April Twelfth

By Boadicea

(Dear reader, this is the beginning of my beloved Echoes in Time series. Some of it may be as we had hoped the true ending of Beauty and the Beast would have been. And some will be in the future of Vincent’s days without his Catherine. Please enjoy, let me know what you think…good or bad.)


Chapter One (Their mirror)

Father could not resist the impish smile that pulled at the corners of his mouth, as he watched his son nervously tug and fidget at the ruffled collar at his throat for the umpteenth time already. Mary and Lena had worked through the night putting the final touches to his newly sown ruffled shirt; Father cleared his throat and finally spoke to his son.

“Vincent! You’ll tear that if you keep pulling at it. Please stop you look splendid.”

Vincent jumped and immediately dropped his hands to his sides, but Father could still see the way they shook. It was indeed obvious to Father that Vincent’s nerves were at their breaking point.

“Father,” Vincent said. “It has been five years, five glorious years,” as he turned away from his reflection in the mirror.

With a playful grin, Father added. “And let’s not forget my two grandsons, Jacob and Charles, should I hope for another after this night?”

Vincent then ducked his head bashfully at his father’s comment and then looked back into the mirror. The mirror Catherine had placed proudly in their chamber. It was a beautiful, ornate, full length mirror that she had owned since she was a little girl. In the gilded wood there were small depictions of her most treasured story, The Velveteen Rabbit. He ran his hand lightly over the delicately carved words.

“Once you’ve been made real, you cannot be made unreal.”

“No truer words could have been spoken.” Father said as he came to stand beside Vincent, his reflection joining that of his son’ in the mirror. “Didn’t she set it right in front of your entrance until you looked into it?”

A secret smile graced Vincent’s lips as he remembered. Catherine had seduced him into making love to her right there in front of it. The way her body had moved in front of the glass, as she slowly and deliberately tormented him in a seductive dance, giving him the joy of seeing her perform the ‘Dance of the Seven Veils.’ Vincent’s smile grew broader as her interpretation of Salome came to life before him, and he stood and watched her--the mirror forgotten--until he offered her what ever she wished. The wish she had made was for the mirror to stay in his chamber.

Father began to see the slight twinkle in his son’s eyes and the deep reddening in his cheeks.

“I imagine she …persuaded you …ahem… somehow?” Father said as he embarrassedly stepped away from his son to take his cane.

“She has her own ways of persuasion.” Vincent whispered, more to himself as he smoothed the soft black velvet of his new vest which Catherine had sent to him as a gift among the many for this day.

Vincent once more looked at himself in the mirror. His hair freshly washed and brushed till it shone like spun gold. His new black vest and black leather knee-high boots fit him perfectly.

Father’s eyes shone with pride, as he looked up at his son, a son he thought would never live a dream as this. Lost in his past regrets he never heard Vincent call to him.

“Father…Father!”

Jolted, Father looked up into Vincent’s panicked eyes.

“I’m sorry Vincent…WH-what did you say?”

“The ring Father,” Vincent almost cried as his hands searched feverishly through his pockets trying to find the small bobble. “I can’t find the ring!”

Father calmly reached into the tiny pocket inside his cloak and slowly withdrew the small leather pouch and dangled it before his son’s wide eyes.

“Oh you mean this ring…Vincent you gave it to me last week before I sent you to the lower chambers. You wanted me to hold it for safe-keeping.”

Between one heartbeat and the next, Vincent snatched it from his hand, then treating the small leather pouch as if it had been made of fine china he took out the white porcelain rose, with a slight shake; a simple golden band fell into his trembling hand. Lifting it to the candlelight he carefully studied it to make sure it was as he left it.

“Vincent, I kept it in Margaret’s jewelry box for safe keeping the whole time!” Father said, then calmly to his nervous son. “She would have wanted for you to have it for this day…although I am ashamed to say…I never dreamed it would ever be needed.”

Vincent carefully slipped the ring back into the pouch with Catherine’s rose, and placed it proudly around his neck just as Father brushed a stray tear away, as the memories of his wedding day to Margaret came back to him.

Father then felt a warm comforting hand at his shoulder.

“Father, I to never dreamed such were possible for me as well. I think though…she knew there was love, she had to have known long before me or Catherine…she somehow knew.”

Father quickly cleared his throat and looked into his son’s eyes changing the subject. This was after all his son’s wedding day and Father was determined not to dwell upon old memories.

“I had hoped you and Catherine would have had a proper courtship…dare I had hoped…somehow after that mirror came to your chamber Charles miraculously appeared into the equation—“

“Father…please,” Vincent whispered as he ducked away from him.

But Father only waved his plea away.

“Come now Vincent, I’m not so old that I don’t recall the pull of a woman’s love,” Father chuckled. “At least I now know you have no need of the father son talk. You and Catherine seem to know what truly happens between a man and woman on their wedding night.”

Giving his son a fatherly hug before he started to leave Father turned to his son and said.

“I’m just glad you two managed to at least honor one of our traditions of waiting to see…one…another—“

Father’s voice trailed off as he saw the deep scarlet reddening of Vincent’s cheeks, as something clicked.

In a gruff stern voice Father scolded him.

