Two Can Play At That Game

 

Teri

 

Note to my readers:

 

This story first began as nothing more than a relatively short, four page vignette on the BBTV mailing list  when some of us there decided to experiment with that venue.  As is so often the case, I just couldn’t leave it alone, and here it is, now considerably longer than four pages.  However, just a heads up to you all - there is not much of a plot here.  This is a Catherine/Vincent relationship story, pure erotica, no more, no less.  The material is very explicit, so if that is not your cup of tea (and we all know how Catherine and Vincent love tea) then beware.

 

Though I have written non-adult BATB stories (really, I have!), I think it’s patently obvious to you all that I like the idea of these two breaking through the various and all too numerous barriers which early on in their relationship kept them apart, their bond unfulfilled.  I know those barriers are only temporary because the bond and their destiny demand otherwise, because for the fairytale to end as it must, with ‘they all lived happily ever after’, those walls must eventually go.  It’s only a matter of time.  They’ve certainly been through enough tough and/or solemn times and deserve a break now and then, and damn it, I’m gonna make sure they get it!

 

And here I have to admit that the angst along the way is sometimes as much fun to me as the end result, though I don’t like one without the other.  As Hitchcock once said, If you show a hidden time bomb ticking, somewhere along the way there’d better be an explosion!  Whether it’s an adult story or not, with me, the episode never ends with them walking alone.  It may be the last bit we might have seen on the screen, but believe me, off-screen the action definitely continues, and this, in my opinion, is where the true beauty and value of fanfic lies.  Of primary importance to me, the angst between Catherine and Vincent is never permanent, of too long a duration or too painful to bear.  That would be torture, and that would be cruel, and our favorite couple deserve so much better than that (and frankly, Mr. Koslow, so do we!).

 

As always, keeping such wonderful characters in character is a major must for me, and I find this to be doubly important in the venue of erotica.  Despite the premise of this story, I hope you find that they remain faithful to the Catherine and Vincent you know and love, just as I intended.  At any rate, I enjoyed writing it, and I hope you enjoy reading it.  If you have any comments or feedback, please feel free to email me at: taptap@mn.rr.com.

 

Teri

Spring, 1999

 

*    *    *

 

            Catherine leaned toward the mirror of her dressing table and deftly applied a second coat of mascara, then pulled back to check out the results with little more than a cursory glance of appraisal.  Okay good, okay fine - certainly good enough for anyone uptop, the wry thought filtered through.

            At that moment she was distracted as something caught her attention.  It was not quite a sound, but rather a wave of trembling emotion, love, contentment, and a boundless joy.  All of it passed through her and settled within.  She drew in a deep breath and in the mirror she saw it.  It was as if she were infused with that essence, her features softening in a look that was all too readily apparent these days.  Only one thing had that effect on her, only one person; Vincent.

            She jumped up from the dressing table and ran to the French doors, his shadowy outline there, as she knew it would be.  Flinging them open she fell into his arms with a gusty sigh.  His gentle smile broadened, incisors showing provocatively, sharp tips and all.

            "Say it, say it, say it!" she implored him, laughter in her voice, adoration in her eyes.  He didn't disappoint her.  Leaning toward her, she fell within the cerulean depths of his eyes and was utterly, blissfully lost.  He drew her closer and held her tight, his gaze locked to hers.

            "Catherine", he whispered, his voice husky and thick with love.

            Her eyes squeezed tightly shut as she clutched the sound close, those three syllable tones turning her stomach to liquid fire.

            "Oh, Vincent, you just don't know what you do to me," she sighed.

            She stared up at him again, and found that look on his face.  The one which had been there so often of late, a wonderful mix of absolute incredulity and lusty desire.  She couldn't help herself then, and collapsed into giggles, sheer happiness overwhelming all else.

            His eyes blinked rapidly, the haze there fading as they crinkled with amusement.

            "If it's anything approaching what you do to me, Catherine, I should be ashamed."

            They both broke into laughter then, holding each other close.  When the irresistible shaking finally stopped, he pulled away from her just a little to take in the conflicting appearance of pinned up hair, makeup and a terrycloth bathrobe.

            "You're going out," he said, his voice carefully neutral.

            The humor filling her faded at his words.

            "Yes, I'm sorry.  I didn't plan on it, but Joe just called.  He's not feeling well and wants me to take his place at a reception the Mayor's office is giving.  I won't have to stay long, maybe only an hour.  Can you wait for me?"

            He nodded and her breath released with a rush, relief filling her.

            What he said was "Yes, I can stay” but in his eyes she clearly read ‘I’ll always wait for you’.

            “I brought 'Pride and Prejudice' along.  I'll read," he added.

            His eyes flickered toward the balcony wall where they usually sat and her gaze followed.

            "Nonsense," she broke in.  "It's too cold for you to sit out here.  Wait a minute.”

            Pulling away from him, she entered her bedroom, then disappeared into the living room.  Through the second set of French doors he saw the lights there go out, then she was back, and the lights in the bedroom were extinguished as well.  On a corner table, next to a wing-backed chair, she lit a series of candles and a mellow glow, dim and cozy, lit that space.  No one watching from outside would see anything within in this light.  A moment later and she returned, tugging at his hands, urging him forward.

            "Come inside."

            He followed with only a momentary hesitation, and she knew it was the same mental hurdle he crossed each time he stepped over this particular threshold and into her apartment, though that hesitation had lessened with each passing day during the last five weeks.  When he was firmly in the center of the room, and the French doors closed behind him, she ran off again, returning a few minutes later to find him walking about, cloak, boots and socks now discarded near the French doors.  The hard terrain and chilly temperatures of the tunnels ensured that being barefoot, outside of bathing and swimming, was a real rarity, and she had learned recently that her plush carpet was almost irresistible to him.  She wondered ruefully how much that factor might have played in his willingness to come inside more and more often these days.  After a moment’s thought she grinned and dismissed that possibility.  The pleasures they had found in here during the last few weeks surely went well beyond that of plush carpet on bare feet.  He stopped at her closet door to stare at the dress hanging upon it, and she walked over to stand beside him.

            "I'm boiling some water so you can have tea while you wait.  What would you like?  Earl Grey?"

            "Yes, thank you, that would be nice.  Is this the dress you're going to wear tonight?"

            "Yes.  Do you like it?"

            He nodded, then reached out to tentatively stroke a hand across the deep black velvet.  The dress was simple but elegant, a long, slim A-line unadorned, with wrist-length sleeves and a high, jeweled neckline of beaded black jet.  She would wear no other accessories with it except for a black satin stole, which would provide a nice contrast with the texture of the velvet, she thought, viewing them critically in her mind.  She had bought this dress a week ago, in case any winter work events had cropped up, and just in time, too, it appeared.  Not that she didn't have plenty of formal gowns, but most of them were more revealing, some in a sophisticated way, others more playful.  At any rate, she had recently found that what had once been something of little import, the casual display of her body for the social enjoyment of strangers, now made her distinctly uncomfortable.  Only for Vincent, she was only for Vincent...

            "It's beautiful, Catherine.  You'll look lovely."

            His words drew her from her reverie, and she turned back to him, their eyes meeting.  She wasn't sure how much time passed as they stared, lost in each other, until the whistle of the tea kettle broke their trance.

            "I'll get it," she whispered, for a moment unmoving.

            The whistle grew more loudly insistent with each passing second, and finally she could ignore it no longer.  With a regretful sigh she pulled her gaze from his and left the room.  Five minutes later she returned to find him seated in the chair, book in hand.  She stood at the bedroom entrance holding the tray, and took in the sight of him, here, in her bedroom, with delight.  He wore soft, dove-gray trousers, worn and comfortable, and a patched, tan sweater.  Beneath that the crew neck of his cream-colored thermal shirt peeked out.  He looked all rumpled and cozy, sitting there in the corner, his bare-foot appearance filling her with warmth.  The top of his feet were lightly furred, casting a golden tone, but she knew that the soles of his feet were silky smooth and hairless.  Like all the other uncoated parts of his body, few though those were, they were intensely sensitive.  She shivered lightly as that thought and the innocent image of his bare feet, brought less innocent thoughts and images to mind.  Finally she roused herself and made her way across the room, setting the tray off to one side of the candle-strewn table, then poured out a cup in a delicate Limoge porcelain setting.

            "Thank you, Catherine."

            "Would you like anything else?  Are you hungry?"

            For a moment his control slipped, and his innocently yearning look heated her blood further yet, but that lapse lasted only a minute, and then he was shaking his head ruefully.

            "No, I'm fine.  You should get ready."

            "Yes, the sooner I go, the sooner I'll be back."

            He nodded, and she could see that he agreed with her wholeheartedly.  With a sigh she turned away and opened the top draw of her lingerie dresser.  There sat the black slip, beige pantyhose and no-nonsense underclothes she had already picked out to ensure a smooth line under the gentle drape of her dress.  She stared at them for a moment, then reached instead for a pair of pale, peachy-pink lace bikinis, a wicked smile suddenly curving her lips.  With her back to him she slipped them on, beneath the long folds of her terry-cloth robe, then collected a frilly assortment of items, none of them from the original stack, before shutting the drawer and moving to sit on the foot of the bed.  He was positioned just behind her and to the left, and she sat somewhat in profile to him there, the lights from the candles reaching out to her, a few feet from where they sat on the corner table.

            "It's going to be such a boring party, Vincent, I wish I didn't have to go."

            "You'll see people you know there, Catherine.  You should enjoy yourself like this..."

            She slipped the robe off her shoulders as he talked, baring her body to his gaze, and his words faltered.

            "...more often."

            The long line of her back curved down to the pale, delicate lace mesh of French panties, cut high to bare much of her hips, making her thighs look longer than they actually were.  Once on, they were almost a flesh-tone in color.  Almost, but not quite.  Not quite a pastel and certainly not a jewel-tone, but rather a soft haze of color that hugged her trim hips smoothly, like a second skin, dipping to a low V at her belly, the lace edging both delicate and tantalizing.  Her slender arms raised up in a stretch above her head, leaving her left breast open to his hungry gaze.

            "You're right, I suppose, but it just doesn't mean anything to me any more.  It's just something I have to get through, to get back to you."

            Her voice was light and calm, though deep inside she was laughing, imagining his face right now as he watched her.

            "Not many have the opportunities you have."

            His voice sounded a little strained, she thought, humor bubbling through her.

            "You should take advantage of it."

            "Oh, I intend to take advantage of every opportunity, believe me," she replied enigmatically.

