by Tunnel Muse

A beautiful May afternoon.

Catherine came home after a full week’s work in her private practice. She was now running her own business after leaving the DA’s Office six months before: Catherine Wells … Family Law Office. The job was all she’d hoped for and much more. Helping those who needed it, helping people who wouldn’t get the services of other, more expensive attorneys in larger corporations.

It was Friday and she had decided to go home early.

Vincent and Catherine had been married about nine months now; their life was happy and full. Vincent had just finished his literature class for the afternoon when Catherine arrived home. Catherine was Below with Vincent because their brownstone wasn’t completed as yet.

“My Catherine, you’re home,” he said, giving her a hug.

“I’m glad to be home, Vincent, I missed you.” Catherine then hugged Vincent and kissed him passionately.

“You look beautiful, my beloved Catherine,” he said softly.

“Thank you, my Love, you flatter me. Right now I’m a bit tired and would like a warm bath.”

“Sounds wonderful, Catherine. Mind if I join you?” 

Catherine gave him a mischievous smile. “I won’t mind if you do.”

They both stripped off their clothes and one of them grabbed an extra towel to hang on the door entrance so they would not be disturbed. After they playfully dunked and splashed each other, they made love, then finished bathing. Suddenly, they heard the meal code on the pipes.

“Dinner!” replied Catherine, surprised. “Already! Is it that late?”

“Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess, Catherine,” Vincent responded with a smirk on his face.

“Cute, Vincent,” she retorted, and they both broke out in laughter. “Well, let’s get dried off and go eat.” They dried quickly and dressed for the evening meal.

Dinner consisted of beef stew, dinner rolls, and vanilla tarts with cream. There were jugs of beer to wash it all down with. Vincent noticed that Father was absent at dinner that evening, and strangely, Mary was absent as well. Maybe they were busy with other matters, Mary with the nursery, and Father with his many medical journals or mystery stories. No matter, it was probably nothing. 

Dinner over, he and Catherine returned to their chamber for the rest of the evening. They made themselves cups of herbal tea and decided to read one of their favorite books, a wonderful pastime before retiring to bed. Tonight, it would be Tennyson, Idylls of the King.


The next morning, Catherine and Vincent went to breakfast and, again, Father and Mary were absent.

Vincent asked Pascal if he had seen Father or Mary at all earlier that morning, to which he replied, “No.” Then Vincent asked Brooke and Rebecca, and they, too, said that they had not seen them. Vincent looked very puzzled and returned to Catherine.

“Father and Mary haven’t been here since lunchtime yesterday, Catherine, I’m going to find out what’s going on. It’s not like them to miss mealtime. I’ll see if he is ill. Could you go find Mary and see if she’s all right? She hasn’t been here either since yesterday.” 

Catherine put her hand on Vincent’s shoulder. “It’s going to be all right, Love. I’ll go check on Mary, you go check on Father. I’m sure everything is fine. Surely he would have told you if he was ill, don’t worry.” Vincent kissed Catherine on her lips softly and turned to leave for Father’s chambers. Catherine went to find Mary.

When Vincent arrived at Father’s chamber, he called out to him. “Father! Are you here?” No response. Then he called out again, looking in the study first. Father wasn’t there, so he went to Father’s bedchamber, which was much smaller, and quaint. It had a bed with quilts and pillows, and a nightstand with a Tiffany lamp used as a candle holder and a couple of books he was reading. There were a dozen or so candles, some tall and some shorter, in crevices around the room. A brazier was two feet from the entrance to keep his room warm at night, and there was a large chair by the bed, facing it.

“Father, are you here?” Still no response, which disturbed Vincent even more. Turning to leave, his keen night vision spotted Father out of the corner of his eye. Turning to look in that direction, he saw Father in his chair, unmoving. 

“I’m here, Vincent,” he replied, somewhat tiredly.

“Why didn’t you answer me when I called out?”

“I’m not sure…” he said hesitantly. 

“Are you ill, Father? We haven’t seen you since breakfast yesterday. We haven’t seen Mary since then either.”

