Beauty & The Beast Vignettes
By Sue Haley

All my vignettes begin with the assumption that the reader is familiar with the characters and events of the TV series Beauty and the Beast. They are ''glimpses'' of events which were portrayed in that series or which ''might'' have happened when we were not looking. All three seasons are covered but for ease of reference I have grouped the stories based on characters or events from the third season together (although they are not necessarily chronological). To optimise loading speed I have not included any illustrations.

(The short story ''Not Even The Rain''.... by Sue & Amber is on another page)

Enjoy!



Table of contents
(click on the book icon to go to the story)

Title subject / main characters
Stories which relate to Seasons One and Two

BORN TO BLUSH UNSEEN
A mother abandons her baby

BUILD YOU ONE!
Mouse helps William in the kitchen

SOMEONE OUT THERE...
Catherine revisits Anna Lausch

NOW YOU SEE IT.....
Mouse shows Brian some magic

FRAMED
Mouse prepares a surprise with Brian's help

CHANDLER'S LIST
Catherine considers a job offer

MAYBE
Erica regrets hurting Joe

THE SKY WAS BLUE...
A dream... come true?

HOME
A view of life in The Tunnels

LET US REMEMBER HIM
A tribute to Winslow

ACCORDING TO MOUSE...
A few definitions
Stories with Third Season content

ETERNITY IN AN HOUR
Father's old journals come to light
(a series of vignettes set in Season 2
but touching on the history of some
events & characters which emerged
in the Third Season)

WHO MAKES YOU JEALOUS?
Joe's reaction to Diana's question

CATHARSIS
Vincent overcomes his grief

DEAR MR MAXWELL
Joe receives a letter

SOMEBODY ELSE IN YOUR LIFE
Elliot's thoughts after meeting Vincent

THE ELEPHANT'S CHILD
Tony learned to read

A GYPSY NEVER FORGETS
A tribute from Tony

...IT CHANGED EVERYTHING
extracts from Diana's diary

GLIMPSES
A letter to Diana from Mark

OR, IF YOUR WISH BE TO CLOSE ME...
Diana's pain



Additional related fiction... Desert Island Discs...a mock interview with Vincent


BORN TO BLUSH UNSEEN

''You just LEFT him there?''
''What else could I do?... I keep asking myself that but there is no answer. Oh I had plans for us... how I would be a perfect mother and my child would want for nothing, even without a father. But when I looked at him they just dissolved. I was quite weak after the birth and I knew that I just couldn't cope.''
''Lot's of new mothers feel that way.''
''You don't understand... it's not that simple....''
''So, tell me.''
''I took him to the hospital. I thought they would know what to do... how to care for him... but when I got there I couldn't take him in.''
''Why? If he needed treatment..''
''Treatment! Huh! That was just it. What kind of treatment? And there would be questions which I couldn't answer. I couldn't face it. And I suppose I knew that they wouldn't just take him from me and say 'Thanks' so I put him down where he wouldn't be seen.''
''But...''
''Oh he was soon found! You see, as soon as I let go of him and walked away he began to cry. That poor helpless voice tugged at me so much I couldn't rest.. couldn't think of anything else. I could still hear him three days afterwards! I went through agonies over it but I couldn't get him back. You see, whoever found him didn't take him into the hospital - I asked at the desk''
''Then where?
''I don't know. I can't imagine. I just pray that whoever has him now will give him a loving home and help him to accept my inability to care for him. I hope that he'll be able to understand and maybe he'll even forgive me.''
''I'm sure he will.''
''Are you?''
''Yes''
''What do you know about me? To you I'm just a voice on the telephone''
''To me you are a heart reaching out and your son will understand''
''I'd like to believe you but you don't know the half of it!''


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BUILD YOU ONE!

William stood with his hands on his hips (or as near to them as was physically possible) and surveyed the contents of the larder. There weren't enough eggs for a start and he'd need lemons - lots of lemons. Who could he trust to help him AND keep the secret? Well, no-one was better at secrets down here than Mouse. William hadn't the stamina to carry his own weight AND groceries from Above... but still he hesitated... could he trust Mouse not to steal what was needed? If he sent him to Long's store, surely he would supply the lemons... and he would know where enough eggs could be obtained... And sugar! He hadn't considered sugar! Yes, Mouse was definitely the one to send. Of course, Arthur was very partial to eggs so they would have to take care of them, but if he stole a lemon - surely he would only steal one!


''Hard work!'' Mouse affirmed as they stood, side by side, beating the egg whites. Then he stopped, picked up a handful of forks and a knife and hurried out of the kitchen
''Hey!'' William called after him ''I thought you were going to help''
''Got an idea'' Mouse called back as he disappeared from view.
''Great!'' was all William could find to say as he changed hands again and continued beating. He was beginning to wonder whether it had been such a good idea after all - this surprise dish for Catherine and Vincent - but they both did so much for everyone that HE wanted to do something for them. And how better than by what he does best? Catherine had given some recipe books to him a long time ago and he had put them on one side, meaning to look at them later. When he did finally find time to thumb through them he found a slip of paper in one of them with two words on it 'Catherine's favorite'. He had to trust that it was still marking the right page because if he had checked it would spoil the surprise. He had never made lemon meringue pie before so it would be quite a challenge. But to make enough for everyone was a mammoth task and he had been glad of the assistance Mouse had so far given... But if he had to whisk ALL the meringue himself! What if everyone loved it and wanted it made regularly? Still the whites would not stiffen and William despaired of ever serving the surprise dish when Mouse re-entered the kitchen carrying - well - something!
''What IS that?''
''Watch!'' Mouse commanded softly, and placing the 'gizmo' in his bowl he turned the handle on top. Several forks, somehow fastened to a metal ring, itself fastened to the knife in the centre - the blade having been turned flat at the bottom to support the whole - 'waltzed' round the bowl and whisked the eggs as they went. ''See!'' Mouse said triumphantly, then added ''Here...'' as he handed the device to William ''...I'll build another one'' He grabbed another handful of cutlery and was gone.
William began turning the handle and chuckled to himself at the sheer ingenuity of it. ''I wonder if he can build something to peel the potatoes, or do the washing up?'' he thought to himself.