            She still hadn’t looked directly at him, intending to give him what he had urged upon her - every opportunity.  In this particular case it was the opportunity to watch her openly for once.  She knew how conflicted he felt over that, the urge to see her overwhelming, yet still inspiring residual pangs of guilt.  Not for long, my love, not for long, she swore to herself.  She pulled her left leg up and began to unroll the thigh high stocking of Pearlescent Buff upon her foot, smoothing it up her calf and over her knee, until the lacy edge of ecru cream rested neatly upon her thigh.  She heard an almost inaudible gasp behind her before she began on the right leg.  She knew he could see the tender flesh of her inner thigh as she maneuvered the stocking on, and felt goosebumps rise there at the thought of his observation.  Both were on now, and she stood up and moved to the mirror to check out the seams.  The stockings were of an almost non-existent color, but glittered lightly, made with a weave of gossamer-like silk that shimmered on her legs, outlining them completely and contrasting nicely with the pale ivory of her thighs, especially at the band of creamy lace which rested just five inches above each knee.

            A chair sat before the dressing table, her black satin stole folded across the seat.  The back wasn’t too high, but it did block off her reflection from just above thigh level down.  She took in that fact quickly, and without pause slipped it sideways so that the seat was still before her, but the back was now to her side, leaving the image reflected in the glass whole and intact.  She glanced up at it for a moment, taking in her half naked appearance with satisfaction, then turned around and craned her head back to see if the seams were straight.  She faced him in this pose, though her attention was focused behind her, on her image in the mirror.  Slipping into the black heels which sat beside the dressing table, she turned again, one hand on the chair back beside her to support her slightly off-kilter position, checking out the effect once more.  Finally she straightened up and moved toward Vincent until she stood just five feet from where he sat.  His crystal rested between her bare breasts, and would lay hidden this night, as it usually did, beneath her gown and next to her heart, that sight reserved for Vincent alone.  She sighed with delight at that thought, then set it aside, remembering the objective of the moment.  He watched her with a shuttered gaze, his eyes alternating between her and the book held open across his lap.  She wasn’t fooled, but she hid her humor from him, her hold on the bond as tight as her meager skills allowed.

            "Vincent, are my seams straight?"

            Turning before him she stood quietly, a small smile on her face which had been hidden from him a moment before.  A few minutes passed before he answered, and she knew he was drinking the image of her in.  She could picture the look on his face now, and her heart began to thud heavily within her chest, despite her best efforts to stay calm.  When he finally spoke, his muffled "Yes," was almost impossible to discern.

            "Good," she responded, careful to keep a light note in her own voice.

            She turned back to face him and leaned over the bed to grab one of the two remaining articles there, a lace-trimmed mesh bra which matched the panties.  It was see-though sheer, its delicate straps threaded with satin ribbon.  Altogether frilly and insubstantial, it hardly performed the original intent of a bra at all, but it was superbly constructed for her purpose this night, she thought, carefully keeping the wicked smile deep inside.  Slipping her arms through the straps she snapped the front closure, cleverly hidden by a pale rosebud of satin.  Glancing down she noted that her taut nipples were completely visible through the sheer chantilly lace, just as she knew they would be.  Turning her attention to the last bit of silk on the bed, she gave it her consideration.  It was a short camisole shift of pale coral.  A fine, delicate weave of raw silk, it was absolutely translucent, indeed almost transparent, the blush of color there so diffused it was more a sensation than actual sight.  Peach-colored ribbons and lace wove through the neck and arm openings, and along the hem, with tiny pearl buttons going all the way down the front.  Hmmm...  The black velvet was fully lined with heavy silk, and the image of her dressed like this beneath it was sure to drive him wild while she was gone, and besides, he should have something here to remind him of her...

            She almost laughed out loud at that patently ridiculous thought, but she left the camisole lying there nonetheless and made her way back to the dressing table.  Lipstick would usually be the last thing to go on - to avoid smearing her dress, of course - but this night she leaned over the chair, one knee lifted to rest upon the seat, sans dress, the curve of her bottom almost completely bare to him, and peered closely into the mirror as she applied a coat of glossy red.  She took an inordinate amount of time inspecting the results before she carefully applied a bit more, pursing her lips to get it just right.  Her knee slid off the chair until her foot rested on the ground once more as she leaned over to inspect the results in the mirror, one hand lying on the table’s surface, the other on the back edge of the chair off to her right.  She shifted her weight from one foot to the other in a languid, unstudied motion that resulted in a gentle and provocative swaying of her exposed behind and taut thighs.  He could see her from both front and back, thanks to the mirror before her, and her actions had to be driving him mad, though she could sense nothing from the bond itself this night.  It was utterly still, and that hadn’t been the case since that night just over a month ago, the night they’d finally broken through his barriers and made love.

            When she heard a raspy indrawn breath behind her, she took pity on him, straightened up and removed the black velvet dress from its hanger on the door.  Normally she would have slid it over her head, but after a momentary pause she slipped the hidden zipper in back down its full length, let it pool to her feet and carefully stepped into the opening.  She pulled it up slowly, twisting her hips to ease it over that rounded swell until she could finally slide her arms into the sleeves.  Reaching behind her, she slowly pulled the zipper up, all the while watching him watch her through the dressing table mirror.  His eyes were pinned on her backside, watching her hand move up the long line of her spine, his mouth open, teeth fully exposed, chest rising and falling rapidly.

            Perusing her reflection in the mirror, her own thoughts were mixed.  The dress was lovely, giving her a classic appearance that would suit almost any occasion, except for the very specific one she had in mind at the moment, the wry thought filtered through.  In contrast to a moment before, she looked so, well, so dressed!  She almost laughed out loud, but stopped herself just in time, glancing surreptitiously over in Vincent’s direction.  He didn’t look as if he saw anything humorous in this situation whatsoever.  She smiled and gave him a moment more before turning to face him.

            "All ready."

            He nodded, his face bright red, and she could see that his hands trembled where they held the open book tight over his lap, both it and his hands effectively covering the reaction Catherine had no doubt about, no doubt at all.

            She paused, withdrawing her attention from that delicate region, and looked back at the dressing table for a moment, as if considering.

            “I forgot perfume.  What do you think, Vincent?  Yes?  No?”

            He shook his head slowly, and she nodded in acquiescence, not surprised by his response.  She knew that strong, artificial scents overwhelmed his sensitive sense of smell, and that more importantly, he preferred the scent that was uniquely her own.  Still, it was too bad she hadn’t had the fun of dabbing some of the pale liquid on while she had been half naked before him.  She was sure she could have found some wonderfully intriguing spots to taunt him with, imagining his reaction to what might have been with an evil grin kept carefully hidden.  She stopped her perusal of the dressing table contents and finally turned to him.

            "Are you sure you want to wait, Vincent?"

            She tried hard to keep the teasing tone from her voice, and was fairly successful, though she thought she might dissolve into giggles at any moment.

            "I'll be here."

            The words were hoarse and low, stopping any further comments she might make on this topic.  She could see it took a real effort for him to speak at all right now.  Nodding in agreement, she picked up the black stole from her dressing table chair and wound it around herself, then dropped her lipstick into her small satin purse, the effect complete.  Moving to his side, she leaned down and brushed a kiss against his mouth, careful not to let it turn into anything more dangerous just now.

            "I'll be back soon, very soon."

            She whispered the last words in his ear, unable to keep up her teasing facade any longer, now that she actually had to leave him.  Pulling away with a sigh of regret she left his side and made her way to the front door through the darkened living room, her heart suddenly heavy, despite the lightheartedness shared by them just moments ago.  Oh, how she wanted to stay here, with him.  But it was impossible, duty beckoned.

            She undid the deadbolt and pulled the door open, but just then a hand reached past her and pushed it closed again.  She felt herself turned and pressed back against the hard oak surface, his arms resting on the polished wood at either side of her face, his body pushed tightly against her own.  Then he was kissing her, his mouth devouring hers with a hunger she had been privileged to enjoy only recently.  His tongue swept across the sharp tips of her teeth, tantalized the tender flesh of her inner cheeks, then slid to her own tongue, coaxing her to him, and she was absolutely helpless to resist, her insides melting completely at his masterful touch.  The kiss ended - reluctantly so on both their parts - when he pulled back from her with a gasping breath.  Only a few short, precious inches separated them, just enough to let their eyes meet, hers hazy and confused with a sudden awakened desire, his dark and blazing with unleashed passion.

            "Hurry back, Catherine.  I'll be waiting."

            He dropped a tender kiss upon her brow and pulled the door open slightly and she felt herself pushed gently along the smooth wood.  Her eyes stayed locked to his until the very last moment, when she found herself standing out in the hall, leaning against the wrong side of the door.

            The wrong side, damn it!  Her eyes flashed in frustrated anger and before her a vision of Joe appeared, his typical good-natured smile transposed into a definite smirk, one she’d like to smack right off his face!

            The humor of that thought lightened her mood somewhat, though her legs were still dangerously unsteady from that devastating kiss.  She leaned her body against the door for a few minutes more, collecting herself, and knew that he rested just behind her, on the other side.  She could still feel his body against her own, and a flush suddenly swept up across her chest and face, suffusing her with warmth.  She almost - almost - turned back for the heady passion she knew awaited her on the other side, but finally subdued that urge, and on shaky legs, made her way to the elevator.

            She felt his kiss all the way down to the lobby, blushing profusely when the doorman tipped his hat to her, a sudden sparkle in his eyes.  She felt it during the taxi ride downtown, sure the cabby was watching her through his rear-view mirror.  And the sensation didn’t go away when she reached the hotel reception area, but rather intensified, as if she’d walked naked into a room full of exquisitely and correctly dressed bluebloods.  Her nipples tingled and tightened, and she was extremely grateful for the heavy and concealing nature of the black velvet.  On the other hand, the heavy silk lining could be clearly felt through the sheer lace mesh of her bra, and it only exacerbated the thoughts filling her.  Between her thighs a creamy warmth gathered.  She blushed a brighter shade of red, feeling the heat in her face, and hurried off to the ladies room to fix her lipstick and calm her thoughts before she embarrassed herself in front of the Mayor himself.

 

*    *    *

 

            As the taxi drove up to her building entrance, she craned her neck upward, seeking out any glimpse of light from the apartment eighteen floors above.  None could be seen.  Good.

            Unless Vincent had left...

            She handed the driver a twenty and jumped out, forgetting about the change and leaving a very happy cabby in her wake, then ran through the entrance, calling out a hello to the doorman in passing.  She was in too big a hurry to notice the speculative smile on his face as he watched her retreating back.

            The elevator was just opening as she approached it, and she got on with an elderly couple from the 5th floor.  An exchange of pleasantries followed, but once they got off the remainder of the ride was hers alone, and mercifully silent as she counted off the remaining floors; six... seven... eight... nine... ten... eleven... - come on, come on! - twelve... thirteen... fourteen... fifteen... sixteen... - hurry, damn it! - seventeen... eighteen - thank god!

            The elevator door seemed to take forever to open, but when it did she flew through it, fumbling with her keys.  They dropped from her trembling hands, and she swore softly, frustration and excitement almost overwhelming her altogether.  As she scrambled for them at her feet, the door suddenly opened part way and she was pulled inside.  It slammed shut behind her, but she was hardly aware of it at all as his strong arms enfolded her, pulling her close.  He kissed her eyelids, cheeks and ears before finally finding her mouth, and by then she was trembling with need, shaking in his arms, and glad for their strength which held her safe and secure.

