A Child for Winterfest

by Dawn Yzaguirre

 


Catherine sat on the bed that she shared with Vincent. She looked around this beautiful chamber that she loved so much. They had been married for two months and were happier than they ever thought possible. She was reading one of the many poetry books that she and Vincent loved. She sighed happily and thought about how wonderful and fulfilling her life had become since she had moved below and married Vincent. Being a full-fledged tunnel woman was everything that Catherine could have ever hoped it would be. She believed that there was no better life for her in the world.

 

 Suddenly she became aware that someone was standing in the chamber entrance. She raised her head and smiled when she saw Jamie standing there watching her. "Jamie how long have you been there?" Catherine asked as she put her book aside. The young woman walked into the chamber and sat down on the bed. "Oh not very long." She told Catherine. "I did not want to disturb you if you were busy." Jamie told her. "Nonsense I am never too busy to visit with you." Catherine told her. Jamie smiled lovingly at her. She truly thought of Catherine as the older sister that she never had. "So how are you doing?" Jamie asked. Catherine smiled at her when she figured out what Jamie was getting at. "Jamie I am fine." Catherine told her. "Cathy you have only been married a couple of months and now Vincent has had to go to the lower tunnels for two weeks." Jamie commented. "You must be truly miserable." She continued.

 

Catherine smiled and shook her head. "Jamie we have been separated like this before." Catherine told her. Jamie smiled and nodded. "Yes but before you were living above and you were not married to Vincent." Jamie told her dumbfounded. "Are you telling me that you do not miss him?" Jamie teased. Catherine laughed and shook her head. "You know better than that." She commented. "I miss him more than I ever thought was possible." Catherine told her. "But I have to get used to the fact that there will be times when we are forced to be apart like this." She continued. Jamie smiled then laughed. "You are a very understanding woman Catherine Wells." She commented. Catherine smiled brightly at the sound of her married name. She truly loved being Mrs. Vincent Wells. Then Jamie rose. She was about to leave when dinner was announced over the pipes. "Come on Jamie have dinner with me." Catherine told her as she rose. "I have to help Mary with the children later." Jamie smiled and nodded. Then they both left the chamber.

 

Down in the lower tunnels Vincent sat on the tunnel floor eating his dinner. "Hey Vincent are you okay?" Kanin asked as he sat down beside him. Vincent looked over at him and nodded. "Yes I am just fine." He commented. "Vincent you cannot hide the fact that you miss Cathy." Kanin told him. Vincent looked back at him again and slightly nodded. "I have never missed her more than I do at this moment." He commented. "Listen to me Vincent the two of you have only been married for a couple of months it is understandable that you miss her." Kanin reasoned. Vincent nodded. "Yes I know that." He commented. "Hey we have had a hard day why don't you get some sleep?" he stated. Vincent smiled and put his hand on his friend's shoulder. "Thank you Kanin." He told his friend. Then he fell asleep dreaming of Catherine.

 

A week and a half-later Catherine was helping Mary with the children as usual. Catherine found that being around the children helped to ease the ache of missing Vincent. She had found that as the time of his absence grew so did her loneliness. She tried not to show it but everyone knew that she was miserable without him. "Cathy why don't you go back to your chamber and relax?" Mary asked. Catherine looked up at her somewhat confused. "Mary I thought you needed my help with the children." Catherine commented. Mary smiled and placed a gentle hand on the younger woman's shoulder. "Dear I know that the work crew is due back in a couple of hours." The older woman told her. Catherine smiled and slightly nodded. "Yes they will but I can still help you with the children." She told Mary.

 

Mary realized that Catherine was determined to help so she dropped the subject. "Catherine will you read us another story?" Bobby the newest tunnel child asked as he was tucked in bed. "Bobby you already had your story from Father." Mary told him. He smiled shyly and nodded. "I know but I love to hear Catherine read." Catherine smiled as she bent and kissed him on the forehead. "Maybe I will read to you tomorrow." She told him. "Now all of you go to sleep." Mary told them. Then they left the children in Brooke's care for the night as they walked out of the chamber.

 

As they left the chamber Mary and Catherine decided to go see Father. They walked toward his chamber. He was looking over a ledger when they entered the chamber. "Jacob we have finished putting the children to bed." Mary told him. He looked up and smiled. "Very good." He commented as he smiled up at them. "Were they any trouble?" Father asked as they sat down and poured themselves some tea. "No they were no trouble." Catherine told him.. "You love helping with the children don't you?" Father asked his beloved daughter-in-law. She smiled up at him and nodded. "Yes I do." She answered. "Well maybe it will not be too long before you and Vincent start your own family." He commented.

 

This statement took both Catherine and Mary by surprise. "Our own children?" Catherine asked him shocked. "Why not Catherine you want children don't you?" Father asked. "Of course I do." She answered. "But I thought that you would have tried to talk me out of becoming pregnant." She admitted. "Maybe I would have at one time but now that you are married it is different." He told her. "Now if you can convince that husband of yours." Mary commented. Catherine nodded. "Yes I have been considering speaking to him about it when they return." Father smiled. "Catherine do speak to him about it he might surprise you." He told her. "Father have you heard from the group?" Catherine asked. He was about to answer when a message came over the pipes.

 

As the message started the three of them stopped to listen. Catherine smiled very brightly as she heard the message—Work crew on their way homeP. Catherine looked up at them as her tears started to fall. Mary rose and walked toward her. She placed a loving arm around Catherine's shoulder. "What is it dear?" Mary asked. "Oh Mary I have missed him so much!" Catherine cried. "I know you have dear." Mary commented. "Catherine why don't you go back to your chamber and freshen up then go meet him with the rest of us." Father told her. Catherine smiled and nodded. Then she rose and ran from the chamber. Mary looked over at her husband and smiled. "She really loves him." Father smiled back at her and nodded. "Yes she does." He agreed. "But I wonder if he knows what is waiting for him when he returns." Father teased. Mary smiled and nodded. "Jacob I guarantee you that he knows." She told him. Then they both rose and left the chamber to meet the group.

 

When Catherine entered their chamber she noticed the mess on the floor. I better clean this up before he sees it. She thought to herself. She picked everything up and put them away. Then she looked down at the tunnel dress she wore. She walked over to the bureau and picked out Vincent's favorite of her tunnel outfits then she left to change.

 

When she returned a few moments later she ran into the chamber and put the dirty clothes away. Then turning toward the tunnel entrance she ran toward the lower tunnel entrance to meet her beloved husband and the others. As she approached the group other tunnel women waiting for their husbands met her. Catherine noticed that Olivia was standing by the tunnel wall. Catherine walked over to her. "Are you as ready to see them as I am?" Catherine asked. "Oh yes Cathy this has been one of the longest separations that Kanin and I have had in a long time." Olivia commented. "Yes it has been a very long separation." Catherine agreed. "I bet it has been especially hard for you." Olivia commented. "Well it has been very hard." Catherine admitted. "Cathy it is understandable that this would be hard for you when the accident occurred you and Vincent had only been married for a short time." Olivia commented. "Yes but I know has responsibilities." Catherine told her.

 

Olivia was about to speak again when the first group entered the hub. Olivia smiled as Kanin approached them. "Oh honey I have missed you!" Olivia cried as she and Kanin embraced. "And I have missed you and the children." He told her. Then he looked over at Catherine. He smiled and hugged her. "Hello Cathy how are you?" he asked. "I am fine Kanin welcome home." She responded. "Vincent is in the second group with Cullen." He told her. Then they walked away from her.

 

Catherine smiled as she watched them disappear around the corner. She thought of how happy they were. And how happy that she and Vincent were now that they were together and living their dream. Then Catherine leaned back against the tunnel wall and let her mind drift back to the raid on Gabriel's house that led to her and Vincent's happy reunion and their life together.

 

Gabriel had held Catherine for almost seven months. He had told her that Vincent and everyone else believed that she were dead. He had admitted that he had taken a picture of her while she was unconscious because of a morphine injection. And that he had the pictured doctored to make it look as if she were dead. After hearing this Catherine started to run out of hope. And she doubted that she would ever see Vincent again.

 

Then came the evening of the raid. Gabriel entered her room. "So Miss Chandler I guess you should know that the police are coming." He told her. "Good now you will get what is coming to you!" she screamed at him. "No Miss Chandler all they will find is you and your lover dead." He told her. Catherine looked at him confused. "Oh yes I forgot to tell you I have Vincent in a cage in my basement." He told her. Catherine gasped as she put her hand to her mouth. "Don't you hurt him!" She screamed. "Miss Chandler all I can do to him now is put him out of his misery." He told her. "After all I have convinced him that you are dead." Catherine was horrified. "He would not believe that!" she argued. "Yes Miss Chandler I have convinced him and all your friends that you are no longer living." He stated smiling. Catherine put her face in her hands and started to cry. "Well at least we will be together in death!" she sobbed. Gabriel smiled as he turned to leave the room. "Goodnight Miss Chandler." He told her as he closed the door.

