The Greatest Night Of All

Amber Osborne

Chapter One

Vincent sat in his chamber turning over the events of what they had just been through in his mind. After they had helped get Elliot’s father safely to him, Catherine faced death with him. She also faced his desire for her, and hers for Vincent. After it was over, and Catherine lead Elliot out of the tunnels, he could feel her sorrow for the fact he had to sacrifice a piece of himself to save her once more. Later, when she came to him in his chamber, he confessed the thoughts that plagued him. Elliot was a much more logical match for her in her world. Even though it was true, she still wanted Vincent. She had wished it was him that had kissed her instead of Elliot. Gazing up at him, she was pleading. He looked at her, astonished. It was as if he had read the words in her mind before she spoke them. Softly she nodded her head.

"Kiss me, Vincent. Kiss me now."

Her gentle request came with a force he’d never known. As she moved closer to him, he turned to open himself up to her more. It was an automatic reaction. His mind was reeling. How can this be happening? Her face was only inches from his as she searched his eyes with love and longing. She almost had the look of a child, begging for the sweetest gift. His hand went to her cheek as he gazed at her.

"Please, Vincent. Just kiss me. I love you."

She had barely gotten the last three words out when his lips pressed to hers. A sigh of relief and ecstasy escape her lips as she triumphed in the feel of his mouth on hers. Bringing her arms around his neck, she kissed him back with tenderness and desire. It was the most passionate kiss they’d ever shared. Vincent was convinced that a kiss like this could only be a dream. Until now, Catherine herself had almost been convinced of the same. Never had she felt so joyous.

When their kiss had ended, they both looked upon each other with hazy desire filling their eyes. He tried to justify it in his mind that it was only the adrenaline of facing death and thinking she’d never see him again that drove her to wish such a thing. Yet, he could still feel her longing for him to be close to her even as she returned to her world. It was not the first time he had felt it from her, to be sure. Vincent’s own desire for Catherine was a battle he fought constantly within himself. It was a kind of passion he longed to share with her, but was convinced could never be…until now.

Hours on into the day, her love for him kept whispering to him through their bond. It was almost more than he could bear. He knew that most of the time she fought against those feelings to protect him from having to face it. That knowledge always pained him. Now, she had stopped trying. As the day wore on, it seemed that she willed him to feel the strong pull of her heart to him. Vincent ran, paced, and did a tremendous amount of work trying to distract himself. It was all no use. There was no way he could consider closing the bond. He had to know that she was always safe. To not feel her, to have that emptiness inside, would torture him worse than her passion for him. This couldn’t go on any longer. At some point it would have to stop. Vincent came to realize that they had avoided it for so long, and it solved nothing. It was his fault. He was well aware she’d openly share any of this with him. Tonight, they needed to talk. Tonight, the war would be over.


Catherine lit the candles on the balcony and breathed in the night air. It was so full of possibility. She could feel it. She hated knowing what she had done to Vincent, but she couldn’t take this needless stress any longer. Catherine didn’t like to think of herself as a schemer. The label of being a seductress was all wrong as well, in this case. If Vincent reached the point of freely accepting her love, she’d gladly take on the role. He was at odds, however, and unless he was ready and willing, she could never be so forward and make him any more uncomfortable than she already knew she had by not guarding her feelings. Catherine sat down and waited for his arrival. She knew he’d come to her.

As she closed her eyes, and let her thoughts drift to the warmth of that embrace she knew so well, she heard the swish of his cloak behind her. That little place called home was waiting just two steps away in his arms. She rose to her feet and fell right into his embrace. Vincent’s arms came up around her, and she could sense his tension, but he held her none the less.

"I’m glad you came." she said softly.

"I’m here." he simply said. It was all he could think to say.

Catherine pulled back to look up into his eyes, where she could see the torment of his soul. She wanted to hold him forever and love all the pain and doubt away, but she knew it wouldn’t be so easy.

"Vincent? I…I’m sorry."

Her voice was so animated, like a little girl. His heart melted in an instant, and he was tempted to surrender and give her anything she asked of him. It hurt him to know that he was costing her an intimacy she longed for, needed, and deserved. What was more, she was apologizing for wanting it; wanting him. He sighed heavily.

