from a kiss to a vow

by Tunnel Belle and Tunnel Muse

a two-author Round Robin

(rated R)

(by Tunnel Belle)

Catherine knew exactly where she was running to. With the death of her father, there was only one place she wanted to be. She knew that being in Vincent’s arms was where she belonged. He was waiting for her there by the tunnel entrance, before she even arrived there.

Their Bond was getting stronger by the day. They were one! She needed to make sure that he knew that.

She ended up spending two or three days down Below in his world. There were many tearful moments thinking about her father and where her life was headed.

Could she ask Vincent to stay down Below in his world, or was she destined to go back to her world, Up Top? As they met at the waterfall one evening, she had asked Vincent what she should do. He had told her she was a “woman of both worlds”, but her heart was breaking because she didn’t want to be anywhere but by his side. How could she not want to be with her one true Beloved? She knew she was deeply in love with Vincent. It was physically painful to be away from him. Literally!!

Vincent reassured her that he would always be with her, protect her, but they must take their journey with care. Catherine understood what he was saying, but her heart ached for him mentally and most of all physically!

Only time would tell for both of them…only time.

After they had sat at the waterfall for quite some time in silence, Vincent walked her back to her chamber. He gave her one of his warm, inviting hugs that she loved so much. Then he left her there in her chamber to ponder on all they had discussed by the waterfall that evening, and it looked like it was going to be another sleepless night for her. Finally, exhaustion took over and she fell asleep.

The next morning, she heard Vincent calling her name softly. He was standing at the entrance of her chamber. “It’s time,” he said.

She knew what he meant without even asking. Catherine got dressed as Vincent waited in the hall. She gathered her things, and with a sigh looked around the chamber. With a heavy heart, she walked into the hallway and took Vincent’s arm.

“I’ll lead you back,” was all he said.

* * *

They walked in silence until they came to Catherine’s entryway at the bottom of her apartment building. She looked at Vincent, and in her mind, she was screaming, Please pick me up and carry me back to your chamber, to the place I want to be!

Was Vincent thinking the same thing also as he tilted his head and gave her a little grin? Catherine hugged him and then turned away.

But No! she thought. I’m not leaving without showing him how much I love him! So, in mid-step, she turned and looked at Vincent. She took a few steps back to where he was standing and looked him straight in the eyes. Then, ever so slowly, she stood on her tippy toes and gave him a very soft kiss. “Until Friday. I love you, Vincent,” was all she said, then turned to go.

Vincent, after getting over his amazement of her, quickly said back to her, “I’ll see you soon.”

* * *

I should have said more, he thought, but didn’t want to spoil the moment.

She started to ascend the ladder, and she had just put her foot on the first rung. As Vincent was about to walk back to his chamber, he suddenly turned quickly towards Catherine and called out, “Don’t go!”

Catherine froze mid-step, turned toward Vincent, and asked, “What is it, Vincent? What do you need?”

“Don’t go, Catherine. We need to talk,” he said.

She stepped down to turn towards him. Smiling, she asked, “What would you like to talk about?” Keeping her excitement under control, she sensed a change in him and in their Bond.

Taking each other’s hand, they slowly walked back to his chamber. Catherine was tired, but her excitement revived her tiredness.

The dinky couch could wait.

* * *

(by Tunnel Muse)

Once in Vincent’s chamber, he became a bit nervous, pacing momentarily. Catherine decided to sit on the bed, waiting. She could feel his nervousness and his excitement, as well. She knew that when he paced, it was a way for him to collect his thoughts and focus.

“It’s all right, Vincent. You can tell me anything, you know that. You also know that we promised to never keep the truth from each other. Never!” she said softly, hoping that her calm voice could calm him. She, however, felt the same nervousness, as she wasn’t as calm as she appeared.

Turning, he took a deep, cleansing breath and exhaled heavily.

Seeing his slight hesitation, she reached to take his hand. “Please, Vincent, sit down.”

Smiling his rare smile, showing his canines, a smile she loved and rarely saw, he sat across from her in his high-backed chair.

Shaking his head slowly, he said, as calmly as he could, “I’m unsure how to start!” His nervousness was evident.

“Just speak from your heart, Vincent, like Father said to Lena. The heart speaks the truth, and I know yours,” she encouraged.

“Very well.” He breathed in, choosing his words carefully. “I love you more than my life, Catherine. You are my world and my heart.”

Catherine smiled softly, and patiently waited for him to continue.

“The truth is that I want you with me, Catherine. Always. But I’m afraid… afraid of hurting you. If I let go of myself, if I lose control of the darkness in me and hurt you, it would kill me.” He turned to hide the tears threatening to fall as she caressed his cheek gently, wiping the one stray tear on his leonine face.

“I said a long time ago, you couldn’t or wouldn’t hurt me. I love you very much, always and forever,” she said adamantly and with as much conviction as she could muster to make him understand. “I want to spend the rest of my life with you. YOU, Vincent! No one else!”