 

Down in the basement, Diana snuck into the room. She grabbed one of the guards from behind and knocked him out. Then picking up the key to the cage she ran and unlocked the door. "Come on Vincent I am here to get you out of here." She told him. "No Diana just leave me here." He told her sadly. "No way Vincent the police will be here any moment and Father is below waiting." She told him as she unlocked his shackles. Then she helped him to his feet. They climbed down into the tunnel a few moments later. There they found a very happy and emotional Father waiting for them. "Oh Vincent you are alright!" Father cried as he pulled Vincent into his arms. "No Father I am not alright." Vincent corrected told him sadly. "I doubt I will ever be alright again." He added.

 

"Vincent I have to go back to the house and meet Joe." Diana told him. Vincent turned to face her. "Diana thank you for everything you did and attempted to do." He told her. "I know that Catherine would have appreciated your efforts. "It was no problem Vincent I respected Catherine very much." Diana told him. "I will miss her." She continued. "So will I." Vincent sobbed as his tears started to fall. Then Diana turned and left the tunnels. "Come son let's get you home." Father told Vincent as he put his arm around him. "Alright Father." Vincent cried as he put his head down on Father's shoulder. Father wondered how his son would come through this terrible loss.

 

When Diana returned to Gabriel's house Joe met her. "Bennett what are you doing here?" He asked. "Just doing my job." She told him. Then Greg yelled down to Joe. "Joe we found Gabriel dead in one of the bedrooms." Joe was shocked. "I wonder how that happened?" he asked aloud. "Joe I killed him." Diana commented. He turned and looked at her. "What?" he asked. "Joe he was about to shoot me it was self defense." Diana told Joe. "Well he got what he deserved for murdering Cathy." Joe spat angrily. Joe had also received one of the doctored photos in the mail.

 

Just as they were about to look around the house for any other men. A cop yelled down to Joe. "Mr. Maxwell there is a woman up here in one of the bedrooms." Joe and Diana looked at one another then they ran upstairs. "Who is it?" Joe asked as they reached the hallway outside the bedroom. The officer was about to answer when his partner brought Catherine into the hallway. "Oh God Cathy!" Joe cried as he moved toward her and embraced her. "Cathy we thought you were dead." Diana told her. "I know but the picture was doctored." Catherine commented. "He had given me an injection of morphine that knocked me out." She told them. "Well at least you are safe now." Joe commented. Catherine looked back at him and shook her head. "No Joe I am not safe." She told him. "Joe I am leaving the city." She told him. Joe was shocked. "Do you have to do that?" he asked. She smiled slightly and nodded. "Yes Joe I do." Then Joe smiled at her. "Are you going to that special place of yours?" he asked. She smiled again and nodded. "Yes Joe I am." She told him. "To that mystery guy Vincent?" Joe asked. Catherine only nodded her head. "Well I will miss you Cathy." He told her as they embraced again. "I will miss you too Joe." She told him. "Now Cathy come on I will get you out of here." Diana told her. "Yes let's get out of here now." Catherine told her. Then with one last hug for Joe they left.

 

As they entered the tunnels below Gabriel's house Catherine suddenly stopped. "Cathy are you okay?" Diana asked her. "No Diana what will this do to him?" Catherine asked her. "Cathy your 'death' has been very hard on him." Diana commented. "Those pictures were very convincing." Diana continued. Everyone who saw them believed that you were dead." Catherine nodded sadly. "I know." She commented. "Gabriel really got his kicks when he told me that everyone that I loved believed that I was dead." Catherine continued. "Come on Cathy let's get you home." Diana told her. Then they began to walk once again.

 

As they reached the hub Jamie came walking out of Father's chamber. She stopped suddenly when she saw Catherine walking beside Diana. "Cathy is it really you?" The young girl asked hopefully. Catherine smiled and nodded. "Yes Jamie it is." She told her friend as they embraced.

 

When they separated he looked over at Diana. "Thank you for bringing her home." Jamie told her. Diana smiled. "It was my pleasure." She commented. Catherine then addressed Jamie again. "Where is Vincent I need to see him." She stated. Jamie hesitated in answering.

Then they heard the sobbing coming from the direction of Vincent's chamber. "Oh God where is he?" Catherine asked. "Father and Mary are with him in his chamber." Jamie told her. "I have to go to him." Catherine told them. "Yes Cathy go to him he needs you now." Jamie told her. With that Catherine ran down the tunnel. Jamie and Diana smiled at one another as they watched her go.

 

When Catherine reached Vincent's chamber she stopped suddenly. She took a deep breath then gathering her courage she walked toward the entrance of the chamber. She stopped short when she saw Vincent sitting on his bed in Father's arms. "Oh Father how will I survive without her?" Vincent asked as he sobbed. "We will help you Vincent." Mary toldhim. Vincent raised his head from Father's shoulder and looked at her. "No Mary nothing can help me now." He cried. "Without Catherine I do not want to live."

 

Father was about to respond when they heard a sob in the entrance of the chamber. Turning around all three caught their first glimpse of Catherine. "Vincent please do not say things like that." Catherine begged. Then she entered the chamber. Vincent rose from the bed. He slowly approached her. "Catherine is it truly you?" he asked her hopefully. She smiled as her tears began again. "Yes my love it is." She told him. Vincent stopped suddenly.

 

Then with a sob he opened his arms. "Catherine come to me." He cried. She smiled brightly then with a sob of pure joy she ran to him. "Hold me tightly Vincent!" she cried. "Yes my darling angel." He whispered against her ear.

 

Father and Mary smiled and rose from the bed. They knew that the couple needed time alone so the quietly left the chamber. "Catherine what happened?" Vincent asked as they separated. "I was given a morphine injection that sedated me then he took a picture of me and had it doctored to look like I was dead." She told him. "Oh Catherine I was so sure that I would have to live without you." He cried. "No my darling you never have to live without me again." She vowed. Vincent looked down at her shocked. She smiled at him and nodded. "My life above is over and I am here to stay if you will have me." She told him. Vincent was shocked. "If I will have you?" he asked. "Catherine yes please stay with me forever." He begged. She smiled and nodded. "Yes darling forever." Then he captured her lips in a passionate kiss.

 

Catherine was brought back to reality by a woman's voice speaking to her. "Cathy dear are you okay?" Mary asked as she put her arm around her. Catherine smiled and nodded. "Yes Mary I was just remembering when I came home to Vincent." Catherine told her. Mary smiled and nodded. "Yes that was a wonderful miracle for all of us." Mary told her. Then both women looked toward the hub entrance. "Here comes the last group." Mary whispered. Catherine smiled and nodded as her tears began to fall. Then the rest of the crew entered the hub. Catherine moved forward when she saw Cullen. "Where is he Mary?" Catherine asked when she did not see Vincent. Catherine looked back at the tunnel entrance. "There he is." She pointed out as he entered the hub. Catherine looked toward the direction Mary was pointing. Then she moved through the crowd toward him.

 

Vincent smiled as he and Father embraced. "Welcome home Vincent." The tunnel elder told him. "Thank you Father." Vincent told him. Then Vincent slowly began to move out of Father's arms. "Father where is Catherine?" Vincent asked. Father was about to answer when he saw Catherine approaching. "She is around here someplace." Father told him. Vincent could not understand why she was not there to greet him. "Hello my love." Catherine told him as she wrapped her arms around his waist. Vincent turned around and came face to face with his beautiful bride. "Catherine I have missed you!" he cried as he embraced her. "And I have missed you darling." She told him.

 

Then Vincent turned and addressed Father. "We are going to our chamber we wish not to be disturbed." Father smiled and nodded mutely. Vincent turned and took Catherine by the hand. He led her down the tunnel away from the group. Father smiled at Mary as they watched Vincent wrap his arm around Catherine's waist as they walked down the tunnel.

 

When they entered their chamber Vincent stopped suddenly. He turned and pulled down the tapestry over the entrance. Then turning around he wordlessly pulled Catherine into his arms. "Oh I have missed holding you these last couple of weeks." He told her. "And I have missed holding you my love." Catherine told him as they held each other. She was about to speak once again when Vincent placed a finger to her lips. He smiled then bent forward and kissed her for the first time since his return. Catherine moaned and wrapped her arms around his neck as he lifted her off her feet. The kiss quickly became very passionate. Catherine moaned once again as she felt Vincent's lips move over her face and down her neck. "Catherine please let me love you." He begged breathlessly. Catherine smiled at him impishly. "Not until you clean up." She told him. Vincent sighed and set her back down on her feet. "Alright I will return shortly." He told her. She smiled and nodded. "You better." She told him as he walked swiftly from the chamber.

 

A few moments later Vincent entered the chamber once again. Catherine smiled brightly as she looked up from the book that she was reading. "Well hello you." She told him. He smiled at her as he put his bathing supplies away. Catherine smiled again as she rose and walked over to him. He opened his arms and she walked into his embrace. "I love you so much." Catherine told him. "I love you to my Catherine." He whispered huskily. Then he once again captured her lips in a passionate kiss.

