Epilogue: When Love and Need Are One

In a tavern somewhere in New England, a bartender---a lithe, dark-haired man with three parallel scars on his cheek----hung up the phone and grinned. The noise of the bar, the clatter of the bottles and the chatter of the customers seemed very far away as Devin remembered Cathy's description of her two week vacation with his brother. He saw the sunlight and the leaves and the trees. He finally did. Maybe it wasn't south of Oz, but he made it. Even got a case of freckles to show for it.

Just then, his pager went off. He tilted the device towards the light, recognizing the area code as from Manhattan, but it wasn't Cathy's number. Dropping some more quarters in the phone, he dialed the number. “Hi, someone paged me?” he said.

“Devin, it's Jamie. I'm calling from Peter's house.”

“Why, hello, Jamie. How are you doing?”

He could hear her smile over the phone. “Devin, it really worked. They got back last night. Did you know Vincent can get freckles? I didn't.”

Devin chuckled. “I just got off the phone with Cathy. She's as stunned as you are.” He paused. “Did everything go okay while he was gone? I know the Old Man had to be worried.”

Jamie snorted. “Things were so boring around here, Father broke out his stock of scary stories just for a little excitement.” In a softer voice, she continued, “Thanks for taking my call and helping me plan this, Devin. I couldn't have done it without you.”

He nodded, though he knew she couldn't see him. “I know what it's like to want something for Vincent,” he replied quietly. “He's a good guy.”

“They're both good people,” Jamie said. “And we shouldn't have bullied him like that.” There was the sound of a delighted smile in her voice. “Did you know they're getting married?”

“Yeah, Cathy told me that too. I'm glad he had it in him after all.”

Jamie laughed. “So am I. Are you coming for the wedding?”

Devin nodded. “Yup. Cathy invited me. I'll be there, and Charles will too.”

“Fantastic,” Jamie said. “I gotta go, but thanks again.”

“You're welcome. You're a good partner in crime, Jamie. Take care.” He hung up the phone and smiled, the scars on his face crinkling and lending his features even more of a roguish cast. Vincent, I couldn't make all your dreams come true when we were kids, but I could damn near help you realize them now. My hat's off to you, Fuzz.

Returning to the bar, he announced, “A round on the house! My brother's getting married!”

***

In an apartment far above the streets of New York City, Catherine packed and padded and boxed her memories of the life before she had known Vincent. They were to be married soon and with his acquiescence, she'd found an old brownstone in need of some serious renovation...but which also had a tunnel entrance. It was to be their place between the worlds, some small space of the universe where they could live and their worlds could join. It would never be perfect, it would never be Fifth Avenue and ice cream in the sunshine, but it would be better. It would be theirs.

Catherine gazed around the place one last time, remembering the one other time she'd packed to leave and her heart throbbed at all that she'd nearly left back then. Now, it was a different kind of leaving---leaving to join her life with Vincent's as opposed to leaving for a life that would take her away from him. She felt a pang, a tug, but nothing more. Life awaited her, and she awaited it.

Vincent met her at the threshold; she would stay with him below until the brownstone renovations were complete, sorting out the path of their life below and above. Their wedding was just a few days hence. “Ready?” he asked, taking her satchel.

“Yes,” she said and kissed him. “Always.”

***

In a chamber far below the streets of New York City, a man sat on the edge of his bed and remembered. He remembered Anna's white, frightened face as she uncovered the dying child (Anna, I wish you had lived to see this! Father thought) and the three days of wailing and that child slowly growing better and stronger. He'd lost his heart to the boy right then---how could anyone not lose their heart to a child so determined to survive? He remembered his son taking his first steps as Devin held his hand, all the bumps and bruises and joy and sorrows that came afterwards.

And now his child was to be married this very night. Father had heard Jenny down here some hours earlier, so presumably she and Jamie and Mary were attending to Catherine. Catherine, soon to be his daughter in law. Such a thing did not seem possible---or at least, it did not to him, though he had grown to love her for the caring, bright, fierce, passionate woman she was. It did not seem possible because surely his son was not old enough—surely he was not old enough---to have a child getting married.

Devin came in. “What's up, Dad?”

Father smiled at the greeting. Devin never would call him Father, not as an adult and not since learning that Father really was his father. Perhaps they'd grow past that, eventually. “Just...remembering,” Father said. “Is everything almost ready?”

Devin nodded. “Yep. Vincent's about to wear a hole in the floor pacing and Catherine's not too far from that herself, from what I hear from Jenny. But they'll survive. Are you ready for this?”

“I've officiated at a number of weddings,” Father said, somewhat stiffly.

“Yeah, but it was never Vincent getting married.”

Father nodded. “True. I confess I never thought I'd see this day. And I've never been more happy to be proved wrong.” The mantel clock on the low bookshelf gave a thump. He glanced at it, made a mental calculation---the clock never would keep accurate time---and glanced at his other son. “It's time.”

***

And then there was the afterwards, the music, the dancing, the congratulations, the repeating of the wedding kiss that had ended the ceremony, that had made them husband and wife. Catherine gazed down at the simple band that had been Margaret's and smiled across at her husband. Husband. The word defined what had been in her heart since that first flight from Connecticut. “My wife,” Vincent rumbled, “shall we dance?”