Father looked up and stared at Vincent for a moment then looked away, as if uncertain what to say. “I’m not sure how to begin…” Father started apprehensively. “All I can say is, Mary is fine, and we have come to some decisions about her… stay here.”

Vincent’s eyes opened wide in astonishment, just staring at his father, trying to understand what he was saying. “What do you mean, ‘her stay here’? She’s been here since before I was born!”

“I know that, Vincent. She has been like a mother to you since you were an infant. You’ve loved her like a mother, the only mother you have ever known.”

“Are you telling me she’s leaving here… leaving the tunnels?!”

Father shook his head, becoming silent for a moment before speaking. “Not exactly…” Another pause.

“What do you mean…‘not exactly’? You just said her living arrangements are changing. What are you talking about then?” Vincent asked, clearly confused and frustrated. 


Meanwhile, Catherine was looking for Mary. Coming to Mary’s chambers, Catherine called out to her, “Mary! Mary? It’s Catherine, are you here?” Hearing nothing, she left. Maybe she’s in the nursery, thought Catherine. Mary usually could be found there or in the Hospital Chamber, helping with patients. Fortunately, she found Mary in the nursery. “Mary! You are in here!”

“Hello, Catherine, what can I do for you, my dear?”

“I was looking for you. We haven’t seen you since lunch yesterday. You weren’t at dinner last night or breakfast this morning. Neither was Father.”

Mary lowered her eyes shyly, not responding. 

“Vincent has gone to find Father and he asked me to search for you, to see if everything is all right.”

“Umm… Everything is fine, Catherine, don’t worry, dear. Really.”

Catherine sensed something was amiss, but couldn’t put her finger on it. She smiled softly at Mary. “You know you can talk to me, Mary. I’m a good listener, or so I’ve been told.”

Mary hesitated a moment as she tried to put her thoughts into words. Well, how do I start? she thought. At least the nursery was quiet. The children were happily napping. Mary made them both a cup of tea and they sat down in some chairs away from the children, so they could speak privately.

“Well, dear, the only thing I can say is… my living arrangements will be changing very soon.” Her eyes were shy. 

Catherine, like Vincent, looked shocked and confused by what she heard Mary say. “What do you mean, your living arrangements are changing? Changing how?”

Mary said nothing, only looked away for a moment, wondering if she’d said too much already. 

Confused, Catherine responded by asking, “Are you going away? Are you going Above?”

“No… I’m not going to move Above, Catherine.”

“Are you moving out of the tunnels, Mary?!” she asked again.

Mary looked at Catherine shyly again. “Not exactly…no,” she replied nervously.

“’Not exactly’!! What does that mean, ‘not exactly’?!” Catherine was mildly frustrated by Mary’s reply, trying desperately to understand the strange conversation they were having. But Mary didn’t elaborate.

She gave Mary a hug, thanked her for the tea, and decided to search for Vincent. Maybe he had found Father and gotten some answers.


Back in Father’s chamber, Vincent was trying to come to some kind of understanding about Father’s cryptic response to everything he’d asked, which wasn’t much, nor did Father make any sense thus far regarding his unexplained disappearance. 

“Tell me, Father, if you weren’t ill, why hasn’t anyone seen you for two days?”

Father’s expression changed from apprehension to nervous excitement.

Vincent could feel his father’s changing emotions, but not the cause for it.

Father tried to keep his composure while trying to explain himself as best he could. “Vincent, do you remember when I told you how I came down to the tunnels after I lost everything?” he began.

“I remember, Father.”

“Well… then I lost Grace when Devin was born. I told you I was lost, and confused, hurt and angry.” Father paused, collecting his thoughts. “For a brief time, Jessica came back into my life, but she couldn’t live in the tunnels again, and I wouldn’t and couldn’t live Above. It’s been too many years, and there’ve been too many changes up there.”

“What are you trying to say, Father? What has that got to do with Mary’s living arrangements and your many years here Below?”

Shaking his head slowly, Father smiled at Vincent and seemed to relax a little. “You are my brilliant and amazing son and I love you. Your future with Catherine is now set… What I’m trying to say, son, is that it’s been a long time for me, and a lonely one. I wanted you to be the first to know… I’ve asked Mary to marry me, and she has said yes.”