            “Oh, Vincent, Vincent, I missed you so much!”

            He groaned against her open mouth, sliding aside to nibble her ear once more, hot breath scorching her tender flesh.

            “And I missed you, Catherine.  I thought I would die if I had to wait one minute more!”

            He held her tight and she could feel his arousal clearly, her heart rejoicing at the blatant sign of desire he no longer sought to hide from her.  The first few times they’d made love he’d been so cautious, so careful and solemn, but that hadn’t lasted long.  With her help, and the innate sensuality inherent in his makeup, they’d progressed quickly, loving each other with a wild intensity that was more than either had ever dreamed possible.  It still took a while to push past all his barriers, and it didn’t happen every time, but he was getting more and more comfortable trusting his instincts in this regard now, and she was anxious to banish all his fears once and for all.  Tonight the possibilities had expanded yet again to include the sexual teasing which had set him so on edge, but she had been caught in the crossfire as well, a victim too, and gladly so.  She sighed with pleasure as the enjoyment of the early evening strummed through her, then felt her resolve firm.  The evening wasn’t over yet.

            Vincent must have felt a shift over their bond, for he leaned back and slowly unwrapped his arms from about her waist.  Catherine drew in a deep breath, and composed her face.  But strangely enough it was Vincent who spoke first, drawing them back from their passion, as if he sensed her intent.

            “How was the party, Catherine?  Did you have a good time?”

            His voice was soft and even, if still a bit husky, and he nonchalantly moved further back from her to half lean and half sit on the arm of one couch, increasing the distance between them by several feet.  In the darkened room he was barely more than a still shadow across from her.  She drew in another breath and tried to match the calmness of his voice with her own.

            “It was like they all are, the same people, the same mindless conversation.  I was wishing I was back here, with you, the whole time.”

            “You were?”

            “Yes, couldn’t you feel it?”

            He hesitated for a moment and her eyes narrowed as she tried to see through the dark to read his face.

            “Yes, I felt it.”

            The pause spoke volumes, and something in his tone, in the way he had spoken those four short words, made her wonder.  She wondered, but not for long.  She decided to change her tack, moving across from him to discard her stole and purse on the other couch.

            “And it was hot with so many people in such a crowded space.  They never seem to get a large enough hall for these things.”

            She noted that his pause now lasted a fraction of a second longer than the one which had preceded it.

            “Lined velvet is heavy.  Perhaps you should take it off.”

            Her eyes widened at his bold suggestion, spoken so casually, so calmly, but she pretended nothing was out of the ordinary as she considered both it and the implications of that action.  Upon reflection, the possible implications which presented themselves were all intriguing in the extreme.

            “Yes, you’re probably right.”

            Nothing in her voice gave away the emotions building in her, and she only hoped she was successful in muting them from the bond somewhat at least.  She moved away from the door, through the darkened room and toward the cozy glow of candlelight beyond, and felt his presence beside her, his hand rising to rest possessively at the small of her back, the touch there so light she might almost have thought she imagined it.  They entered her bedroom and a warm tingle grew in the pit of her stomach at the thought of what was yet to come this night.  The room looked as it had when she’d left, the candles and tea serving on the small corner table, his book laid down beside them...

            Her eyes caught the only anomaly in that moment and she paused, but only for a second. before continuing forward smoothly, giving no sign that she’d seen the silken camisole, no longer laying across the bed where it had been before, but instead now resting on the arm of the chair.  She turned toward the dressing table mirror, ostensibly brushing a loose strand of hair back while she watched Vincent cross the room to take his place in the wing backed chair once more.  She watched his retreating back with baited breath, loving the taut curve of his hips and thighs as he moved away from her, waiting for him to turn.  But the sight she craved was denied her when he picked up the camisole first, then turned to sit down, the fall of silk held in his hands before him in a casual and altogether seemingly innocent manner.

            Innocent my ass, she thought with indignation.  Her breath released in a frustrated fall of sound that she was unable to hide.  He gave no sign that he’d heard, but she wasn’t fooled.  His elbows rested on the arms of the chair, his hands clasped loosely above, in a pose she had seen many times, only now he held the silk garment lightly between them, letting it cascade in a graceful fall across his lap in such a way as to hide anything of interest which might lay beneath.  His fingers stroked the fabric with a slight, almost invisible motion as he watched her.

            She drew in another deep breath, trying to calm the erratic thud of her heart, wanting this playful banter and teasing to go on, at least for a little while longer.  There had been too many years of solemnity between them, too much worshipping from afar, and she was enjoying every foray they made these days into the whimsical and exhilarating.  It had taken a Herculean effort, but she was finally off that damn pedestal and she was not - repeat not! - getting back on it ever again.  Well, maybe just a bit, she conceded wickedly, but only if he were willing to make a game of sorts of it...

            Her lips quirked upward as a very inappropriate image flashed through her mind of them alone, far below, perhaps in the Crystal Caverns, but she wiped the growing grin off her face immediately, remembering the situation at hand.  In reality, she knew there was really nothing she could ever say or do which would stop him from worshipping her, and that was all right, she supposed, since she worshipped him as well.  She adored him, loving him with a strength and depth that could not be measured or brooked.  Her gaze had softened with the poignancy of those emotions, and she shook her head, determined not to get maudlin, certainly not now, with the supercharged atmosphere of sexual tension surrounding them.  Later, she would tell him later, and he would hold her, cherish her, and make her complete in a way she’d never known was possible, as they drifted together into the shared, sweet dreams of slumber and their bond.

            But not now... not now.

            “Did you get far on your book, Vincent?” she asked almost idly as she straightened up and reached back to grasp the zipper, pulling it down slowly.

            “A few chapters,” he replied, though he made no move toward the volume in question now, his gaze openly turned to her in response.

            “Jane Austen is one of my favorites.  I love the way Lizzy and Darcy are so at odds in the beginning, holding themselves so aloof, while Austen lets the reader see how perfect they are for each other.

            “She was an amazing writer,” he agreed.

            “I know it wasn’t as bad as the Victorian years to come, but she did write during a somewhat socially constrained era for people in general, and women in particular, especially for the middle class.  Still, I can’t help but feel that she does an excellent job at subtly implying that Elizabeth and Darcy would have a wildly passionate relationship, ignoring the conventions of that time in the privacy of their own home.  What do you think?”

            He didn’t answer immediately, and she was beginning to wonder if he would at all, when he finally spoke.

            “Yes.”

            Her toes curled at the sibilant hiss of the ‘s’ on the end.  Hmm...  A deceptively simple response but there was that pause again.  And was it her imagination, or had that ‘yes’ been drawn out longer than normal?  She didn’t have a chance to consider it further, as he added to his answer, his voice soft and impressively even.

            “Then again, I suspect that might often be the case, both before and since that time.  A couple’s public demeanor and private behavior are often two very different things, and rightly so, I believe.”

            Her heart skipped a beat at his words, and she glanced back at him in astonishment, through the mirror, but his expression was innocent and open, and she let the words go uncontested.  The zipper was down all the way now, and she let the folds gape open a bit as she leaned over the dressing table to pull the pins from her hair.  A moment later it fell back around her face in a silken sweep, curving softly just below her jawline.  She ran her fingers through it for a minute, massaging her scalp to erase the feel of the unnatural style.

            Finally she pushed the opened gown off her shoulders and it crumpled around her waist.  Another push and wiggle of her hips and it fell to her feet in a heavy, black mass.  Looking down she paused for a moment, thinking how lovely the velvet fabric looked, as if its sole purpose was to hold a precious jewel on display.  Finally she stepped back and bent over to pick up the garment.  She heard his indrawn breath behind her, and paused yet again, her fingers just grasping the edge of the gown, slowing her motions to a snail’s pace.  Slowly, oh so slowly, she gathered it up, somehow turning a simple action into a frozen tableau.  Finally she straightened up again, though that took an inordinate amount of time as well, and moved to hang the gown on the door.  While she was there, she considered removing her high heels.  She wanted to tease him, true enough, but the shoes felt a little too contrived all in all, now that the dress was put away, a little too Playboy Bunny-ish.  Suddenly an image of herself in one of those archaic Heflin get-ups so familiar from the pop culture of the Sixties flashed across her mind and she had to struggle to hold back the giggle waiting to erupt.  Besides, Vincent didn’t like high heels.  He was always chastising her for wearing such unreasonable shoes to traipse around town in...

            Except for tonight.  He hadn’t said boo about the shoes tonight, she thought suddenly.  Hmm...  Maybe just a little bit longer.  She moved back in front of the dressing table and positioned herself carefully so that he could see her fully, both from behind and from the front, via the mirror, and picking up a brush, began to run long, slow strokes through her hair, surreptitiously watching him all the while.  His gaze was hooded, the lids half closed.  His head was tilted downward a bit, hiding his eyes from her, the silken cloth still held between his hands.  It was impossible to tell from casual observation whether he watched her or it, yet she was certain he saw her every move.  The movement of his fingers upon the shift was more noticeable now, and it suddenly struck her that the motion looked much like that a kitten made when kneading against its mother’s breast for milk.  She swallowed hard, and brought her gaze back to her own actions.  She wasn’t aware of the sinuous wriggle her hips had made at that delicious thought, though had she not been so preoccupied with her own turbulent emotions at that moment, the small, shuddery jolt through the bond might have alerted her to his response.  Nonetheless, the heat rose up in her and partly to hide it from him, partly to tease him further, she bent over the chair and began to brush her hair downward, it’s silky strands hiding her face from the mirror’s view.

            Though she knew what she was doing, she really had no idea how he would respond during the process.  The end result was sure, of that she had no doubt, but the path from here to there was a fascinating unknown for her, one she had watched avidly as it slowly unfolded this night, both earlier and again now, with excitement and delight.  But now, with the blood rushing through her ears and her gaze hidden from him, she was caught unaware, the feel of his strong hands upon her hips taking her completely by surprise.  He grasped her just below the curve of her waist, his fingers curling around to grip the prominent edges of her hipbones, and pulled her back tightly, against his waiting length.  The difference in their heights, with high heels on, was diminished slightly now, and Catherine noticed the effect immediately as her hips made direct contact not with his thighs, as they usually would, but at his groin instead, the rock hard force of his erection felt clearly though his clothing.  She gasped in stunned amazement and bolted upright, only to find the astonishing image of her scantily clad body surrounded completely by his fully clothed one in the dressing table mirror.  He stared directly at her, through the reflection of the glass, his eyes glittering and dark.  Bending his head slightly, without taking his gaze from hers, he pressed his cheek to the curve of her throat, his lips near her ear.

            “Enough.”