Catherine stood, smiling, making sure the long folds of her mother's wedding gown were out of the way. “I thought you'd never ask,” she replied, and he led her out onto the dance floor. And this time, the music wasn't just in their hearts.


THE END (for now :-)

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love it Krista! As always! Laura

Krista said...

Hey Laura,

Thanks---I'm so glad you did. I just had to bring our favorite rogue back ;)

-Krista

Carole W said...

Returning to the bar, he announced, “A round on the house! My brother's getting married!”

Love Devin! And his calling Father Dad. Very cool and in character, matured.

So nice to see the illustration of Cathy packing here in this story - you've taken away all the sadness of it's original episode. Amazing, the power of words and in your hands.

I'm sad to have this story end, but anxious and awaiting your next flight with the muse.

Lovely all the way through
Carole

Krista said...

Hi Carole,

Again, thank you so much for your comments--I've found so many treasures through writing this story and you are definitely one of the gems. :)

I'm not sure where the muse is taking me next--but it'll be a ride, I'm sure.

Thanks again, so very much, for reading. :)

SandyX said...

Ahhh, the dance ... [sigh] You've managed to happily extend so many elements of their story - Devin finally calling "the old man" Dad, Catherine's packing for a happier reason, Father's remembrance of the boy who's grown into a man. All very sweet and satisfying.

I can't wait to see where you take us next.

Sandy

Krista said...

Oh, Sandy. Thank you so much :) I'm not sure where the muse will be taking me (and you all) next...but writing this story has been such a fantastic experience that I'm very much looking forward to the next adventure. ;)

Thanks again :)

RomanticOne said...

I laughed, I cried, I smiled, I sighed. Thank you so much for sharing your gift with us. This is a story I'll read again and again. I can't wait to see what your muse has in store for us next!

Krista said...

Oh, R1---thank *you* so much for reading and commenting. This story wouldn't have been nearly as much fun to write if it hadn't been for the reactions of the people who've read it. ;)

I confess, I got the sniffles too as I was writing this last chapter...but the muse is already tapping me on my shoulder. I can't wait to hear what else she's got planned for Catherine and Vincent. ;)

Thanks again so very much for reading and commenting. :)

Vicky said...

This is your place so: Tell Carole to get out of my head! I'd highlighted the same part! She's been doing it for nearly a week now. The other day I told her this bond is funnily scary. Anyway, woohoo for bringing Devin back!

Thanks for a wonderful ride to their happier life, Krista. (because together they were already happy) Now that it's done, I'll go over to 1 again. Car-sickness, squeakiness, crunchiness, spiders and all! We had fun, all of us, didn't we? Not to mention the "behing the scenes"...

Looking forward to more writing!

Big hugs.

Krista said...

LOL, Carole: get out of Vicky's head. ;-) I couldn't leave Devin out of the mix, since he was responsible for their trip in the first place :) I love our rogue with the heart of gold :)

I like that, their "happier life." Thanks so very much for reading...and you bet I'm looking forward to more writing. :)

Anonymous said...

Krista I absolutely loved this story. I always hurt so for Catherine and Vincent because they were not able to live their dream of her sharing a special part of her world with him. You have given them and us that dream. Thank you!

Joyce

Krista said...

Joyce,

Thank you so much. I absolutely loved writing this story and I'm thrilled beyond words that people have enjoyed it too. What can I say, I like them happy. :)

Thanks again,

Krista :)

Sonia Who? said...

Huh, after just finishing reading this story just a couple of minutes later my mother comes (she lives in the apartment above mine) to inform me that her mother/my grandmother just died. I was just about to head to bed to sleep, but now I won't be able to since I have to head to the hospital in Westchester with my parents to meet with my grandmother's youngest daughter who's already there and wait for the rest of her sibling. Glad I got to finish reading the story before this happened.

Krista said...

Sonia, I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother. I will keep you in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I read ALL the chapters....WOW this would been a great episode(s) for the TV series. Of course they would have edited out the sex, but the main theme of Vincent & Catherine getting away from the Tunnels alone and expanding their relationship......sigh!
Thank you!!! I am so inspired to continue my writing........Abby

Krista said...

Hey Abby!

Thanks so much for reading it---I'm glad you enjoyed it. That's the great part about writing fanfic--we get to leave all the good stuff in. :-)

Thanks again,

Krista :)

Brit said...

LOVELY KRISTA!!! So happy to see them married!!! It is where they belong. :D

Krista said...

Thank you, Brit. :) It's funny how many of us fanfic writers end up writing them towards the same general goal---not always with a formal ceremony, but we all see them publicly committed to each other.

I'm thrilled you've enjoyed this ;-)

-Krista

NYC Utopia said...

I know I've hardly left any comments along the way, either time (or was it three times?), but I do love this adventure. Kudos!

Krista said...

Hi Claire!

LOL, I don't care how many times you've visited; it just makes me beyond happy that you've wanted to return. :)

Glad you've liked the story! :)

-Krista :)

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