good. Luck will play a big part in your life - and not all of it will be good luck. Sometimes bad luck has a good side to it. Without going into details some of the worst things that happened in my life were directly responsible for my being in this job today. I'm not saying I wouldn't have had it happen differently because that's just not true. I'm just saying you never know. I wish you all the luck you need and as long as you work hard and care about people I'm sure you'll make it someday. Above all be true to yourself - don't be forced by other people to do anything that doesn't seem right to you.

Yours sincerely

Joe Maxwell

........................

GLIMPSES


"You gave me these glimpses...
wonderful little glimpses...
but you never let me come in.
It was like somehow the shade
always got pulled."
Mark
( A TIME TO HEAL )

Dear Diana

I'm writing this letter but I know I'll never send it...
Still it's the only way I can think of to release my feelings. You were always a very private person and I respected that. I knew how important your work was and that sometimes I'd be `surplus to requirements'. Sometimes I'd turn around and leave without question... Sometimes I'd stay, until you needed me, even if it was only for a minute or two. It was enough. I told myself it was enough.

But you... you were on another plane half the time. It was like I was watching a movie with you in it and... you were playing two parts. There was the Diana I first met, however long ago that was, who was... not shy exactly but reticent. God, I remember that day so clearly... and the searching look that passed between us. We had a spark to build on. But your fire burns cool... if it burns at all! Then there was the cop or more precisely the investigator. When you work it's like watching Picasso at his easel. You can't see what the final picture will be at the start... sometimes not until very late but when it's finished you have to admire all the brushstrokes... every one that make up the masterpiece. And the patience! I have patience, I need it to be able to teach, but yours... yours is infinite. I swear you could wait forever for something... or someone if you had to. I'm only sorry it's not going to be me.

I loved you Diana, I still love you... but now I have to find a way to stop. I can't see a woman with long red hair without my heart jumping in case it's you. Isn't that ridiculous? Can you become SO dependent on someone in the short time we had together?

I have to stop writing this letter now... it isn't helping at all.

........................

 

OR, IF YOUR WISH BE TO CLOSE ME...


Diana stood looking out over the city, as she had done many times, but she saw nothing of the lights or the traffic below her. She had no conscious thought at all... only Vincent and HIS world filled her being. Where is he now? What is he doing? Is he reading? Working? Eating? Even these simple questions merged into one concept, and one pain. He had given her the great honour of attending the naming ceremony for his son... shown her so many wondrous places in his world... even talked a little of his childhood. He had told her she was welcome there but to her question "When will I see you again?" he had answered "I don't know". That uncertainty was such a tangible thing now, a week later.

An hour passed without any discernible movement, before her eyes focused again on the real world. She stirred and slowly retreated indoors. For a moment she paused, then crossed to the keyboard. Still displayed on the screen was the unfinished passage from an hour earlier...

*SEPARATE FILE
Since I can't talk to him and I can't tell anyone else I have only the keyboard to be my friend. It is impossible to describe what I'm feeling except that it is nothing I've ever felt before. That one person can fill another person's being so entirely... I never realised this was possible. Could this be what he felt with Catherine? What he STILL feels for her? How cruel life is to give me this intense love for him when nothing can come of it! Does he realise I wonder? I hope not. At least then he may feel able to contact me sometimes. If he knew the effect he has on me he would surely distance himself from me completely. Could I bear that?*

... That was the question she still could not answer. There were times, perhaps she would be cooking a meal and the thought would cross her mind "I wonder if Vincent likes chicken". The realisation which followed, that she may never know the answer, was like the thrust of a sword to the deepest place in her heart... and tears very slowly followed as her whole body registered the pain of it. She would wake in the morning and she was surrounded by him... but when the truth dawned that he was not there, nor ever would be there, she was engulfed in sorrow once more.

Could she continue to live like this? That was her main concern now but what of the answer? If it was "No" then what could she do to change it? She could leave. Go right away from New York and from him... But even as close as she was to him now, she couldn't BE further away no matter how much distance she put between them! That was not the answer. She would have to live with the pain and hide the grief for as long as it took. Even if she never recovered she could not contact him and risk losing even the possibility... WHAT POSSIBILITY? "Wake up Diana!"

She completed the entry...

*Could I bear that? I can bear anything BUT that.*

She saved the file and remained still for several minutes, just staring at the blank screen which now seemed to represent her life. The silence was broken by a light tapping noise coming from the roof and when she looked up to the window... Vincent was there!

........................