The pies were all made and stored away out of sight, and still only William and Mouse knew about them. It was something of a miracle as several times while they were being prepared there had been visitors to the kitchen and yet none of them had realised that a special dish was under way. This was partly because most of them were surprised to see Mouse in the kitchen and because they naturally assumed, given his usual lack of interest in food, that whatever he was mixing was not edible - more likely to be some special paint for Elizabeth or glue perhaps.


The room was buzzing with the excitement of adults and children because Catherine could not often join them for the evening meal and they all enjoyed her company. Indeed the children were already competing for her attention and begging her to read to them after the meal.
''Alright, I give up!'' she said in desperation ''When I've finished this I'll come and read something - you choose, but not too long a story - I want to spend some time with Vincent too. I've hardly seen him all week!''
William rose and stood opposite Catherine and with a broad grin he announced ''There is a special dessert today I don't think you'll want to miss''
''What is it?'' she enquired.
''You'll see!'' Mouse put in as he too grinned across at her.
''Come on children'' said William ''help me to clear the plates away''
This they did obediently and quickly. Fresh clean dishes were put out for everyone and then Mouse and William went off to bring on the surprise.
''Close your eyes'' Mouse called ahead as they entered the dining room once more. ''Okay fine, open them''
As Catherine looked in front of her on the table was a lemon meringue pie fit for a queen. She let out a squeal of delight.
''It's my favourite! How did you know?''
''A little bird told me'' William hedged. Catherine looked to Vincent but the expression on his face was one of innocence.
''I didn't know'' he assured her.
''Well who then?'' she looked again to William.
''Those recipe books you gave me. There was a note in one of them. I supposed your mother put it there''
''My mother? No, she couldn't have. I bought them in a second-hand bookshop!''


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SOMEONE OUT THERE...

I should have visited her sooner as I had promised but I was so relieved when Vincent was free again that it went straight out of my mind. It was only last night when I was remembering his ordeal that I thought once more of Anna Lausch and the help she gave me in finding him.

We had only met that one time, yet she welcomed me like a long lost friend. Just as before, she gave ALL her words 'weight'. Others might think that she is just a lonely old woman with a vivid imagination - I know different!

Anna has seen us, separately and together, several times since the night Vincent was captured. There, by the drainage tunnel, she saw us walk together in the moonlight, not so long ago. She saw me bring Eric there to safety and follow Devin across the park. She even saw me run into Vincent's waiting arms when I came back from Nancy's... Her eyes lit up when she told me... She said it was the happiest thing she'd seen all year! She has seen Laura come and go more than once - ''a girl with a special sadness'' she called her. She even saw Lisa in her evening gown.

I listened attentively. Although I would have liked to... I couldn't tell her anything more about the people she had seen... but I couldn't hide my smile. She understood. Anna probably understands a lot more than anyone gives her credit for...

And Vincent was right: There is someone out there watching... ...and smiling on us.



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NOW YOU SEE IT.....

It wasn't the first time that Brian had made his way to Mouse's chamber ''the deepest chamber of all'', but it was the first time he had done so alone. Mouse was supposed to meet him, but the last time he waited over 30 minutes and so he decided this time he wouldn't wait. Too much time was wasted waiting. If he was very late back again there'd be explaining to do and he didn't like lying so it was better to be in a bit earlier and save on the excuses. He was getting on so much better with his dad now and he didn't want to wreck it.


At last he arrived at the grill and reached up to turn the carved head which operated the 'express route' - a sheer drop....
Arthur was chattering away as usual and Mouse was so engrossed he didn't seem to notice Brian's somewhat ungainly entrance. Brian was reminded of the first time they met;
''Ow! My leg!'' he complained as he rubbed his shin. What should have been a soft landing was spoiled by one of Mouse's 'gizmos'.
''Hi Brian'' Mouse greeted him without looking up ''Hand me that gizmo''
''What are you making?'' Brian asked as he joined his friend at his workbench.
''Going to 'get' Sebastian!'' Mouse declared triumphantly.
''Who's Sebastian?''
''A helper....Does magic''
''Why do you want to 'get' him?''
''Not hurt, TRICK. Every Winterfest he tricks me.... but I can do better'' Mouse's expression was wide-eyed with anticipated pleasure ''Better than better!'' he added for good measure.
''How?''
''Tried last year... Took rabbit out when he wasn't looking. Put Arthur in instead.... Didn't work though!'' Mouse looked dejected.
''Why not?''
''Arthur does what HE wants!'' Mouse looked across at Arthur with what looked more like admiration than disappointment.''...spoiled the food... Father was mad!''
''So what are you making now?'' Brian asked.
''You'll see...when it's done.''
Brian was trying to work out what it was that Mouse was making but it just looked like an empty box to him. He couldn't even see where Mouse had put the 'gizmo'. He knew Mouse well enough by now to know that he would tell him when he was good and ready and not before.
''Can I help?'' he offered, thinking this might be a way of finding out.
''Yes,'' came the reply ''help test.....when it's done''

Brian contented himself to wait by looking along the bench at all the things Mouse had built before. There was 'Vincent's sky - mark II' - the first one had been broken along with a lot of other things not long after Brian had met Mouse. Mouse didn't say how they got broken, only that it was probably his own fault. Mouse had been quite badly injured too but he had made light of it. He had not only rebuilt Vincent's sky but countless other lamps with wax and oil or oil and glitter in them. Brian admired Mouse more than any of his friends Above. He had even introduced a new character to the board game he played with his friends - it was beginning to sound like a 'Who's Who Below' and it gave Brian a wonderful feeling of sharing his life with his secret friends and having them there with him at home; 'Lady Catherine' and 'Vincent The Protector' and now 'Mouseman The Inventor' smiled at him whenever he looked their way. Oh, he hadn't told Mouse about it - he would only have been embarrassed. It was a secret he shared with no-one!
At last Mouse's 'box' was ready - although it looked no different to Brian from before.
''Do you have a watch... or a coin?'' Mouse enquired with a sheepish grin.
''This do?'' Brian handed him a quarter, judging that he could afford to lose that much better than his watch!
Mouse held the box on the palm of his left hand, steadied only by the tips of his fingers. He dropped the coin into the box then, in grand fashion, waved his right hand over the top. He then invited Brian to look inside. The coin had vanished.
''Must have a false bottom'' Brian declared.
So Mouse shook the box to show that it did not rattle and handed it to Brian to examine it, which he did - very thoroughly. He was impressed. He didn't have to say so, Mouse could see it written all over his face. To top it all - Mouse 'produced' the quarter from behind Brian's ear while he was still holding the box.
''Mouse..?'' Brian said with a delicious grin ''Can I come to Winterfest this year?''