Vincent stared at Father in mild shock, then hugged him fiercely. 

“Congratulations, Father! No one deserves it more than you and Mary, both!”

“She is a good woman who loves me, and I realized that I love her, too. I’ve been a fool all these years, not seeing it sooner. I have realized of late that, even for me, Spring Love can come in Winter’s Snow. Even if there is a little snow on the roof, the hearth of the heart’s fire can still burn bright.”

Vincent smiled warmly at Father and kissed his bearded cheek. “Have you and Mary set a date for your Joining Ceremony?”

“Yes, we have.”

Father looked at Vincent sheepishly, and Vincent replied, “What are you thinking, Father?”

“We want the ceremony at the end of… May?”

“End of May? That’s not enough time to prepare. It will be all hands working on this to make it in time.”

Father laughed heartily and replied, “I’m starving. Let’s get Catherine and go to supper. Mary said she would be there.”’ He patted Vincent’s back.

They left Father’s chamber and, as they were heading for the dining chamber, Catherine met them on the way. Vincent’s smile reassured Catherine that all was well, and Father told her he was doing well and that he, Father, would explain all at dinner tonight. Could they please sit with him and Mary and all would become clear.


As soon as the community of tunnel dwellers sat to eat their meal, Father got everyone’s attention. Silenced and directing their gaze to the beloved patriarch of the tunnels, Father proceeded with his explanation. 

“Thank you for your patience, everyone, the meal will resume momentarily. I have an announcement. Actually, Mary and I have an announcement to make. I’ve asked Mary to become my wife, and she has graciously accepted my proposal.”

Everyone in the dining chamber applauded and shouted for joy. “Hooray!! Congratulations to you, Father, and congratulations, Mary!” they all yelled over the clapping.

Father signaled to get their attention again.

“Silence, please.” Vincent’s voice raised a little over the din.

Father nodded his thanks and continued. “The Joining Ceremony will be at the end of May.”

The room was a dead silent; you could hear a pin drop. 

“Three weeks?!!” William bellowed in his usual voice, then he softened his voice and said, “’If we have only three weeks to do this, then I’m going to need help with the food preparations, as many people as possible. I have to see what you want me to make. Is there anything special you two would like made for your Joining Day?”

Father looked toward Mary and asked, “’What would you like, Mary?”

She smiled and said, “’I would love stuffed chicken breast with mushroom sauce, and asparagus spears in wine sauce. What would you like, Father?”

Father took her hand in his and shook his head. Smiling, he said, “Firstly, Mary, call me Jacob…please! You are going to be my wife soon, please, honey.”

Mary looked shyly at Father and everyone in the hall. “All right, Jacob. Please excuse me if I slip occasionally though, it’s all so new.”

They all laughed softly, and then Rebecca and Brooke piped in to say they would help with the food preparations, as did Sara and Olivia. William was relieved for the help. 

“Now where are we holding it?”’ he asked. ‘Here, or in the Great Hall?”

“What do you think, Fath… I mean, Jacob? would you prefer it here in the dining hall or the Great Hall?”

“How about here, it’s closer for everyone, and not too windy.” Father laughed.

Mary nodded her agreement to the idea, and Father turned to William. “Here is perfect, William, thank you.”

That settled, there was much to decide. The dinner problem was solved and the location; the next thing was flowers, dress, and suit.

Catherine came over to Mary and hugged her warmly. “I will help you anyway I can, Mary, just let me know what you need. William, if you need any special ingredients for the menu, I’ll get them for you, just give me a list, all right?”

“I’ll let you know, Catherine. I need to check my shelves to see what I have.”

“Okay, then, I will wait to hear from you,” said Catherine.

Vincent turned to Father, hugging him warmly, as well as Mary. “Would you like me to contact Devin? I thought you might like him here. I believe he and Charles are in Denver, Colorado. I’ll ask Peter for the contact number.”

“That’s a great idea, son, I would love for him to come.”

“Wonderful, Father, I’ll see to it.”

Then Catherine and Vincent left to return to their chamber for the rest of the evening.