“Vincent…please tell me you two did manage to honor the tradition have staying apart for the week!”

Vincent’s eyes locked onto an imaginary spot on his wall.

“Vincent,” Father pressed. “Tell me--”

“She…she wasn’t wearing her gown! It, it was a long week apart…we…I—“

That’s when Father had heard enough. Quickly he raised his hand for his son to be silent. Vincent dropped his head like a child scolded.

“I, I don’t think I want to hear anymore…I’ll, I’ll be in the Great Hall. I will send for you when Master Zang arrives,” Father then raised his chin to his son. “In the mean time, I want you to stay put, and wait!”

As Father leaned onto his cane he heard a meek and raspy voice from behind him.

“I shall, Father.”

Vincent could not help the smile as he remembered the gallant saviors who helped with his escape this morning. He could still feel her all around him as he relished that stolen moment.


Chapter Two

(The other side of the mirror)


Catherine’s smile broadened as she opened her eyes to the fairytale image in the mirror staring back at her. However, the mirror image paled to the true beauty that stood before it. Her green eyes sparkled like emeralds, as she fought back the tears of joy that threatened to spill at any moment. Dabbing gently at her eyes, Catherine made sure Brook‘s work was not ruined.

“There, perfect.” She whispered to herself as she admired her mother’s wedding gown, made even lovelier from Mary’s skilled hands, transforming the drab nineteen forties gown into a stunning masterpiece to rival L’ezu Atelier. The way the white silk seemed to glow in the candlelight, she loved the way the fitted bodice gave her breasts a demure elegance. Although the alterations were simple, Mary had truly out done herself with this gown.

Mary added a lustrous white lace train that stretched back five feet, with tiny seed pearls sown into it. Catherine especially loved how the empire design hid the unflattering, but showed how two children gave her a better size where she once lacked.

But when her eyes came to the exposed neckline, her heart beat wildly as she noticed the necklace Vincent had given her was gone.

Running to her unmade bed, her hands searched madly for the jeweled crystal, tearing and clawing at the sheets till her frantic fingers closed around the smooth crystal beneath her pillow.

“Thank God, there you are!” She breathed in relief. “But how did you get under there?” She said as she slipped the golden chain over her head, careful not to muss her hair.

When the cool stone rested just over her breasts, a slight reddish hue colored her pale skin, as the memories of early this morning came flooding back to her. This morning was a welcoming surprise for the both of them.

This morning sent her beloved straight to her chamber and as her smile blossomed in memory of Vincent’s first introduction to a quickie.

Sitting down carefully to wait for her escorts, Peter and Geoffrey, she remembered waking in a start as if sensing someone else in the room. When she opened her eyes, they locked immediately to the figure standing in the dim light of her chamber opening.

He looked as if he had run the New York marathon. His chest was heaving his hair wild from his rush to get to her. At first she thought she was still dreaming. Catherine blinked and rubbed at her eyes to see if he was indeed real.

In one single blink he was there, standing over her, and then in one move she was out of bed and in his arms, her back crushed to the smooth chamber wall. Their hands tore at each other’s clothes.

Their hunger could no longer be denied, as swiftly as she could her hands went straight for the ties of his jeans, as he ripped open the front of her gown to see the torment that had called too him from the deepest depths of the tunnels.

A deep rumbling growl was her only warning when she untied the lacings and freed him, and in one ravaging thrust Vincent buried himself deep with in her. Forcing Catherine to bite down hard into his neck to stifle the scream she felt coming on from the sheer magnitude of him.

To her, he felt impossibly larger then ever before. Without warning he thrust up into her harder, faster, it was all she could do to hold on as her legs wrapped tightly around his pounding hips, digging her nails into the muscled flesh just below his ears, urging him on as she felt the sweet delirium of her climax nearing as he drove himself harder into her with each pulse pounding thrust his growls became louder and louder as her screams mirrored his every emotion and need.

This was no wondrous moment, nor a soft and magical moment. Each wanted what had been denied for far too long to the lovers. Both their minds and bodies became one in the deep hunger that neither could deny the other. Their bodies demanded release and as far as Catherine and Vincent were concerned, they would have it.

But when her need became to great and the sweet pain became too much for even him to bear, Catherine bit down hard into his neck as her earth shattering climax took her to a new height! Not to leave him behind as the wave swept her away from him; she could not hold back the screams of pleasure any longer. Vincent could no longer fight against the rise of his lover screaming his name; the awesome power of her call drove him to reach for the blissful state where she waited. He released himself deep within her.

Succumbing to her call was more then either could control as the spasms shook him so hard that he fell to his knees, holding her close to his quaking body. They both gave into the sweet blackness that cocooned them till nothing remained but the sound of their shared gasps.

Catherine slowly opened her eyes as she felt a soft tremor on her bottom. “Wh…Vincent?” She whispered as she slowly awakened.

Ever so slowly Vincent lifted his head from off her sweat dampened shoulder, as the tremors in his legs increased even more, he opened his eyes to the most beautiful sight in all the world, Catherine smiling up to him, a lazy smile of complete and utter contentment. But as his eyes slowly traveled downward his eyes changed from sheer bliss to complete horror as he saw the ruined remains of her warm sleeping gown.