"Catherine, you have nothing to be sorry for. You shouldn’t have to hide or fight what you feel."

"Vincent, neither should you!" Her voice faltered. He was always so noble and denied himself so much. He deserved everything and she longed to give all she could to him. Of all people who should be loved in every way, it was him. It wasn’t fair.

"Catherine, it is a part of life for me."

"No, Vincent. It shouldn’t be that way. Not for you. You deserve to be loved in every way. You deserve to love me in any way you desire. It isn’t wrong. Not for us, Vincent. Not for you. Please, you have to believe that. There isn’t a part of you that I don’t love completely. I love you so much! So much, Vincent. I never knew I could love any one this much. I needed to tell you. You needed to hear the words. You need to know."

"I know you needed to tell me. You’ve held back and fought so much against yourself because of me. Don’t struggle with it anymore. If it’s all I can give you, I want you to never be afraid to feel what you feel or tell me anything you wish."

"Vincent, you need to do the same. Why must you still struggle? There’s no need for that either! Sometimes, we must leave our safe places. Talk to me, Vincent. At least allow yourself that much. With courage and care, there is nothing we can’t share. Don’t you believe by now, after all we’ve shared already, that anything is possible for us?"

"It’s always a little more complicated where I am concerned."

"Vincent, forget everything that has gone before. Just focus on what is happening now. Tell me what you’re feeling. Right now there is only us, and we have all the time in the world. Please, just talk to me."

He wasn’t quite sure what to do. Her eyes were pleading with his heart to follow her and trust what she knew to be true. Finally, he concluded that if there was nothing else they could share, they should at least be allowed enough release to talk about what they were feeling. Taking a deep breath, he began.

"Catherine, some nights I lie awake for hours thinking of you. I think about the curve of your face, and how your smile glows like sunlight through rain clouds. I think of how your hair smells, and the way it feels across my cheek. I remember how warm and tender your body feels pressed against mine when I hold you close. I think of the miracle it is to feel you deep inside of me, filling me as I carry you with me each day. You are my center for being. Sometimes, a vision of you plays before my mind, and if I lay still enough I can feel the smooth skin of your arms under my hands. I can feel your warm breath against my throat. And sometimes…I taste your lips as they mold perfectly with mine. Our souls mingle together for what feels like an eternity. I’m lost in you."

Catherine’s eyes were wet with tears. Her lips parted to let out slow breaths, and she gazed upon him with love, desire, and awe. They stood so close to each other, that the heat of their bodies between them, made the night air feels like it was wrapping like a blanket around them both. He gazed at her as she began speaking in low tones.

"I think of you all the time. Not a night goes by when I’m not lying in bed, imagining the feel of you beside me. I sit for hours and wonder what the feel of that perfect mouth is like as it intimately hugs mine. I imagine how the feel of your beautiful hands would be caressing every part of me; my hands. I dream of being gently cradled in your warmth after being vulnerably pressed beneath the strength of your body. It’s the only place I’d want to be held captive forever. That voice…I want to whisper sweet secrets and vows to you in the early hours, when the rest of the world is still sleeping. I…" she couldn’t speak anymore. She felt out of breath as she watched him struggled to catch his own. Still, they stood so close without touching. However, they could feel every tender touch described and dreamed of between them. They were making love, and didn’t feel they could convey any coherent thought in the world should anything else disrupt the balance between them now. They were lost in each other and it was amazing.

"Catherine…I love you."

"Oh, Vincent, I love you." they confessed breathlessly.

He pulled her close in his arms, crushing her body against his, as she did the same. They stood that way for a long time until he cautiously pulled back. They knew that something monumental had taken place, and that tonight they needed to let it be. Both of them looked at each other with reassurance and promise that this was not over.

"Sleep well, Catherine." was all he could say.

"And you, Vincent."

She watched him leave the balcony and shivered. They had only talked and shared a passionate embrace, yet somehow she felt like she’d just experienced loving in the most passionate way she’d ever known. Slowly turning to enter her apartment, she crawled into bed and fell into a deep sleep. It was the most restful night she’d had in a long time. For Vincent, it was the same.