He caressed her cheek and kissed her lips tenderly, sending shivers down her spine. He had never been so bold as to kiss her so intimately before. Moving away slowly, he looked at her to see if there was any revulsion or fear in her eyes. Finding none through their Bond, he kissed her again, enjoying the feel of her lips on his.

Catherine felt joy and exhilaration run through her. It felt like a dream she didn’t want to wake from. Before he had the chance to pull away, she returned the kiss, not wanting it to end. Their Bond shimmered and radiated like lightning from a summer storm.

* * *

When they gathered their bearings again, their eyes shone with so much love, and more. Vincent spoke first.

“I…I wish for you to stay, Catherine. When do you have to go back?” He was suddenly afraid of her answer. He waited for her to respond.

Catherine’s head finally clearing, she said, “I…I, um, I have to be back on Monday. I can come back on Friday night, okay?”

“That’s fine. It’s still Saturday. Love, will you stay with me? I’ll take you home in time for your work.”

Giving him a hug, she replied, “I would love to stay until Monday morning. I can leave early to make it in time for work. Maybe if Mary doesn’t mind making up the guest chamber again…”

Vincent stopped her mid-sentence before she could finish. “No, that won’t be necessary. I wish for you to stay here in my chamber, please. Would you?”

She had always stayed in the guest chamber when Below. She would spend the day with him into the evening, but slept in the guest chamber, alone, wishing he would stay with her.  Remembering how her heart had screamed for him to carry her to his chamber, she couldn’t hold her excitement in check. Hugging him tightly, she said, “Yes, I would love to stay here with you!”

* * *

The rest of the weekend went quickly – too quickly, although joyfully. Vincent took her to the threshold leading to her basement apartment again, as he had promised. They hugged tightly, not wanting to let go of each other… not yet. After a long moment, they kissed tenderly. Again, like before, she turned and said, “Until Friday, my Love.”

“Until Friday, my beautiful Catherine.” And he watched her go.

* * *

The week moved as it always did…and, as usual, much too slowly for Catherine’s liking. Her desk was full of files to finish and court dates to go to. No rest for the wicked, or the overworked, she thought. The only thing that made it bearable was the coming Friday and her beloved Vincent.

At the same time Below… Vincent felt the same as Catherine. Classes he usually enjoyed seemed to drag endlessly, as did the pipe repairs and the chambers that needed carving. He was becoming distracted with thoughts of Catherine and her life with him.

Cullen and Pascal were heckling him about daydreaming on the job, smirking at him. Even Father noticed that he was winning a few more chess games than usual. Not at all like Vincent, who rarely, if at all, lost a chess match, especially since Father lost to him with increasing frequency as it was.

It seemed that everyone was noticing a change in Vincent’s behavior. Some suspected they knew what…or should they say who…it was to blame for the change and distraction. They were happy for him and, surprisingly, so was Father.

In Catherine’s case, she was more focused and determined to get her work done and out of the way. She also seemed to be smiling more and walking around in a dreamy sort of way, with her eyes sparkling more. Joe was oblivious, of course, but Edie and Escobar noticed the difference right away. When questioned about it, however, she smiled brightly and said nothing.

Her friends looked at each other knowingly, then back to Catherine. “She’s in love.” They both said it simultaneously, smiling in turn.

* * *

Friday, glorious Friday. Walking into Joe’s office at six pm, she announced she was taking a week off and wouldn’t be available.

A surprised Joe Maxwell was about to object, then changed his mind, knowing she put in a lot of hours, and was glad she hadn’t asked for a month or quit. Therefore, he relented and said, “Enjoy your holiday.”

Once home, she showered and packed a bag with toiletries and other essentials. Excited to surprise Vincent, she sent her love through their Bond. I’m coming, my Love, she said to herself.

Vincent, himself nervous and excited, sent his love, and let her know he would be waiting at the threshold. He went to his wardrobe and pulled out her nightgown and placed it reverently and lovingly on the bed, as though it was fragile. He then grabbed a towel and went to the bathing chamber to prepare himself for her arrival.

He arrived at the threshold half an hour before she got there, pacing with nervous excitement. He could feel her excitement, as well, and her love for him.

After grabbing her bag and keys, she went down the back stairs to the basement leading to the threshold. Locking the door from the other side, she descended the ladder right into Vincent’s arms. She turned to embrace him, burying her face into his chest. The smell of cinnamon, cardamom and spice, uniquely him, was so comforting.

“Catherine,” he breathed into her hair. He could smell the scent of vanilla, the conditioner in her hair, and her mother’s favorite perfume. Everything that was Catherine and uniquely her. He held her as though he wanted her to melt into him. Pulling away reluctantly, he grabbed her bag and put his arm around her as they walked back to his chamber. Once there, he placed her bag on the table next to the bed.

“Have you eaten yet?” he asked, already knowing the answer, but waited for her reply.

“No… I haven’t had time. I wanted to get my work out of the way so I had nothing getting in the way of our time together.”

“Well, then, you are just in time for dinner,” he said, smiling at hearing her stomach rumble.

“Wonderful! I’m starving,” she said, giggling. “I would never turn down one of William’s amazing meals.”

Laughing happily, they left for the dining hall, arm in arm.

