by Nancy

Silence may comfort.

This silence wounded.

She turned away without looking at him.

He rose.  Stepped in front of her.

“Please.  Don’t.  Don’t leave like this.”

The wounding silence resumed, bothered by a tapping on the pipes summoning someone … for some reason. 

Catherine was not especially adept at decoding the longer messages at the best of times. 

Vincent chose to ignore it.

She almost wished he’d had to go.

When he took her hand she exhaled and raised her head to see his blue eyes dimmed with sadness.

“I can’t help loving you, Vincent. No matter … your … objections.”

“And I am so sorry for what I’ve allowed to … happen … between us.  I should have stopped it.  I just … never … could.  And now … to see you … in such pain …”

Those words … I’ve allowed I should have … I never could … They struck a hard place within her and Catherine knew a resolve she’d never before acknowledged. 

Straightening, almost rigid before him, she declared, “You … “   Stopped and started over. “We … we are wrong to believe this remains solely your decision.  Once it was, yes, but you chose to come to the balcony … with Great Expectations.” She wanted him to hear the emphasis laid on the words.  “Vincent, any privilege you’ve held since then was yours because I’d granted it.  Well, as of this moment my … consent … is repealed.  You no longer own the right to disapprove of what I want nor to forbid me the wanting.  Or the having.”

She drew back her hand and unzipped her jacket.  Free of it, she let it drop to the floor.  Her attention moved to her waistband where she worked to free her shirt.

He watched in shock … disbelief … or was it the fulfillment of the intoxicating dreams he’d secretly cherished for so long. 

She’d undone the buttons and was slipping her arms out of the sleeves.

He came alive.

“Catherine, you must not do this.”

Continuing as if he hadn’t spoken, she walked to his bed and perched on the edge of the mattress to remove her boots. 

“Catherine …” but he could say nothing more.

She was standing there, just beyond his reach, stepping out of her jeans and away from where they lay crumpled on the floor.

The vision in white silk and ribbon had robbed all thought.

“We will love one another here, now, unless you have … scruples.  In that case you may ask me to marry you and we will postpone our loving until after the ceremony.  That is the only decision left to you.  Make it, Vincent, while I continue to undress.”

He shook his head.  Seeing her like this … staggered him.

“Have you nothing to say? Then you’d better release the drape over the entrance.  Put a lantern in the passage first.”

He shook his head again, as if against his will he was being forced back into this alarming present.

“Catherine,” his voice was hoarse and he cleared it to begin over. “Catherine … would you really consider …?” 

He paused there as though not fully convinced that he wanted to stop what was about to happen … As he stared she was lifting the lacy camisole over her head.

Barely breathing he rushed the words, “I want us to …” Amended the request. “Will you… join with me?”

She stilled before him.  The camisole lay on the worn carpet.

“I will, Vincent.” Her voice was hushed in the … hopeful … silence.  “And will you be mine forever?”

He shrugged off his outer sweater and offered it to her.

With his rumpled pullover pressed at her breasts she waited for his vow.  

Able now to speak, he promised, “Yes, Catherine, yours beyond forever.  I love you more than everything.”

She let the shirt slip from her hands and took two slow steps into his arms to curl hers around his neck.

“Think you can wait until our wedding for the rest?”

He moaned.

She grinned and met his lips with hers.


for you, H
August 2023






1 Comment

  1. This is great, I always thought Catherine’s determination could push things forward. Perfect portrayal of emotion and I really, really like it!


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