Sensing his shock of what he had done, Catherine cupped his face in her hands and laughingly whispered to him.

“Worth it…trust me Vincent, well worth it…you can wake me like that anytime—“

“Your gown,” he said before he realized she could have cared less about it. Shaking his head he lifted up off his thighs and simply tossed the remains or the torn gown away. Cradling her close he whispered into her ear.

“After tonight my sleeping beauty…you shall have no need of any, for I shall be the one to warm you. This I swear.’

Laying her down into the warm soft bed, he drew the blankets back over her and stretched out besides her, pulling her close to the warmth of his body.

“Oh yeah,” she whispered back. “And just what am I to do till tonight?” Catherine said as she wriggled her bottom against him emphasizing her wicked hint to him.

Leaning down he purred into her ear, sending shivers down her body. “You are tormenting me! Now stop this Catherine I cannot stay for to long. Your friend Mr. Maxwell could be aimlessly lost down there, with my cloak on to distract the sentries.”

Catherine’s playing stopped immediately at Vincent’s mention of Joe’s name.

“Tell me you just did not leave him down there by himself? Vincent, he could hurt himself!” Then something clicked in her mind as her brows almost knitted together, “wait… Joe! Why is Joe down in the lower chambers? Just how in the world did you get past the sentries?”

Vincent then dropped his head into her bare shoulder sheepishly before he explained.

“He…he wished to lend me aid when…your, uh pull… become to…much, as for the sentries, he wears my cloak.”

“Mouse is watching over him to be sure he wouldn’t get hurt, however, I must go. Soon Father will send for me to return to get prepared for tonight.”

His eyes searched the room.

“Where are the boys?” He asked as he noticed the quiet of the room.

As Catherine turned in his arms, he felt the fullness in her breasts.

“They are with Lana,” she giggled when his large warm hand cupped her breasts. “But she will be here soon, Charles will be waking soon, and he will be hungry. She wanted to keep the boys, so I could get some rest.”

Her voice held a slight hint of teasing as she slid her hand down the front of his loosened shirt.

“Then,” he said softly as he snatched her hand away, and kissed her palm. “I should go, you…you should rest, before Lana arrives.” Rising off the bed, he kissed her already swollen lips. “Then my Catherine, Nothing, not even Hell its self can keep me from you.”

Vincent was gone before she could even blink. Swearing she had pulled him from her dreams. But when she turned over, she could still catch the sweet scent of him still in the blankets.

Now with barely an hour to go Catherine, could not help the shiver of anticipation as she relived that oh so sweet moment from this morning. Her eyes glanced at the slow mundane ticking of the old cloak wishing time would hurry.


Chapter Three

Cullen, Kanin, and Pascal, stood blocking the entrance to Vincent’s chamber. After Father explicitly told them to make sure that this time Vincent stayed until he sent Mouse for them. All three stood nervously watching Vincent as he paced the length of his chamber.

Cullen then leaned over to Kanin, keeping his voice as low as possible, he whispered. “Remember the day of your joining to Olivia?”

“Oh man,” Kanin groaned. “I remember, but I was nowhere near as bad as him…I mean look at him! I hope to hell Master Zang moves it, because we are no match for him!”

Just then Pascal elbowed Kanin in the ribs and pointed out to them. “Heads up guys, she’s thinking of him again!” Vincent stopped dead in his tracks and closed his eyes.

He could feel Catherine’s anxieties; and felt her yearnings to be at her side. He clasped his hands over his heart reveling in his lover’s call, every fiber of his being screamed for him to go to her.

All three men crowded closer together; all the while knowing they would‘t stand a chance if he charged out of the room.

Suddenly Vincent’s eyes flew open as Catherine’s need burned threw him.

“Easy now Vincent,” Cullen pleaded, holding his hands up. “We have strict orders from Father that you are to wait here. Now come on pal—“

Vincent ignored him as his eyes darted about his chamber, till they settled upon the small craggy opening above them. His eyes darted back and forth from them to the opening. However all three gave a knowing smile to the other, as they all knew what he was planning.

Within the blink of an eye, Vincent flew up the ladder to the opening, just as Pascal was about to warn him about the new addition to his chamber, all three stood there keeping their silence until they heard a loud thump, and then Vincent falling to the carpeted floor.

Pascal, Cullen, and Kanin, practically fell on to the floor in gales of laughter, at the sight of the ever stoic Vincent falling hard onto his behind. Scrambling to his feet, Vincent let loose one of his mightiest roars, silencing the men instantly.

When the echoes of his roar of frustration ceased, Vincent strode up to the now worried men.

“A brick wall… why is that access tunnel bricked up?” Vincent growled out to them, “Tell me…now!”

When they did not answer him, he stomped off and resumed his pacing. After what seemed like eternity. Cullen finally said in almost a whisper to Pascal. “After the wedding, pay up pal, I told you he’d try and make a break for it up there.”

Pascal and Kanin both had to bite their tongues to keep silent when Vincent kept eyeing them as if they were a tasty tid-bit.

“Well worth latrine duty for a month to see him pull that,” Pascal, whispered back, never taking his eyes off the very irritated groom. Pascal then checked the clock once more when Vincent’s pacing became even more agitated, “Come on Father,” he said, just as Mouse bounded up behind them, causing the worried men to jump.