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FRAMED

Mouse backed out of Vincent's chamber looking more than usually 'elsewhere'.
''Mouse? Are you looking for me?'' Vincent enquired softly as he approached.
''No! ..er Yes!'' Mouse stammered as if awakened from a dream. ''Forgot why'' he announced. His voice drifted... ''It's beautiful Vincent... beautiful!''
His departure was the usual unexpected occurrence that was accepted as normal by all those who knew him.
''Oh.. Yes'' Vincent agreed belatedly as he entered his chamber and identified the object of Mouse's admiration. ''It certainly is!''
Mouse scurried to the chute - he didn't want to waste any time. Plans must be executed as soon as they are made or other people have a habit of changing them. Spoiling them. Not that Mouse didn't have infinite patience when required but in this case someone else may have the idea too and then his plan would be ruined. He landed from the chute in his customary heap and straight away began the search for the materials required. He listed aloud the things he needed; wood, glue, varnish... Arthur seemed to have found something...
''No, Arthur! Not that glue.'' Mouse said impatiently ''Need stronger''
''What are you doing?'' came an inquisitive voice from behind him, not really expecting to be told the answer.
''Hi Brian!'' Mouse answered without looking up ''You got any wood at home?''
''Yeah... Lots. What's it for?''
''Need two long pieces, two shorter, make... '' Mouse was drawing in the air.
''Like a picture frame you mean?''
Mouse stopped in his tracks. ''Who told you?'' He sounded disappointed.
''Nobody'' Brian looked puzzled ''Look, how big does it need to be? 'Cos we've got some old pictures stored in the basement. You could use one of those frames if you want.''
''Okay good! Let's go!'' Mouse prompted as he led the way to the basement of Catherine's apartment building.
''Don't you need some measurements or something?'' Brian protested as they ran.
''Got them.'' Mouse assured him.


When they arrived at the ladder Mouse stepped back. ''You first'' he suggested ''Safer.''
Brian, registered his friend's concern, took a deep breath and began to climb. Soon he called Mouse to follow and the two boys were rummaging through the many treasures which the residents had stored there. Imagine! It was like eighty lofts all together in one place! Mouse was gazing around him in awe when Brian spoke;
''This is ours, over here''
''Lots of good stuff here'' Mouse observed.
''You can't!'' Brian anticipated ''Not without asking''
''I know!'' Mouse sounded hurt. Brian thought perhaps he shouldn't have spoken quite so quickly but his friend soon turned his attention to the matter in hand.
''Not big enough'' Mouse said as he discarded the first two pictures. Then looking at the next one he pulled two bits of string from his pocket and used them to measure the frame. ''This one?'' he looked at Brian for approval.
''If you want'' Brian confirmed ''Or... that one?'' he indicated another of similar size but with a much more handsome frame and in better condition.
''Yes'' Mouse checked the size ''Better!'' Then he wondered ''Take picture too... or leave it here?''
Brian told him that his dad didn't want the picture so they took the whole thing back to Mouse's chamber... but NOT by way of the chute and this time Mouse sent Brian ahead so he could warn him if anyone was about. Luckily, they met nobody so their secret was safe.
It didn't take Mouse very long to get the picture out of the frame. He propped it up at the back of the workbench. He checked round the frame and it was sound. It was dark wood with a broad gold band at the inside edge. The gold was intact too so there was little for Mouse to do except fit it. He couldn't do that until later when everyone was at dinner.


Vincent and Catherine walked slowly towards Vincent's chamber. Their words, if there were any, were not audible to the two young men hiding just beyond the chamber entrance. Neither was Catherine aware of their presence as she turned from the tunnel on the arm of the man she loved. Vincent, however had a slightly puzzled look on his face at that moment, wondering yet again what Mouse was doing in the vicinity. He didn't wonder for long...
''So... That's what he was up to!''
''What who was up to?'' Catherine hadn't noticed at first but when she followed Vincent's gaze to see the handsome frame now holding the Kristopher Gentian portrait she thought she understood. ''Has Kristopher been here?'' she asked earnestly.
''No.'' Vincent soothed ''This is the work of a much more elusive creature!''
''Oh! Who?'' Catherine shook her head in wonder.
''Thank you Mouse!'' Vincent addressed the doorway and as he looked out into the tunnel he saw the two young men creeping away out of sight.



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CHANDLER'S LIST

PROS

1) It's a wonderful career move - this is my chance to REALLY make a difference and as Joe pointed out I may never get another opportunity.
2) I can help people more than I'm able to now. People like Mrs Alberti who are either too frightened or too weak to help themselves.
3) I'll be co-ordinating a very big team - everything that comes under The Domestic Violence Bureau will be MY responsibility... Court Appearances, Counselling Services, everything!
4) More money - not really important but I should be able to get back to New York for visits... IF there was time?
5) Providence? Is this REALLY what's meant to be? Vincent says I must go everywhere and do everything I am meant to and that he will always be with me.
I WANT to believe him...
I DO trust him but... he won't be near.

CONS

VINCENT!



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MAYBE

I really don't know why I'm telling you this because there's nothing you can do about it. And there's nothing I can do now to undo the harm I've done. Even if Joe could forgive me, I doubt that he could ever trust me and without his trust seeing him would be worse than not seeing him...
...But he did say ''Maybe''.