            His voice was raspy and hoarse, and somehow not completely his own.  It rumbled through his chest, setting up a corresponding vibration in her own and sending a dizzying wave of sexual anticipation through her that shook her to the very core.  The brush dropped from her suddenly lifeless fingers, and before she could even begin to control her wayward breathing, his left hand slid upward from her hip to cover her left breast.  She was sure he could feel her heart pounding beneath his fingers as he began to fondle and caress her through the lacy bra.  Her nipple tightened painfully in his palm, and he directed his attention there, stroking and squeezing her tender flesh.  A delirious moan escaped her and her knees buckled as her eyes drifted shut, but his right hand caught her, slipping from her right hip across her body to grasp the curve of her waist.  He pulled her up and in, pressing his swelling erection against her soft buttocks, and she moaned again, the erotic sensations overwhelming her.

            “Vincent!”

            A heated kiss burned against the curve of her throat and neck, and his breath rasped hotly in her ear.  She could do nothing but sag weakly in his arms, letting him touch her as he wished, hoping only that he would never, ever stop.  Her left breast throbbed, swollen with pleasure from the lusty attack of his stroking fingers, but the other ached for his touch, the absence of those caresses almost a physical pain.  No sooner had that need made itself felt through her yearning body, than he was there, that message communicated clearly through their bond.  His hand slid over, stopping for a moment only to unclasp the lacy garment before pushing it open to start a vigorous assault on the yearning peak which waited.  She cried out in relief, her hands reaching back to grasp the fabric of his trousers at the side of his thighs, near his knees.  She tightened her fingers in the cloth and pulled him forward even as she ground herself back, trying to pull them together completely.  His hands tightened upon her in response, at breast and hip, while his own hips thrust forward, rubbing his arousal against her in a slow, circular, teasing motion.  She whimpered as the pleasure filling her intensified, drawing all her emotions taut while inside she was molten, flowing towards him, aching to give herself over to him in complete and utter surrender.

            “Oh please, Vincent, please, take me... take me, please...”

            She moaned the words aloud, her voice thick with love and passion, desperately needing him to accept that surrender, to take all she offered and in the taking bring them both to a rapturous bliss beyond everything.

            A groaning growl answered, his muscles expanding about her.  She felt it everywhere, along his taut length pressed up behind her, in his strong arms as they tightened about her, and in his trembling hands as they closed upon her, gripping her harder yet as if he would draw her into himself, melting and merging their flesh to make them one with their bond.  His right hand loosened, and she cried out in protest at even the slightest hint of a withdrawal.  Her cry turned into a gasp as his hand slid down her belly and between her legs without pause, cupping and squeezing her there, where she yearned for his presence.

            “Catherine!”

            He groaned out her name, stroking firmly against the wet mesh of her panties as heat radiated through to his fingers and palm.  She shuddered in his arms, squeezing her thighs together to trap his hand tightly between them.  A deliciously strong caress of her breast sent a wave of dizziness through her and for a split second her muscles relaxed abruptly, before the sexual tension took over once more, drawing them tight in a quivering rush.  Whether he had done it intentionally for just this purpose, or whether it was purely coincidental, he took advantage of that moment, sliding his hand deeper between her thighs, supporting her weight with the powerful muscles of his arm as it crossed her body, and the sinewy tendons of his hand where he held her, at that most feminine spot.  He held her tight while his other hand moved insistently from one breast to the other, teasing her aroused tips unmercifully.  She couldn’t stop the shameless writhing of her hips, pressing herself against him so that he could feel the wet heat building at her core.  The sensations were overwhelming, and she gasped, the sound almost a sob, feeling herself on the very edge.

            Suddenly he stopped.  She cried out in frustration, wanting the release which hovered so close, but he was utterly still, his hold now tender and somehow fiercely protective, allowing her chaotic emotions to draw back from the brink, until once again she felt the ground solid beneath her feet.  Only then did his hand slide away, back up her belly, to seek out the edge of the lacy garment.  He slipped beneath it and returned immediately to the waiting warmth below.  A ragged sigh breathed out at her ear as he found her again, the heat of before now intensified by a creamy softness that pulsed against his exploring fingers.

            Her eyes flew open as his hand pressed her thighs wide and locked upon the sight of their reflection in the glass, gasping at the wanton passion of that incredibly intoxicating scene.  Vincent’s cheek was still pressed tight to her neck, but he stared downward at her trembling body now, instead of at her reflection.  Her yearning breasts quivered under his fondling hand, and beneath them her abdomen was drawn taut, the tender flesh shaking with passionate pleasure at his touch.  Her skin was like ivory in the dim candlelight, and beaded with sweat, while his brawny arms, muscles bulging with power, showed a tawny gold, lightly coated with gingery hair, at wrist and hand.  Beneath the pale silk of her panties his hand moved slowly against her most secret flesh.  She cried out, opening herself fully to his demanding touch, wanting more, needing more...

            “Vincent...”

            Her voice was hoarse and not her own.  A groaning growl rumbled it’s way through her throat, and she wasn’t sure if it originated in him, pressed as he was along her back, or came from her own tight chest and aching throat.  She felt wildly out of control, glorying in the naked passion of their desire, staring at its reflection hungrily, letting it add to the tumultuous rapture building within.  He was oh-so-careful with his fingers and nails, rocking his palm until his fingers nestled between the silky folds of her female flesh.  His fingers and hand covered her completely, his palm brushing tantalizingly over the tingling bud just beyond her swollen lips, the pad of his thumb gently stroking the silken curls above.  She shook as the sensations began to overwhelm her, crying out at the exquisite pleasure he gave her.

            “Vincent”, she whispered urgently, “look at us.”

            It was a command he couldn’t refuse.  With a snarl he pulled his face from the warm pulse beating beneath his lips, his eyes drawn unerringly to the glass before him and their image within it, and seeing them there, he fully dressed, she almost naked, passion-infused expressions on both their faces, the sight of himself, touching her so boldly, so intimately, he gasped, partly in excitement, partly in dismay.  She was fairly sure he couldn’t separate those feelings at this exact moment.  He froze, motionless, confusion evident in his eyes as she watched him through the glass.

            “It’s all right, it’s okay,” she hurried to assure him, her voice a hoarse whisper.  “I love the way you’re touching me.  Please don’t stop.”

            His gaze rose to her own, and locked there, searching out the truth, as if he couldn’t trust what he heard.

            “Please, Vincent.”

            Her eyes implored him, naked with need, and her yearning voice added an entreaty that was irresistible to him, as evidenced by the tentative resumption of his caressing hand a moment later.  When she was sure he wouldn’t stop, she let her fears go, groaning out a sigh of passion mixed with relief.  Her head fell back to rest against his broad chest and her eyelids drifted down to mere slits, letting the sensation of his touch fill her entirely and she felt his chest swell in a deep breath behind her and she knew the last of his resistance had fled.  His hand stroked the taut peaks of both breasts in an irresistible caress, then slid away, and a moment later she felt it at the small of her back as he fumbled with the fastenings of his trousers.  In minutes his turgid flesh pulsed against the curve of her silk-covered bottom, hot and hard.  She groaned in delight, rubbing her hips against him in small, tight circles as she watched his response through the mirror.  He wrapped his arm around her waist and held her to him tight, throwing his head back with a gasping groan to expose the vulnerable curve of his throat and the sharp tips of his incisors.  She swallowed hard, the combined effect of what she saw and what she felt, both physically and over their bond, filling her with ecstasy.

            “Oh yes, yes!” she moaned.  “Please, Vincent, don’t stop.  Take me now, please take me...”

            He swung his gaze back to her, through the glass, and after a momentary pause, the hand between her thighs slipped carefully away, eliciting something like a sob from her.  His thumb hooked over the edge of the panties and tugged them down until they reached the opalescent sheen of her thigh high stockings.  She wriggled shamelessly and they fell to the floor, though she barely noticed, caught as she was by the swelling flesh of his erection behind her and the groaning cry of his voice at her tantalizing action.  She kicked the panties away impatiently and opened her legs to him further, no longer encumbered, even if only by that small scrap of fabric.  His hand traced up her leg, from knee to flank, sliding downward along the humid curve where her hip began, to the delicate inner flesh at her center.  In moments he was nestled again where he had been before, stroking the creamy heat of her passion, feeling the full force of it through her body’s most intimate response.

            He stilled all motion for a moment, and she caught her breath, holding herself still, waiting.  Finally he moved again, spreading his fingers open and pushing her tender lips outward in the process.  She gasped in relief, wriggling her hips backward against his throbbing erection, feeling it huge and hot against her.  One hand slipped behind herself to hold him, hot and pulsing in her palm, and she was rewarded with a rumbling growl that vibrated throughout her own body.  His left hand pulled hers away, catching both wrists together then guided them down to the seat of the chair before her until she was leaning on it completely, her weight supported on both hands.

            Looking up in the mirror she gasped at the sight they presented.  She was almost completely naked, standing in a pose of supplication and submission to the man behind her.  The thin straps of her silky bra were the only part of that garment she could actually see in the mirror’s reflection, and her bare, rosy breasts jiggled slightly as she stood bent over, their nipples tightly erect and fully aroused.  The rest of her torso was more difficult to see in this position, the prominent feature that of his strong arm surrounding and holding her.  The muscles of his right arm were clearly evident despite the two woolen layers covering it, and provided a powerful contrast to her slender, fragile body and its pale ivory skin.  His hand was pressed between her thighs, the barest glimpse of silky curls peaking through, and her legs were spread open for him, waiting, beads of sweat glistening along her pale, quivering thighs.  At mid-thigh, creamy bands of ecru lace began, with the filmy sheen of silk below.  Her hips tilted up to meet his loins in just the right position, and she silently blessed the stiletto heels for the important role they’d played in making that possible this night.

            Vincent stood behind her, fully clothed and so much larger than she, dominating the scene entirely.  Tonight he seemed even bigger yet, taller, broader and stronger, and she wasn’t sure if it was only her imagination, viewing him as she did from this angle and through the glass, or if the overwhelming passion this night had precipitated a muscular response she had never before experienced with him.  She had no idea if this were physically possible with other men, but didn’t doubt it in the least where Vincent was concerned.  She watched him with amazement and awe, stunned by the massive display of power and virility, avidly drinking him in as his muscles flexed and rippled with passion.  She could feel his naked sex pulsing rhythmically, hot and huge, against the heated cleft of her soft, full flesh, but he made no further move, staring at their reflection in the glass as if he couldn’t believe it, his questing fingers between her thighs now stilled, the other hand lying motionless at the curve of her waist.  His chest heaved and he gasped for breath, teeth glittering in the candlelit darkness and hair flying in wild disorder about his head.  The planes of his face were harshly drawn and dotted with perspiration, as if he exerted a supreme effort of will to control himself, both physically and emotionally.