Chapter Two



Catherine walked into her office as if she were floating. She was very distracted, but all smiles. Joe couldn’t pass up the opportunity to throw one in.

"Hey, Radcliffe!"

"Hi, Joe!" she said with a bright smile.

"It was that good, huh?" he asked with a wink.

She raised an eyebrow and grinned. "Well as a matter of fact…"

He laughed and nodded. "Tell me if there’s a sister will ya? Might be good genes. That looks like it feels pretty amazing."

"I can’t promise anything other than, yes, it absolutely does feel pretty amazing."

With that, she gave him the look that told him he wasn’t going to get any more out of her, and he bowed out gracefully. It was true that he wished he could be the one that put the extra spring in her step and the light in her eyes, but he was glad she was happy. One day, he might catch his break. It was a big city, and there was bound to be one out there for him somewhere.


The day proved to be quite productive for her. She was incredibly energized, and very determined to get out of the office by 5 o’clock for once. When the time came, she tossed a hand up to Joe as she flew out the door, giving him no chance to rib her anymore about the promising night that lay ahead. Catherine tossed her bag in the corner and kicked her shoes off into the closet. Pulling her clothes off as she hummed her way to the bathroom, she started a refreshing shower and sang the whole way through. When she got out, she wrapped a towel around her, while drying her hair with a smaller one. Catherine forced a yawn to interrupt her humming. She needed something to stretch out her face muscles that were quite sore from smiling all day long. She just couldn’t help herself! Glancing through her wardrobe, she picked out a soft white short sleeved shirt that was cut with a low v in the front and back. To accompany the shirt, she pulled on a light pink skirt that flowed simply and beautifully around her knees. Not bothering with shoes, she picked out her favorite pair of earrings. They were simple, gorgeous diamond earrings belonging to her mother. She wore nothing under the shirt she had on, and a pair of beige lace panties were to be found under her skirt, if they were looked for.

Catherine spritzed some hair gel into her hair as she scrunched it up to dry into loose curls. Tonight, she wanted to look and feel simple, elegant, and comfortable. Picking up the phone, she ordered some paella to be delivered. It was a dish she thought Vincent would surely love with all its wonderful flavors to experience. After the food was ordered, she put in a tape to softly play romantic classical music. Then, she worked to set the table and make everything perfect. She lit candles and opened all the doors to the balcony. Pouring a glass of wine for herself in advance, she settled to the couch and sighed peacefully. While she waited for their meal to arrive, her thoughts wondered once more to the night before and the night to come. It wasn’t long before she was brought back to the present time by a knock at the door. Grabbing her wallet, she fished out more money than she knew was needed and instructed the delivery boy to take the rest as tip.

"But, are you sure? That’s a very generous tip!"

Catherine glanced at his name tag. "Billy?"

"Yes, ma’am." he said, nodding.

"Do you have a girlfriend, Billy?"

"Um, uh…yes ma’am." he said as his cheeks turned pink.

"With this, and my blessing, I want you to take her somewhere very special. Does that sound like a plan?" she said smiling.

Billy instantly smiled at her with wonder. "Yes, it does. Thank you very much, Miss…um.."


"Catherine." he said with another smile. "Thank you, Catherine!"

She couldn’t help but laugh a little, and of course smile some more. Her world was filled with love tonight, and she wanted every one to know it. Carrying the food to the table, she began to put it out onto the plates. She knew he’d be there soon. Just as she’d set the plates on the table, she turned to see him in the doorway. Catherine couldn’t imagine she could smile any bigger or brighter than she had all day, but she did as soon as she saw him. Running into his arms she sighed.

"Oh, I’ve been waiting all day to feel your arms around me again."

"I’ve thought of you all day as well." he confessed.

She looked so gorgeous that it almost hurt him to look at her. He hadn’t been able to take his eyes off of her when he had first arrived. He had stood and watched her preparing the table for them. It was as if he were dreaming. Only until he felt her in his arms, did he know it was real. His hand rested tenderly on the exposed skin of her back and they both shivered a little. She pulled back just enough to look into his eyes.

"I have dinner for us. Are you hungry?"

"I am, actually. It smells wonderful. Thank you, Catherine."