* * *

 The next morning, they awoke in each other’s arms, with Catherine wearing the beautiful nightgown he had saved for her.

“Catherine,” he said, catching her eye.

“Yes?”

“I have a place I go to when I need to be alone…to think. A place I go to when I’m afraid of my dark side and my fears. Where I can calm my spirit, so to speak. It’s special to me and quiet, away from the community hub.” Pausing only a moment, he continued, “I hoped you would agree to come with me, but it’s a day’s walk and it’s already Saturday.” He was concerned there wasn’t enough time, with her job on Monday.

“Oh, Love, I’d love to go with you. I’m not going to work on Monday. I took a week off to be with you and spend some quality time together. I’d hoped you wouldn’t mind. It was meant to be a surprise for you… for us,” she said shyly, looking into his sky blue eyes.

“Surprise indeed!” He pulled her into his arms and kissed the top of her head. “Let me get some things ready for us to go. We’ll need a few supplies. A couple of lanterns, as well as blankets. Please wait here, and I will be right back.”

Catherine and Vincent both dressed, then she sat on the bed and waited patiently for his return with all they would need. About half an hour later, he had a satchel with food rations and the lanterns; he took a couple of blankets from the bed. Wrapping everything into one blanket like a sack, he said she could take her small bag, as well, if she wished. It wasn’t heavy, so she took it and the two lanterns as well, while he took everything else.

“Let’s go,” he said, and they walked hand in hand on their journey.

“So, where are we going exactly, Vincent?”

“To the ‘Nameless River’. It’s quiet and peaceful there, and we won’t be disturbed. No one else goes there but me…no, us.”

* * *

(by Tunnel Belle)

It took Catherine and Vincent almost until early evening to reach the cavern where the Nameless River was. Vincent had visited this place many times, but it was extra special now that Catherine was with him. Meditating and aloneness were far from his mind tonight!

Vincent lit one of the lanterns before walking into the cavern that they had arrived at. There was a wide sandy area that ran along the river. The sand was almost like the sand on the beach that Catherine saw when she went to California. That had been her first time away from Vincent. That was when they learned that their Bond had no boundaries,

The water of the river was a crystalline blue. Absolutely beautiful, Catherine thought.

Vincent began unrolling one of the blankets he had carried with him onto a small plateau made of very smooth rock which hung over the river.  He also laid out a small handkerchief on which he placed some fruit, honey and some of William’s famous biscuits.

“Catherine, come sit next to me,” Vincent said. “You must be starving after that long walk.”

“I am,” she said as she came over and cuddled up to Vincent on the blanket. Everything smelled delicious to her.

“Vincent, this place looks so serene and beautiful, I can see why you like to come here,” Catherine said.

As Vincent was pouring her some apple juice from a small container, he mentioned, “Yes, it’s one of the top two places that I love! The other is the Chamber of the Falls back home. But you haven’t seen the best part, and that I’m saving for the morning, after we have rested tonight.”

“I cannot see how it could get better. I’m here in this beautiful place, which has jumped to my top two favorite places, by the way.”

“And what is your number one favorite place, Catherine?” Vincent asked so boldly.

She cuddled a little bit closer to him, and with a soft smile said, “My number one favorite place in this whole world is in your arms!”

Then Vincent leaned in and gave her a very tender kiss. OH…how he wanted to do more than just kiss, but he also felt that it wasn’t the best time, as they both were exhausted from the long walk.

Catherine gave out a long yawn right after the kiss, so Vincent said to her, “Let’s get a good night’s rest, darling, and in the morning, I will show you something amazing.”

Catherine agreed, and pulled the blanket a little over them.

They left one lantern burning, and with the soft glow of its light, the river looked like it was luminescent. Vincent and Catherine fell asleep right where they always wanted to be, in each other’s arms.

* * *

Catherine awoke early the next morning to the smell of apples and William’s biscuits next to her blanket. The only thing not near her was Vincent! Quiet as a mouse, he must have gotten out of the covers and gone somewhere. His ability to go into ‘stealth mode’ always amazed her!

She sat up on the blanket as she caught something, or someone, out of the corner of her eye. It was Vincent, standing in the water, waist-deep, washing up for the morning.

His firm chest and arms were muscular. It was hard to tell when he had a shirt on, just what a perfect body frame he had. Suddenly, he turned towards her and looked into her eyes. He smiled and started to walk out of the water. Could he be naked as he came toward her?

The water was running off of his light brown fur as he was leaving the edge of the river. He was almost to his waist in the water when she saw he was wearing a pair of pants. Catherine was almost disappointed he had clothes on.

Vincent got to where she was sitting. He smiled at her and said, “I hope you got some rest, Love, and ate a little. Any chance you have something in your bag to swim in?”

“Well, I have a pair of shorts and a tank-top I can wear,” Catherine said.

“Great! I’ll wait for you by the water while you change.” As Vincent headed towards the edge of the sand, he turned his back to her so as not to embarrass her while she was changing.