            Would he really take her this way?  He never had, though she’d given him every opportunity in the past few weeks.  Well, all right, certainly none as blatant as she had this night, the wry thought filtered through.  Each time, though, he had silently refused, smoothly maneuvering them to the more traditional missionary position, or some safe variation thereof, his actions so sensual and graceful she had never been sure if he’d been aware of her offer at all.  But somehow she was sure he had.  Some of his fears she knew - they had been dealt with and banished that night five weeks ago.  Others still remained, though they no longer impeded their ability to love physically.  But they manifested themselves from time to time in little, odd ways, and when they did, subtle though they were, she was always aware of them, by the resistance she felt in him in those moments.  Sometimes that was the only way she was aware that any fears remained at all.  She suspected - no, knew! - that illogical though it might be, he was intensely uncomfortable with this position, it’s blatant dominant/submissive pose and the primal, animalistic nature of it forcefully reminding him of his deepest fears and restrictions against physical love, reminding him of the starkest question of his life - that of his humanity.  That this was one of the most common, and indeed popular positions documented among all the varied and credible texts and surveys on sex and lovemaking - and she thought it very probable that he had read quite a few of them, given his insatiable curiosity - was irrelevant to his particular and self-specific fears.  Those were unique to Vincent, because he was unique, and she would never discount them.  She couldn’t even if she wanted to - she had felt the force of their impact all to often in their years together to take them any other way but in deadly earnest.  And so she watched his face carefully now, praying that he would finally cast this fear aside once and for all, but leaving the final decision up to him.

            Long minutes passed as he perused their reflection in the glass.  She saw him take in the whole, himself included, knowing it instantly in the sudden wince of his expression, in the refocusing of his gaze on her alone.  His face changed then, the rigid anxiety melting away as he drank the image of her in, love, passion and desire pushing all else aside.  He leaned forward slowly - she wasn’t sure if she knew it first by the movement in the mirror, or the subtle shifting of his weight behind her - and slid his left hand up the curve of her ribs until he cupped her breast, watching it all through the reflecting glass.  He held her gently, reverently, cupping the thrusting weight of her tender flesh, the taut nipple peeking out between the curve of his thumb and forefinger.  Gently, slowly, he stroked downward over the sensitive bud with the soft pad of his thumb, then back up, over and over again, watching it grow in response, feeling it tighten and harden to an exquisite peak.  No anxiety remained at all now, his expression speaking only of want and need, of love and desire, totally enraptured with the view before him, with the feel of her cupped warmly in his palm.

            Suddenly, unexpectedly, his hands left her body and he straightened up.  She cried out at that absence, watching him with dismay, until a second later, when he crossed his arms over his own body and pulled the sweater and thermal shirt off together, tossing them aside to bare his heaving chest to her lusty gaze.  Only the leather pouch holding her rose remained, and it rose and fell with each swelling breath he drew.  Her cry was cut off by a choking gasp, and she felt the heat between her thighs intensify, even before his hand returned to hold her open and steady.  Her breath came in harsh, panting gasps, all of her attuned to that spot he touched, ready, indeed anxious for him to fill her completely, to make them one again in all ways.  She couldn’t keep still, try as she might, and writhed against both his hand and his pulsing sex, desperately needing one, but unwilling to give up the other.

            “Please, Vincent, please!”

            She was incapable of articulating her needs in any but the most basic way now, trusting him to know, through his own body and their bond, what she wanted of him, how she wanted him...

            “Oh, please!”

            His eyes met hers in the mirror, and she knew before he moved again, that he could deny her nothing this night.  He leaned down slowly and brushed the hair away from the nape of her neck before pressing a warm, lingering kiss there.  Her eyes drifted closed at the touch of his lips upon her sensitive skin, a shivery vibration running down her spine.  He mouthed the tender flesh near her hairline slowly, oh-so-slowly, wetting her skin and then moving on so that each heated touch was followed by a startling burst of chilly air that somehow burned, making her shudder with anticipation.  A moment later his left hand began to trace lightly along her back, from shoulder to blade to ribs, slipping along their delineated curves to cup the luscious fullness of her breast once more, stroking the tip to a state beyond excitement before sliding away to resume its journey downward, to waist and hip, then slipping over the full curve of her backside with an irresistible caress.  His hand turned and she felt the springy hair at the back of his wrist brushing against her buttocks, tantalizing her, teasing her.  And then... and then...

            Finally!  Hot, silky, steely strength touched her, nestling itself at the outer juncture of her waiting softness and she gasped raggedly in relief.  It felt like she’d been holding her breath forever!  His mouth still moved upon her, hot and wet, providing a delicious counterbalance to the liquid heat at the point where their bodies touched so intimately.  She couldn’t contain a groaning sigh as the pressure increased and his hips twisted, the motion translated along the back of her thighs and buttocks.  She pressed back against him eagerly, and felt her muscles quiver as the heat grew, drawing a whimper from deep in her throat.  The fingers between her thighs pressed wider yet, opening her to his urgent demand, and his left hand slid across her waist once more, clasping her tight and pulling her closer, ever closer.  Her world narrowed to that one sensation, that of his throbbing sex pulsing intimately against the wet heat of her own.

            “Oh, Vincent” she groaned aloud, desperate to feel him completely, to possess him even as he possessed her.

            His rumbling growl grew in strength and he tightened his hands upon her yet again, his straining flesh demanding entrance.  Suddenly his voice was at her ear, hoarse and low and barely audible in the midst of the rumbling sounds coming from deep in his throat.

            “I need you, Catherine, I need you...”

            She shuddered strongly as the words wove their way to her very core, the urgency of his tone speaking to her on all levels.  Her trembling, excited muscles responded immediately, relaxing for him as if he had spoken some magic phrase that her body had no choice but to acknowledge.  He either felt that response or knew it was inevitable - either was equally likely, she thought hazily - moving his hips exactly when he needed to, in just the right motion, taking advantage of the shuddering, convulsive wave quivering down her own body to slip within.  She gasped at the feel of him there, barely within her heated depths, and after a stunned pause pushed back forcefully, trying to take him in completely.  His hands stopped her, holding her still.  Finally, when her restless motions had ceased, he released his intimate grasp of her, sliding from between her thighs until both hands gripped the curve of her waist and hips once more.  Her head flew up, eyes wide, to watch him in the mirror and she shuddered helplessly at the image of him there.

            He was the epitome of primal virility, and she wanted nothing more than to submit herself to his desires fully, seeing in her own reflection that desperate need and intent.  She moved her legs further apart, opening herself to him shamelessly, but otherwise stayed still, giving him complete and utter control over her compliant, yearning body.  He was bent over her, his mouth caressing the curve of her shoulder and neck, the coolness of his teeth grazing that sensitive skin in a way that she was sure would eventually drive her out of her mind, but suddenly his eyes rose to meet hers in the glass, and he froze.  Their gazes locked and merged.  She wasn’t sure how long the moment lasted, aware only of a dizzying fall of motion within until she knew their bond had expanded to encompass them both in a way that allowed her to feel everything he did.  The room about her came back into focus, though the sensations filling her never diminished, and slowly, oh-so-slowly, he unfolded himself to stand upright behind her, his hands still clutching her waist, their gazes still locked.  His chest glistened with sweat, deep, jolting breaths plain to see in the reflecting glass.  She felt the coolness of the worn fabric of his trousers against the back of her thighs in contrast to the thick, throbbing heat of his erection nestled just within her pulsing core.  She couldn’t stop the convulsive shudder that quivered through her, caressing the enclosed tip of him in an intimate embrace that was almost unbearable.  She saw it in the shuddering response of his torso, felt it as his flesh swelled within her abruptly, heat radiating from it to warm her very womb, saw it in his eyes as a hazy film dropped over them.  The rumbling growl grew louder, more than just a vibration now, but something beyond sound.  It was hoarse and low and somehow primal, visceral, and she whimpered in response, needing him to fill her completely, to touch her deep inside, claiming her for his own.  She wanted to feel the salty heat of his seed bathing her, filling her, making her his.

            “Please, Vincent, please...”

            She was astonished she could speak at all, so primitive were her emotions and needs right now.  The growl filling his chest erupted in a low, thunderous roll and he threw his head back, his mouth open in a panting groan.  Only the tightening of his hands at her waist alerted her to the motion which followed as he thrust against her and sank deep within in one agonizing stroke.  Her mouth fell open, but no sound emerged, as her eyes glazed over, her body consumed with the sensation of him there, deep inside, touching her, claiming her in the most intimate way a man can claim a woman.  Moments passed, but neither seemed aware of them, standing absolutely still, taking in the incredible feeling of his possession.  Her gaze cleared, though it was as if she saw with tunnel vision only, the sight before her narrowed to include only the two of them, all else falling away from the reflecting glass before them.  He stood behind her, head thrown back, eyes tightly closed, mouth open, the most amazing look on his face.  It was at once incredulous and triumphant, both innocent and primal.  It was the most intensely erotic expression she had ever seen.

            He stood absolutely still, and the lack of motion allowed her to feel his flesh within her own with an amazing degree of detail, her senses heightened unbelievably.  Her own breath came hard and fast, but she stood still, too, knowing that he was immersed in those sensations himself, feeling her flesh with his own, knowing it in a way that could never be undone.  The very thought of that, the sight of his face, of the blissful rapture now filling him, overwhelmed her completely, and the muscles in her satiny sheath convulsed about his thick, straining erection, caressing him with a silky grip from tip to base.  He groaned roughly and his eyes flew open to meet her gaze in the mirror.  Her heart raced at that image, of the contrasting aura of utter masculinity and yearning vulnerability.  How, oh, how could he ever doubt her response to him?  Impossible!  She was filled with a need, sudden and sharp and impossible to articulate, even to herself, but her body knew, and her hips responded instinctively, pushing back strongly against him and moving in a tight, slow circle.  He gasped at this new sensation, watching her as if he couldn’t tear his eyes away, his hands tightening upon her waist, not to guide her, but simply to feel the sinuous motion there.  His flesh, hot and thick, surged in response, and they both moaned at that intimate sensation.

            “Catherine!”  His cry was hoarse and loud.

            She didn’t stop, pushing back harder yet, needing to take all of him within her, to hold him in the deepest, most feminine part of herself, to caress him and love him in every way he’d ever imagined or feared.  She wanted to give him everything, everything.

            “I love you, Vincent,” she whispered, her words weaving their way to his sensitive ears.  “I love you.”

            He shuddered and groaned again, as if those simple words, words she’d spoken so often to him, especially in the last few weeks, were heard for the first time.  She suspected he would always hear them that way, and she knew the wonder of his love would never, ever leave her, would never become stale, old or commonplace.  Never.  She knew the years of isolation, even amid a community as close as his own, where he was loved and cherished as a son, brother and friend by all, would always color his perception of their love, would always make it a miraculous and wondrous thing of amazement to him.  She knew that even without it, the bond would ensure that same sensation, just as she now felt it, and knew she always would.  The years of her own life fell away, and there was only Vincent, only them together within this magical sphere that could be tender and poignant or earth-shatteringly erotic, as it was now.  She groaned loudly as the sensations overwhelmed her, the motion of her hips faltering as her muscles began to convulse in random, shattering sparks of fire.  His hands tightened upon her and slid down, grasping her hips and taking up where she left off, moving her slowly upon his steely shaft.  Arching his back forward, he pressed himself deeper within her silky depths.  Suddenly he drew away and she cried out in dismay, her body needing him back, craving him back.  Slowly, oh so slowly, he withdrew from her, the sounds of their flesh pulling apart erotic in the extreme.