 

When they parted this time Vincent was the first to speak. "Catherine I need you." He told her as he stroked her face with one of his claws. Catherine smiled as she leaned into his arms. "Yes Vincent love me please." She told him. Before he kissed her again he released her. "I will return in a moment." He whispered. She smiled up at him and nodded. He turned and walked toward the tunnel entrance. Taking an unlit lantern he then left the chamber. Catherine smiled impishly then she quickly undressed and slipped into bed.

 

When Vincent once again entered the chamber he smiled as he saw his beautiful wife lying in bed waiting for him. She smiled back at him as she rose upon one elbow. Then stretching out a hand she spoke once again. "Come here to me my love." She told him. He smiled again and slowly stripped out of his clothes. Catherine smiled as she watched his boldness. When he was naked in front of her he slowly approached the bed. Catherine smiled as Vincent lay down beside her on the bed. He turned toward her and opened his arms. Catherine smiled lovingly as she moved into his arms. "Do you know how much I have missed you?" She asked as they held each other tightly. He looked down into her face and smiled. "Tell me." He requested. "I have felt so alone these last two weeks." She began.

 

Vincent tightened his arms around her as he felt her emotions. "Even though I was around our family I felt so isolated." She continued. "And sleeping alone in this bed was the worst." She told him. "I missed your arms holding me tightly at night as I slept and the feel of your lips on mine." Vincent smiled slyly then moved closer to her. "Well my beloved I am home now and I will make it all up to you." He told her as he started kissing her again. "Vincent I need you now!" she moaned. "Yes my love it is time for me to love you." He told her huskily. Then moving over her he joined their bodies. Catherine squirmed happily beneath him. "Oh Vincent you are my life!" she moaned. "As you are mine." He told her breathlessly.

 

Later Catherine awoke to see the beautiful face of her husband. He was looking at her with so much love in his eyes. "I thought that you would have needed more rest especially after our latest activity." She told him as she caressed his chest. He smiled down at her and once again embraced her. "I slept very well but I woke up a short time ago and just wanted to watch you sleep." He whispered. Catherine smiled and burrowed down deeper into his embrace.

 

"So how did the repairs go?" she asked. "Well I am glad to say that they should hold." He told her. "Good I do not think that I could stand another long separation." Catherine told him. "Neither could I." Vincent agreed as he kissed her forehead. "So what did you do while I was away?" he asked. "Well I helped Rebecca with the winterfest candles." She began. "I also helped Mary with the children." She added. "I know that you loved that." He told her. She smiled and nodded. "Yes I did." She answered. "And I went above a couple of days ago to see Joe and Jenny." She told him. Vincent hated it when she went above but he did not mind when she visited their friends and helpers. "So how are they doing?" Vincent asked. "Well it looks as if they are going to have a baby." Catherine told him. "That is wonderful." He responded.

 

Then Vincent noticed that Catherine was very quiet. "What is it Catherine?" he asked as he looked down at her. "Nothing don't worry." She told him. Vincent placed a hand under her chin and lifted her eyes to meet his. "Catherine please tell me." He told her. "I was just thinking about how wonderful a mother Jenny will make." She told him. "Catherine do you want to have a baby?" Vincent asked. Catherine was shocked. She rose onto one elbow and looked down at him. "I don't know." She told him. "Catherine yes you do." He chided lovingly. "Yes Vincent I do want to have a baby." She admitted.

 

Then she lay down again. "But we can talk about it some other time." She told him. "Catherine I would love to have a baby with you." He told her. Catherine smiled brightly. "I was afraid to bring up the subject." She told him. "Why love you can talk to me about anything." He told her. "I know but I did not want to rush you." She commented. "Catherine I have been thinking about it for the last two weeks while I was gone." He admitted. "I was worried that you were not ready." He told her. She smiled down at him impishly. "Yes love I am very ready." She told him as she leaned down and kissed him. "So am I." he breathed. Then they were once again lost in their passion.

 

Later that evening Vincent rose from the bed. Catherine was happily sleeping. He looked down at her beautiful face and smiled. He loved this beautiful woman so much that he could not believe it. He dressed and sat down at his writing table. He pulled out his journal and opened it. Taking his pen in hand he began to write.

 

Today I returned from a two-week absence. I never thought that it was possible to miss Catherine more than I did. She is the light of my life and the best part of my world. Now we have made the decision to try to have a child. I believe that this is the best decision that we could have made. Catherine will be a wonderful mother and I can no longer rob her of this. I can only hope that any child that comes will have the looks of his or her mother. Therefore not limiting it to the existence that I have led. But whatever comes I will accept.

 

As he closed his journal he felt two arms come around his shoulders. "I missed you." Catherine whispered. "I woke a while ago and wanted to write some things in my journal." He told her. "That is all right but now come back to bed." She told him. Vincent smiled and rose. He picked Catherine up and walked back toward their bed.

 

A couple of weeks later Catherine was sitting in bed. She had woke up that morning feeling ill. Vincent was once again working in the lower tunnels. "Catherine dear how are you feeling now?" Mary asked as she entered the chamber. "I am still feeling quite nauseous." Catherine told her. "Cathy may I ask you something?" Catherine looked up at her and nodded. "Dear have you missed you period?" Catherine thought for a moment then smiled. "Yes Mary I did not realize it but I should have had it a week ago." Mary smiled brightly. "Catherine I believe that you are pregnant." She stated. "Mary do you think I could be?" Catherine asked happily. Mary smiled and nodded. "I will have Father contact Peter so that he can come below and give you a test." Then Mary left the chamber.

 

When she was gone Catherine sat there smiling. She prayed that she was in fact pregnant. Later that day Peter and Father entered the chamber. Catherine was dressed and sitting in her favorite chair. "So are you feeling better?" Peter asked. Catherine smiled and nodded. "Yes the nausea ended around mid morning." She stated. "Well let's get the test done." He told her. A while later Peter left the chamber. "I will be back later tonight with the results." He told her. "Fine maybe Vincent will be here when you get back." She told him. He smiled and nodded. "Father I hope I am pregnant." Catherine told her father in law. "So do I Catherine." He stated as he leaned down and kissed her forehead. "Now young lady get some rest." He said as he left the chamber. She smiled and nodded.

 

That evening Catherine joined Vincent and the others for a council meeting. They were busy discussing preparations for winterfest that would be held in December. When the meeting was about to adjourn Father looked up and saw that Peter was standing in the entrance of the chamber. "Peter please come in we were just adjourning." Father told him. Everyone rose to leave but Peter spoke up. "I would like to speak to Father, Vincent, and you Cathy." He stated. Peter smiled brightly at her. She felt a rush of excitement run through her. Vincent noticed her face and looked at her. "Catherine what is it?" he asked. "You haven't told him anything?" Peter asked. "No I did not want to tell him then get bad news." She responded. "Catherine please tell me what is going on." Vincent begged feeling very apprehensive. "Peter are you telling me that I am?" Catherine asked hopefully. Peter looked over at Father then smiled at Catherine. "Yes honey it looks as if you are two months pregnant." Peter told her. Catherine suddenly squealed with happiness. "Oh Vincent did you hear that?" she asked.

 

She looked up and saw Vincent standing beside her. He was smiling and crying at the same time. "Love are you all right?" Catherine asked him suddenly concerned. "Yes my beloved angel I am wonderful." He told her as they embraced. "Catherine this is wonderful." He whispered. "I am so happy." Catherine softly began to cry. Vincent saw this and wiped away her tears. "Oh my love don't cry." He begged. She smiled up at him. "I can't help it I am just so happy." She cried.

 

After they had calmed down Catherine turned and looked at Peter once again. "So when is the baby due?" she asked. Peter thought a moment then smiled. "Well sweetheart I would not make any plans for the week around winterfest." He told her. She smiled as her tears began to fall. "Oh that is wonderful!" She cried. Vincent embraced her and held her tightly. "Now little mother let's get you to our chamber so that you can rest." Vincent told her as he smiled. Catherine gasped happily at the use of the word mother. "Oh Vincent I have always wanted to be a mother." She told him. "I know my love." He responded. Then they turned to Father and Peter. They both embraced the older doctors and then left the chamber.

 

Once they reached their chamber Vincent led Catherine inside. He pulled down the tapestry and took her by the hand. "Come my love you should rest." He told her. Catherine smiled and giggled. "Vincent I am fine." She told him. "I know that you are but I am not going to let anything happen to you or our child." He promised. Catherine smiled and hugged him. "I know you won't I love you." She told him. "As I love you." He told her then they kissed passionately.

 

 As they separated Vincent scooped her up into his arms and carried her to the bed. Catherine smiled as he laid her down amongst the pillows. "Are you joining me?" she asked. He smiled and nodded his head. "Yes I am joining you." He told her. Then he backed away and went toward the entrance of the chamber. He took one of the unlit lanterns and left the chamber. A few seconds later he returned. He smiled when he saw that Catherine appeared to be sleeping. He undressed and slid into bed beside her. He encircled her in his arms noticing that she was naked. He smiled at the feel of her skin against him. "What are you smiling at?" Catherine suddenly asked smiling herself. "Nothing my love." He responded. Then they settled down and fell asleep.