Catherine thought it was a bit early for a swim, but then again, she trusted Vincent, always. She proceeded to change into her shorts and tank top and put her hair into a ponytail. When she was ready, she walked towards the water near Vincent.

He reached out his hand for her, and they slowly walked to their knees into the water. “Catherine, this special place I want to take you to is actually underwater through a passage that leads to a wonderful cavern. We will be diving down in the river and going through an underwater tunnel, coming back up on the other side. You’ll have to hold your breath for a little while, but I know you’re strong and can do it. And if you run out of air, I’ll give you some of mine.”

Catherine trusted Vincent, so she took his hand.

“We’ll take a deep breath and dive. Are you ready, Catherine?” Vincent asked.

“Yes, let’s go,” she said.

They both took one big breath of air, and under the water they went. Vincent was still holding her hand and, in the process, almost pulling her through the water as they swam. They were heading down towards a rock formation and Catherine could see there was an arched opening. As they swam through, they were in a tunnel just a little larger than some of the tunnels back at the community hub.

Catherine could see a glow about ten feet ahead. As she began to swim faster, Vincent noticed the change in her pace, so he began pulling her along a little faster. Was she okay, or was she panicking? With one more tug from Vincent, they both popped up out of the water.

“Are you okay?” Vincent asked with a concerned voice. “I noticed your heart rate was going up.”

“I’m fine. I just was getting a little excited to get to the end of the passage,” Catherine said.

With that, Vincent jumped out of the water onto the ledge next to the passage hole. He then bent down and lifted Catherine out of the water and placed her next to him. They rose, and Vincent took Catherine’s hand and led her down a small path to a mossy area that looked like grass. He bent down and lit a couple of candles. Since he came to this spot as often as he could, he had left some supplies behind.

Noticing Catherine begin to shiver from her wet clothes, he proceeded to light a small fire. Then he handed her one of the two blankets he had left there. He had left them near the rocks that got their warmth from the steam that flowed between them. Vincent suggested that they remove their wet clothes and place them on the warm rocks to dry; they could wrap up in the blankets.

Catherine was already removing her clothes when Vincent walked over behind a large rock to remove his clothes.

* * *

The warmth of the blanket feels really nice, Catherine thought. Then, she began placing her clothes onto the rocks to dry. Vincent came back and proceeded to do the same.

Vincent said, “Please come and sit next to the fire, Catherine, and warm yourself.”

She came over and sat down on the moss next to Vincent, but she was very distracted by the fact that she could see his chest which was free of the blanket he was wrapped in.

“I have a couple of apples. Would you like one?” he asked.

“Sure!” She took the apple from him.

“Have you warmed up a bit from the fire?” he asked with a concerned look.

“Yes, I’m fine,” she replied.

“Well, then would you be up for a little walk in our blanket wraps?” Vincent asked with a chuckle.

“Always, with you,”’ she said.

So, Vincent took her hand and led her down a small dirt path next to the river and past the rocks where their clothes were drying. They both looked at each other and had a little laugh because of the way they had to waddle in their blankets down the path. Vincent then began wrapping his blanket just around his waist, exposing his upper torso.

What a sight to behold, Catherine thought.

He led her past the rocks to a small mossy meadow. As they began to sit down on the moss, she could see next to her a large formation of beautiful crystals of all different colors. They almost seemed to be glowing. This is a place you read about in a fairy tale, Catherine was thinking to herself.

What light there was in the cavern seemed to have completely faded away. Vincent took her hand as they sat, and he said to her, “Catherine, look to the sky!”

And as she turned her eyes upward, she could see the beautiful luminescent glow of thousands of fungi. They looked like stars in the sky! “Oh, Vincent! Could this place get any better?! It’s a dream sharing this with you!”

Vincent then turned to her and, placing his hands on her soft cheeks, said to Catherine, “This will forever be our place.” And with that said, he gave her a long kiss that made her shiver.

She then laid Vincent down on the moss and got on top of him, giving him a long, passionate kiss. She began to feel his manhood swell under the blanket he was wearing. They covered each other in long kisses. Catherine was thinking, Could this be the place for us to go all the way? But Vincent rolled Catherine off of him and laid her next to him.

“I truly love you, my Beloved, with all my mind, body, and all that I am. But, Catherine, there is one more thing we have to do before I make love to you. And I think you know what that is. As much as I would love to stay in this cavern forever, I think we should start heading back.”

“Okay, Vincent, I understand,” Catherine said.

As they pulled themselves up off the mossy ground, Catherine took one more look at the beautiful glowing sky in the cavern, their “forever place”.

They took hands and began walking back towards the water passage. When they arrived at the hot rocks where their clothes were drying, they both dressed quickly with their backs to each other. Vincent then took Catherine’s hand, kissed her on the forehead, and said, “Are you ready, my Love?”

“Yes, Love. Lead on,” she said.

They stood at the edge of the tunnel to the underground passage and dove in. The swim back seemed shorter than when they were coming through the first time. Just a few minutes later, they were popping up on the other side and swimming to the sandy beach where they first started. The water seemed to be moving slowly and was easier to swim in.