“Father says bring Vincent now, Master Zang ready. Everyone ready,” He said excitably. “Vincent’s Catherine… she ready too. Catherine pretty, wants Vincent now, hurry!”

With great relief, all three simultaneously sighed in relief, but when Kanin turned to tell Vincent, he came face to face with deep determined blue eyes of Vincent.

“Take me…to…my bride!” He growled out to him, but when he didn’t move fast enough. Vincent nearly knocked them all over as he stormed out into the tunnels, running to the Great Hall.

“Whoa,” Cullen gasped as he righted himself. “I ain’t seen him that ticked-off since last all fool’s day, when Joe set up that pail of kitty litter to dump on him.”

“Why Vincent mad?” Mouse asked as he watched Vincent’s disappearing back. That’s when they all broke out laughing again. Cullen straightened and clapped Mouse on the back.

“Let’s just say the ‘new edition’ Father had you put into his chamber worked like a charm.”

But Mouse looked at him confused, “Vincent not happy…Father said he need, I make wall for Vincent, but Vincent not happy.”

“Let it go Mouse, come on.” Cullen said as they tried to catch up to Vincent. “We got to make sure he doesn’t break his neck.”

But when Kanin went to get his cloak and could not find it anywhere, he asked. “Has anyone seen his cloak?”

Mouse then started to giggle before he ran out of the chamber, he said. “Joe wears this morning…So Vincent could see Catherine.”

Kanin stopped dead in his tracks at Mouse’s comment, as Cullen laughed out to him. “Weren’t you on sentry duty this morning?”

“Shut it, Cullen, just shut it!” Kanin grumbled back as they ran through the Chamber of the Winds.


Chapter Four

(When there are no mirrors)


Vincent took the shortest route he knew to the Great Hall. He made it there in no time. Although there would be some apologies later to William as to why two of his ollas were smashed to bits. Vincent stood outside the huge wooden doors as the winds blew away the flour and powdered sugar, as well as his stresses for today. He could feel Catherine close, so agonizingly close, she wanted him, needed him. “Soon my beloved Catherine soon,” he whispered to the winds, letting them carry his words to her. With one mighty heave, the doors creaked open. The winds howled all around him as he entered.

“Vincent, close those doors this instant!” Father shouted over the din of the howling winds. Shutting them quickly Vincent turned and was awed by the beauty of the once dark chamber.

Thousands of candles lit up the Hall, pushing away the darkened shadows. It was as if he had taken a step back in time. King Arthur would have envied this magnificent tribute to Camelot. Large bolts of rose red and white tulle, hung from above, and when he looked down. There lay a thick deep red carpet that stretched from the doors to the beautiful flowered arch, decorated with vines of roses, just beneath the stairs, where Father and Master Zang stood. In a few long strides, Vincent stood before Father, as Master Zang quickly made a hasty departure, when he saw Vincent’s irritation.

“Perhaps now we are ready to begin,” Vincent hissed at his Father, as he tried to wipe the flour and sugar from his pants, “or do you have any further need to torment me?”

“Vincent,” Father began, but stopped as he took in his son’s disheveled state. “I, I have no idea what you mean?” Vincent was not fooled in the least bit when he saw the twinkle in his Father’s eyes.

“That wall!” He hissed out between clenched teeth as he tried in vain to smooth down his wild hair from the sprint that would have impressed Bruce Jenner. “Do you now take great delight in tormenting me?”

Trying unsuccessfully to hide his amusement, Father knew it was hopeless as Peter came up behind him and clapped Vincent on his shoulder.

“Oh trust me, Vincent, when you see Cathy, you’ll forget all that…besides, from what I’ve already been told, I believe you asked for it.” Peter teased.

Vincent’s answer was a calming breath as he finally managed to dust way the remnants.

“I, think I better go and get the bride…no sense in keeping them waiting any longer, eh Jacob?” Peter chatted as he hurried to the side antechamber, where Catherine waited anxiously.

When Peter walked away, Father could not help the playful jab he took at his son. “Tell me Vincent, should I have Sara make more clay ollas for William--”

“Yo, and while your at it, could you get that old gal to make me a damned map!” Shouted Joe Maxwell as everyone began filing into the hall behind him. Within a few steps he threw Vincent’s cloak to him.

“Oh and gee thanks for letting me roam around down there for an hour in that heavy thing! Your little Mouse boy let me wonder around down there for over an hour, with no idea as to where the hell I was going!”

“So that’s how you managed to get past the sentries.” Father surmised, with disapproval. “Mister Maxwell, Vincent, if you will excuse me?” Gripping his cane tightly, Father went to go stand beneath the arch with Master Zang to await the ceremony.

“My apologies Joseph, I did not expect to be away for so long…I wished to see—“

“Stow it pal,” Joe snapped as he went to his assigned seat, but Vincent caught his arm before he could take another step.

“Mister Maxwell please, I would like to make it up to you, if I could. Would you do me the honor of being my…Best Man?” Vincent asked.

That stopped Joe instantly, catching him completely off guard. “You…you want what? Come again pal?”