 

As the months went on Catherine began to grow larger. Their physical relationship had to change but neither Catherine nor Vincent seemed to mind. One afternoon in Catherine's fourth month of pregnancy she and Vincent were snuggled up together on their bed. Suddenly there was an emergency call to Vincent on the pipes. He listened intently then rose from the bed. "I have to go below to the lower tunnels and help with some repairs due to the rains." He told her sadly. She smiled then moved over toward the edge of the bed. She smiled and held out her hands. "Will you please help me up?" she asked with a giggle in her voice. Vincent smiled and nodded. Then he gently pulled her up and into his arms. "I love you Catherine." He whispered into her ear as he held her. "And I love you." She told him. "I will walk you to the lower opening of the tunnels." She told him. Vincent looked at her unsure. "Catherine is that a good idea?" he asked. She smiled and nodded. "Yes Mary and Father both told me that walking is good for me." She responded. Vincent was still not sure but he relented. "All right love." He told her. Then he took her by the hand and they left the chamber.

 

Once they reached the lower tunnel opening they found the others waiting for them. "Vincent I am sorry that you have to go." Father told him. Vincent smiled and shook his head. "I know that Father but Catherine will be fine with you." He responded. Catherine smiled and nodded. "Yes we will be fine." She responded as she stroked her tummy. "Catherine will you join Father and me in his study?" Mary asked. Catherine smiled and nodded. "Yes I will." She told her.

 

 Then Vincent took his arm from around her. "I have to go now." He told her. Catherine smiled and nodded. "I know love." She told him. "I will be back by dinner time." Vincent told her. She smiled and nodded again. "I will either be with Father or in our chamber." She responded. Then he bent forward and gently wrapped his arms around her as much as he could. "I have not been able to hug you very close these last months." He told her smiling. She smiled up at him and nodded. "Yes I guess I am just too fat." She teased. Vincent shook his head. "No you are just perfect." He told her. Then he gently kissed her. "I love you and I will see you tonight." She told him. He then released her and the work crew left for the lower tunnels.

 

After they had left Catherine walked toward Father's study. When she arrived she found him there with Mary. "Oh Cathy dear come in." Mary told her as she rose from her chair. Catherine walked down the steps and sat down in a chair next to Father. "So I suppose they have left." Father commented. Catherine smiled and nodded. "Yes even though I do not think that Vincent wanted to leave too much." She commented smiling. "Cathy that is only normal you are four months pregnant with your first child after all." Mary commented. Catherine smiled and nodded. "Yes but really Vincent has been absolutely wonderful." She told him. "He is forever doting on me and spoiling me." Mary smiled over at Father. "Cathy that is what an expectant father is supposed to do." Father commented. "And my son is very excited about becoming a father." He added. "Even though I was truly surprised that he agreed so easily." Father chuckled. "So was I Father I thought that I would have to talk him into it." She commented. "But he surprised me and agreed." They spent the next couple of hours visiting.

 

About four o'clock Vincent and the crew entered the hub. They had finished early and decided to come on home. "Vincent are you going to speak to Father now?" Kanin asked. Vincent smiled and shook his head. "No I will speak to him later." He commented. "I am sure that you want to go see about the expectant mother." Cullen stated smiling. "Yes in fact I do." Vincent told him. "Well then my friend go on." Kanin told him. "I remember what it was like to be an expectant father." Vincent handed his tools to Kanin. "I will come get these things later." Vincent told him. Kanin smiled and shook his head. "Vincent do not worry about that now go find Cathy." Vincent smiled then ran down the tunnel toward his and Catherine's chamber.

 

When he arrived at the chamber he stopped in the entrance. There in front of him was Catherine sitting in the rocking chair that Cullen had made for her. She was stroking her belly and smiling. "Well little one we are looking forward to your arrival." She said in a whisper. "Then you are going to find out what a wonderfully special man your daddy is. He loves you so much and he is very excited about you." Vincent silently walked into the chamber and knelt down beside the rocking chair. "And you have a beautiful wonderful mommy." He said as he touched her belly.

 

Catherine smiled and looked over at him. "Hello my darling." She told him. He smiled and leaned up. He gently kissed her lips. "Hello to you my angel." He commented. "What have you been doing today?" Vincent asked. "Well most of it I spent with Father and Mary." She commented. "Then Jamie and I went for a short walk." She added. Vincent looked at her concerned. She noticed this and smiled. "Father said that it would be all right." She assured him. He smiled and nodded. "Well that is good." He told her. "How did the repairs go?" She asked. Vincent sighed frustratingly. "We were only able to repair some of the pipes." He commented. "Does that mean you have to go again?" Catherine asked. Vincent nodded. "Yes I have to leave for a couple of days tomorrow." He told her. "I will have Father keep an eye on you." He added. "Vincent I will be fine." She told him. "Now let's go to dinner." He told her as he gently pulled her to her feet. Then they left the chamber.

 

The next afternoon Catherine was sitting in their chamber alone. "Cathy can I come in?" Jamie called from the entrance of the chamber. Catherine looked around and smiled. "Of course Jamie." She told the young girl. Jamie entered and sat down on the bed. "So how are you doing?" Jamie asked. "I am fine just a bit lonely." Catherine told her. "Well I thought you might be so I am staying here with you until Vincent returns." Jamie told her. Catherine smiled and shook her head. "You don't have to do that." Catherine told her. "I know but it will give us more time to gossip." Both women giggled. "Come on let's go to dinner." Jamie told her as she helped Catherine stand. "All right let's go." Catherine commented. Then they left the chamber to go to the dining chamber.

 

Later that night Catherine was lying in bed. She was wide-awake and thinking about Vincent. "Cathy are you all right?" Jamie asked from her cot a few feet away. "Yes Jamie I was just thinking of Vincent." Catherine told her. Jamie rose and walked toward the bed. She sat down on the bed facing Catherine. "I know that you miss him but they will be back tomorrow afternoon." Jamie told her. "And I happen to know that Father has decided that Vincent is to stay home with you unless it is absolutely necessary." Jamie told her. Catherine suddenly felt very guilty. "Jamie I do not want to interrupt his life that much." Catherine told her as she began to cry. Jamie saw the tears and embraced her friend. "Cathy you are not interrupting his life he wants to be close to you." Jamie told her. "But Jamie I don't know why." Catherine sobbed. "What in the world do you mean child?" Mary asked as she rushed into the chamber. "Mary I am so big now and I feel so unattractive to Vincent." Catherine said through her tears. Jamie looked at Mary who motioned for her to leave them alone. "I am going to get you some warm milk." Jamie told Catherine. Catherine sadly nodded.

 

Once Jamie was gone Mary moved over and sat beside Catherine. "Now tell me what is going on." Mary directed. "Oh Mary I feel so ugly now." Catherine told her. "Vincent has always told me that I was beautiful but how much longer will he be able to say that?" Catherine asked. "Cathy listen to me." Mary directed gently. "When I was pregnant with my son I felt the same way that you feel now. I thought that my husband found me very unattractive. I worried constantly that he would find someone that was more attractive than me." Mary told her. "Then one evening we were sitting at dinner and he took my hand and kissed it. I looked up at him shocked. Then he smiled at me and told me that he never saw me look more beautiful." Catherine dried her eyes and smiled. "I bet that made you feel wonderful." Catherine commented. Mary smiled and nodded. "Yes and very special."

 

Suddenly Father came through the entrance of the chamber with Jamie. "Catherine dear are you all right?" He asked. Catherine looked up at him and smiled. "Yes Father I was just feeling a bit depressed." She told him. "Are you going to be all right now?" Mary asked as she rose from the bed. Catherine smiled and nodded. "Yes I think that I can sleep now." Catherine told her. Mary smiled and nodded. "Cathy call us if you need us." Father told her. Catherine smiled. "I will." She responded. Then they left the chamber. That night Catherine slept soundly.

 

The next day Catherine slept late. When it was announced on the pipes that the crew was returning she was still sleeping. Vincent entered the chamber and saw her. He smiled lovingly and silently walked out of the chamber. When he arrived at Father's study he found him there with Mary. "Oh Vincent is everything fixed?" Father asked as Vincent sat down in his chair. "Yes Father everything is done." He commented. "Vincent have you seen Cathy?" Mary asked. Vincent smiled and nodded. "Yes Mary she is sleeping in our chamber." Father looked over at Mary. "Well she was up a bit late last night." Mary told him. "What happened Mary?" Vincent asked as he suddenly rose. "Nothing happened to the baby." Father told him. "Vincent we had a talk last night." Mary told him. "About what?" Vincent asked. "Well she feels unattractive to you because of the pregnancy." Mary told him. "Mary I have never seen Catherine more beautiful than she is now." He told her. Mary smiled and nodded. "I know that dear it is her hormones." Mary responded. "She feels fat and ugly." Then Vincent turned and walked up the steps. "Father please see that we are undisturbed." He requested. Father smiled and nodded. Then Vincent left the chamber.