“Well, Vincent, that was a big surprise, wasn’t it? When I found Mary in the nursery, I felt she was being shy and secretive. She said nothing about the proposal from Father.”

“I know, Catherine. When I spoke with Father, he seemed cryptic and evasive, almost nervous.”

“Maybe he was worried you’d be upset with his plans for his nuptials with Mary. He’s been alone for so long, and when Jessica…well, maybe he thought it too soon after Jessica left for Africa.”

“Possibly, but I’m nothing but happy for them both. I told him so when I said, ‘No one deserves it more.’”’

“Well, that aside, now we have so much to do and little time to do it. I’ll contact Peter so he can give me Devin’s number to let him know about Father and Mary. How do you think he’ll react to the news?”

“I’m not certain, but I believe he’ll be pleased,” Vincent replied. “Now, since we are in for the rest of the night, why don’t we do something…um…fun.”

“I thought you’d never ask.” Catherine giggled.

After a very pleasant lovemaking session, they got ready for bed. “I love you, Vincent.”

“I love you, too, my Catherine.”


In the morning, they both freshened up and dressed for breakfast. They walked hand in hand to the dining hall, and found a couple of chairs next to Pascal and Lena. They were feeding little Katherine her breakfast.

Mary and Father were sitting a row over from them, smiling and conversing quietly, not paying attention to others around them. Everyone who watched was happy for them.

After breakfast, Catherine went to her office to get hold of Peter, who was in his office waiting for his next patient.

“Good morning, Cathy, how are you doing, sweetheart?”

“I’m wonderful, Peter. How are you doing?”

“I’m never too busy for you, Cathy. What can I do for you?”

“I guess you heard the news about Father and Mary.”

“Yes, I have. It’s wonderful to hear he’s finally tying the knot.”

“Yes, it is, Peter. I need Devin’s pager number to let him know. Father would love him to come to the wedding. You are coming, aren’t you?!”

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world, Jacob is my best friend. We go back almost 40 years; we’ve been through a lot together.” Peter gave Catherine Devin’s pager number and said his next patient was coming in. “It was nice to hear from you, Cathy.”

“Thank you, Peter. See you at the wedding.” After hanging up, Catherine dialed again, getting Devin’s answering service and leaving a message to call her back. Catherine wanted to give this information to Devin directly, it was too important to leave with the answering service. That done, she left for home.

On the way, she remembered the flowers. Detouring slightly, she went to see what there was to offer. There are so many to choose from, I’ll have to speak to Mary about what kind of flowers she and Father might like on the tables and for her hair. 


Catherine arrived in plenty of time for lunch. She and Vincent went to the dining hall. Father and Mary had eaten already when they got there.

“They have gone already, Vincent. I’ll talk to them later in the study.”

“’Let’s eat first and I’ll go with you. I want to speak to Father about the rings. If he wishes, I can get Mouse to make them. He has some gold chain left over.”

“That would be lovely, Vincent. By the way, I left a message for Devin to call me back; he was unavailable.”

Catherine and Vincent found Jacob and Mary in Father’s study, sitting and having tea and talking about their wedding plans. Father turned toward them as they came in, as did Mary. “Good afternoon, Vincent, Catherine.”

“Good afternoon,” said Mary with a warm smile.

“Is there anything we can help you with?” asked Father.

“Actually, yes. We are wondering what kind of flowers you wanted for the hall and for yourself, Mary…and a boutonniere for you, Father?” asked Catherine.

Father only said, “I have no preference really. What kind of flowers would you like, Mary?”

Mary thought for a moment, then replied, “I have always been partial to daisies –  yellow ones, they remind me of the sunshine. I also love forget-me-nots, like the color of the ocean.”

“That’s wonderful, Mary! Anything else?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“What will you be wearing on your special day?”

“To be honest, Catherine, I haven’t quite decided on that yet. Maybe a simple dress with long sleeves.”

Father looked momentarily puzzled, then responded, “Maybe my brown suit. However, I also have a grey suit, as well.”