            “Please, Vincent...” she begged him, shamelessly pleading for his return.

            He groaned, his eyes meeting hers and holding her tight.  Again she knew it a split second before the action itself, by the tightening of his fingers upon her, followed quickly by his deep and complete penetration.  She cried out, heat flooding her chest and face.  This time he didn’t stop, setting up a stroking motion that was in no way timid or weak.  With each outstroke he withdrew almost completely, plunging home deeply on the instroke.  Over and over again he filled her, not cautious, not careful, but supremely confident and sure.  Her body jolted beneath his, her tender breasts swaying with each stroke, their taut peaks hard and tingling as the air brushed teasingly over them.  Bracing herself firmly on one hand, she raised the other and stroked across the hardened tips, squeezing them in turn, craving a firm touch upon them.  His pace increased, and she glanced up again to see him watching her with a lusty passion.  Her mouth fell open as the breath was forced out of her lungs, driven by his thrusting body, and her hand fell back to the seat of the chair, both now needed to hold her shaking body secure.  The angle of his hips shifted suddenly, and she felt the dual affect of that change immediately, the blunt tip of his penis striking the wall of her silky sheath in just the right, shivery spot, deep inside, with every stroking motion, while the thick base stimulated her exposed clitoris directly, her tender lips pressed open wide by his invading, piercing flesh.  She moaned loudly, and her whole body began to shake as the sensations grew within, building, surging, spinning out of control.  Her climax took her with a stunning force and she screamed with the pleasure of it, the combined sensation of his body and his emotions felt completely through their burgeoning bond.  Her arms collapsed, folding beneath her as her shoulders fell to the chair, her hot cheek nestling upon the glistening skin of her forearm.  She could do nothing but turn her gaze to the mirror to watch him as he held her hips securely, possessing her completely.

            The expression on his face, as her orgasm played out was unbelievable.  He had felt every bit of it, there was no doubt about that, and she watched in amazement, stunned that he hadn’t let go himself in that instant, in awe of his stamina and will power.  Her body still convulsed weakly about his surging length, and she cried out lowly at the feel of him growing longer and harder within her, the silky wet muscles at her core filled to an unbelievable extent with his thrusting urgency.  Language had deserted her utterly, the only sounds she was capable of making now more of a billing coo, like that of a dove.  He growled in response, as if the sounds only urged him on further, moving faster and harder within her.  His face was amazing, and she watched him through a haze as his own climax approached, feeling it through their bond and in the suddenly abrupt, jolting motions of his body in hers.  His chest rose and fell quickly, the breath straining through his lungs, and suddenly his hands slid down from her hips and between her legs.  He stroked her taut lips and swollen clitoris tenderly before moving to the crease of her thighs.  His fingers tightened upon her, his thumbs resting at the curve of her thighs and hips, then pulled her back and lifted her to his loins, opening her further yet to immerse himself deeply, fully within her satiny depths.  Her legs rested outside his own, and even through his trousers she felt the taut thigh muscles expand as she was lifted up off her feet.  She hooked her toes around his calves, holding him hard and they both groaned as that new position opened her to him further yet.  His back arched, pressing the pulsing tip of his sex tight to the opening of her womb and his head flew back as an unearthly roar split the night, joined by her own agonizing cry as his orgasm set off another in her.

            Amazingly, it was even stronger than the first one, experienced just a few minutes before.  He held her there, against him, as his flesh throbbed deeply within her own, filling her with hot bursts of silky, thick liquid, and she sobbed and moaned, thrashing her head against her arms, her hands clutching the chair seat with a strength she hadn’t known she’d possessed as her hips undulated upon his steely length.  It went on and on, until finally he sank to his knees and brought her with him, her lower body folding in his lap, her upper body sinking against the chair.  His torso rested upon hers, and his hands released her thighs and traced upward, stroking along her hips, waist and ribs before enclosing the throbbing tips of her breasts.  He stroked them tenderly for a moment, then cupped her breasts in his hot palms, squeezing gently before moving up to her shoulders and down her arms.  Finally his hands covered hers and their fingers twined together.  She shifted her cheek to lay it against the russet fur of his arm, settled her hips more firmly in his lap, feeling his thick, quiescent flesh still buried deep, and fell fast asleep.

 

            The comforting depths of sleep slowly receded, leaving in its wake a feeling of incredible heat, warming him everywhere.  The coolness along his back was dismissed completely at the exquisite sensation of radiant heat along his chest and thighs, on the inner edges of his arms but most especially along his sensitive sex.  He felt himself bathed in a silky warmth that was beyond description, beyond thought, and for a moment, as he drifted slowly upward from slumber, he allowed that sensation to grow, encompassing him completely.  Heaven.  The most perfect, blissful pleasure he could ever have imagined.  He could die happy, here and now, and never regret another moment.

            Blinking hazily, the sensations swirling about him consolidated, and he knew that warmth was Catherine, that the darkened room surrounding them was her own.  He froze in protective stillness, his body tensing against hers as his gaze was caught and held by the long mirror before them.  The candles had not yet gone out, but they flickered low, close to extinction, and the room was now lit primarily by what thin moonlight there was, making wavering shadows through the sheers at her bedroom door.  He knelt on the floor, against the seat of her dressing table chair, with Catherine spooned in front of him, along his length.  His hands still held hers, and their arms were crossed before them, her tousled head nestled there.  Deep inside her the most intimate part of himself still lay, held warm and protected by that tight, mysterious and tantalizing place.

            He drew in a deep, shuddering breath, shocked by the scene before him, memories of the hours past playing themselves out in stunning clarity.  Carefully, oh so carefully, he lifted her weight in his arms and withdrew himself from her tender clasp.  Catherine whimpered at that absence, but did not wake up.  Shakily, with a weakness that some small part of his mind acknowledged with amazement, he stood up, holding her close.  The bed was just behind them, eight short feet away, and in a moment the covers were tossed aside and she lay upon the cool sheets.  He leaned over her for a minute more, his emotions a twisted mass of contradiction, then carefully slid the thin straps of her bra off her shoulders.  He held the delicate garment in his hands for a moment, a bemused expression on his face, then finally set it on the bedside table.  The stiletto heels were next, and he tried very hard not to think about them as he slipped them off her feet and dropped them to the floor, how he’d chastised her so often in the past over her wearing of them, how he’d said nothing this night...

            With a gasp he closed down firmly on those thoughts, pulling his attention back to her slumbering form.  He eyed the gossamer stockings on her legs warily, finally easing his claw-tipped fingers beneath the delicate, lacy band on her left thigh to peeling the gauzy silk carefully down over her satiny legs.  The rough pads of his fingers stroked lovingly along the feminine line of her legs, tracing them beneath the silk, from thigh to knee to calf.  Reaching her foot, he allowed his hand to pause momentarily, cupping her heel in the warmth of his palm for a few precious moments before finally stripping the silk over her foot and off her toes, the fabric sliding away with a sigh.  Moving slowly, almost hypnotically, his fingers stroked upward along the silk-clad length of her right leg, then slipped below the top band and gently, tenderly removed it too, the feel of her warmth flesh beneath his fingers and palms, even as she slept so peacefully before him, stirring something deep inside.  A deep breath swelled his chest at the sight of her lying naked on the sheets.  She looked so innocent, so fragile...

            Memories of their wildly erotic coupling swept over him then, and his breath jolted in his chest, the contrast of that earlier vision and her sleeping image now shuddering through him.  So much was new to him.  Loving her physically was something he had thought never to have.  The last few weeks had taught him that they were to be blessed with more than he could ever have believed to be possible, but this...  He had never imagined this sort of sexuality between them.  First she had been teasing, leading him beyond his controlling restraints gently, always giving him the option of retreat should he choose that.  As if he had any real choice in the matter at all, he snorted ruefully to himself, looking back on those hours in hindsight.  When he had finally given in, his wildness was not the only one released.  She had been fiercely demanding, giving and taking pleasure with a joyous abandon that stunned him beyond words.  He stared down at her silently, the ferocity of his own emotions stunning him now, as hers had earlier.  There was hunger there, and a possessiveness that frightened him, tempered by the unrelenting protectiveness that would watch over her always, protect her always, from any who would dare bring her harm.  For so long he had placed himself in that category, that protectiveness adamantly imposed against himself and his desires for her, resolutely denying her own needs in the process.  And now...

            He tugged the covers abruptly over her, stood up and stepped back until the edge of the wing-backed chair pressed against the back of his calves.  He sat down, sprawling weakly, a rasping sigh pulled from him, never taking his eyes from her.  Feeling his absence, she reached out with a whispered sigh similar to his own, searching for him, and with a supreme effort of will he calmed his own thoughts to send her a soothing wave over their bond until finally she relaxed into sleep’s hold once more.

            Vincent could not sleep.  He stared at her, his mind a confused blank, the emotions swirling within him chaotic and half-formed.  Beneath one hand a silky softness lay, and he caressed it absent-mindedly, until he realized what he was doing and lifted it up before him, recognizing the gauzy silk of her camisole.  He held it in both hands now and noted the shaking there, followed by a shuddering quiver along his whole length as the graceful fabric draped down to stroke his exposed belly and groin.  He groaned softly, eyes drifting closed for a moment, but quickly forced his mind to focus once more, and his eyes snapped open again, the expression there wary and resigned.  With a heavy sigh he reviewed the events of this night, trying to determine the exact moment he had lost control of the situation and himself.  How had he let this happen?  He had been so careful, so very cautious with her.  True, he had relaxed over time, allowing himself to be less inhibited than he could ever have imagined, but even then he kept a tight reign on his deepest passions, despite the many lures and teases thrown out by her when they were alone together, when they were intimate.

            He sighed again, this time louder yet, and desperately turned his thoughts back to the issue at large - that of his control.  That control had disappeared entirely sometime while she stood before him, her provocative image in the mirror weaving a spell he had been helpless to resist.  Even now, just thinking about it, and so shortly after their astonishingly erotic encounter, he felt himself responding again, and looked down with something akin to amazement to watch his erection growing once more.  He had dominated her completely, and in a shocking way, using his superior strength and size to bend her desires to his own.  And that position!  He knew it was not an uncommon one for most lovers - knew that very well - but he was not most lovers, and this was an image he had constantly fought in his dreams and fantasies of her, once his psyche had finally begun to allow them to leak through the cracks of the wall he had built so long ago.  He had fortified those walls many times over the last few years, ever since he’d found her and recognized what she meant to his life, to all it had been, and all that was yet to be.  This was one area that he never, ever would have thought himself capable of breaching.  He was shameless, shameless...

            As was Catherine.