* * *

As they sat on the edge of the sandy area, Vincent touched Catherine’s face with one of his hands. “We have one more thing to talk about, my Love, but it will have to be discussed when we’re back in my chamber, okay?”

“Okay, Vincent,” Catherine said with a smile. “But promise me, we will come back here often.”

Vincent looked at her with those penetrating blue eyes of his. “Yes…always, my Beloved. Always…”

* * *

(by Tunnel Muse)

“I have one more surprise to show you. It’s just behind the wall where the beach trail ends.”

Vincent took her hand, and they walked behind the wall. Hidden from the view of human eyes lay a small pool with mist emanating from it. The air was slightly humid and warm.

“Oh, Vincent, how wonderful! How is this possible?! Where is the heat coming from?!” Catherine asked in amazement.

“Do you remember the rocks where we laid our wet clothes?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Well, the underground hot spring pops up here into the small pool. It keeps this pool quite warm. Go ahead, get in.”

He slowly helped her into the pool, and he walked in behind her. “It’s shallow enough to walk in, but deep enough to sit and relax.”

Sitting in the pool, Catherine leaned back, allowing herself to relax her body in the luxurious warmth.

Vincent smiled as he watched her, her eyes closed. He sensed her joy and contentment through their Bond. He relished it as he, too, began to relax in the hot spring’s warmth.

“Oh, my gosh, Vincent! You are full of surprises, aren’t you! This is heavenly!” she exclaimed. “I haven’t felt so relaxed in a long time.”

“I am very pleased, my beautiful Catherine.”

After about twenty minutes or so, they got out, or risked falling asleep in the pool. It would be after dinner time before they got home, but both of their stomachs started to rumble now. They laughed happily when he suggested they should eat something.

After the meal, Vincent replied, ” It’s late in the day. If you don’t mind, Catherine, we could sleep a few hours and make it back by really early morning.”

“That will be fine, Love,” she responded, kissing his cheek softly.

After starting and then stoking a fire, they laid on the blanket side by side. Vincent cradled her in his strong arms as they slept peacefully. About two hours or so later, Vincent awoke first. He started to pack up their supplies and lit the lantern.

Catherine stirred slightly and, noticing his absence, she sat up. “Vincent?” she called out sleepily.

“I’m here.” He moved toward her, helping her up with a hug.

“Is it time to go?”

“Yes, it is. I’m just getting our things together.”

“Let me get my jacket on and grab my bag, all right?”

Vincent grabbed the blanket sack, and she took the lantern and satchel.

“What time do you think it is now?”

“It’s almost midnight. We should be home by four or five in the morning.”

Grabbing each other’s free hand, they started back. The time passed quickly while they talked about their special cavern of glittering crystals and luminescent fungi and their private hot spring. It would be theirs alone.

* * *

When they arrived home, the Tunnel community was still asleep. Those who may have been up scarcely noticed their arrival and said nothing.

Once in Vincent’s chamber, they placed the bags on the table with the lantern. Vincent threw the blankets in the nearby laundry, then lit the candles, pulling back the darkness. Once done, he lit the brazier to warm the chamber; it had chilled since their absence. Knowing that the breakfast code had not yet sounded, he turned to Catherine.

“Are you tired, Catherine?”

“Surprisingly, no, I’m not. I feel strangely energized.”

He sensed her mood through their Bond and knew she was. He was, too, though not sure if they were feeding off the other’s energy. Possibly, it was the fact that he needed to talk to her about something, or there was something more.

Catherine sensed something in his mood, as well, so she decided to ask. Before the words came out, he scooped her up and hugged her tightly. The suddenness caused her to squeal with surprise and delight. “Vincent!” her breath catching in her lungs.

Grinning, he set her down gently. “I’m sorry, Catherine. I couldn’t resist.”

“So I noticed,” she chuckled.

“In the cavern, I said that I needed to talk to you about something, that it had to be here in my chamber. I want very much to make love to you, but we need to talk first.”

“Yes, you did say that. Well, we are here now, so what did you want to talk about?”

“Us…you and I, and our relationship.”

“You can talk to me about anything. I’m listening, Vincent.”

“Okay,” he breathed out heavily. “Catherine, I love you to the point of distraction. You are my heart, my soul, my very breath. I need to ask you something very important.”

“Ask,” she replied.

“It’s two questions, actually, and I need an honest answer to both.”

“Of course!” She looked quizzical.

His arms around her waist, and staring into her green eyes, he began, “My first question – do you love me, Catherine?”

Stunned by the question, she answered, “Yes! Of course I do. I will love you forever and always. You are my life; there is nothing without you. How could you ask me what you already know?!”

Her confusion grew. She wanted him so desperately and couldn’t understand what was happening. She also knew that in the cavern his body responded to her, as well, when his manhood swelled under her. The question seemed so strange and absurd now.

Vincent sensed her confusion, but asked her again, to which she replied “Yes” again.

“I want to make love to you, Vincent, and only you! I love you so much!”

