VICKY

Catherine sat on the bed with four-month-old Evan in her lap. She had just finished feeding him and was trying to summon the energy to put him in his crib when Vincent came in from the study and sat down beside her.

"What is it?" he asked.

Catherine shook her head. "I'm so tired all the time. I guess I'm just not recovering from having Evan as quickly as I did when I had the others." She looked at him and laughed. "Maybe it's just that I'm getting old."

Vincent regarded her tenderly. "Maybe it's because you're pregnant," he suggested.

"That's not funny!" She glared at him. "Vincent!"

"Perhaps not," he agreed gently. Something in his eyes made her pause.

"You're serious!"

He nodded.

"No! I can't be pregnant!" Catherine almost wailed her dismay. "We've been careful!"

Vincent continued to look at her steadily and she leaned forward to rest her forehead against his shoulder. "How sure are you?"

"Almost certain." He put an arm around her and squeezed gently. "I'll put Evan to bed." He took the baby, kissing Catherine softly before carrying Evan to the nursery.

When Vincent came back, Catherine was still sitting in the same position, muttering to herself. She looked up as he sat down beside her. "I don't feel pregnant," she argued. "I always have morning sickness and I feel fine. I'm just a little tired." She was almost pleading with him.

"I feel the child's presence," Vincent told her compassionately.

Catherine lifted her hands in despair. "I've only been back at work for three weeks. When I tell Joe I'll be taking another maternity leave, he's going to kill me."

 

* * * * *

Several nights later, Catherine woke from a deep sleep, confused and disoriented, and sat up slowly. Her movement roused Vincent, who rolled over sleepily.

"Catherine?"

She looked at him uncertainly. "Did I go see Peter today?"

"No," he answered carefully. "Your appointment is for tomorrow."

She made a sound of relief and sank back down on her pillow. "I must have dreamed it."

Vincent raised himself on one elbow and leaned over her. "What did you dream?"

"I thought Peter told me I wasn't pregnant after all. I felt so sad and empty... as if I'd lost something."

He put an arm around her, pulled her close and whispered, "It was just a dream."

* * * * *

The following September, after an easy pregnancy and uneventful labor, Catherine gave birth to a healthy six pound, eleven ounce baby girl.

Vincent was holding his daughter, running a finger through her profusion of red-gold curls and feeling a closeness unlike that which he had experienced with the boys. It was a tenuous feeling which had been growing over the past few weeks, one that reminded him of his bond with Catherine. But that was impossible... wasn't it?

Almost as if in response to this thought, the baby opened her eyes.

A sudden burst of noise as Kipper shepherded the three little boys into the room made Vincent look up, disrupting his reverie.

Jacob trotted to Vincent immediately so he could see the baby, but Charles was getting a little tired of new babies and he had something else to show his parents.

"Look what Evan can do," he announced proudly. Kipper set Evan on his feet and balanced him as Charles crouched down a few feet away and held out his arms. "Come on, Evan. Come to Charles!"

Evan laughed and toddled one, two, three steps before stumbling and falling into Charles' arms.

Catherine clapped her hands. "Evan! You've learned to walk!" On his hands and knees now, Evan crawled quickly to the bed and pulled himself up.

"Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma!"

Kipper came over and lifted Evan onto the bed, grinning. "Charles and Evan worked on that all morning. They're very pleased with themselves."

"Charles is a good big brother," Catherine said with a smile for him. "And Evan is getting to be such a big boy!" She pulled Evan into her lap and hugged him. Kipper made a stop by Vincent's chair to admire the baby before leaving the chamber.

Satisfied that he had gotten the praise due him, Charles was finally ready to see his little sister. Jacob was already in Vincent's lap, `holding' the baby, and Charles went to lean on the arm of the chair.

"What do you think, Charles?" Vincent asked.

"She's okay, I guess. For a girl. What's her name?"

His parents exchanged amused glances.

"She doesn't have one yet," Catherine explained.

"When will she have one?" Charles wanted to know.

"When your father and I think of one we can agree on," Catherine told him dryly.

Jacob looked up. "I know a pretty name," he announced.

"You do? What is it?" Vincent asked him.

"It's the prettiest name I ever heard," Jacob informed them.

"Okay. What is it?" He had Catherine's interest now, too.

Jacob took a deep breath, fully aware that all eyes were on him, and relishing the attention. "Tinkerbell," he said importantly.

Catherine turned her head away quickly and Vincent stifled his own amusement. Only Charles laughed out loud. "Grandfather's been reading him `Peter Pan,'" he explained.

"You can't name a baby Tinkerbell," he told Jacob with the arrogance born of being older.

"I can, too," Jacob insisted. "Can't I, Daddy?" He turned to Vincent for confirmation.