            He couldn’t stop the memories once they’d begun, and the picture of her dressed so scantily, her blatantly seductive poses before him, scrolled on.  For despite his shocked dismay, and despite his life-long inclination to fault himself over others, there was no way he could fool himself in this regard.  Catherine had done it all on purpose, with just such an end in mind.  Catherine had wanted him that way, wild and out of control, and dominating her completely.  Even more amazing and unbelievable to him was the certain knowledge that Catherine had loved it when he’d finally lost all semblance of control.  Even now he could feel her happiness and satiated pleasure, dazed and dreamy with sleep, true, but shining through clearly nonetheless.  This truly shocked him, for he had been certain - absolutely certain! - that regardless of the barriers they had overcome in the weeks past, he still represented a potential and very real danger to her, though never an intentional one.  He had resigned himself to being ever vigilant, to not letting go of himself past a point, an invisible line.  And he well knew, or at least at one time had thought he’d known, where that line resided.

            The dark side of himself was something he had not yet fully explored, though Catherine urged him to often enough these days.  She told him over and over again that it was a part of himself, not separate, and that he had to learn to integrate at least some, if not all of it, into his ‘waking’ consciousness.  But he had resisted that firmly, refusing to talk about this final barrier, frightened beyond thought by what lay in wait there, of the possible danger the primal side of him represented to her.  She told him that she loved all of him, even that dark side he would deny, but that frightened him too.  She couldn’t know what it was she wished for, and more than that, he was certain she must never know.

            Not that he ever looked back from that first night five weeks ago.  He never considered giving up the pleasures they had finally found together.  Impossible!  They represented the completion of their bond, a thing that both had craved for far too long.  The happiness they both felt, and the ache neither missed, was too blatant for either to take as any but the strongest sign that this was meant to be.  But in his mind three words always followed that inevitable thought; to a point.  He was as determined as ever to protect her from all harm, and that included himself, the beast within, which had to be guarded against with vigilant caution and care.  He thought he had it under control, had been so certain that this long-familiar enemy was something he could contain where she was concerned, but he never would have guessed where the depths of their passion could lead him... lead them...

            He sighed again, wondering what in the world he could do about this new development between them.  He was actually somewhat frightened to realize that a small part of his mind was giving an answer, but one that was totally unexpected and totally unacceptable.  It urged him to do nothing, to accept the gift of this physical pleasure in all its forms, to take that pleasure, and give it back to Catherine ten-fold, loving her as she had always deserved to be loved; joyfully, passionately, completely.

            With that amazing thought, as if his system could take no more shocks, he felt his eyes grow heavy with sleep.  Unfortunately, the rest of his body, though willing to comply, was at the moment unable, still busily sending blood down to the swelling flesh between his thighs.  He let his gaze linger there, and a part of him noted that deceptively calm observation with a dazed, wry interest.  For so long this was a part of himself he had ignored as much as a man possibly could.  Now he watched the physical reaction, not turning away, not ignoring it, as he had in the past, until he’d gained the inevitable mastery and control once more, but instead idly pairing that response with the emotions that went hand in hand with it.  The unintentional pun did not go unnoticed, and his lips quirked upward a bit at the edges, while some small part of himself stood by appalled, berating himself over such inappropriate humor.  For some reason, that part held no sway at this moment, and he noted that, too, with a scholarly interest, though it went no further than that.  After a slight pause, he slipped his hand down to gently touch the throbbing organ, hesitantly stroking one finger along its pulsing length, surprised by the heat it generated.  Somehow he had thought the heat to be hers alone, a part of the creamy, secret depths he so loved to be held within now.

            He shuddered strongly at that thought, his palm closing around the thick staff, near the head, and tightening almost painfully before he realized what he was doing.  He loosened his grip, but didn’t release it altogether, letting his thumb roam up and over the broad, tumescent tip.  A silky wetness met him there, and he spread it about the aching flesh softly, feeling both aroused and somewhat sore.  His trouser-clad legs were stretched out before him, one straight and the other slightly bent, with that knee falling to the side to open the vee of his thighs more fully to his exploring touch.  He stroked along his throbbing staff several times, drawing in a deep breath at the urgency growing within him.  Finally his hand slid down to cup the tender sac resting just beneath.  There was heat there as well, and he analyzed the sensations of his own touch with a somewhat detached curiosity, the silky, slightly furry globes rolling gently in his palm, his long fingers feeling the growing pressure there as he tentatively touched and explored, stroking the sensitive skin at the base, first behind it, then in front, where it was connected to the rigid stalk straining above.  With his free hand he pushed the loosened trousers down his legs and kicked them away, staring down at his now naked body.  His thigh muscles quivered tautly, clearly delineated in each proud line, the gingery fur coating them glistening with sweat at his growing arousal.  His erection grew in his hand, thickening, lengthening, and he watched in shocked disbelief, as if seeing it for the first time, wondering how in the world he had ever allowed himself to even think of making love to Catherine.  But it was an idle thought, for he knew the reality of it now, and despite his dismay from this evening’s events, he knew there would be no turning back, not for either of them.  Though he was still very tired, his enflamed body begged for release, demanded it.  His breath began to come in harsh pants as he stroked his turgid flesh, but his eyes were now pinned on Catherine’s slumbering form.  How he wanted her.

            Later he would be amazed and chagrined by his unchivalrous and uncharacteristic behavior.  His hand fell away as he unfolded himself from the chair.  Moving to the bed, he slipped under the covers and pressed his naked, aroused body close to hers, wrapping his arms around her and crooning her name over and over again, entreating her, needing to share those intensely intimate emotions with her.  She woke slowly, easily, knowing immediately, her acceptance communicated instantly through their bond, and his bemused expression relaxed in relief as he buried his face in the curve of her neck.

            “Catherine,” he groaned.

            She turned to him more fully, until her breasts were pressed tight to his chest and his erection nudged against her thigh.  Hooking a heel around his knee, she opened herself to him, and he felt the wet heat of her at his belly a moment before she fell back.  With her tight hold on him, he went along, and found himself resting in the cradle of her thighs.  Her arms circled his neck, and her knees rose up to his waist, a blatant offering that could not be ignored or denied.

            “I’m here, Vincent, I’m here.  For you, my love, only for you, always for you...”

            She murmured against his ear, crooning lowly to him, whispering intensely sensual and private words in his ear.  He strained closer, half in shocked disbelief at her blatant sexual entreaties, half in a dizzying desperation to hear more.  She urged him down to the creamy warmth awaiting, and he went gladly.  He needed to be there.  He needed to feel himself held close and tight in that incredibly intimate place.  With no precursor and no foreplay, she reached down and guided him to her.  He gasped at the first touch of her fingers upon him, pulsing hotly in her small palm, astonished, as always, at the dramatic differences between them which had astonishingly proven to be no barrier to their love.

            Poised at that heavenly gate, he lifted his upper torso off her somewhat, resting on his forearms, to stare down at her, their gazes locked.  Her features were at once both soft and taut, the desire in her growing, and he stared in awe at the love there for him, only for him.  Somehow, despite all that had happened between them in the past five weeks, despite the intensely intimate events of the past few hours, he couldn’t shake the incredulous sense of disbelief.  He had grown to manhood certain that there could never be a love for him like other men had, not spiritual, and certainly not physical.  Had someone told him such a love waited, he would never have believed it.  It was almost impossible to do so now.  If it weren’t for the presence of the bond, he wondered how long he might have been able to go on fooling himself over the inevitability - the destiny! - that held them tight and connected.

            No more.

            Slowly he lowered himself to her, his golden hair teasing the tips of her sensitive breasts, already hardening with desire.  His lips brushed hers, the touch there soothing and soft.  He licked that silky flesh all over, lapping at the hidden corners of her mouth delicately, drawing in her taste and scent until he was dizzy with it.  With a gentle twist of his hips, he pressed inward, just a bit.  Catherine gasped in response, her mouth falling open, and he was there, taking her warm flesh in a deep, wet kiss.  His tongue languidly searched out her own, and she moaned at the heady sweetness of him, opening to him completely.  The rest of her body responded as well, and within her silky sheath a dewy honey drizzled down, coating the sensitive tip of his erection.  Her muscles clenched around him, holding him like a silky glove, and he groaned against her mouth, then began to rock his body into hers.

            This loving was slow and tender, building in measured increments, the energies of the earlier evening giving way to sweet affirmation.  They drew together in every way now; mind, heart, body and soul, connected on every level through the precious union of their bond.  It was expanding, encompassing all they were, and he knew that at this moment she felt the bond and them within it as clearly as he did.  Slowly, gently, he rocked, and with a final, careful thrust he buried himself within her entirely.  The stimulation was overwhelming, and for a moment he let his weight rest against her, heavy and hard, as he absorbed those sensations, groaning weakly.  Her arms circled him, holding him close.

            “Oh, Vincent,” she moaned.

            He tried to lift his body somewhat off hers, but her arms tightened, pulling him back.

            “I’m too heavy, Catherine,” he objected.

            “No you’re not,” she sighed.  “I love the feel of you like this, on me, in me.  Please, Vincent, just a while longer.”

            The words stunned him, as all her assurances did in this area, but nonetheless he let himself relax against her once more, unable to resist the pleasure she offered.

            Once she felt his capitulation, her grasp on him loosened, and she allowed her hands to stroke across his broad shoulders and back, exploring him.  Her fingers traced lovingly down his spine, where a somewhat thicker trail of fur grew, stroking and delving within it to the sensitive skin underneath.  He shuddered in bliss at her touch, his erection surging within her.

            “Stop, Catherine, I can’t...”  The words trailed off, his lips hot and quivering against her temple.

            “Shhh, it’s all right,” she assured him.

            Slowly, tenderly, her stroking fingers moved downward to caress the strong muscles of his backside, feeling them tense beneath her hands.

            “God, how I love you.  How I love this,” she whispered.

            The inner flesh of her arms held him from ribcage to hips, her hands doing titillating and tantalizing things to him lower down which were driving him to distraction, while lower yet her heels rubbed silkily against the back of his knees, stroking the tender skin there.  She raised her legs higher until they rested on his upper thighs, humming with satisfaction when his body settled deeper into hers.

            “Catherine...”

            “Yes, my love, yes.”

            He groaned, unable to answer further, too engrossed in the sensations.

            “Does this feel good?  Do you like it?”

            His breath caught, dazed by her questions.  “Yes, oh, yes... you know I do,” he moaned in a breathy whisper.

            “Tell me.”

            He groaned again, wondering how in the world he could possibly articulate something too blissful to be of this earth.  Surely they existed on some other plane now, borne there by their magical and omnipotent bond.  Her fingers reached deeper, stroking between his legs to touch the warm, tight sac, and he cried out, jolting against her in surprise, his body thrusting deep into hers in response.

            “Catherine!”

            Her own moan of pleasure blended with that sound.  She writhed against him, moving one hand to the small of his back to rub the tensing muscles in a soothing, protective motion, though the other stayed where it was, caressing that intimate part of himself tenderly.

            “Tell me, Vincent,” she repeated breathlessly.