"Oh no, Vincent. Thank you for coming to share it with me."

They gazed at each other for a moment before he spoke. "Shall we?"

Taking his hand, she led him to the table. Handing him the wine bottle she asked, "Would you like to pour some for us?"

"Of course." he said, taking the bottle and filling their glasses.

"I’ll get us some water too." She said before disappearing into the kitchen. In a moment she was back with two glasses of water.

"Oh, let me take your cloak." she said as she slipped it from his shoulder and draped it across the back of the couch. He moved to pull out her chair for her and she smiled up at him, her eyes following as he crossed to his chair.

"What are we having?" he asked.

"It’s called Paella. It’s Spanish. You’ll love it, Vincent!"

He smiled at her thoughtfulness. "I can’t wait to try it." With that, he took his first bite. She watched him anxiously. Once he had swallowed, he smiled and nodded. "It’s really wonderful, Catherine. Thank you for allowing me to experience it."

"I’ll help you experience anything within my power that you wish to share, Vincent." she said holding his gaze before returning to her meal.

As they enjoyed the food, they talked about life Above and Below. Vincent told Catherine about Mouse’s latest gizmo, and she told Vincent about her plans the next day with Jenny. As the romantic music drifted through the air, they finished their meal, and Catherine rose to clear the table. Vincent took her hand, spellbound by the enchanted glow she held in the light of the candles. Gently, he pulled her close as they swayed into a slow tango-like rhythm with the singing Spanish guitar.

"You’re taking me to Spain?" he asked softly.

She gazed up at him, "Anywhere. Everywhere."

They continued in a passionate rhythm with their eyes locked in a heavy stare. As the music escalated, so did they. When it finally came to an end, they stopped abruptly, breathing heavily. Catherine suddenly broke the contact as she went to the table to take the dishes to the kitchen. As she put them in the sink, he handed her the glass of wine as he sipped from his own. She took a drink, watching him place his on the counter. His face drifted closer to hers as their eyes locked again. Swallowing the drink she had in her mouth, she barely had time to take in a breath before his lips pressed to hers. She absently went to set her glass down with his, but it toppled and ran over the counter into the sink. She didn’t care. Neither one of the seemed to notice.

Catherine brought both of her arms up around his neck, her fingers entwining into his hair as they kissed passionately. It was just as she’d always dreamt of. His hands were at her waist, drawing her close to him. She moaned in relief and delight as they explored each other’s mouths lovingly. Vincent licked at the wine on her lips and tongue. They moved together into her living room. They played on passionately with the music. Never, did they lose contact with each other as they relocated. Catherine gently fell back onto the couch as he followed her. Vincent was half lying on top of her, his other knee to the floor as they continued to share loving kisses. He trailed across her cheek, and down her neck as she clung to him. This night was surely stolen out of another place and time, just for them.

Catherine tugged at this shirt as they kissed, his hand running up and down her side. Soon, they rolled off the couch onto the floor. She was on top of him now, working feverishly to open his vest and reveal the delights she knew lay hidden underneath. Straddling him, she still rained kisses across his face. Finally, when she had removed both his vest and shirt, she marveled at the bronzed beauty that awaited her touch. She placed her palms flat on his stomach and ran them slowly and sensuously upward across his broad chest. The soft hair covering it splayed between her fingers as she went and she drew a deep breath in.

"Oh, so gorgeous…"

Her mouth came down to cover him with warm kisses. His skin lit on fire with the heat of her breath and the moisture of her mouth upon him. He gasped and groaned as she drew one of his nipples into her mouth. Savoring the taste, she moved to the other before claming his mouth again. As she did so, he turned her over to her back. His kisses started a trail down her neck again as his hand pushed one side of her shirt over her shoulder, exposing more skin to his taste. He covered her opened chest along the v neck. His hand gently slid over her breast and continued down her side to the bottom of her shirt. The tease of that brief touch made her whimper. Soon, she felt his hand traveling underneath her shirt, across her stomach. He lifted the shirt over her head and gazed, his lips parted hungrily, at her. He placed his palms at her collar bone and gently slid them downward to tenderly move over her breasts to her stomach, and back up to hold her in each hand. She moaned with desire as he kneaded her flesh and nearly lost her breath when he mimicked her actions from before, taking each in his mouth to devour her. She breathlessly spoke his name as he continued downward. Carefully, he unfastened her skirt and slid it off of her, leaving only the beige lace that blended with her skin. She sat up in front of him while he was on his knees and began removing his pants as well. A bit of fear crept up inside of him, and she looked up at him when he placed his hands over her to stop her. Catherine nodded and dropped her hands as he slowly took them off himself. When it was done, he stood wearily in front of her as she took all of him in.