“I want to make love to you, as well, very much. You need to know that, too, but…”

The realization suddenly hit Catherine. She knew he loved her, cared for her very deeply, and would until he died. But he could not, or would not separate his heart from his body. He could love her only one way…completely – heart, soul, mind, and body. To him, there was no other way; he must love her with everything that he was or could be.

“Oh, Vincent, yes! I understand now! Yes…Yes…Yes, I do! I most definitely love you. Completely, all of me, forever!”

He now knew she spoke from her heart and truthfully. His arms still tightly wrapped around her waist, he kissed her passionately.

“Now my final question, Love. Will you marry me, Catherine, and consent to be my wife, my mate, my forever?”

Tears streaming down her cheeks, she replied, “Yes! Oh, yes, Love. I will happily become your wife, your mate, and your forever!”

* * *

The breakfast code tapped on the pipes. They both laughed when their stomachs rumbled.

“That sounds familiar.” Vincent smiled at her warmly.

Neither wanted to go for breakfast, just stay where they were.

“I wish to tell my friends and family the wonderful news. We can come back later, if we choose.”

Most of the community were there, including Father and Mary. The news of their impending marriage was met with rousing applause. It was agreed that the date would be in a month’s time, giving them time to settle affairs Above for Catherine. She would resign her post at the DA’s office, while Vincent arranged things for them Below.

* * *

The Joining Day arrived, and it was a simple yet beautiful affair. Vincent had a gorgeous ring made with one of the crystals he brought from the Crystal Chamber – a green emerald to match her own green eyes and two simple gold bands.

Father, with joy, happily officiated the ceremony, tears in his eyes. After the ceremony, Father wiped his eyes. Smiling, he said, “There is a beautiful ‘Apache Wedding Blessing’ I know of from my wife, Rose. I wish to bestow it on you both, my wedding gift to you.”

Father loved his son dearly and Catherine, his chosen mate. He began reciting the poem, knowing Rose wouldn’t mind.

“Now you will feel no rain
for each of you will be
shelter for the other…

Now you will feel no cold
for each of you will be
warmth to the other…

Now there will be no more
loneliness, for each of you will be
companion for the other…

Now you are two persons
but there is only one
life before you…

Go now to your dwelling
to enter into the days
of your lives together…

And may your days be good
and long upon the earth…” *

There was silence in the chamber from all the guests; you could hear a pin drop. Vincent and Catherine had tears of joy, as well, both wiping them away. After they composed themselves, Father said, “You may now kiss the bride.”

The chamber erupted in cheers and applause. They hugged the happy couple and then they gave Father a huge hug and kiss.

Thank you, Father. That was so beautiful. What a lovely gift.” Catherine kissed his cheek.

“Thank you, Father.” Vincent took his turn hugging his father warmly. “Rose would have loved that very much.”

“I believe that, too,” Father replied in a low voice, remembering.

* * *

After the wedding feast, Vincent and Catherine left, returning to Vincent’s chamber, now theirs. Once there, he asked her to change into something a little warmer.

Giving him a questioning look, he only smiled his enigmatic smile. “We aren’t staying” was all he would say.

He kissed her with such passion, she felt it from her spine to her toes.

Taking her hand, they started on their trek.

“I didn’t bring my bag!”

“You won’t need it, my Love.  I’ve taken care of everything. We have all we need…trust me.”

They traveled several hours, stopping only for water, then they continued on. It was now quite late, but neither of them were the least bit tired. The exhilaration of the last few hours sustained them…for now.

“Vincent!!”

“Surprise, my Love. We will be here for a while. I’d hoped you wouldn’t mind some peace and quiet and some very much needed privacy.” His eyes danced mischievously.

“How did you do all this? When did you do all this?”

“I had a month, Catherine, plenty of time.”

There were lanterns in several locations, lowly lit. There were also candles, carefully placed, and a couple of blankets with pillows lying on the sandy beach area.

“Looks like you took care of everything, Love. What about my…?” She waved her hand over her clothing, with no bag for a change of clothing.

He placed his clawed finger on her luscious lips. “All taken care of.”

Kissing her passionately again, he held her tightly to him. She returned the kiss with just as much passion, holding nothing back, with a promise of more to come. Pulling back only briefly to catch their breath, their bodies still held in a tight embrace, he spoke softly and huskily.

“Now, my beautiful wife, to more pressing matters.” His manhood now pressed painfully against her.

“Yes, my husband. I like the sound of that.” She grabbed his manhood gently, caressing it lovingly. A low growl emanated from his throat, raising her need and desire for him. “Anything you desire,” she said, her own voice huskier now.

He scooped her up and walked the short distance to the blankets, placing her lovingly on them. He removed his cloak, boots, and socks, and sat down beside her. She caressed his cheeks and kissed him tenderly on his unique lips. She loved the feel of his lips on hers and deepened the kiss. Vincent opened his mouth slightly, as though he needed to get air in his lungs. This gave her the opportunity to explore his beautiful mouth and tongue.

Suddenly, feeling too warm, she removed her sweater, leaving her bare. She had decided to forego the bra, lessening the barriers between them. He, too, decided to remove his shirt and tunic, becoming bare from the waist up. He proceeded to kiss her lips, nuzzle her neck and ear near her remaining scar. He came to her throat, kissing her shoulder, then the other one. He took his time, wanting to imprint every part of her to memory.