Vincent had his smile under control now and he spoke to Jacob solemnly. "Tinkerbell is a very pretty name, Jacob, but I don't think it's quite what your mother and I had in mind."

"Oh." Jacob was crestfallen.

"If it will make you feel any better, Jacob," Catherine said from the bed, "He doesn't like any of the names I've thought of, either."

They had been deliberating for weeks now. They had agreed on a boy's name almost immediately, but couldn't seem to reach an accord on what to call a girl. Vincent wasn't enthusiastic about anything Catherine thought of, and she wrinkled her nose at all of his ideas.

The days passed and the stalemate continued. Fortunately, Catherine and Vincent found their inability to reach an agreement more funny than aggravating. At the end of every fruitless debate, Vincent would shake his head sadly and say, "I guess we're going to have to call her Tinkerbell."

For Catherine, the breaking point came when he actually began to refer to the baby as Tinkerbell. "Vincent! You are not naming my daughter after a fairy!"

He laughed his quiet laugh. "We have to call her something."

Catherine was adamant. "Not Tinkerbell."

* * * * *

When the baby was five days old, Catherine found Vincent in the Chamber of the Falls, watching the rush of the water as it tumbled down. She sat beside him quietly, the baby asleep in a carrier strapped to her chest.

"Should you have walked so far?" Vincent asked her.

She smiled at him. "I'm fine. I came to talk to you. Seriously and without interruptions."

He regarded her patiently.

"I keep getting the feeling," she began, slowly, "that you have a name in mind... a name you haven't suggested yet." She looked at him with a question in her eyes.

He nodded slowly and looked back at the water.

"Why won't you tell me?"

"Because you won't like it," he replied.

"I might."

"You won't."

"Vincent! You don't know everything about me! Admit it, I still surprise you sometimes." She pulled at his sleeve mock threateningly.

He looked at her with the faintest hint of a smile. "Yes. Sometimes you do."

"Then tell me."

He sighed. "Catherine."

It was a moment before she realized that he wasn't calling her name; he was telling her the name he wanted to give the baby. He truly wished to name the baby after her.

"Vincent," she said slowly, "I don't know what to say..."

His smile deepened.

"Except you're right," she went on. "I don't like it." The expression on her face was a mixture of regret and love.

He reached for her hand. "I know. But I'm like Jacob - it's the prettiest name I know."

Catherine looked down, studying the way their fingers were laced together. Lifting their joined hands into her lap, she began to stroke the back of Vincent's with her other hand.

"What would we call her?" she asked tentatively, weakening slightly. "Lena's Catherine is called Caty."

"Cathy?" he suggested, equally tentative.

She looked up at him in mild exasperation. "Vincent. I'm Cathy."

"Not to me."

"To practically everyone else in the world, I am. It would be too confusing. Besides, how can she grow up to be her own person if she has my name?" She squeezed the hand she still held on her lap. "I'm named for my mother, you know. Only she was Katharine with a `K' and everyone called her Kate. I used to hate it." She sighed. "Vincent, I know it's what you truly want, but it makes me very uncomfortable."

"All right." Vincent yielded, disengaging his hand to touch one of the baby's bright curls. "It's still Tinkerbell."

"Vincent!"

* * * * *

The next day Father came to them, concerned. "The naming ceremony is scheduled for tomorrow. Are you going to have a name for the poor little mite by then, or shall we reschedule?"

"I don't know, Father," Vincent said wearily. "It is difficult to believe that, with thousands of names to choose from, we cannot find one we both agree on."

"I find it difficult to believe, myself," Father allowed.

They had reached the point where they were just recycling the same names over and over and it was Charles who finally found the solution.

"I know a name," he said. "But you might not like it."

"Charles," Catherine told him, "We're desperate. We'll listen to anything you come up with."

"I found it in one of Father's books," he explained.

"What is it?" Vincent inquired.

He told them and they exchanged thoughtful looks.

"I like it," Vincent said after a moment.

"So do I," Catherine said and they laughed in relief.

* * * * *

They kept everyone else in suspense until the naming ceremony itself, swearing Charles and Jacob to silence. Jacob was a little disappointed that his parents had chosen his brother's suggestion over his own, but Vincent privately assured him that there was no reason why they couldn't still call the baby Tinkerbell sometimes. After calling her that for almost a week, it seemed to suit her.

As the eldest brother, Charles was allowed the privilege of holding the baby at the ceremony. He stood stiffly proud as his Grandfather officially welcomed the new child to the community.

"And we welcome the child with a name," Grandfather was saying, "upon which, at last, Catherine and Vincent have decided." A general laugh swept the chamber. "Charles?" Grandfather turned to him expectantly.

"She has two names," Charles said significantly. He and his brothers all had two names on their Above birth certificates, but had been given only one name at their own naming cermonies Below. Charles looked at his mother and smiled. "Her name is Victoria Catherine."

THE END