Better for me if he'd said ''No Erica. Get out of my life for good'' At least then I could've closed the door on that part of my life and tried to forget him. At least then this ''Maybe'' wouldn't keep taunting me with what I really know can't be. Can you understand the despair of living day after day with only a ''Maybe''?

I first met Joe at the Mayor's Reception. He was pointed out to me - I'd already been 'briefed':- I should get to know him, find out all I could about him... get 'close' to him if I could. That part was easy! I just went over, introduced myself and suggested we dance. He was charming, witty and easy to be with. We danced until the band left and then we went for a long walk and we just talked and talked. I barely had to ask him any questions. He told me all about himself - where he was born, his childhood, his parents (his father was a cop), law school - everything! It was almost as if he'd been waiting for someone to come along that he could tell it all to. And he trusted me - that's what hurts so much - he trusted me and all the time...

I was a fool. When Brannigan asked me to do it I thought it was a chance for me to 'move up'. If I did this well I would be rewarded - that was what he implied. Let me tell you now, rewards like this you don't need!

It all just got out of hand. I told him Joe was a straight-shooter, that he couldn't be bought, then he told me to dangle a job-offer... to see if he could be compromised into withdrawing from the case. I did that and it seemed to be working... at least from Brannigan's point of view... I was beginning to feel like a traitor already... to Joe I mean! He was so pleased about the job and then later, after he'd had time to consider all his responsibilities, when I called him I knew something was wrong. In the restaurant he said we should stop seeing each other until the case was over. I was genuinely hurt... and I convinced myself that Brannigan had nothing to do with my meeting Joe... or the way that our relationship had developed! I tore into Joe as though he was being unreasonable and I stormed out. Most men would have let me call a cab and cool off but Joe isn't 'most men'. He drove me home... he tried to talk to me but I wasn't listening to him. All he got from me was a stoney silence... there was too much guilt going round in my head about what I'd done to him that he didn't deserve. I couldn't even begin to form an explanation.

The next day I found out he'd been arrested for 'possession'. I was shocked. I never thought Brannigan would do such a thing. Then when Catherine Chandler came to see me I pretended I knew nothing about it but she saw through me. I was being pretty naive to think she wouldn't realise. One thing she said hurt me more than anything and it wasn't meant to... that Joe HAD fallen in love with me. For her to confirm it like that, almost 'incidentally', brought it home to me just how much I had lost. And that it was lost even before I had it because of my own actions. She told me that no reward Brannigan or anyone else would give me could make up for that loss. She got that right! I wonder if Joe realises that the lady he ''just'' works with is such a loyal friend? Of course he does.

After Brannigan's little 'pep talk', I phoned Miss Chandler and asked her to come to my office. She had every reason to distrust me... even to think I was setting her up but she came anyway... and she listened to what I had to say. I told her everything I knew about it all and she helped me get out of the building. There was someone following us so we got out of the lift and went down the stairs. I hurt my ankle and she helped me. The security guy arrived and then tried to shoot at us! I was so scared... I really don't know what happened after that... it was like a nightmare - you know when things happen but you can't explain how. I was a wreck when we got out of there... but Catherine stayed with me. She took me home and sat with me and talked about anything and nothing until I calmed down. She behaved like... a friend. A friend I didn't deserve.

It took me a long time to summon up the courage to face Joe again. I went along to the case conference... I thought if he saw me in that environment he could ignore me if he wanted and I would leave and not speak. But he was willing to listen... after the others had left. He knew how difficult it had been for me to be there. I don't even know what I was hoping for... a chance perhaps? But now I wish he'd cut me dead... or sent me packing. What can I do with a ''Maybe''?



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THE SKY WAS BLUE...

It was lunch time - ABSOLUTELY the wrong time to be in Bloomingdales! The store was teeming with people, all rushing to spend their money and get back to the office without incurring the wrath of their bosses. Catherine did not feel at all rushed - she had a rare afternoon off and could take as long as she liked over choosing a special gift for a very special person. She was on the escalator and he... was standing one step below her as they ascended to the next floor. He gently held her hand and she looked up at him lovingly as she returned his grasp - almost as a child would hold on to a favourite toy for fear someone might steal it away. But she felt no such fear. She merely underlined to him what he already knew - that she loved him.
As they stepped from the escalator his hand released hers and in order to steady her, he placed it at her waist. It was wonderful. She was so enveloped in his love and his touch that she didn't notice the lady in front had stopped dead, uncertain whether to turn right or left. The jolt as she collided with her made Catherine feel foolish. She turned to share her laughter with Vincent... ... but he was gone! A shiver ran right through her body and she opened her eyes wide.
Soft music drifted down to where she lay... in his arms. Safe.
''Catherine, do you like the music?''
''Mmm'' she answered as she snuggled a little closer to him.



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HOME

Forget what you've seen in books - you're not going to BELIEVE where I live!
I'm not very good with words but I'll try to describe it...
It's no 'hole in the ground' I can tell you! The rooms are big and full of all kinds of stuff:- 'thingies' that sparkle and glitter and shine, 'gizmos' that flash or buzz when you touch them, and candles, all sorts of candles everywhere!

Food and water is provided - plus I find some odd tidbits myself here and there. I do go Above sometimes but it's better down here.

I have the run of the place and all the corridors outside. I can pretty much come and go as I please but if I venture into the kitchen I am ''shooed'' out unceremoniously!

That's why I'm not very good with words - you see the only one who really TALKS to me is Mouse.



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LET US REMEMBER HIM

Journal Entry:

Has it been so long? The children are growing but I hadn't noticed the time passing... until a small voice asked ''Who was Winslow?'' My answer was brief: That he was one of our family - a very strong and courageous man who grew up in the tunnels. That he built many of the huge iron doors that protect our world from intruders. And that those who knew him loved him and miss him very much. His death will always be a source of great sorrow to me.