"Oh, Vincent. You are beyond beautiful. There are just no words. Come here to me." she said, extending her hand to him.

A bit relieved, he knelt down to gather her in his arms and carry her to the bed. They splayed out across the cool sheets, sharing another passionate kiss. Catherine rejoiced in the feel of her bare skin finally pressing against his chest. She nestled so sweetly in the soft hair there. Vincent’s hand gently ran over the lace fabric until she broke the kiss trying to catch her breath.

"Oh! Oh, Vincent, please." she begged.

He didn’t need much persuasion. He couldn’t have stopped loving her if he wanted to. Ever so slowly he slid the fabric down her legs until he could drop them to the floor beside the bed. His hand glided up the length of her legs, to the insides of her thighs. She spread them willingly, opening herself to him in invitation. He brought his fingers to carefully explore her most sacred treasure where they met. Catherine raised her hips to meet and encourage him as she moaned desperately. Suddenly, she felt his tongue flat against her as he gave her one thorough, luxurious graze. Then he expelled a long hot breath against her that nearly sent her into a frenzy. Her head tossed back and forth as she raised her knees to either side of his head, gripping the sheets while he satisfied one of his cravings. Vincent felt her riding higher and higher into a greater ecstasy than he’d ever known. It was so very hard for him to pull away, but he did. He needed to experience it through more than their bond.

"I need you, Catherine. I need to be a part of you."

"Oh, yes! Oh, Vincent, yes. Yes. Please, now."

He positioned himself over her as she guided him to her. Carefully and slowly, he began to enter her. She gasped at the pressure and longed to be filled with it. Moving her hips along with him, he slid deeper into her. Once he was held completely within her, they both sighed in joy and relief. Taking a new rhythm with the music in the air, he softly began rocking his hips. Once they were a bit more in sync with each other’s bodies, their pace grew faster and Vincent’s thrusts went deeper. Catherine moaned his name over and over between her cries of satisfaction. To feel him in that deepest part of her that no other man had reached was beyond anything she could imagine. It wasn’t long before they were both clinging to each other in a death grip, as they raised their voices to the heavens above. Their limbs went limp and all they could do was lie there and wait to breathe easy again. Curling up next to him, she sighed as he put his arm over her and spooned himself against her back.

"Oh, Vincent. That was the most beautiful, amazing, and wonderful experience of my whole life. I can’t even tell you how much I love you." she said as a few tears ran down her cheeks.

He kissed her shoulder. "Catherine, making love to you was beyond anything I could have imaged. I was frightened, but I couldn’t stop. I needed you so desperately, and I felt your need as well. I love you so much. You don’t know what you’ve given me."

"I do, Vincent. You’ve given me the same thing. I don’t ever want there to be a time you don’t come to me with any need you have that I can fulfill. I love you. You’re my life. You have been since the day you found me. That will never change. I’m yours, always."

"I love you."

The two snuggled together, floating in that wonderful place between sleep and being awake. Neither one of them had ever felt as complete as they did now.

Chapter 3


Catherine and Vincent lay facing each other as the moonlight shined in. The sheet was casually pulled over them. Her hand was resting on his cheek, as his rested on her hip. Casually, she would play with a strand of his hair as he caressed her side. Softly, they spoke of love into the night. It was the most magical and beautiful feeling they’d ever known. This new comfort and closeness was a gift both of them couldn’t stop giving thanks for.

"What are you feeling?" Catherine asked softly.

"I can’t choose a word." he replied with wonder.

She smiled lovingly. "Tell me all of them."

"Amazed, content, blessed, loved, nervous-"

She interrupted him. "You’re still nervous?"