 

Vincent arrived back at their chamber to find Catherine still asleep. He quietly removed his clothes and climbed into bed. Catherine turned over toward him and slowly opened her eyes. "When did you return?" she whispered. "A few minutes ago." He told her. Then he encircled her in his arms. "Catherine I love you more than anything in my life." He told her. "You spoke to Father and Mary didn't you?" Catherine asked as she looked down. Vincent would have none of it. He placed his hand under her chin and brought her eyes up to meet his. "Yes I did and they told me about last night." He commented. "Oh Vincent I am so sorry." Catherine told him as she began to cry. "Catherine please listen to me now." He requested. "You are the most precious thing in my life. You have always been beautiful to me but now that you are carrying our child you are even more beautiful." Catherine leaned back and smiled. "I love you so much Vincent." She told him. "And I absolutely adore you." He told her. They talked until the rose for dinner.

 

As time crawled by Catherine and Vincent were enjoying every moment. One day during her fifth month of pregnancy Catherine was standing in their chamber with Olivia and Lena. "Cathy we both brought you some of the baby clothes that we have." Lena told her. Catherine smiled as she looked through the clothes that lay on the bed. "Oh these are wonderful." She told them. She was looking at the clothes when she gasped and put her hand to her stomach. Both Lena and Olivia turned and looked at her. "Cathy what is it?" Lena asked as she moved the baby clothes so that Catherine could sit down.

 

Olivia turned and was about to run from the chamber to find Vincent when he and Father both appeared in the chamber entrance. "Catherine what is wrong?" Vincent asked as he came and knelt in front of her. She looked up at him and he noticed that she was crying and smiling at the same time. "Vincent the baby kicked for the first time." She told him happily. Everyone in the chamber smiled. "Are you sure that was all it was?" Vincent asked still concerned. Catherine smiled and nodded. "Yes love it just took me off guard." She assured him. "Well even so young lady I want to examine you." Father told her. She smiled and nodded.

 

Once the examination was complete Father packed his instruments. Then he turned and looked at the expectant parents. "Well I must tell you that I have never seen a more healthy mother to be in my life." He told them. Catherine smiled as Vincent sat down beside her. He took her into his arms and held her tightly. "Thank you so much Father." Vincent whispered. Father smiled and shook his head. "No problem my son." Then he turned and left the room.

 

 "So what were you doing when you were alerted to this?" Catherine asked trying to bring things back to normal. Vincent smiled at the question. "I was about to beat Father soundly at a third game of chess." He told her proudly. She smiled and laughed lovingly. "And what may I ask is all this?" Vincent motioned toward the baby clothes behind them. "Oh these are baby clothes that Lena and Olivia gave us." She told him. "Aren't they beautiful?" she asked as she stroked one of the outfits. "Yes but not as beautiful as you are." He crooned lovingly. Catherine smiled up at him. "Why thank you." She told him. Then he gently kissed her again.

 

Suddenly she got a beautiful smile on her face. "Give me your hand." She directed. Vincent looked at her confused but did what she asked. She placed the hand on her belly. "Wait for a moment." She told him. Then suddenly he felt a small jerk from her stomach. Vincent looked up at her surprised. "What was that?" he asked. She smiled at him again. "That was the feel of ourchild kicking again." She told him. "Catherine that was wonderful." Vincent told her. "Yes and so are you." She told him lovingly. Then she leaned up and kissed him gently. Vincent wrapped his arms around her as far as they would go and returned her kiss.

 

One night as they lie in bed Catherine and Vincent was talking. "So what are we going to name this baby?" Catherine asked. "I was thinking if it were a girl that I would like to name her Melissa." She continued. Vincent thought for a moment then smiled. "I like that name." He told her. "I do to I have always liked it." She stated. "And what if it is a boy?" Vincent asked. Catherine rose onto one elbow and looked down at him. "Vincent if we have a son I want to name him Jacob." She told him. Vincent smiled at the sentiment. "I think that Father would be proud of that." He told her. "Well he has become a father to me and I love him." Catherine stated. "And I love you." Vincent told her as he pulled her back down into his arms. They fell asleep happily dreaming of their baby.

 

A few weeks later there was an intruder alert from the park entrance. Catherine looked up at Vincent as he rose and put on his cloak. "Catherine I will return as soon as I can." He told her as he helped her to her feet. "Love please be careful." She requested. Vincent smiled at her lovingly. "I will my darling." Then he ran from the chamber. Catherine retrieved her shawl and wrapped it around her shoulders. She then walked out of the chamber toward Father' study.

 

 When she arrived she found Father and Mary there waiting for Vincent to return. "Father do you know who is here?" Catherine asked as she entered the chamber. Father looked at Mary. "Jacob she has to know." Mary told him. "I have to know what?" Catherine asked suddenly frightened. "Catherine it looks as if Lisa is back in New York." Father told her. Catherine got a very strange look on her face. "Why is she back?" She asked. "Well dear she wants to come back to the tunnels." Mary stated. Then Catherine looked at Father. He noticed her expression and shook his head. "No Cathy she is not being allowed to come back." He assured her. "That is what Vincent is telling her now."

 

Then Catherine turned and walked toward the entrance of the chamber. "Where are you going dear?" Mary asked. "I have to go make sure he is all right." Catherine told them. "Is that a wise idea especially in your condition?" Father asked. "Father he is my husband and I will not let her hurt him in any way!" Catherine told her father in law. Then she walked out of the chamber.

 

As she reached the park entrance she could hear arguing. "But Vincent this is not fair!" Lisa told him angrily. "Lisa many things have changed." He told her trying to remain calm. "Name one thing that has changed!" She challenged. "Well Lisa the one major thing that has changed is that I am here now." Catherine told her as she stepped out of the tunnel. Vincent swiftly turned toward her. "Catherine you should be with Father." He told her. "No Vincent you are my husband and we will face this together." She told him.

 

When Lisa heard those words from Catherine she gasped. "You are married?" she asked shocked. Catherine smiled as she and Vincent faced her. "Yes and as you can see we are expecting our first child." Lisa was not about to let this woman win. She thought for a moment then smiled. "Vincent may I speak to Catherine for just a moment?" She asked sweetly. Vincent was about to refuse when Catherine put her hand on his shoulder. "I will be just fine love." She told him. "Are you sure about this?" he asked. She smiled and nodded. "Yes why don't you go and wait in Father's chamber." She suggested. Vincent nodded and smiled at her. "I will be waiting for you." Then he bent down and kissed her. Lisa saw this and it made her even more angry.

 

Once he was gone Catherine turned toward Lisa. "So what is it you wish to speak to me about?" She asked the dancer. "Catherine why are you having his child?" Lisa asked. Catherine was confused by the question. "What do you mean by that?" She asked. "Well you know that the child could turn out to look like him." Lisa stated. Catherine was now angry. "Lisa I will love this baby no matter what it looks like!" she shouted. "I love Vincent and he is beautiful to me." She continued. "Now I believe that this conversation is finished." Catherine told her as she turned to walk back into the tunnels. "Not yet Catherine!" Lisa yelled then she hit Catherine in the back of the head. Catherine suddenly felt the pain. She screamed as she fell to the floor of the tunnel. Lisa then dropped the rock then ran from the drainage tunnel.

 

A few moments later Vincent burst out of the tunnel. When he saw Catherine lying on the ground he ran to her. "Catherine please speak to me!" he cried as he held her. Father emerged from the tunnels and saw Vincent holding Catherine in his arms. "Vincent we must get her to the hospital chamber." Father told him. Vincent raised his tear stained face and looked at his parent. "Yes Father." He said quietly as he gently picked her up. He entered the tunnels and silently carried her down the tunnel. Father followed close behind them keeping onlookers away.

 

Once they reached the hospital chamber Vincent laid her down on the cot. He moved so that Father could examine her. Father opened his bag and took out his stethoscope. He gently placed it to her belly and listened. Suddenly he smiled. "Well it sounds as if the baby is unharmed." Father stated. Vincent smiled as his tears started once again. "Father what about Catherine?" Vincent asked.

 

Father was about to answer when Catherine moaned. "Vincent?" she moaned as her eyes started to open. Vincent knelt down next to the cot and took her hand. "I am right here my love." He told her as he kissed her hand. "What happened?" Catherine asked. "Catherine you do not remember?" Father asked. Catherine thought for a moment then gasped. "Oh God Vincent Lisa hit me with something." She stated.

 

Then she looked up at Father. "Is the baby all right?" She asked. Father smiled and put his hand on her shoulder. "Yes dear Catherine the baby is apparently just fine." He assured her. "But I will contact Peter so that we can run some tests." Then he left the chamber. "Oh Vincent why would she do such a thing?" Catherine asked as she hugged him close. "Because she wanted you to leave." He told her. "But that would never happen I am your wife." Catherine commented. "Yes but she probably figured that if you lost the baby our relationship would fall apart." He told her. "That is ridiculous!" she cried as she held him tightly. "Yes but Lisa did not realize that." Vincent commented. "Now you should rest." He told her. She smiled and lay back down. Soon she was fast asleep.