            A rumbling growl answered first, vibrating through his chest, and he fought the urge to give in to a shallow, harsh panting, knowing once that happened he would soon lose control.  After a heroic struggle, he finally found his voice again.

            “To feel you like this, Catherine...  To be with you like this, in you...  It is beyond my wildest dreams, beyond anything I could have ever imagined.”  His hoarse words were interrupted by another groaning growl and he couldn’t stop the gentle rocking motion his body began.  “More than I ever, ever could have imagined,” he repeated, the words trailing off to a low whisper.

            Her arms tightened about him and she held him close, her hands resting on his buttocks to feel every movement of his body in hers.  She was surprised when, a moment later, he spoke again, his mouth pressed hotly to her ear.

            “You’re so hot, so wet, so silky soft...”

            Each adjective was punctuated by a tender thrust of his hips against her own, his growing erection sinking deeper with each penetration.  Catherine caught her breath on the first, bit back a groan on the second, but couldn’t withhold a cry of pleasure at the third, bold thrust.  She couldn’t stop the clenching muscles at her core, either, and his hands tightened beneath her, on the curve of her shoulders in response, the rumbling growl erupting momentarily.

            “Yes, oh, yes... hold me like that,” he whispered hoarsely, “so tight, so tight...”

            She repeated the action, purposefully this time, caressing him deep inside, squeezing and releasing his pulsing flesh once, twice, three times.

            “Oh, god!” he groaned, his fevered mouth moving to kiss her deeply, his tongue stroking her there in counterpoint to the thick flesh straining between her legs.  She whimpered deep in her throat, and when he attempted to pull back from the kiss, she caught his tongue between her lips and sucked at it, flicking her own tongue against its tip in a shockingly sensual way that brought to mind a vivid and provocative image that almost undid him completely, his erection surging in response.  Finally, reluctantly, their mouths parted and they both gasped in gulping lung-fulls of air.  His eyes sought out hers and he was stunned by the heightened passion on her face.  She beckoned him on, urged him with her eyes, and finally again, with her words.

            “More, Vincent,” she entreated him.

            “More?” he asked, with a ragged, gasping breath.

            “Harder,” she whispered, “deeper”.

            He groaned in response, and she pulled his head down to hers again, kissing him deeply.  This time, when she pulled back, it was only part way, and the kiss never really ended, it just shifted into something else, something he had grown addicted to in their short time as lovers.  Her tongue flicked into the secret cleft of his upper lip and with a deep growl his mouth fell open, allowing him to draw in some much needed air while yet leaving that tender spot completely accessible to her.  She licked deeper into the slick, hidden fold and he responded again, this time with his entire body, a convulsive shudder quivering through him and culminating at his groin as the rumble in his chest erupted in a growl.  His erection surged strongly within her yet again and, ignoring the heedings of logic which had always restrained him up to this point, he thrust its growing length harder, deeper and felt the answering, shivery caress of her silky sheath deeper than ever before.  Catherine’s head fell back to the pillows and thrashed from side to side, a moaning cry twisting through the night.

            Despite his increasingly erotic motions, Vincent maintained an almost excruciatingly slow pace, making the detailed sensations of every single movement of his body within hers something they both felt completely.  Each firm penetration was followed by a slow, deliberate withdrawal, until Catherine was absolutely sure he would slip from her body entirely, the broad tip of his sex barely resting within her throbbing flesh, stretching the delicate inner lips wide to directly stimulate the tiny bundle of nerves at the very apex.  Each outstroke found her clasping her inner muscles tight, desperately trying to hold him to her, loving the sounds he made at that moment, deep in his chest and throat.  She would hold him that way for as long as possible, until the growing sensations of her own body overwhelmed her and she had to release him.  Only then, finally then, he returned, filling her with one deep, swift surge of motion that jolted the air from her lungs.  His plunging length rasped thickly against the sensitive walls of her satiny sheath, not stopping until he was buried completely, the tip of his erection pressing firmly at the very mouth of her womb.

            Her groaning sighs were continuous now, and building in strength to mingle with his rumbling growls, a love duet of such tender, poignant sound that each thought they must be dreaming it.  To that glorious music she writhed beneath him, the silky skin of her inner thighs and calves caressing his hips and thighs in a way that was driving him mad.

            “Catherine... oh, Catherine...” he moaned, grasping her shoulders tighter yet and pressing his whole body close to hers, needing to feel her skin along every inch of his own.

            A sobbing cry escaped her as she felt the change in him, in the tightening of his hands upon her, in the expanding muscles of his body, in the possessiveness of how he took her, and in the growing vibrations of their bond.  Even his voice was lower and huskier than it normally was.  He was virile, he was wild, and she loved it, all of it.

            “Yes, Vincent, yes!” she cried out to him, urging him with her body and through their bond to let go completely.

            He groaned loudly but kept up his rhythm.  Catherine first.  He would wait for her always, and take his pleasure in the wake of her own, riding that crest to a blissful paradise he had never before suspected could exist.  Having finally glimpsed that place, just five short weeks ago, he was incapable of not seeking it out time and time again, and he did so now, with a determination and focus that would not be brooked.  He fought to maintain a slow pace, making each thrust a coupling in and of itself, needing to love her completely and thoroughly, but it was difficult as her own silky muscles had begun to convulse in a more random fashion, quivering about his pulsing flesh and urging a faster response.  He took the unspoken demands of her body to heart, adding a third command, faster, to her previous request.

            His body responded instantly, and she moved with him as if they were one, matching each thrusting motion of his hips with her own, their groaning cries filling the night.  A burning heat grew at his groin, surging within him until the growl in his chest erupted from his throat, “Catherine!”  It was a warning and a plea.  He couldn’t wait any longer, couldn’t hold back, had to let go now, oh, god, now, please now!

            “Oh, god!”  Catherine threw her head back, thrashing it from side to side on the twisted sheets, her hands gripping him convulsively, just as her body did internally.  With a scream she arched up off the bed, taking him completely into her hot, demanding depths, spasms wracking her body as the bond exploded around them.  No distance separated them as his own explosive released followed.  An eerie, shuddering roar rushed through his throat and was half buried as he instinctively caught the curve of her neck and shoulder between his teeth, the sound converted to a shuddering vibration that quivered down her convulsing body, extending her climax until her voice was hoarse and weak, her strength utterly depleted.  She lay still beneath him, taking the last of his pulsing heat into her welcoming depths, clutching him tightly and holding him close until his weight collapsed upon her.

 

            Neither knew how long the darkness held them in its warm, comforting grip, but eventually the absence of sensation slowly retreated.  Sound came first, her voice warm and low at his ear.

            “Yes, my love, yes...”

            A moment later he felt her hands and fingers stroking tenderly along his back and arms.  Finally his body shivered back into existence, her own warm and soft beneath him.  With a shuddering sigh and a massive will he forced himself off of her, rolling to his side but drawing her with him, his arms resolutely tight about her.  He blinked hazily and the room appeared about him once more, and Catherine was there.  The silvery green/gray light of her eyes pierced him to his very core.  “Catherine.”

            “Yes, my love, I’m here, I’m here...”  She murmured lowly, then leaned in to nuzzle his ear, licking delicately along the sensitive inner curve.  “I’m here.”

            “What have you done to me, Catherine?” he groaned, helpless in his response, clutching her closer yet.

            A girlish giggle whispered against his ear and she bit down gently on the tender lobe, then licked it lightly.  “Don’t you like it, Vincent?  Do you want me to stop?”

            He gasped as her teeth and tongue teased his sensitive flesh, a shivery vibration running down his length.  “No...  No, I don’t want you to stop, not ever.”

            “Never?” she teased, “That’s a long time.”  She wound her arms around his neck, pulling herself tighter to him.  “I suppose we could order our meals in.  This is New York City, after all.”  She laughed again, and nuzzled his throat, kissing him tenderly.  Her teasing was finally rewarded with his own reluctant chuckle.

            “Father would notice my absence eventually, I’m afraid.”  He paused, then went on.  “William’s kitchen is not too distant from my chamber though, and I don’t have any responsibilities this weekend, at least none that I can’t get out of...”

            There was a hesitancy in his voice, and she knew why that was.  The first time they had made love had been here, Above, in her apartment, as had all the times since.  Both had been reluctant to bring this facet of their growing relationship Below, partly from a need to savor it between themselves, and partly to protect the preciousness of it from any who might condemn it.  Father had been on both their minds in this regard.  She pulled back until she could meet his eyes, her own suddenly serious.  “Are you sure, Vincent?”

            He stared at her, the blue of his eyes deep and calm and true.  “Yes, Catherine, I’m sure.”  Stroking his hand along her shoulders, he slid his palm up until it cupped the back of her head, his fingers twining in the silky strands of her hair.  “I want you there, my love.”  The whispered words were simply spoken, but they meant many things, none of which escaped either of them

            “Everyone will know,” she said, giving him another chance to back off.

            “I know.”  He stroked his thumb along the curve of her ear tenderly.  “You hold my heart, my love.  I cannot hide that.”  He shook his head, a bemused expression on his face.  “I don’t want to.”

            She sighed, a smile curving her lips.  “Wherever you want me, Vincent, that’s where I’ll be.  I belong with you - we belong together.”

            “Yes,” he nodded, his eyes holding hers, “together.”  They stared into each other’s eyes for a long time, knitting this new reality into their bond.  Finally he spoke again, “But Catherine...?”

            She frowned at the sudden question in his voice, determined that nothing would diminish the progress they had gained this night.  “What?  Tell me, Vincent.”  A worried tone crept into her voice, try as she might to still it.

            “I hope this doesn’t mean you won’t be attending any more parties in Joe’s place?”

            The meaning behind his innocent question and expression took a minute to register, but when it did a very unladylike snort errupted, followed immediately by a fit of the giggles.  She didn’t parry with him now, regaining the upper hand in an instant.  “Do you mean you enjoyed my little pre-party play?” she asked coyly.

            He blinked in surprise at the directness of her response, but didn’t disappoint her, answering in kind; “Yes, Catherine, very much.  Though I must admit that the post-party play was even better.”

            She laughed outright at that, astonished and tremendously pleased by the openness of his response.  “I don’t think you need to worry, Vincent, I have a very fertile imagination where you’re concerned.”

            He smiled slowly, the sharp tips of his incisors glinting in the moonlight.  “As do I, my love, as do I...”

            He leaned toward her and she drew in a gasping breath, the rhythm of her heart quickening instantly in response.  They melted together in a kiss, their bond burgeoning about them once more, a glimmering pulse of light that flickered into existance for the barest moment, then sank within, filling them with the heat and love each felt for the other, the pulsing emotions feeding off themselves and growing, until there was nothing left but the two of them together.

            “Again?” she whispered breathily, when their lips parted for a scant moment, to draw in much needed air.

            “Again, my love,” he replied.

            Their lips met once more, the circle of their bond complete, and the night enclosed them as they sought again the depths of their love, together.