“I would be honored if you, Catherine’s dearest friend and mine, would be my best man.”

Joe’s annoyances seemed to fade away, at this. How could he stay angry after being asked to be his best man? Sticking his hand out to Vincent, he said, “You got it pal!” Then as Vincent closed his hand around Joe’s, Joe leaned in and whispered to him, “Only if I get to be the first to congratulate the bride, with a kiss…Ouch!”

Joe yelped as Vincent’s firm grasp of his friend’s hand tightened painfully around his own hand. Never missing a beat Vincent whispered back.

“Done…my friend, but only a peck on the cheek, now if you will kindly take your place at my side, my bride awaits me.”

“Yeah,” Joe grouched as he rubbed at his now sore hand. “Thanks for hurting my love life, pal.” As he made his way to the arch, Joe’s good humor slowly began to return as he thought of a few more pranks awaiting the man beside him. Huh, I wonder how he would react to some bubble gum bombs…or maybe, if I can…some nice cat-nip? Joe’s mind lit up with possibilities for the next round of pranks to play on him.

Vincent noticed the gleam in Joe’s eyes, and the mischievous grin, and knew instantly what his friend was thinking. Father watched the two out of the corner of his eye and noticed the two men’s exchange. When he saw that all the guests were seated he gave a nod to Rolly, who sat poised at the piano waiting for the go ahead.

Father closed his eyes hoping that Vincent and Joe would cease their shenanigans. To Father’s great relief it worked. When the Bridal March began everyone’s attention went straight to the side doors just as Mouse and Jamie threw them open. Vincent waited with baited breath as time stood still for the woman he loved to walk through the darkened archway.


Chapter Five

(Our eyes are the true mirrors into our souls, for they reflect all the love we share)


Lena gently nudged little Catherine forward. “Okay sweetie, that’s your cue.” She whispered.

“I got it mommy!” The little girl whispered back excitedly. She began tossing the red and white rose petals upon the carpet, wearing her gown of tunnel design, with the high empire waistline, done in a softer shade of white, with little rose buds sown into it. She stepped out into the light, holding her basket tightly; she began tossing red and white rose petals upon the carpet.

Lena dressed to match her daughter followed and then Catherine’s dearest friend, Jenny. As each woman stepped out into the light, and Peter and Catherine waited their turn, Catherine’s nerves were at their breaking point, every fiber of her being screamed for her feet to run to the man who waited for her. Sensing this, Peter laid a calming but restraining hand over hers where it rested at the crook of his arm.

“You waited five years for this Cathy a few more seconds won’t hurt. Besides I think your breaking my arm, these old bones aren’t as young as they used to be.”

“I, I’m sorry Peter.” Catherine quietly replied as her small hand finally relaxed. “I never thought this would ever come. I only wish mom and dad could have been here to see this. Do, do you think they would have approved?”

Smiling down on the woman whom he loved like his own daughter, Peter said, “Cathy I know they would have, in fact I bet Charles and Caroline are looking down upon you now with their full blessings. Sweetheart you were truly blessed by their love for you. I know in my heart that they are crying tears of joy over you right now.”

With a kiss on the top her veiled head, just as the last of the Bridesmaids stepped out and the music for them started to follow, with tears in his eyes Peter whispered.

“May I now escort you the rest of the way?”

All Catherine could do was nod; her voice had left her after Peter’s endearing words.

“Okay Kiddo, one foot in front of the other, and here we go.” Peter said as he began to guide her down the aisle. Catherine’s head shot up immediately, she strained to see through the heavy lace that obscured her view of the man who was waiting for her.

Vincent gasped as Catherine finally stepped into the light. The way she walked down the aisle made the gossamer silk at her shoulders floating, giving her the appearance of soft angel wings with each step.

Breathlessly he spoke his thoughts aloud. “She…is truly an angel!” The awe in his deep raspy voice even caught Jo off guard. She was even more beautiful then he could have ever thought possible. The shinning beauty of Catherine mesmerized all in the Great Hall as she floated down the isle. So amazed was Joe that he didn’t realize his mouth was open.

When Father noticed Joe’s mouth open, he discreetly reached up and gently pushed it closed, murmuring softly, “Lucky for you we do not have the problem of flies down here.”

Blushing profusely, Joe sheepishly ducked his head, before anyone else noticed.

Vincent, however saw only Catherine. It was as if the world and everyone in it fell away until there was only her. Catherine’s love and anticipation came to him in crashing waves. So lost in the beauty of the woman standing before him, Vincent was jolted back to the world around him when he heard Master Zang speaking.

“Who gives this woman in marriage?”

“I Peter Alcott,” Peter answered as everyone sat down. Peter kissed Catherine’s hand as he laid it into Vincent’s. Neither seemed to see anyone else, but the one who stood before them.

Even Master Zang was silent for a moment, as their love seemed to envelope all who stood near. Clearing his throat, he slowly began the ceremony.

“Love is like a lotus flower…”

His words faded for Vincent and Catherine. He could feel her heart beating as wildly as his own until they were drawn back to reality as Master Zang turned to Vincent and said aloud.

“They have both written their own vows to say to one another. Vincent?”

Vincent fought to keep his voice from breaking as he began.