 

About an hour later Catherine awoke when she heard voices. "Jacob I am worried about the baby." Peter told Father. "When Cathy fell it could have done some damage." He continued. "Peter please help my baby!" Catherine suddenly cried. Vincent and Father both moved toward her. "Love everything will be fine." Vincent told her. "Our child will be fine." He told her. Then he looked up at Peter. "Do your tests Peter." Vincent told him. Peter nodded then went to work. "We are going to perform a sonogram." Peter told Catherine. She smiled and nodded. "Vincent why don't you and Father wait outside?" Peter suggested. Vincent was about to protest when Father nodded. "All right we will be right outside." He told Catherine as he bent and kissed her forehead. "All right my love please do not worry." She told him. Then Vincent and Father left the chamber. "Honey this gel is going to be cold." He told her as he put it on the microphone. She smiled slightly and nodded. Then Peter placed the microphone on her belly. Catherine flinched when it touched her. "Cathy are you okay?" Peter asked. Catherine smiled shyly. "That was cold and it tickled." She told him. Peter looked at her and chuckled. "All right let's do this test." He told her.

 

A while later he removed the microphone then wiped the gel off her stomach. "Peter how is the baby?" She asked. "Cathy let's get Father and Vincent in here so I do not have to repeat this." He commented. She smiled and nodded then Peter rose from the cot. He walked over to the curtain and lifted it. "You can both come back in now." He told Father and Vincent. They entered the chamber and Vincent quickly crossed the room and sat down on the cot beside Catherine.

 

"So Peter how is the baby?" Catherine asked. Vincent put his arm around her and held her tightly. "Well honey it looks as if your child is fine." He told her. Catherine sobbed for joy. "Oh thank you God!" She cried as Vincent took her in his arms again. "Cathy you must have instinctively braced yourself when you fell." Peter continued. "I do not remember doing that." She commented. "Well honey it goes with the natural motherly instincts that a pregnant woman has." He told her. "Well can I get up now?" Catherine asked. Peter shook his head. "No I want you to stay in bed for at least a week." He told her. "A week?" Catherine complained. "Yes young lady a week." He told her. "Peter can I move her back to our chamber?" Vincent asked. Peter thought a moment then smiled. "Yes that would be fine." He commented. "Well I have to run but I will see you tomorrow." He told Catherine as he kissed her. "Thank you Peter." She commented as he left.

 

A while later Vincent entered the hospital chamber once again. "So my love are you ready to go back to our chamber?" He asked. She smiled and nodded. Then she made to sit up. "Oh no you don't!" Vincent told her adamantly. "Vincent I can walk." She argued. "You heard Peter you are taking it easy this week." He commented. Then he picked her up in his arms and they left the chamber.

 

When they entered the chamber Catherine smiled at Vincent. "So this is why you wanted to come here before I did." She teased. He smiled and nodded. "Yes my darling one." He answered. He walked over and gently placed her on their bed. Catherine smiled as she looked around the chamber at the roses and candles that Vincent had brought for her. "This is beautiful." She commented. Vincent removed his cloak and sat down beside her he took her in his arms and held her tightly. "No my Catherine you are the beautiful one." He whispered. She looked up at him and smiled. "I love you Vincent." She whispered. "And I absolutely adore you." He told her. Then he bent forward and gently kissed her lips. Catherine moaned slightly at the feel of his lips against hers. Then he backed away. "No Vincent please!" She begged. He smiled and gently kissed her again. "Catherine remember you are pregnant." He reminded her. She smiled suddenly. "Yes of course." She told him. "Now my love you should rest." Vincent told her as he began to rise. "No Vincent please stay with me!" She implored. He smiled down at her and caressed her cheek. "I will be right back." He commented.

 

 He rose and put a lantern out in the tunnel and pulled the tapestry down. He walked back over and removed his boots and socks. Then he removed his sweater. He sat down on the bed beside Catherine and enfolded her in his arms. "Now sleep my love." He commented. She smiled and closed her eyes. Soon she was sleeping peacefully.

 

After a few weeks Catherine was back to normal. They had discovered that Lisa had left town with the help of one of the helpers. At first Vincent was very angry that the woman had assisted her. But he soon learned that Lisa had lied to the woman to get her help. Catherine was doing better and happily anticipating the birth of their child. "Vincent don't you have to go meet with the council?" Catherine asked the morning of Winterfest. Vincent looked up from his book and smiled. "Yes we are meeting in a few minutes." He stated. "Are you trying to get rid of me for some reason?" He asked teasingly. Catherine put down her book and smiled. "Of course not love I was just wondering." She stated. Vincent closed his journal and rose from hischair. He walked over and sat down on the bed beside her. "Good because I am not going anywhere." He remarked as he gathered her in his arms. "Is that a promise?" She asked lovingly. "Of course my darling angel." He told her as he kissed the top of her head. "Vincent I cannot wait until the baby is here." She commented. Vincent smiled down at her. "Neither can I." he told her. "I was hoping that the baby would be born before winterfest." She stated sadly. "Well Peter and Father told us that the baby could come anytime in the couple of weeks." He reminded her. "I know I am just anxious." She remarked. "So am I." he admitted.

 

A few moments later a message on the pipes announced the council was ready to meet. Vincent kissed Catherine gently and rose. "I will return after the meeting." He told her. Catherine smiled lovingly. "All right Jamie is coming to keep me company." She told him. "She wants to be here with me while you are gone." She continued. "She was very frightened when you were attacked." He remarked. "I know she was." She commented. "So was I." he whispered. Catherine held out her hand. He took it and came back to sit beside her. "Love that is over now." She assured him. "The baby and I are fine." She promised. "I know I just get very angry with Lisa when I remember the incident." He remarked. "So do I that is why I try not to think of it at all." She stated. Vincent smiled and embraced her again. "Catherine Wells you are wonderful." He crooned.

 

 She was about to comment when they heard a sound in the entrance of the chamber. "May I come in?" A voice asked. Catherine and Vincent turned and saw Jamie standing there. Vincent rose from the bed and smiled at her. "Of course Jamie I was just leaving." He stated. Jamie smiled slyly. "Does not look like you were leaving when I came in." She teased. Catherine giggled behind them. Vincent turned and looked at her trying to look put out. But she could see the chuckle in his eyes. "Well Jamie I was in fact leaving." He retorted. Then he strolled out of the chamber.

 

 Catherine and Jamie looked at one another and laughed happily. "He seems happier." Jamie remarked sitting down. "Yes when the mix up with Linda was settled he seemed to relax." Catherine told her. "I cannot believe that Lisa lied to her so she would help her." Jamie stated. "She was desperate." Catherine commented. "She would have done anything to get out of the city." She added. "She knew that she had no where to go here." Jamie stated. Catherine nodded quietly. "Yes she burned her bridges with the tunnels when she attacked me and ran." Catherine commented. "Yes she most certainly did I don't believe Father or Vincent will ever forgive her." Catherine shook her head. "They might in time." She remarked. "What about you?" Jamie asked curiously. "I don't know Jamie I could have lost the baby because of her attack." Jamie silently nodded. "Thank God you didn't." She finally commented. Catherine smiled and stroked her belly. "I thank God for that every day." She whispered.

 

About a half an hour later Vincent entered the chamber. "I am back." He announced. Catherine and Jamie looked up from the book they were looking at. "Hello darling." Catherine commented as Vincent approached and kissed her. "So what are the two of you doing?" He asked as he sat down beside Catherine. "I was showing Jamie the book of baby names that Jenny gave us." Catherine remarked. Vincent smiled and nodded. "I will have to thank her for that gift tonight." He commented teasingly. Jamie caught on to his tone and looked at Catherine. She smiled and spoke again. "Since we got the book we have had some debates over names." She commented. Jamie smiled and nodded in understanding. "Well I better go help with Winterfest preparations." She stated as she rose. "Cathy are you going to Winterfest?" She asked. Catherine smiled and nodded. "Yes both Father and Peter told me that I would be able to attend as long as I do not overexert myself." She stated. "And I will be there to make sure that you do not do that." Vincent told her. Jamie smiled. "Well I will see you both tonight." She commented. She then turned and left the chamber.

 

Later that evening Catherine entered the chamber. She smiled when she saw Vincent standing there adjusting his tunic. She truly loved how he looked in his special occasion clothing. Vincent sensing her return turned and smiled. "There you are." He commented. Catherine smiled once again. "Yes I guess I took longer than I expected." She replied. Vincent approached her and took her hand in his. "Well my love you look absolutely beautiful." He told her. She smiled lovingly at him. "I am not too fat for you?" She asked teasingly. Vincent pulled her into his arms and wrapped them around her as far as they would go. "Catherine I have never seen you look more beautiful." He whispered. He then gently kissed her.

 

When they parted Vincent released her. "Shall we go my love?" He asked. Catherine grabbed her shawl and smiled at him. "Of course darling." She crooned. Vincent took her hand and they left the chamber.

 

As they approached the group of tunnel dwellers and helpers everyone happily greeted them. "Hello there honey." Peter called. Catherine smiled as she kissed his cheek. "How are you feeling?" He asked. Catherine chuckled. "Always the doctor huh Peter." She commented. Peter smiled and shrugged his shoulders. "Well you are very close to your due date." He commented. "Peter I am just fine." She assured him. "And I promise not to do too much tonight." She assured him. Peter smiled once again. "That will make both Jacob and me very happy." He told her. Then the group walked toward the chamber of the winds.