"We’ll face new obstacles, now. Though, I’m hopeful as well. I know that together we can make it through anything."

"Yes. We can, together."

He thought for a moment before gazing at her with all the love in his heart. "For the first time, I…"

"You what? Tell me."

"I feel beautiful, attractive, desirable…accepted."

Her eyes filled with tears as she kissed him. "You are incredible. I love you so much."

"I love you." he said as he pushed her hair from her face. "What about you?"

Catherine smiled with almost a laugh. "Can’t you feel it?"

He smiled back. She knew he could, and that he needed her to tell him what she was thinking. "No one has ever made me feel this way before. I never knew it could be this wonderful. I feel at peace. I’m happy. No other could ever come close to giving me what you do, Vincent."

He continued to lovingly caress her body with wonder at her confession. He knew it was true. She moaned softly and closed her eyes as his hand came over her breast. In almost a whisper she said, "Make love to me again. Take me there once more. That place that only we can reach together."

She pulled him with her as he gently rolled her onto her back, kissing her. He felt such pride as he loved her. It amazed him to know that he could take her to such heights. Catherine had continuously taken him to places he’d never known. He loved loving her. Vincent’s motions were slow, deliberate, and thorough. Tantalizing her, he continued until he felt her waves crash against the shore. She cried out his name as she held him tight. Catching her breath, her body went limp. Tenderly, he kissed her shoulders and arms until she stopped trembling.

Once Catherine had more control over herself, she kissed him again. This kiss was a thank you, and a promise of wonderful things to come to him. It was her turn. She pushed him onto his back gently. In the same slow, deliberate, and thorough way, she loved him. Vincent was beyond all thought. All he had were the most amazing sensations and feelings overwhelming him. The things she was doing to him were experiences he thought only he could dream of. He felt her pride and growing arousal as she saw the reactions she was drawing from him. It was almost too much, as he sat up and pulled her onto his lap. Slowly, she descended upon him, taking him in. The wrapped their arms around each other as they moved together. They stayed in that intimate embrace long after they’d found their climax. Catherine continued kissing and rubbing his shoulders as he lightly ran his nails across her back.

"God, you’re amazing." she said as she framed his face, pushing his hair back.

He smiled with a slight blush. "I might say the same for you."

Catherine kissed him tenderly and smiled. "I think I need a shower. What about you?"

He thought about this for a moment. This new bond between them was something he loved, and was still trying to get used to. Continually, he found himself in amazement that they no longer danced around intimate thoughts. They were sharing them freely, and all of it was ok. Still, he would let himself assume her own space and wait for her to invite him more forwardly before going to join her.

"A shower sounds wonderful."

Catherine smiled and slowly got up, taking his hand. "Come with me."

He followed her willingly. Vincent thought he would follow her into broad daylight now, if she asked him to. That was another thing. It was going to be daytime soon. He should leave very shortly after this. The thought made him sad. Being so close to Catherine was heaven, and he never wanted to let her go. He comforted himself with the thought that they would soon be together again.

Catherine ran a cool, refreshing shower for them. Guiding him in with her, they embraced under the water. It felt wonderful. She took a bar of soap and began to run it across his broad chest. With her other hand, she followed the trail as she worked up a good lather. The soap made her hands run slick and easy across his well toned muscles. She moved down his arms and pressed close to him so that she could reach around to his back. After a moment, she couldn’t resist rubbing against him, taking some of the soap on herself, as she washed his back. Vincent’s head fell back as he groaned. He leaned back against the shower wall as her hands came to rest on his hips. He brought his hands up to follow her actions and spread the soap across her skin. Catherine bit her lower lip and closed her eyes, as she drank in every touch.

"You’re hands are wonderful."

His breath came heavy and labored. Catherine let her hands drift down his thighs as his hands came to rest on her shoulders. She rubbed his hips as she gazed down on his straining need for her. Lovingly taking him into her hands, she began to caress him. Vincent’s arms went beyond her shoulders to hold himself up, palms flat on the wall behind her. She rested back against the wall now as his head fell down, watching her hands on him. Gently, he began thrusting himself in her hands and her heart raced. Trying her best to raise herself higher, she guided him to rub against her warmth. Catherine had to hold herself up as she brought one arm to cling around his neck. Her knees grew weak as he gathered her to him once they’d found their release. Catching her breath, she laughed a little.