“Catherine, you are the Gods precious gift to me, my springtime, my hope and my joy. You are everything that is good and pure and true and I shall worship you with my heart, my body and my soul. How blessed I am to say that you are mine, to be able to love and cherish you for the rest of my days. I vow to always be there to comfort you in your sorrows and rejoice with you in your victories.”

He lifted her small hands then and laid them over his heart, and continued his voice shaking as he finished to her.

“May…our hearts and very breath become one as we unite this day as husband and…wife…forever more.”

Catherine could not hold back the tears from the emotional words he had spoken so lovingly to her. Lightly he drew her hand away and took out the ring, slipping it onto her ring finger, the metal felt cold as sat upon her finger. Lifting her fingers to his feline lips, he kissed her finger, instantly warming it under the golden band.

“And now Catherine your vows to Vincent,” Master Zang whispered, breaking the silence between the two.

Catherine could not keep the catch in her words as she began her vows to Vincent.

“As we stand…before the ocean tide, may our love always be as constant and unchanging as the waves of the ocean, flowing endlessly from the depths of the sea. Your love came softly upon my heart, just as the foam comes softly upon the sand, and just as there will never be a morning with out the oceans flow, so there will never be a day without my love for you. I pledge myself to you this day…our love will be as unchanging and dependable as the tide; as the waters nourish the earth and sustain life, may my constant devotion nourish and sustain you until… the end… of time.”

Lifting his large hand to slip her Father’s ring onto his, Vincent stilled her hand with the other, lovingly caressing the smooth skin as she placed the ring onto his finger.

Master Zang, bowed to them, and said to all in attendance. May your union be blessed from this day onward with life, love and prosperity, for I now pronounce you husband and wife, now my young friend…you may kiss the bride.”

It is done,” Vincent said joyfully to himself as he reached for the lace veil, which hid his brides face. He cared not how his powerful hands shook as he lifted it up and over her head, and the vision that greeted him nearly stole the breath from his lungs. Catherine was always a beauty beyond words. But to see her on there wedding day, her eyes shimmered with unshed tears; her lips quivered waiting for his to touch them to hers.

Every sonnet written to the beauty of women fled his mind as he pulled this magnificent woman into his arms. He had only intended to give her the traditional grooms kiss, only as soon as his lips touched to hers, Vincent threw such out of his mind. Their kiss sent shock waves through out his body, causing his arms to crush her unto himself. Catherine’s arms tightened around him as well, forgetting, family and friends surrounded them till Father and Joe simultaneously cleared their throats to garner the newly wedded couple’s attention.

Slightly embarrassed, the couple slowly began to pull apart as peals of approval of this union, thundered throughout the Great Hall. Whispering softy into her ear Vincent said, “It is done my angel…you are now my bride…forever—“

“Forever,” Catherine returned to him as he leaned down to kiss her tempting lips once more.

As he did, a restraining hand came down onto his shoulder, stopping him from taking what he thought was rightfully his. With a snarl, he turned on who ever dared to stop him.

Joe put his hands up in mock defense, “Yo, whoa there Vinnie, you two have all the time in the world!” Jabbing his thumb towards the back of the Great Hall, he pointed out everyone heading to the tables laden with food. “It’s time to kick off this shin-dig, pal.”

Catherine’s body shook as she gently began to pull out of his arms.

“He’s right Vincent…we have all the time in the world…tonight we should celebrate with all those we love.” Catherine told him as she followed Joe, Father and Peter, to the main table that was up on a raised dais for the honored guests.

She got maybe two steps in when Vincent grabbed her up and lifted her in his arms. He purred deeply into her ear, “Not just yet… another time…my wife!” Just as Joe and William popped open the many champagne bottles brought down for the celebrations.

Catherine gave no protests as Vincent held her tightly and flew up the back stairs with his precious cargo, Peter watched as the couple disappeared through the side doors, raising his glass to the couple in a silent toast.

Father turned to offer up his blessings when he noticed the couple had vanished, in annoyance, Father huffed out. “Now where did they go?”

Peter merely shrugged his shoulders faking ignorance.

“Mouse sees, Vincent run away with Catherine! Want Mouse to follow?” Mouse jabbered happily as he made ready to go after them.

“Uh, no Mouse, that won’t be necessary.” Father then turned to everyone else, “Please everyone. William has truly out done himself for tonight’s feast. Please enjoy the food, wine, and music, and let us celebrate the union of our dear Catherine and Vincent!”


Chapter Six

“Vincent, where are you taking me? What about the reception, Father?” Catherine continued to pepper him with questions, but Vincent rushed onward down the twisting tunnels, until they all blurred past her till she saw something familiar, “The catacombs. Vincent why are we down here?”

Vincent did not answer as he slowed his wild race to give her his wedding present surprise. He stopped at a very familiar cavern, setting her on her feet, Vincent then took a burning torch from outside the craggy opening, before he finally answered her questions.

“This place…it has forever been lost to my memories. The memory of a brave and selfless woman, who came to me…risked everything, including her own life, to save a man from a monster.” He then took her hand leading her into the darkness as he spoke. “And in that selfless act she blessed me by loving me and gifting me a son, proving that I was…a man.”