I have thought much about Winslow since young Andrew asked me that question and I wonder whether I could have said more... Something about the essence of him which is so difficult to express in words. I remember now how Pascal described him after we had covered his body with rocks to keep it safe until we were able to return and carry him home for the last time;

''... when we were kids - we used to tease Winslow. He used to try so hard not to lose his temper but you could always see everything in his face. D'you remember Vincent? The Common Meeting when Father named him to The Council; You could see it then in his eyes. And he finally knew how much we all cared and respected him''

Those memories of Pascal's do give a clear picture of the man and how he felt. Our lives depend very much on friendship and love - these are the things by which we measure our wealth. Winslow cared very much for all his family, each and every one of us. He would use his last ounce of strength to help anyone who was in need of it....

I remember returning from one of my journeys to the deeper caverns to learn that during my absence Arthur had gone missing and Mouse was very distressed as he had searched everywhere in vain. Eventually Arthur's feeble cries were heard from behind a narrow crack in a rarely used passage. He must have gone exploring that way and before he could return a large rock had dislodged and blocked his route back. Mouse tried his hardest to move the rock but it was too heavy... So he asked Winslow for help, regardless of the less than complimentary remarks that he had made about Arthur in the past. Winslow did not hesitate. He followed Mouse and held the full weight of the rock while Mouse scrambled in to retrieve the now terrified raccoon. Winslow's love was tangible and could be relied upon whatever may happen. I believe that what I told Andrew conveyed that.

''Winslow loved all of us fiercely. We were his family. Nothing could ever change that for him; not conflict, nor anger, not even death. Winslow will always be a part of us; in our hearts. Let us remember him for his strength and his courage'' Vincent (To Reign In Hell)



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ACCORDING TO MOUSE...

TIME - easy! early: come before Mouse, late: come after. I get into trouble with Father over this. I get in trouble with Father over lots of things.

GOOD - is okay.

BETTER - like being good but twice as much.

NEAT - like good and better all rolled together.

ALONE - is bad. I was alone once... didn't like it. it's okay to be alone for a little while but not all the time.

BAD - not good.

WORSE - like bad only twice as much.

FRIEND - someone you can rely on. Vincent is my best friend. Vincent is best friend to lots of us.

LOVE - Vincent explained this once but I'm not sure I understood. I think it's probably better than neat.

LYING - never happens Below... saying you don't know or can't remember isn't the same as lying.

NEEDING - when you don't have a thing and it would be better if you did.

TAKING - finding something you need or a friend needs and helping it to come with you.

STEALING - is bad. It's taking something you don't need or from someone else who does... but if someone has, say, three grand pianos, it's alright to take one.

GOLD - shiny metal, very useful; makes good wire once you melt it down.

MONEY - only paper.

GIZMO - makes things easier.

PLASTIC EXPLOSIVE - my favourite! one little glob and pow!!



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Stories with Third Season content
ETERNITY IN AN HOUR

Father ran an appreciative hand along the shelf of the new bookcase, one of several that Cullen had ingeniously slotted into the only remaining spaces in his study chamber. Now all he had to do was bring order to the chaos of unhoused books which seemed now to stare at him wherever he looked. He moved over to the table and slowly lowered himself into the great chair. Staring at the spiral staircase, itself cluttered with books, he was daunted by the task which lay ahead of him.

''After dinner...'' he thought to himself''..I'll tackle it then''

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


At dinner, Samantha came over to whisper something in Father's ear and his face lit up.

''Thank you Samantha'' he said warmly ''that will be a great help to me''

After the meal, back in his study chamber, Father now had a small army of `helpers' led by Samantha and Zak.

''Where shall I put these?'' a dozen voices asked at once.

''Hold it!'' Father commanded. Silence reigned - momentarily ''Let us have some order. Right, now if we can have all the reference books on this side.... and all the fiction over there....Then if you can sort them into order by the author's names.... perhaps I'll be able to find them again!''

The children applied themselves to the task and Father sat back proudly in his chair and marvelled at the organising skills of the two leaders. Zak took the 'reference' side and Samantha the 'fiction'. From time to time one of the smaller children was scolded gently for bringing fiction to Zak or reference to Samantha but generally the progress was surprising.
Occasionally a book would be brought to Father for an opinion as to it's category. Poetry, it was decided, should have a section of it's own so a third area was allocated and Kipper - reluctantly - was placed in charge of it.

Then Zak brought several matching volumes which had no titles on the covers. Quite large volumes and hand-written...

''Some of my old journals!'' Father's voice was barely audible ''I wonder..'' his voice trailed off completely as he opened the top one at random. There he read:-

[ Vincent has been in a delirious state for days now and I'm at my wits end to know what to do. We've tried sedatives but they only seem to make him worse and the herbal remedies make no difference at all. We've had to restrain him. It breaks my heart to see him tied down like that but I'm afraid he'll do himself harm. Mary is with him now, just talking to him. I've been reading to him for hours on end - my voice is beginning to fade. We can only pray now that he will be delivered from this dreadful affliction before too much longer. I am so tired.]

The next two pages of the journal were blank.

Father looked into space, forgetting the children, as he recalled that dark time so many years ago.

''Father? Are you alright?''

''Er..Yes. Thank you Zak'' he managed, closing the book. ''I might look at some of these later''

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The words he had read troubled Father. He slept fitfully that night and he determined not to open that journal again. But he would find happier times in the others. He soothed himself with the memory of the day he found Devin trying to teach Vincent how to whistle! Try as he might Vincent was not built for the task and he became more and more exasperated. Devin calmed him by saying that HE would never be able to roar as Vincent could (and was doing!) Father had observed all this unseen and never told them. He had returned to his chamber in silence, warmed by the brotherhood he had witnessed in his two sons. Vincent was probably about eight... no... younger. Yes, he thought to himself again, there will be many happy times to revisit in those journals.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Father was chuckling to himself when Mary came into his study.

''You weren't at breakfast'' she said ''We were all worried....What has amused you?'' Mary smiled as she could see that Father was perfectly well.