 

As they arrived at the chamber Vincent positioned himself beside Catherine. He wrapped his arm around her waist as far as it would go. "Are you alright?" He asked over the wind. Catherine looked up at him and smiled. "Yes love I am fine." She told him. "You will know through the bond if anything is wrong." She commented. Vincent nodded. "Yes but that will not stop me from worrying about you." He told her. She smiled lovingly at him. "And that is why I love you so much." She remarked.

 

Once they reached the big wooden doors leading to the great hall Vincent released her. He kissed her cheek them moved toward the door. She smiled with great love and pride as she watched her beloved husband remove the large wood plank over the doors. Then he gave a hefty push and the doors opened. He moved back toward Catherine and took her hand. "May I lead you through the dark?" He asked. (From Dead of Winter) Catherine smiled lovingly at him. "There is no darkness Vincent when you are with me." She told him. (From Dead of Winter). Vincent smiled and led her into the dark hall. As everyone filed in they sat down at the long table to perform the lighting ceremony.

 

After the ceremony was over the musicians began playing while everyone started to mingle. Vincent led Catherine to a table and they sat down. Soon little Cathy ran up to them. "Vincent you promised to dance with me tonight." She commented. Vincent smiled then looked at the child. "Well I better keep my promise." He told her. Then he looked over at Catherine. "Will you excuse me my love?" He asked. She smiled. "Yes of course you go and enjoy your dance." She commented. Vincent rose and kissed her cheek. As he did he whispered in her ear. "I love you my Catherine."

 

Then he gathered the child in his arms and walked toward the dance floor. Catherine smiled as she watched him circle the floor with the child. You will be a wonderful father. She thought to herself. Suddenly she felt a soft hand on her shoulder. She looked up to see Mary beside her. "Hello Mary will you join me for a while?" She asked. Mary smiled and nodded. "Of course my dear are you doing alright?" Mary asked. Catherine smiled. "Yes I am just thinking about what a wonderful father Vincent is going to be." She stated. Mary smiled and nodded. "Yes and you will be a wonderful mother." Mary added. Catherine suddenly frowned and looked downward. "I hope I can be a good mother." She whispered.

 

Mary was about to respond when Vincent's voice broke in. "You will be a wonderful mother my love." He stated matter of factly. Mary seeing that they need privacy rose and excused herself. Vincent knelt down in front of her and took her hands in his. "Catherine you may have lost your mother as a young girl but that will not affect what kind of mother you are." He told her. Catherine looked up at him. "I want to believe that Vincent but I am so afraid that I will do something wrong." She cried. Vincent gently gathered her in his arms. "No my love you will never do anything wrong when it comes to our child." He whispered. He held her until she was calm again.

 

A while later Vincent was once again dancing with one of the young children. Catherine was sitting at the table with Father and Mary. They were talking when Father looked up and gasped. Catherine and Mary followed his gaze. There approaching them was Devin. "Devin we did not know you were coming this year." Father commented as he rose. Devin smiled as both men embraced. "Well I thought I would come home for a visit." He commented. Then he kissed Mary on the cheek. "Hello Mary how are you?" He asked. She smiled lovingly. "I am wonderful." She stated.

 

Then Devin looked at Catherine. He had not been home since their wedding so he did not know that Catherine was expecting. Catherine smiled, as his eyes grew very wide. "Well you have been quite busy." He told his sister in law. She giggled happily. "Yes Devin I have." She told him. Devin then leaned down and kissed her cheek. "Where is Charles?" Mary asked. Devin grew very serious. "I lost him a couple of weeks ago." He stated sadly. "Oh Devin I am so sorry." Catherine told him. Devin sighed. "Well at least he is at peace now." He commented. Father, Catherine and Mary nodded. Then Devin looked at Catherine. "So when is the big day?" He asked. Catherine smiled. "In a couple of weeks." She commented. Devin was shocked. "And my brother agreed to have you come to winterfest?" He asked. Father smiled. "Well not until Peter and I told him that it would be alright." He stated. "And I promised to sit around like a lump." Catherine laughed.

 

As they were talking Vincent walked toward them. He smiled happily when he recognized Devin talking to Father, Mary and Catherine. When he was directly behind his brother Vincent laid his hand on his shoulder. "Hello Devin." He said happily. Devin turned around and smiled. "Hey there little brother." He said as they embraced. "Why didn't you tell us you were coming?" Vincent asked when they separated. Devin sighed. "Well as I was saying Charles died a couple of weeks ago so I decided to come home for a while." He stated sadly. Vincent nodded in understanding. "I am sorry about Charles I know how much he meant to you." Vincent told him. Devin nodded. "Yes well as I said earlier he is at peace now." Devin commented. Vincent nodded once again.

 

Suddenly their quiet moment was broken by a familiar voice. "So have the two of you chosen a name yet?" Everyone turned to see Jenny standing there smiling. Catherine smiled. "Jen I was hoping you were coming." She told her friend as Jenny hugged her. "I wouldn't have missed this for the world." Jenny told her. Then Jenny smiled at Vincent. "Hey there stranger." She teased. Vincent smiled and embraced her. "Hello Jenny and no we have not made an decisions on a name." He commented wryly. Jenny looked back at Catherine as both women laughed. Jenny turned and smiled at Devin. "Jenny this is Devin." Catherine introduced. Devin smiled and shook her hand. "I am glad to finally meet you." He told her. "Yes unfortunately I was not able to attend the wedding." Jenny stated somewhat angrily. Catherine smiled at her. "Oh Jen aren't you ever going to let your boss off the hook?" She asked. Jenny shook her head. "No he owes me for missing my best friend's wedding." She stated.

 

"Well at least you are here tonight." Father told her. Jenny smiled and nodded. "Yes I would have strangled him if I had missed winterfest." Jenny told him as they embraced. Then she hugged Mary. "How are you feeling?" Mary asked noticing Jenny's bulging stomach. "We are wonderful." She beamed. "Only a month to go." She added. "How many kids do you have?" Devin asked. Jenny smiled at him. "My husband and I have a son Joseph Vincent Maxwell." She commented. "He is a year and a half." Devin looked at Catherine. "Is this Joe's wife?" He asked. Catherine smiled and nodded. "Yes she is." She answered. "Devin worked for the DAs office for a while." Catherine told Jenny. "Well it is a small world." She commented. "Where is Joe by the way?" Vincent asked. "Joey got a bad cold and he stayed home with him." She told him. "He hated to miss it but we could not bring Joey." She added. "Is he alright?" Father asked. Jenny smiled and nodded. "Yes Peter said it is only a bad cold." She assured him. "Well tell them that we missed them." Catherine told her friend.

 

A little while later Catherine was sitting with Jenny talking while Vincent and Devin had moved to the second level landing where they were catching up. "I was quite shocked when I saw Cathy." Devin commented. Vincent nodded and smiled. "Yes we tried to contact you but the letter came back." Vincent told him. "How are you dealing with the situation?" Devin asked. "I have learned so much since my marriage to Catherine that when I found out we were expecting our child I was elated." Devin smiled and shook his head. "I cannot get over the change in you." He stated. "You seem so much more alive." Vincent smiled and looked down toward Catherine. "Devin I have never been so happy or satisfied in my life." He chimed. Devin put his arm around Vincent's shoulder. "Well little brother no one deserves it more than you and Cathy." Vincent put his hand on top of Devin's. "That means a lot to us." He told his older brother.

 

As the night went on everyone was having a good time. Catherine was being waited on hand and foot by everyone. She was having a wonderful time even though she could not do anything but sit and watch the activities. Mary walked over when she noticed that Catherine was sitting alone. "Cathy are you alright?" Mary asked as she sat down. Catherine looked up and smiled. "Yes I am fine." She stated. "Just a bit tired." Mary then looked at her closer. "Would you like me to take you to your chamber?" Mary asked. Catherine shook her head. "No really I am feeling fine." She assured her mother in law. Mary smiled and nodded. "Alright but I am staying here until Vincent returns." She commented.

 

Catherine was about to protest when she grabbed her stomach. "Ooh!" She exclaimed. Mary was quickly on her feet. "Catherine what is it?" She asked. "I think I just went into labor." Catherine told her. Mary smiled and put her hand on Catherine's shoulder. "I will get Vincent." She stated. She whispered in Jamie's ear and Jamie moved over beside Catherine. Then Mary walked off to find Vincent. "Cathy are you sure you are alright?" Jamie asked. Catherine was about to answer when another pain hit. "OOH! That was a harder one." She told Jamie. The girl took her hand and held it tightly. "Mary will find Vincent." Jamie told her. Catherine smiled as she began her breathing.

 

Mary moved quickly through the throng of people. She had not found Vincent yet. Then suddenly she saw him standing with Peter, Father, and Devin. She breathlessly rushed toward them. "Vincent!" She called. When he heard his name Vincent spun around. "What is it Mary?" He asked. "Is something wrong with Catherine?" He asked. Then suddenly the bond opened once again and he felt the pain that Catherine was experiencing. He looked at Mary then at Father. "Catherine is in pain." He stated. "No she is in labor." Mary corrected. Vincent smiled then ran off in the direction that Mary had come.