Her scent rising up and her arousal increasing excited him. He went back to her lips as he was emboldened and caressed her breasts, first one, then the other. She was soft everywhere his hands went. The nipples on her round, pink breasts were taut and hard as the crystals in their special cavern. Moving his hand down to her waist, his clawed hand touched her jeans. He became annoyed by them and wanted to tear them off her.

She sensed his frustration and sat up but only to remove the last of her clothing. She then laid back on the blanket, smiling at him.

He returned the smile as he caressed her stomach, thighs, and legs, feeling the different textures of her skin and the differing temperatures. He was in awe of her beauty and wanted to touch and taste her everywhere. Closing his eyes and connecting to their Bond, he wanted to feel what she felt and wanted. He returned to her breasts, enjoying their softness.

She held him tightly to her, running her fingers through his golden mane, trying to keep him there for as long as she could. Feeling his manhood pressing hard against her thigh, she wished that he was naked, too.

Reluctantly, she released him with a kiss on his forehead. “Take your pants off, my Love. Let me love you, too.”

Lost in the moment, it took him a few seconds to understand her request. Getting his bearings, Vincent proceeded to remove his pants, slowly closing his side of the Bond between them temporarily. He was now completely naked and exposed to Catherine for the first time. Awaiting her response, positive or no, he felt only love and appreciation when she saw him so vulnerable. He opened up his side of the Bond fully.

“Oh, Vincent! You are so beautiful!” she said as she reached for him.

He relaxed minutely and returned to her warm embrace. She pushed him gently down on the blanket, straddling him. His bare skin on hers was intoxicating. She let her fingers trace his face, his eyelids, his nose, cheekbones, and lips. She then stroked his shoulders, raking her fingers down his arms. She loved those shoulders and arms that kept her safe and warm. Moving across his chest, she kissed him there, searching for his nipples. Finding them under the soft hairs that hid them, she sucked them until they were hard. Smiling to herself, she now knew why men were so obsessed with women’s breasts. She kissed his torso downward to his stomach and loved his scent.

* * *

He felt fire everywhere her hands and lips went. She laid her body across him, every part of her touching him. She could feel his organ straining beneath her. Kissing him fully on his lips, she moved down on him, remaining straddled across his waist, just above his groin.

Her core readied itself for him as she gently rubbed against him. Vincent’s head was back, and he was lost in the moment, just feeling, letting her have her way for the time being. No longer able to restrain her desire and need, she slowly took him in, acclimating herself to his substantial girth, and the fact that she hadn’t had sex in over two years. It went well, considering, and she took in all of him. Once joined, she and Vincent gasped in unison at the connection and paused momentarily.

Grabbing her shoulders firmly, he flipped her with ease onto her back. This time he was on top, yet he didn’t lose her. Looking down on her face, he kissed her passionately. He caressed her breasts with his mouth and tongue, then down to her stomach. His long, golden hair ran across her skin as he moved, inflaming her desire and need for him to a fever pitch.

“Vincent!” She cried out his name, her voice strained with need.

He needed no more encouragement, and lifting her slightly for better penetration, he pumped slowly at first, listening to her body and their Bond. He increased his thrusts only to almost pulling out, but not quite, always listening to the Bond and to Catherine, always aware. When he felt her buck under him in readiness, he pumped harder and faster until their climax washed over them. The cavern’s silence was shattered by her scream and his roar that only they and the angels could hear.

“OH…wow! That…was…amazing!” Catherine sighed into his hair. She kissed him softly on his lips and smiled widely.

He caressed her cheek and kissed her again. He started to move away from her, but she tightened her legs around him, pinning him to her body.

“Don’t, please!” she pleaded. “Not yet. I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long.”

“I’m too heavy for you, my Love.”

“You’re not too heavy, not for me.” She smiled up at him.

“All right, I’ll compromise.” He moved to his side, taking her with him, thereby relieving some of the weight. They were still joined together, her one leg lying flat, the other over his thigh. “Better?” he asked with a tired smile.

“Yes, thank you,” she responded with a huge yawn.

Pulling the extra blanket over them, they slept in a lover’s knot, contentedly, until dawn.

* * *

Early the next morning, Catherine awoke to Vincent bent over a fire, wrapped in a huge towel. Sensing her, he turned to look at her.

“Good morning, my beautiful wife. Sleep well?”

“I certainly did. You?”

“Absolutely! Best sleep I’ve had in a very long time.” He grinned. “Are you hungry?”

“No, not really.” She eyed him up and down slowly.

“Okay, how about a swim before breakfast then?”

“Sounds great. I could use a bit of freshening up.”

Walking over to her, he grabbed her hand, then tossed the towel he was wearing and walked into the water. “Follow me…you remember where?”

“I do indeed.” She nodded.

Diving in, they swam until they popped up on the other side. Picking her up, he placed her on the mossy ground where a fire pit was set up.

“You have been busy, haven’t you!”