Catherine peered around him and saw a dim flickering of candles coming from the cavern, but when she tried to look, Vincent pulled out a long strip of black cloth, stepping behind her, and he covered her eyes blocking what little light there was completely.

“Do you trust me Catherine; to lead you through the dark?” Slowly Vincent began to lead her forward when he heard her soft reply.

“There is no darkness…when you’re with me.”

When finally he stopped, he took her hand and brought it to his lips, causing her to shiver. But when let her hand go, she heard him moving about the cave till finally he took her hands and gently moved her forward.

“Vincent—“

She started but he quieted her by simply kissing her lips, as he turned her and sat her down onto something soft and smooth. Reaching up, Vincent removed the blindfold from her eyes. Slowly as her eyes adjusted to the room literally astounded her. What was once a dark and dreary cave was transformed into a brightly lit chamber, the tall tapers thru out the chamber made the silk draperies glow like jewels, scented candles filled the room with the intoxicating scent of rose and jasmine.

When she looked to where he had set her down, the sight of the massive bed with the beautifully decorated covers, took her breath away. It was even more elaborately decorated then Kanin and Olivia’s, with rose petals of every shade, scattered about the bedspread.

“Oh…Vincent, it’s all so…beautiful!” Catherine said with such awe in her hushed tone, as her eyes drank in the wondrous sight. “How…how did you accomplish all this?”

Kneeling down at her feet, Vincent only smiled before answering her, “With plenty of time…you can accomplish much.” Then taking her shaking hands into his, Vincent looked into her eyes, and when he spoke, she could hear the unsteady catch in his voice.

“This place…Catherine, and what we created here, has always been lost to me. It was a time of great sorrow and unimaginable darkness. But then the woman that I loved came to that darkness…and saved the man from the beast. Now my beloved, I wish to make this place into one of beauty and light. I wish to make this place…. part of our treasured memories.”

Catherine reached up and cupped his face within her hands, and kissed his unique lips softly, “Vincent, I won’t let you forget,” she said as tiny crystalline tears fell from her emerald green eyes. Vincent thought to himself. (To look into her eyes and the eyes of their children…he would never let this love slip away from his memories.)

“I love you…Catherine Wells, his voice shook as he whispered her new name to her.

Lifting her into his arms, he cradled her tenderly, thrilled in the joy that he made this magnificent woman his bride. He held her close, as he laid her out onto the warm soft bed. His kisses become more passionate demanding. His unique lips moved over hers fluidly, as his tongue sought out hers. Catherine moaned, holding him tighter, as the feelings he evoked from within her took control. Curling her arms around his neck, she kissed him just as deeply.

She felt and warmth encircling her there in his arms. The bold thrusts of his tongue aroused her deeply as his light caresses became even more erotic. With skilled hands he slid her gown off her shoulders, till she felt his callused palms teasing her already taught peaks, hot flames of desire streaked down her settling in her aching center.

When his thumbs began to toy with her raised nipples she felt she could endure no more. After a moment just to breathe. Vincent drew in a ragged breath, pressing his mouth into the pulse at her throat, sending flames anew.

“Catherine,” he whispered as his mouth captured hers once more, leaving her mindless, her body soared to new heights. Her nimble fingers made quick work of the lacings of his ruffled shirt and vest.

When she touched his flesh it nearly burned her, his skin was so hot. Vincent made love to her slowly with an expertise that she had never known. With such care he removed her gown. He drew his tongue over the lobe of her ear, down her neck, and over chin. Catherine broke out in gooseflesh, tossing her head, unable to bear his sweet torture.

At this, Vincent gripped her chin, his tongue repeating its sensual dance this time between her full lips. Hot and tantalizing his tongue flicked across her trembling lips, finally darting inward to taste her sweet breath. With a deep groan, Catherine raked her nails through his hair and brought his mouth down crushingly onto hers. Her need for him twisted with a painful intensity she had never before known.

Pulling back she cried out, “Vincent, I need you… I, I ache so much!”

Boldly his hand drifted down to cup her where the ache was strongest.

“Where do you ache, my love, here?” He asked seductively.

Her sharp shuttering cry was his answer. Lazily he kissed his way down her tender flesh till his lips came to where his hand rested over her, his breath sweet and warm. His eyes blazed as the scent of her hunger filled his senses. A growl of sweet pain filled her as he drew away from her once more. Vincent stood then and began slowly shed his remaining clothes. His flesh burned to be near hers.

“My turn,” she rasped out as he started to remove his slacks. His hands grabbed her.

“I want to make this last forever, my bride, until we both could die from the want of the other—“

Catherine then pleaded to him, “I will die now, if I wait much longer!”

She rose up and kissed him with all the passion she held for him. Pulling his shirt down off his shoulders, she splayed her fingers over his chest. Oh how she yearned to feel the roughness of his warmth pressed against her tender breasts.

Catherine pressed closer against him, her tongue laving flesh. It thrilled her when she heard his agonized moan, felt the way he trembled. A moment later, he was pressing her back against the warm quilts. Kicking his boots off, he slowly removed his last cumbersome barrier. Catherine’s eyes widened at the beauty of him. The way the candlelight played over all the soft golden hair that covered his muscled physic. When her eyes met his he was smiling at her.