There was an uneasy pause, then Vincent mentioned the rings. “Father, you gave Catherine and me wedding bands from Margaret. Would you like me to speak to Mouse? He could make you two beautiful bands.”

“Vincent, that would be wonderful! However, do you think he’ll have them ready in three weeks?”

“That would be more than enough time, Father.”

“Vincent, could you do me and Mary a favor?”

“Of course, Father, anything.”

“As you know, I usually officiate at these weddings in our Tunnel Community, but I can’t marry myself…” Father started to chuckle. “Would you be so kind as to officiate the ceremony for us?”

“’I would be honored, Father.”

“Catherine,” Mary chimed in suddenly, “I’d love for you to stand beside me during the wedding vows.”

“It would be my absolute pleasure, Mary!” Catherine said excitedly.

After breakfast, Catherine kissed Vincent goodbye and went to work. Just before noon, Catherine spoke to the florist about the flowers: yellow daisies and forget-me-nots. She had to remember how many tables there were in the hall.  For forty tables, I believe.

She was in luck, the florist said she would have all the daisies she needed, and the forget-me-nots.

“Excellent,” replied Catherine. “I’ll need forty centerpieces, one for each table.”

The florist said, “I’ll have them for you in fourteen to twenty days.”

Catherine had a look of concern, as it was already the 12th of May, but she was promised they would be on time. She also ordered three boutonnieres, and flower arrangements for Mary’s hair and, of course, one for herself. Describing how they were to look, she said, “Yellow daisies with forget-me nots, sporadically wrapped in baby’s breath. They would look amazing.”


Catherine returned home to let Vincent know, but not before checking her phone messages at the office, just a block away from where she was. It was a good call, because Devin had called back.

Again, she called him, and this time he answered. 

“Hello, Devin, it’s Catherine.”

“Hi, Cathy, how are you? Is everything all right?”

“Oh! Everything is just fine, Devin. Vincent and I wondered if you and Charles are able to come home by the 31st?”

“’Two and a half weeks from now?” Devin asked.


Devin paused to think a moment. “Sure, we can make it for the 31st. Why? What’s happening on the 31st?”

Catherine smiled to herself. “Father’s getting married, and he would love for you both to be there.”

“The old man is …what?!!”

“Getting married,” Catherine replied calmly.

“To whom?!” he asked, surprised.

“Mary.” Catherine started to giggle.

After a pause, Devin responded, “Well, damn! I didn’t know the old man had it in him. Charles and I will most definitely be there.”

“Father and Mary will be very happy to hear that; so will Vincent. He really misses you.”

“0See you soon, Cathy, and tell fuzzy britches Charles and I said hi.”

“Will do, Devin. Bye for now.” Catherine hung up the phone and went home to the Tunnels.


The big day arrived, and the Tunnel Community was bustling with activity. The food was prepared as requested: stuffed chicken breast with mushroom sauce and asparagus spears in wine sauce. The dessert… and there always had to be dessert, was a rectangle-shaped cake with four tiers, loaded with lemon curd and whipped cream. There was wine, beer, coffee, and tea. For the children, raspberry lemonade.

The tables had a bouquet of daisies, forget-me- nots, and baby’s breath. Some of the women helped Catherine put them in place. There were streamers placed at the entrances of the dining hall, and the children put these around the room, as well. The hall looked beautiful.

Vincent was helping Father get ready. As Father had said, he had worn the brown suit and tie with the leather shoes that he kept in his wardrobe. He’d only worn it once or twice since coming Below. Today would be his last time wearing it… his wedding day.

He’d bathed and dressed, and was now pacing the floor in nervous excitement, thinking of the past and how strange life can be sometimes. He thought of Margaret and what she would think about all of this.

Live for today… tomorrow is uncertain. A new adventure and, strangely, a new beginning… with Mary.  A wonderful woman who had always loved him, a woman, ironically, so much like himself in so many ways. Loving the world created Below, a widow like himself, alone, with the community as family. They would start together as husband and wife, patriarch and matriarch, father and mother to the community.


Mary was getting ready with Catherine’s assistance. She was wearing a cream-colored dress with long sleeves tapered at the wrist, with a cream leather belt. She put on a creamy shawl around her shoulders and pinned it with the cameo she had worn two Winterfests before.