''Look Mary, do you remember this? Vincent was about ten at the time''

''No Father. He was about thirteen when I came.... You remember, it wasn't long before Devin left''

''Yes, of course...I was forgetting, I'm sorry Mary. I always feel that you have been here all along'' Mary took this as a great compliment but Father was looking at his journal so he did not see the flush of pride pass across her gentle features.''You see'' he continued, chuckling to himself again ''Devin had an attack of hiccups and all the children were trying to cure them.. but... well... Vincent had heard one of them say that all he needed was a sudden shock! So..'' Father could hardly speak now for laughing ''..he hid himself at one of the junctions in the tunnel and waited until Devin came walking along...At least he THOUGHT it was Devin''

''Oh dear, who was it?'' Mary asked, already laughing at the possibilities.

''It was Winslow!''

''I imagine even then he would have had something to say about that!''

''Well yes, he did, but we managed to persuade him that it was a genuine error on Vincent's part and he forgave him'' The story seemed to be over when Father started laughing again ''Vincent told me afterwards that he had never seen Winslow look so pale!''

''I wish I HAD been here then'' Mary looked at Father knowing that he would not need a reason for her words. Those years before her arrival were still painful in her memory and she seldom spoke of the loved-ones she had lost. Father said nothing. He smiled a kindly smile and squeezed Mary's hand.

After a pause he said ''Is there any food left? I suddenly feel quite hungry''

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


[ I can't think why it should happen now - it's not the first time they've heard that story - but now, all anyone can get out of Vincent and Devin is 'Humph!' Kipling has a lot to answer for! ]

As Father looked up Vincent was just entering his chamber.

''Vincent, do you remember how the camel got his hump?''

''I certainly do, Father!'' Vincent replied with a twinkle in his eye ''It was given to him by `the Djinn in charge of All Deserts' because he was so lazy. And...I remember that Devin and I thought it would not be such a bad thing to have a hump.... IF it meant that we could get out of our chores''

''You kept it up for so long that I was becoming quite exasperated with both of you!'' Father reached out in a mock gesture as if to clip Vincent on the ear.

''I remember how you cured us too'' Vincent put in as he tilted his head to avoid the rebuke.

''Ah yes... Now if I remember correctly it had to do with food. Didn't I get William to prepare some foul dish which we named `Humph' and then ask you to say what you wanted to eat? It worked very well too!''

''Of course it did. But what reminded you of that?'' Vincent sat in the chair opposite Father and leant forward, resting his elbows on the table.

''I've been looking in some of my old journals. They turned up when the children were helping me with the new bookshelves. Do you know.... I had forgotten just what mischief you and Devin used to get up to when you were boys.I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying reading them again''

''I had better keep out of your way for a while if you're reliving our boyish misdemeanors!'' Vincent said with a wry smile.

''Not at all'' Father insisted ''but I think it might be a good idea to let you read some of them when I have finished!''

''I shall look forward to it'' Vincent bowed slightly, acknowledging the honour and left, pleased to have escaped the game of chess which Father had evidently forgotten about.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


[ We have found out what is making the children so ill. There was a gas leak seeping into the tunnels. It's mended now but the cost! Nathan, who located the leak, is dead - crushed by a cave-in - the worst we've had for a long time. Deborah and Winston got out alright but Raymond's leg is very badly damaged. I've set it as best I can but I doubt it will heal. And he is still gripped by the terror of being buried alive. He needs to rest...to sleep but he cannot close his eyes without being reminded of that awful ordeal. We must take it in turns to talk to him, read to him until he can relax enough to sleep - I haven't any drugs to help him - so it's all we can do.
What is equally worrying is that Nathan's boy is missing. He was there! He saw his father under the rubble! It was too much for a boy of seven to cope with and he ran off. Vincent and Devin are searching for him. I hope they find him soon - he must be desperately lonely and frightened. ]


''We never did find him'' Father thought to himself ''and Raymond's leg didn't heal. He never recovered at all - it must be twenty odd years since he went back Above'' He closed the book and thought of others who had not remained with them Below. Mitch ran away - that was probably for the best. Jessica - she used to write but Father hadn't heard from her for some years now. Lisa! Well he knew now that he'd been very wrong to deal with that 'problem' the way he had done but what else could he have done? He'd tried to be both father and mother but some things were just beyond his comprehension! He looked up wearily and saw that the candles were burning very low.

''I'd better get some sleep'' he said out loud to himself in a scolding tone.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


[ I was restless last night and after lying awake for what seemed hours I thought a walk might help. For no reason that I can think of I wandered to the Whispering Gallery. I must have been standing on the bridge there for an hour or more - even at night the voices seem to come from everywhere, and music too - Suddenly I heard Margaret's voice! Two words - just two words: ''Forgive me''. I listened for a long time afterward... hoping to hear more. I wonder if she heard my reply? It's foolish, I know, to think that there may be a 'Whispering Gallery' where she is - but if there is I hope she heard me say ''There is nothing to forgive - you were not to blame''. It is my fondest hope that one day I shall be able to tell her in person.]

Father placed the open journal on the table in front of him and looked at the page for a long moment. He sat back, covered his mouth with his hand and let out a deep sigh. Then, as if he had made a decision, he sat upright, then stood and walked purposefully to his bedchamber. From the closet there he took out his treasured photograph with her letter tucked in the back of the frame. He didn't need to take it out to read it - he knew it by heart... just as he knew Blake, Wordsworth and Shakespeare - but this 'poetry' spoke to him in a way no other could.

''Dear Jacob, I am writing you from Paris where my father has sent me...''

He never blamed her - her father was a very prominent and powerful man. He could never allow any of his family to be associated with the scandal which had surrounded his son-in-law.

''Please don't hate me....''

He was incapable of hating her - she was the most beautiful and vivacious woman he had ever known. He would always be grateful for the brief time they had together.... before it all went wrong. And for the seven wonderful days they had been able to share before she had to leave forever. He looked again at the photograph. Did he really look like that once?

As he replaced the picture in his closet once more, he heard young footsteps entering his study chamber.

''Father!'' Samantha scolded ''We are waiting for you! Did you forget again?''