“You always amaze me at your beauty Vincent.” Catherine whispered as she opened her arms to him. Wordlessly he came into her arms. He started to pull the quilts around them, when she stopped him. “No Vincent, the last time we were here I never got to look at you, now I want to see all of you.”

He could not argue whatever she wished he would give, in that soft voice that always made her shiver, he answered, “As you wish Catherine.”

She then pulled him back to her, as his eyes darkened in his desire for her. His hands trembled, his breathing rough as he struggled to maintain his control. He caught her searching hands above her head and gazed down upon her, watching her breasts rise and fall with each breath.

“I could take you now,” he whispered, thrusting his self against her. “Just like this.”

“Please,” she begged. But he only continued to slowly torture her as he wet to each breast with his mouth, teasing each nipple with his teeth. Catherine feared she would go insane when his hand finally touched the downy curls between her legs.

“Vincent, please love me! Stop this pain…it hurts!” She cried out to him as his thumb sought out her tender nub.

“Don’t cry my bride,” he whispered as he saw her tears. Kissing them away as his thumb teased her center. “I’m here. I just want you to want me as badly as I want you.”

Thrusting her hips into his palm, he felt the slickness within her womanly folds.

“Oh…Vincent, I do,” she cried to him.

Withdrawing his hand from her, with his muscled thighs he penetrated her with such confidence, probing deep, stretching her flesh to an unbearable tautness. Catherine gasped and arched her back at the pressure of his hot swollen shaft as he sank even deeper into her. He filled with such intense pleasure she thought she would die.

Over her he could feel her trembling, he felt her flesh struggle to receive him. She feared he would stop, digging her nails into his back, she urged him on.

“Please, you can’t stop, please don’t hold back from me—“

“Oh Catherine,” he groaned as he slipped his hands under her and thrust powerfully, giving her all the love and need in his body.

She pressed her lips to his, to stifle herself from screaming in unbearable rapture. He possessed her and she met each stroke fully, melting into his heat. She felt as if she were on fire, her skin hot and her instincts taking over. She moved against him in a primitive way that broke his control. He moaned like a man in agony, and thrust deeper and deeper.

Just when Catherine thought she could take no more he lifted her high and crushed her against his chest during his final convulsive thrusts. That’s when complete ecstasy overtook them both. Her entire world shattered with a beautiful searing cataclysm and became whole again in the shuddering aftermath. She heard Vincent’s groan as he reached his peak right after hers. Collapsing atop her there they lay. Their hearts and bodies joined as one.

“Beautiful,” she heard him rasp as he struggled to catch his breath. Always mindful of his size he rolled off her taking her with him to curl up against his side. He felt her shiver and he heard a slight mewl escape her lips. Pulling the quilts up around them, she stretched her smaller body over his. After their breathing slowed to a normal pace Catherine said, “We should go Vincent.”

“No,” was his only reply, as he laced his fingers through hers.

“But what about the boys, our friends and family—“

Nuzzling the crown of her head, he whispered, “Do not worry so, Mary is taking them for the night. Tonight is ours ...my bride.”

“But, Vincent—“

Lazily, he lifted his finger to her swollen lips quieting her as he lightly traced the soft outer curve down to her chin; he lifted her face to his. Catherine leaned in to kiss him, her hair falling in silken waves around her face. This time she made love to his lips glorifying in his beauty with her lips and tongue.

She kissed the sharp planes of his cheekbones, drawing her lips down his throat, licking his skin, enjoying the salty taste of him, and flicking her tongue over his chest and his nipples. But when her lips went even lower he growled pulling her into his lap.

With their eyes locked his bold fingers began to pleasure her. He stroked her as he moved upright, catching her tender aching nipple gently letting it slip into the deep cleft of his lip. She whimpered in ecstasy, he purred contentedly, drawing her breast deeper into his mouth. He suckled.

Catherine floated in a liquid river of rapture, being sucked into this vortex of unbearable sweetness.

“Vincent, let me—“she began to beg.

But he would not; even as she reached for him he buried himself into her again, filling her highly sensitized flesh once more. She dug her hands into his shoulders clinging to him as he then hooked his arms around her waist and took her more deeply still. Catherine threw back her head and joined his rhythm, riding him, clenching his rock hard heat and crying his name louder and louder.

“Vincent… take me now! Take me, until nothing is left!” She cried out to him.

“With…pleasure…my bride!” He roared back, “Nothing but this… Here! …Now!”

Together they both chased away all the darkness this cavern once held for him. Until their only reality was this aching union, the need to penetrate, their very souls fused and their pleasure obliterated the pain, bringing light from the darkness. Tired and spent she fell against his chest. His large clawed hands caressed her sweat-covered flesh as he allowed her, her well-deserved rest.

Smiling ruefully before sleep claimed him, he knew she would indeed need her rest when she awoke again. He could never make up for all those times he held back all his aching want of her. As his lids drifted shut, he saw his long life stretch out before him, a life with his beloved Catherine at his side. Watching his children grow. Giving his to love her. Leaning down he kissed her closed eyes whispering to her.

“Our happy life…is a dream no more.”

Fin