Catherine helped put the flowers in Mary’s hair, pinning it to the side, just above her left ear.

Smiling nervously at Catherine, Mary started thinking of the past, as well. She, too, thought how strange life was and how quickly it changed. She was remembering her life Below when she came with nothing, and no family – she’d lost her husband and her child – and the devastation of it. And now she was like a mother to all the children Below, including Vincent and Devin. How she dared to want Jacob for herself, and how she so desperately loved him but didn’t have the courage to tell him of her feelings. But now, a new beginning for them both. A brand-new start and a new dream.

“Mary,” Catherine started to call out softly, startling her. “Are you ready to go?”

“Oh! Cathy. Yes… yes, I’m sorry, I was just thinking… Yes, I’m quite ready.”

Catherine and Mary proceeded to go to Father’s study, where the Joining Ceremony was to begin. Vincent was already there with Father. He put the boutonniere on Father’s lapel and hugged him warmly. The Tunnel Community were there, filling up every space they could find; the children stayed away until after the ceremony, to make room for the adults. Pascal was there, as were Kanin and Olivia. Cullen was with Rebecca, Brooke and Sarah.

To Father’s pleasant surprise, Devin showed up with Charles. “Devin!!” said Father excitedly, “so glad you could make it to our Joining Ceremony! Mary is looking forward to seeing you, as well.”

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world, Dad. You and Mary both deserve to be happy.”

Father grinned to himself. Devin had stopped calling him “Father” since he was fourteen years old, just calling him Dad or, on really rough days, “old man”.

“Thank you, Devin, that means a lot to me. Really!”

Just then, Mouse arrived with the rings he had made for Father and Mary: two bands of gold braided into an infinity design. “Vincent, I have them!” Mouse said with excitement, handing Vincent the rings.

“They are beautiful, Mouse. You have outdone yourself again.”

Mouse swayed back and forth nervously. Smiling shyly, he said, “Okay good,  okay fine,” then walked away.

Catherine entered the study with Mary. Looking at Vincent, she could feel through their Bond that Vincent loved how she looked in her tapered dress, with flowers in her hair.

Gorgeous, he shot through the Bond, sending shivers down her spine. Down boy, she shot back, with a huge grin on her face.

Vincent said out loud, “Shall we begin?” Then there was silence. 

“We are here to celebrate this momentous occasion, the Joining of Father and Mary in holy matrimony. I have the extreme privilege of officiating this union in front of you all, our family and friends.”

He took a deep breath, then started. “Father… Jacob, do you take Mary to be your wife, mate and life partner for the rest of your life, with love and joy?”

Jacob looked into Mary’s eyes and said, “I do.”

Vincent turned to Mary. “Mary, do you take Jacob to be your husband, mate and live partner for the rest of your life, with love and joy?”

Mary looked into Jacob’s eyes and replied, “I do.”

Vincent turned to the people in the study. “Father and Mary have vows they wish to say to each other.” Then Vincent nodded to Father to continue.

Jacob turned to look at Mary. “Mary, you have been by my side these many years, by my side as a nurse when needed. My voice in times of decision when there are issues to solve, a mother to the children here, including Vincent and Devin. My heart opened to the realization of my love for you and the privilege of sharing it with you from this day forward. Mary, you are the ‘Spring Love’ in my ‘Winter’s Snow’ – there may be snow on the roof, but the hearth of my heart still burns bright… and it burns for you.”

Jacob took the ring from Vincent and put it on Mary’s finger, kissing her hand. The ring was a gold infinity band with sapphires, one on each side of the band.

Mary smiled with tears in her eyes, but they were tears of joy. Wiping them away, she looked at him. “Jacob, I have loved you for years, I’ve loved your strength, your compassion and love of everyone who has come here over the many years. I’ve loved you from the beginning, even when you didn’t know. You’ve been there for everyone in the community, for everything they needed. But despite that, you were still alone, as was I. Now we make a future together, my husband, mate, my love… Together we will be each other’s ‘Spring Love in Winter’s Snow’. You will be mine, I will be yours. The hearths of our hearts’ love will burn until life’s end burns it out.”