''Yes... Samantha. I'm afraid I did'' and he followed her at a sedate pace to the school chamber.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


[Tonight I read again a poem, written probably more than a century ago, and I was prompted to look in on Vincent and Devin to see what 'Toys' they had near to comfort their 'sad hearts'. Yes, they are in trouble again! But as I studied their chamber I saw no 'red-veined stone', no shells nor any 'glass abraded by the beach'. What I saw was books and more books - they seem to be trying to make their chamber look as much like mine as possible! They were pretending to sleep as they often do - I can't believe they really think they fool me - only moments before, as I approached, I heard them chattering. On the table beside Vincent was his 'bottle with bluebells': a half-built tall ship which I knew Devin was helping him to make, but I hadn't realised just how much detail it involved. I really shouldn't be so hard on Devin. He does spend so much time helping Vincent but unfortunately some of his schemes, many in fact, also put him in danger. Like today! Walking handstands across the bridge in the Whispering Gallery! Even challenging the other children to do it too! Well, Ike fell and sprained his wrist - we were lucky he didn't fall off altogether and... No, I was right to send them to bed in disgrace and I must think of a suitable punishment for them both tomorrow... ]

Suddenly Father became aware that he was not alone.

''Catherine, I'm sorry, I was miles away''

''So I see'' she replied gently ''You really are enjoying those old journals aren't you? I've never seen so many emotions cross your face in so short a time!''

''Really...?'' Father looked flustered ''How long have you been there?''

''Not long, Vincent wanted me to ask you...'' Father cut in before she could complete the sentence.

''Vincent... yes, I was just reading about him. Look'' and he passed the journal across the table to her, pointing to the passage he wished her to read.

When she had finished reading she was laughing.

''What was the 'suitable punishment'?'' she asked

''Do you know.... I'm blessed if I can remember!'' Father admitted.

''And what was the poem? It sounds vaguely familiar''

''The poem? Oh yes, it was Patmore - 'The Toys' - I have it here somewhere. Now that my books are in order I should be able to go straight.... ah yes... here it is'' Father handed a slim, leather-bound volume to Catherine. ''I've had that book for over forty years. It was one of the few things I brought with me when I came to live down here'' Father's voice trailed off as he added ''It was a present from my brother.... when I left England''

Catherine was admiring the book but she looked up with a start.

''Your brother?'' her voice softened ''Is he... still alive?''

''I don't know'' Father's reply had an air of finality about it. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly ''What did Vincent want you to ask me?''

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


[Is it perhaps the full moon that brings out Devin's stupidity? I can't believe that he actually took Vincent Above last night. I am just grateful that the experience has so upset Vincent that he has assured me, unprompted, that he will never go back again. I have tried so hard to impress upon Devin the need for extreme care where Vincent is concerned. He is not like other children and therefore cannot do as they do. Devin argues that we should try to make as many things possible for Vincent as we can. I really don't know where he gets his ideas from. Not from me, certainly! ...And his mother was a sensible woman. I cannot think where this irresponsible streak came from. But I do know that I must find a way to change it.]

Father was quite taken aback by what he read. Had he really been so shortsighted? As he pondered on this he heard Vincent's words to him - not so long ago.... ''For as far back as I can remember you were always harder on Devin than on anyone else''

....But the effect had been hard not only on Devin but on Vincent too! By 'protecting' him he had denied him so many things - not only childhood experiences but things that could never be identified - facets of himself which weren't allowed to develop. The night that he had finally told Devin the truth which he had kept hidden for more than thirty years had been a real turning point in their relationship. He supposed that things began to make sense to Devin and hoped that he was forgiven for his foolishness... by Devin that is... but Vincent never blamed him for his over-protectiveness. That made it all the harder for Father to forgive himself! He had made many mistakes... but so do all parents, particularly `single' parents, he was no different. But Vincent WAS different and if only he could have lost sight of that sometimes, the boy could have had the sort of childhood... and adolescence... that Devin wanted for him. Father thought then of Catherine and all that she had done for Vincent... by loving him and trusting him... but there would always be limits. Or would there?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


As Father opened the journal again a folded sheet of paper fell out. He picked it up, careful not to lose it's place in the book. As he unfolded it he smiled to himself and read the childish hand:-

''Juliet was only about my age and Romeo was a bit older but not much. They fell in love and couldn't bear to be apart but their families weren't friends so they had to get married secretly. (You could get married a lot younger there than you can here) After they were married someone tried to pick a fight with Romeo but he wouldn't fight. His friend Mercutio fought him instead and got killed. Romeo was angry then and killed the other man who was a relation of Juliet's.

The Prince who ruled there banished Romeo (which means he sent him a long way away for ever). Juliet's father wanted her to marry a Count. She couldn't tell him she was already married so she had to pretend she would get married and then pretend to be dead so she wouldn't have to (The friar helped her by giving her something to drink the night before the wedding). When Romeo heard of Juliet's death he rushed back secretly to visit her body. She didn't wake up until after he had killed himself and she killed herself too. It was all very sad. It wouldn't have happened if they'd lived in Tunnels because everybody here is friends with everybody else and we all help each other.''


The journal entry was brief:-
[ I didn't know what to expect when I set the children their task of writing the story of one of Shakespeare's plays. I let them each choose from the ones we had read together. I thought it would be a good way of finding out how much of the actual story they had been able to take in, the language being so difficult especially for the younger ones. I had a wonderful surprise. Olivia's story was especially touching so I have decided to keep it.]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Father was so absorbed that he was completely unaware of Vincent standing behind him and reading over his shoulder;

CHARACTER

The sun set, but set not his hope:
Stars rose; his faith was earlier up:
Fixed on the enormous galaxy,
Deeper and older seemed his eye;
And matched his sufferance sublime
The taciturnity of time.
He spoke, and words more soft than rain
Brought the Age of Gold again:
His action won such reverence sweet
As hid all measure of the feat.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON
(1803 - 1882)


''I remember the day I first found that poem'' Vincent said gently, so that he should not startle Father.

''Yes.... '' Father replied ''I was just thinking about that day myself'' He sat back in his chair as Vincent walked round to sit facing him, a broad smile across his face.

''And night!'' he prompted.

''Yes!'' Father laughed ''we didn't get much sleep did we?''