 

As Vincent and the others approached they saw Jamie holding Catherine's hand. "Catherine I am here." Vincent told her as he knelt before her. Catherine smiled as another contraction passed. "It started a little while ago." She told them. "You closed the bond?" Vincent asked. Catherine looked down. "I did not want to alarm you." She whispered. Vincent smiled and put his hand under her chin. "Catherine look at me please." He requested. She slowly made eye contact with him. "Please never think you have to protect me from something this important." He told her. She smiled and nodded.

 

Then Father spoke up. "Vincent we need to get her back to your chamber." He directed. "Cathy can you walk?" He asked. She was about to answer when Vincent gently lifted her into his arms. "I will carry you." He told her. She smiled and put her head on his shoulder. "Alright my love." She whispered. With that they all left the great hall.

 

Once they reached their chamber Vincent gently laid Catherine on their bed. "Are you alright love?" He asked. Catherine breathed through a contraction then smiled. "Yes Vincent I am fine." She assured him. "Now Catherine we need to get you changed." Mary told her. Vincent moved over and took out her tunnel gown. He then handed it to Mary. "Vincent while we are doing this go and see if Father needs you." She directed. Vincent hesitated until Catherine smiled at him. "It is alright love you will be back shortly." She told him.

 

A little while later Vincent and Father entered the chamber. They found Catherine lying on the bed. Vincent walked over to her and sat down beside her. "How are you feeling?" He asked. She smiled and caressed his cheek. "I am doing fine." She assured him. "The pain is not that bad yet." She told him. Vincent took off his cloak. Father looked at him and spoke. "You can go change clothes if you like." He commented. Vincent looked down at his formal clothes then back at Catherine. She smiled. "Go on and make yourself comfortable we will be here a while." She whispered. Vincent gently kissed her then he rose. He collected his clothes and left the chamber.

 

"Father when will the baby be born?" Catherine asked. Father sat down beside her and took her hand. "You could be in labor until sometime tomorrow." He commented. Catherine smiled slightly. "I guess no one will get much sleep tonight." She told him. Father looked up at Peter who smiled. "No honey I guess not." Peter told her. Suddenly Jenny, Joe and Devin entered the chamber. "So this is what happens when I miss winterfest." Joe teased. Catherine smiled at him. "Yeah I guess so." She commented. "When did you arrive?" Catherine asked him. "Mom came to keep Joseph when I told her about you going into labor." Jenny told her. "She told me to tell you and Vincent that she would pray for you." Jenny told her. "Thank her for us." Vincent told her as he reentered the chamber. "Where were you little brother I would have thought you would be stationed here." Devin teased. "I went to change my clothes." Vincent told him. "But now I will station myself here." He stated. With that everyone laughed.

 

Later that night Catherine was really feeling the contractions. "Oh when will this be over?" She asked. Vincent kissed her forehead. "It will be over very soon my love." He whispered. She looked up at him. "Do you promise?" She asked. He smiled lovingly at her. "Yes my beloved I promise." He whispered. "Now honey I need you to push when I tell you." Peter instructed. Then he looked at Vincent. "Get behind her so that you can help her." Vincent nodded. He rose and helped Catherine into a sitting position. Then he slid in behind her. "Now Cathy you have to push very hard." Peter told her. She started to cry. "I am so tired I don't know if I have the strength." Vincent held her tightly. "You are one of the strongest women I have ever known you can do this." He told her. She looked up at him and saw the love for her shining in his eyes. "Alright I will do it for you." She told him.

 

A few minutes later a hard contraction hit. Catherine screamed out. "Now Catherine push as hard as you can!" Peter told her. Vincent leaned forward as she pushed. "That's it Cathy the head is almost out." Mary told her. Catherine screamed as the pain wracked her body. "It will be over very soon." Vincent whispered. When the contraction had passed Catherine lay back against Vincent's chest. He gently wiped her dry lips with a wet washcloth. "That feels good." She whispered. Vincent smiled and kissed her forehead. "Rest for a while." He told her. She smiled and closed her eyes. But soon another contraction came on. "Now Cathy this is the last one but you have to give a very hard push." Father instructed. Then he brought Devin forward. "Let her grip your hand." He told his oldest son. Devin nodded and took her hand. "Hey Cathy just a bit longer until we see thisbaby." He commented. She smiled and nodded. "Yes just a bit longer." She told him. "Oh here it comes!" Catherine cried out. She squeezed Devin's hand very hard. Then she bore down. "Now Cathy push!" Peter told her loudly. Vincent leaned forward with her and she screamed out. "That's it Cathy!" Mary cried happily. Then suddenly the baby slid into the world with a loud healthy cry. "Oh Vincent our baby!" Catherine cried as he held her tightly. Vincent smiled at her as his tears began to fall. "I love you more than anything in my life." He told her. She smiled. "I love you too." She responded.

 

Father smiled as he approached them. "May I present your son." He announced as he gently laid the baby in Catherine's waiting arms. "Oh Vincent look he is absolutely beautiful!" Catherine sobbed as she held him. Vincent smiled as he stroked the baby's soft cheeks. "And he looks just like you my beloved." He commented. Catherine could hear the relief in his tone. "But he has your beautiful eyes." She told him. Vincent smiled and kissed her cheek.

 

A while later everyone left the young family alone. Catherine smiled happily as she held their infant son in her arms. Vincent still sat behind her as she leaned against his chest. "Vincent how can I ever thank you?" Catherine whispered. Vincent looked down at her shocked. "Catherine it is I who should thank you." He told her. "Catherine I never imagined that I could have the life that we have now." He began. "I was so lonely and isolated that I thought I would be alone for the rest of my life then I found you and my whole life was transformed into something that I will always treasure." Catherine smiled up at him as her tears silently fell. "Oh Vincent this is the most wonderful night of my life." She cried. Vincent smiled and leaned down to gently kiss her.

 

As they were kissing a voice interrupted. "Catherine may I show the baby to his waiting public?" Mary asked. Vincent and Catherine smiled as she took the baby from his mother. "Of course they need to see him." Catherine told her. Mary smiled and left the chamber. Vincent wrapped his arms around Catherine and held her. "I will never be able to tell you how much I truly love you." He whispered. "You have reached into my dark world and made all my hopes and dreams come true" Catherine turned around and smiled. "And you have always been the man of my dreams." She commented. Then Catherine settled into his arms once again and smiled. She was soon happily sleeping. Vincent smiled and held her tightly. He kissed the top of her head then slowly rose from behind her and laid her down. He covered her with the quilt then sat down in his desk chair. He smiled as he watched her sleep. She was truly the light of his life. And he was so blessed to have her.

 

His revelry was broken when Mary reentered the chamber. She smiled and handed the baby to him. "So what did everyone think?" Vincent asked quietly. Mary smiled lovingly. "I must say that he is a big hit." She whispered. She then kissed him on the forehead and left the chamber. Vincent smiled down at the baby in his arms. He shifted the child in his arms and began whispering to him. "You are so beautiful my son." He whispered. "I am so proud that you are here and that you are mine." He continued. "I promise you that I will never disappoint you in any manner. I will always be here for you and your beautiful mother." He vowed. "You are both truly the loves of my life." He continued.

 

Suddenly Vincent felt as if he were being watched. He looked up to see Catherine sitting on the bed smiling at him. "Hello my love." She whispered. Vincent smiled and rose. He carried the baby over to her and placed him once again in her arms. "What were you talking about?" Catherine asked. Vincent smiled at her. "That is between my son and myself." He commented. Then he gathered his family in his arms and held them. They spent the remainder of the night gazing at their son and dreaming of their future with their beautiful new child.

 

               

 

Epilogue:

A few weeks after the baby's birth everyone gathered in the main hall for his naming ceremony. Catherine stood beside Vincent as she held their son. She looked down at the child and smiled lovingly. Then she looked up into the blue eyes of her beloved husband. He smiled at her and kissed her hand that he held. Father smiled then began to speak. "We welcome the child with love so that he may learn to give love. We welcome the child with gifts so that he may learn the gift of generosity. And finally we welcome the child with a name." Then he turned to Catherine and Vincent. "I believe that Vincent and Catherine have chosen that name." He stated. Catherine smiled up at Vincent who nodded. Then looking out over all their friends and family she spoke up happily. "Vincent and I have chosen to name our son Jacob." She announced. Father smiled at Mary when he heard this. He was very touched by this gesture.

 

When Father had collected his thoughts he spoke once again. "Well in honor of this wonderful occasion William has prepared a feast." He stated. Everyone smiled and approached the proud parents. They accepted the congratulations and the gifts for their son. Then Father and Mary approached them. "I am truly honored that you chose to name him Jacob." Father told them. Catherine and Vincent smiled brightly. "We could not have chosen a better name for our son." Catherine told him as she kissed his cheek. Father blushed then smiled. "Well shall we all go to the great hall?" He asked. Mary smiled and took his arm. Vincent put his arm around Catherine's waist and they all left the chamber.