Taking the other ring from Vincent, she placed it on Jacob’s finger, kissing it as well. It was a simple gold infinity braided band, just thicker than hers.

Vincent, wiping a tear away, turned to everyone and said, “As is the custom of our community and the State of New York, I pronounce you husband and wife. May you be blessed with love, joy and happiness. You may kiss the bride.”

The people in the study clapped with enthusiasm and uttered loud cheers. They all clamored to give Father and Mary a hug of congratulations, but Vincent managed to get a hug in first, as did Catherine, Devin and Charles.

After the line started to lessen, Vincent signaled to all that the wedding feast was being served.

When they arrived, they saw how beautiful the dining hall was, with the flowers on all the tables. Every one sat pretty much where they wished, except for one table which was meant for Jacob and Mary, Vincent and Catherine, and Devin and Charles. There was also a place for Peter at the same table. 

The meal was amazing. The stuffed chicken was superb, as were the asparagus spears, a definite treat, since asparagus was very expensive. Catherine wanted to gift the meal to Father and Mary, which included the dessert, making sure William had everything he needed to make the feast a success.

They were all enjoying themselves, and the children did as well, playing an 

 impromptu concert as a gift to Father and Mary. When they finished playing, they left the adults to enjoy the rest of the evening without them.

Father thanked everyone for an amazing day, and Mary did, as well

“Thank you all so much for everything. Thank you, Devin, for coming, thank you, Charles… Peter, my old friend. A special thank you to Vincent for officiating and Catherine for your help and love. We also wish to thank William for such a wonderful meal. It was exceptional, including the four-layered lemon curd cake with whipped cream. Another special thank-you to Mouse. These rings are gorgeous, Mouse, exceptional in design, you’ve outdone yourself.”

Mouse nodded his appreciation and smiled, as Jamie put her hand on his shoulder, smiling at her best friend.

Vincent smiled at Father and Mary, then at Catherine. “Thank you, Catherine, for all your help.”

“You’re welcome, Vincent, my pleasure. We wanted Mary and Father’s happiness, and now, they will be.”


The next few hours went smoothly until midnight, when everyone started to go to their chambers. Devin said good night to Mary and Jacob. He and Charles would be leaving in the morning after breakfast. They had decided to stay in the guest chambers for the night.

Mary and Jacob retired to Father’s chamber together, the first time as husband and wife. After a hot cup of tea, they changed into their night clothes, readying for bed.

“I love you, Mrs. Mary Wells.”

“’I love you, too, Mr. Jacob Wells.”

They kissed passionately and went to sleep, with Jacob holding Mary in his arms.


Catherine and Vincent returned to their chamber, also changing into their night attire, and they also had a cup of herb tea before retiring.

“What a couple of crazy weeks, Vincent!” exclaimed Catherine.

“It certainly was that, Catherine. They both looked so happy today,” said Vincent.

“Yes, they did. Even Devin seemed genuinely happy for them both,” replied Catherine.

“Yes, I believe Devin has finally come to terms with his relationship with Father. I know he had a hard time as a child growing up.”

“He seems to be more at ease and comfortable around him. Maybe Charles has changed him a little, made him softer on the inside, more forgiving,” Catherine responded.

“You may be right, Catherine. It’s late, Love, let’s go to sleep. Maybe we can say goodbye to them after breakfast, before they go back. Either way, tomorrow is a start for new changes for our Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Wells.” Vincent grinned.

“You are right, Vincent, fuzzy britches,” giggled Catherine.

Holding each other, Vincent pulled back a little and raised his eyebrows. “Where did you hear that… Mrs. Wells?” he asked, pretending outrage, but failing.

“A little birdy told me,” she snickered.

“Well!! We are definitely going to see Devin at breakfast tomorrow, we need to talk.”

They both broke out in laughter.

“Good night, my Love,” she said, kissing Vincent on the lips.

“Good night, Beloved.”

They held each other as they slept. Tomorrow would be a new beginning for the Wells household and the Tunnel Community.



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