Smiling, he said, “There’s no bacon, but there are biscuits; coffee and scrambled eggs will be ready in a few minutes.” He set the pot to boil.

She wrapped herself in one of the blankets and he in the other.

After breakfast, they went to the cavern to enjoy the crystal formations, as they had before. It was breathtaking. They stayed the entire day, enjoying each other and the peace and quiet they so rarely had before their wedding. Now they could, as they had all the time in the world and they could go whenever they wished.

They made love there, as they once again gazed upon the luminescent fungi that looked like stars and fireflies in the sky.

Again on the other side of the cavern, they took the opportunity to sit in the hot spring. Their ability to be naked and unashamed, like any other married couple, was wonderful, and they relished it together.

* * *

A while later, they napped, the swim and hot spring having made them feel sleepy, lying together on the blanket, the other one covering them as they slept. Hunger woke them, so he heated up some stew and unwrapped the last of the biscuits for dinner.

Handing her the bowl of stew, Vincent joined her as she sat on the blanket. “This is the last of our supplies, Love. We’ll have to go home tonight, if you don’t mind. I’m sure you wouldn’t mind sleeping on the larger bed tonight.”

“That would be lovely,” replied Catherine. “We didn’t get the chance to christen it on our wedding night.” She eyed him mischievously.

His smile widened, showing his canines.  “We can leave after our meal if you’d like. I’ll wrap everything up in the blanket. The rest can stay until we come back again.”

Her eyes danced at the future prospect of returning. She said, “I would love that very much.”

Their dinner done, and everything in order, they dressed and began their journey home.

When they were almost home, the sentries welcomed them with smiles and a “Welcome home.”

After a few moments, they heard a tap on the pipes, only one, a pause, then another. It made no sense at all. It wasn’t a code Vincent understood, which was strange, as he knew all the codes.

“What does it say?” Catherine asked, looking up at him.

He looked at her, puzzled, and just shook his head, as an “I don’t know” gesture.

They walked further on, and others smiled strangely at them, saying their hellos and walking on. As they passed a hallway leading to Father’s study, they saw Jamie and Mouse, which was not their usual way of travel there unless they needed something. They smiled strangely and waved hello, scampering off in a rush. Catherine and Vincent only looked back at them in confusion. Shaking their heads, they continued on to their chamber.

“What was that all about?” he said out loud to himself.

Raising her hand in the air, she could only say, “Everyone we’ve seen has been acting oddly tonight.”

“Well, we’re home now, so let’s get in, and we’ll have some herb tea and relax before bed.”

Arriving, they were stopped by an unusual sight. There in front of them was a huge barrier at the entrance of the chamber. The look of surprise at the beautiful drapery made them wonder where it had come from.

Pulling it back so they could enter, they were met with another stunning view. The brazier was lit, making the chamber warm and cozy. There were candles lit at every corner of the bed, giving it a halo effect. There were red and white roses in a glass vase, set on the octagonal table with one lavender candle, Catherine’s favorite scent.

On Vincent’s high-backed chair were four beautiful white and cream-coloured dresses with lace embroidery on the neck. There were two crocheted shawls and a pair of sheepskin boots, her size. The women of the sewing circle had lovingly made them as a wedding gift for her.

Catherine caressed them lovingly, in awe of how beautiful they were. Vincent felt her love and gratitude for these simple hand-made gifts. Wrapping his arms around Catherine’s waist, he turned and pointed to the bed and what was there. On top of the large bed lay a lacy crocheted quilt, large enough for an oversized king bed.

Embracing her tightly, he placed a kiss on her forehead. “Now we know what that strange code meant.”

She looked up at him. “It was a message to them that we were home. They didn’t want us to see them here when we arrived. It’s quite a surprise. I love all of it. We should thank them.”

“Tomorrow,” he said quietly. “Let’s have some tea and relax.”

Dropping everything on the floor by the laundry basket and ignoring it, they had their tea, wanting to enjoy the beauty of the candles and flowers. They also wanted to test out the bed with the new crocheted quilt.

Putting out most of the candles and letting the brazier burn low, they crawled into bed. Snuggling close, they got ready to sleep nude. With Vincent’s body heat, they relished the skin-on-skin contact. With her arm across his chest and his arm cradling her to him, they were almost asleep when she said sleepily, “Vincent?”

“Mmm…”

“This is much nicer than my dinky couch.”

They looked at each other and laughed heartily.

“Good night, my beautiful wife.”

“Good night, my beloved husband.”

They fell asleep, loving the sound of it.

* * *

 

*An excerpt of the “Apache Wedding Blessing.” Full version is available online.

3 Comments

  1. Beautiful story I loved it . Anything V@C and there love , warms my heart . Congratulations to the authors it’s something I wished I could do , but I can’t. I’m BATB obsessed from the first time I saw the pilot. Named our first Catherine even. Well done

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for the kind words!

      Reply
  2. You have put so much work into writing this story. It is so lovely, their journey to magical places and how in the end nothing stands in the way of their happiness. It’s such a light and enjoyable read and very romantic!

    Reply

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