first published in Overtures 3
There's something about the first really deep snow of winter that brings out the mischievous side of everyone. The New York cops knew it, and redoubled their efforts to keep vandals at a minimum as the snow piled up inch by inch. Teachers above and below knew it, as they dealt with suddenly rambunctious children whose only goal in life was to get outside and play. Catherine certainly knew it as she crept down the Central Park drainage tunnel in the twilight.
"Here Vinnie, Vinnie, Vinnie; here Vinnie..." she murmured as the slush melted between her fingers and froze to her gloves.
He was waiting as always, mutely staring his adoration from behind the gate. Catherine nearly burst with anticipation as he swung his last protection wide and came towards her. Sensing her unusual mood, he leaned forward anxiously.
It was a wonderful shot, right in the muzzle, Snow dribbled down the front of his cape and seeped underneath the quilted vest. For one timeless second, Vincent froze with surprise and shock, then he roared a gleeful challenge and lunged at his attacker. He'd been as affected as everyone else - moreso because he was empathically picking up the friskiness around him.
Giggling, Catherine ran back out of the tunnel and into the gathering gloom of the park.
In short order, both were white with powder and weak with laughter. Vincent's promise to never hurt Catherine didn't keep him from landing several well-aimed snowballs. Breathlessly, she finally called a truce and began to dig the snow out of her eyes.
"You know, you're quite good at that," Catherine gasped as Vincent wiped her face with the tiny corner of his cape not already soaked through.
"Devin was a good teacher," Vincent told her, fangs flashing in a smile. "We had plenty of snowball fights when we were children -- some underground, it was amazing what he could smuggle down! I learned to aim well in self-defense." He looked down at her as she leaned against him in a sodden and chilly hug. "Perhaps you're ready to go down now?" he suggested.
Soaked to the skin, Catherine nodded agreement and they walked back to his world hand-in-hand.
It was a pleasant evening of conversation, marred only by Father's raised eyebrows at their snowy condition. Catherine reluctantly parted from Vincent back at the Central Park entrance. During their last hug, she leaned back and looked into his face.
"Someday," she remarked, "you'll have to show me some of the other games Devin taught you."
Vincent released her and turned away, picking at the icicles along the tunnel roof. "I will," he promised.
Catherine looked back toward the park. "I hate to goooooOOOWWWW!" The ice burned a frigid path down her spine beneath her sweater. She whirled on Vincent, who was already locking himself safely behind the gate. He smiled at her through the bars.
"The first thing that Devin taught me," he chuckled, "was to never turn your back on someone you ambushed with a snowball."-