"It doesn’t seem like a cool shower does us any good. I think I’ll always go crazy over you."

He smiled and couldn’t help but laugh a little himself. Vincent held her close. He didn’t think he could love her more than he did in this moment. Tenderly, he kissed her before they returned to their task. Each of them washed their hair and finished their shower. Catherine dried herself and wrapped the towel around her as she went into the bedroom. Vincent was still drying himself off as he watched her go.

"I think I might have something for you." Before long she returned with a large pair of sweatpants and smiled. "I thought it would be a good idea to keep a few extra clothes here for you, just in case."

He looked at her, surprised. Taking the pants, he slipped them on. "I hope they fit. I just thought that if anything ever happened and you needed to stay here, it would be a good thing to have emergency clothes for you." she rambled. Suddenly she felt self-conscious, and wasn’t quite sure if he was ready for this or not.

Feeling her discomfort, he took her in his arms. "They fit perfectly. It was a wonderful thought. Thank you, Catherine."

She smiled up at him and gave him a brief kiss before going to put something on herself. He came out of the bathroom to find her slipping on an old t-shirt. He had always seen her sleep in delicate nightgowns that devastated him. Tonight she seemed completely different. She was comfortable and safe in a way she had never been before. It was like seeing a child be reunited with a favorite toy.

"Would you like something to drink or eat? Or do you just want to lay down?"

He smiled and went over to her. "It will be daylight soon."

Catherine frowned. "Oh, you’re right. Silly me, I thought…" she looked away. Suddenly she was angry at herself. Dammit, Chandler. Don’t ruin the most wonderful and perfect night of your life by being a sentimental idiot. You should be thankful for the miracle you’ve had!

"I’m sorry. Of course you have to go back." she said with a weak smile.

His heart melted. How could he ever leave her? "Catherine, don’t be sorry. I want to stay just as much as you’d like me to."

A glimmer of hope sparked in her eyes. "You could stay if you wanted to. It’s safe here for you. We can stay here together all day. I’ll send a message to Father so he won’t worry, and…" she suddenly stopped and laughed at herself. "Oh no, just look at me. I’m being so ridiculous."

Vincent smiled. "No, you’re not ridiculous. I wouldn’t want to interfere with your plans. You have work to do."

"I’ve pulled so much overtime, I could take a week off of work if I wanted to."

"Didn’t you say you had plans with Jenny?"

"Oh, darn it, that’s right. I’ll just call her and tell her I’ll meet her later this week."

"Catherine, you said yourself that you don’t get to see her very often."

"How often do I get this chance with you?"

His heart immediately twisted. Their time had always been measured and he had held so much back from her for so long. Why wouldn’t she fear this was a once in a lifetime chance?

"I’m sorry. I do want to stay with you, more than anything. I promise this is not the last opportunity we’ll have."

She frowned. "No, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be acting this way. It’s childish."

"It’s not. Please don’t be angry with yourself." He took her in his arms. "I will stay if you promise me something."

"Anything!" she exclaimed.

"You will still have lunch with Jenny tomorrow."

"But what will you do while I’m gone?"

"I’ll find something to do. I’ll be all right."

"Vincent, it will drive me crazy to be away when I know you’re here, waiting for me."

"Catherine, this is something new we are facing together. If we’re really going to try to find a way to make our lives fit together more closely, then we need to do this. I need to know I’m not holding you back from anything."

"Oh, but you’re not! I do understand though. You’re right. I promise I’ll keep my lunch with Jenny tomorrow if you promise to be here when I come back. I want to know what it’s like to come home to you."

"I promise."

They sealed it with a kiss as the two of them concluded that it would be best if they went to bed. Neither of them was extremely tired, but they had to at least act a little responsible and not stay up all night. As the sunlight filtered in through the balcony doors, Catherine smiled and stretched out with a sigh of sheer happiness.

"I have it, Mom." she said softly.

"What did you say?" he asked.

She turned to kiss him softly and smiled. "Good morning, sunshine."