''I remember I was so anxious for dinner to end so that I could read that poem to you... and how you scolded me for rushing the meal... and how you took extra time over your own to make your point!''

''Well I don't remember doing that!'' Father paused, looking puzzled ''Are you sure you didn't imagine it?''

''Perhaps...'' Vincent conceded ''That poem was like... a revelation to me then... as if someone had left it there just for me to find!''

''I know,'' Father smiled kindly at his son ''and you wanted to know WHO the character was. And when I told you it was the QUALITY of character and not a person, I remember you read the poem again... ''

''...Several times!'' Vincent put in.

''... Yes, several times, and then you had about a thousand questions!'' The memory was still lively in the old man's mind ''Some of those talks we had were wonderful weren't they?'' Father looked wistful.

''Some of the children now are beginning to `feel' the words more, don't you think? Michael, of course, is doing well at college but only the other day Zak surprised me when we were reading Othello....''

''Oh?'' Father's eyes lit up.

''You know Iago's speech `Who steals my purse steals trash'?''

''Yes... What did he say?''

''Well, he was reading Iago's part and when he had read that speech he added `Listen to the man! After all he's done to try to blacken Cassio's name AND Desdimona's!' He showed immediate understanding, not just of the words but the motive behind them.'' Vincent stood up before adding ''AND he is enjoying literature so much more now.''

''I can see it's time I looked in on your classes again. I haven't done for quite a while have I?'' Father looked up as though he expected a rebuke.

''No. You haven't'' Vincent chided softly ''but we all know why, don't we?''

''Yes, but I can read these any time!'' He sounded unconvinced though and his son did not miss the undertone.

''But they ARE such compelling reading!!'' he joked. ''What does your entry about the poem say?''

''Oh that it very short. Here it is...'' Father turned the open journal towards Vincent and he read:

[ Vincent found one of my favorite poems today; Character by Emerson. We talked and talked... on into the night. As he grows up and develops I am so proud to have him call me 'Father' and to have him for a son]

Vincent smiled... and blushed but said only ''It's time I did some work!'' before leaving Father to his books.

OTHELLO Act III scene iii

IAGO:
Good name in man or woman, dear my lord
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he who filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


[ Young Pascal was late for class again today!.. But I don't have the heart to scold him. It's not as if he's wasting his time idling about. He certainly isn't lazy! He spends nearly all his time with his father now, in the pipe chamber. He scarcely comes for meals and it's an age since he played a game of chess with me... Perhaps that's not such a bad thing? He's quite the best player in the Tunnels, I doubt if anyone could beat him! It must be that he has the sort of mind that can absorb patterns and strategy. He gets all that from his father. He always beat me at chess too!]

Father had become unaware of the rhythmic tapping which was the music of his world. Rather like the reassuring ticking of a trusty clock, which is heard on entering the room but ceases to register in conscious thought.... unless it changes, so the message now being sent crept into his reverie. At first Father thought he had dreamt that too but as he listened the message from Pascal was repeated by his young apprentice Zak. Yes! It really did say that Devin was on his way down for a visit! Once the flutter of excitement had settled, Father began to worry - as was customary when Devin visited. Something must be wrong! When did Devin ever pay them a call without there being some problem? Father remembered his son's first visit home after nearly twenty years away and as Devin entered the chamber he almost shot out of his chair...

''Devin!'' he blurted, then stopped himself. Taking a deep breath he continued... calmly ''It's nice to see you Devin''

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


''Just look at this Devin'' Father urged as he passed the journal across the ornately carved desk ''Do you remember this little escapade?''

Devin took the open book and read...
[ They say that simple games are always the most fun but today I found Vincent and Devin in howls of laughter playing a game that had never occurred to anyone down here before... although I can't think why. As I made my way along to the kitchen, I must say I thought that it looked a bit dark up ahead. I was still trying to work out why that should be as I know that all candles and lamps are checked, replaced and refuelled regularly - it's one of the most important tasks here besides security. When I turned the corner and heard the peels of laughter I should have realised it would be those two again! A competition to see which of them could blow out the most candles was under way. It was so good to see them enjoying innocent fun that I joined in the laughter - in fact if it weren't for this hip of mine I would have joined in the game too! ]

Devin looked up but not at Father, he was looking at some indeterminate spot on the bookshelves, the one that held his childhood with Vincent. Father was about to speak but decided against it. He knew the look on Devin's face and would not intrude on his son's nostalgia. Instead he waited, trying to imagine where that journey had taken him.... He didn't wonder for long! Devin's face suddenly broke into a broad grin.

''It wasn't half as funny as the time I gave Vincent that bubble gum!''

''Oh my Lord! I'd quite forgotten about that'' Father had to sit down before he could continue ''I think that was quite the most delicate operation I've ever had to perform!''

''It wasn't my fault. I did warn him that the bubbles sometimes burst but I don't think he considered what the effect could be!'' Devin looked up suddenly as though he expected Vincent to walk in and catch them laughing at his expense. When he saw that it was quite safe he added ''What about the time his hair caught light from one of the candles? And you had to cut about five inches off because it was so badly scorched''

''Now THAT wasn't funny'' Father said sternly ''It could have been very serious indeed. It's lucky that there was some water handy or it could have been much worse!''

''It was cold tea actually'' Devin corrected ''and that was what was so funny. Vincent didn't know whether to thank me or what! He looked so forlorn''

''I remember'' Vincent's words made them both start ''and I believe I was more grateful that my hair was saved than I was upset at being covered in tea leaves.... I see Father has you looking at his old journals too. I can't remember what he used to do with his time before they came to light''

''That sounds like a rebuke?'' Father sounded hurt.

''No'' Vincent said gently as he put his arm round the old man ''not at all. But I expect Mary would like some help with the children. She has been with them all morning and they are asking for `The Headless Horseman' and you know how she dislikes such stories''

''Very well then I shall go at once and relieve her'' As Father climbed the steps he turned and with a wicked grin added ''No doubt Devin will tell you why we have been laughing so much''

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


[ I really think that I have overdone it this time. It's my own fault for trying to help Cullen in with the chair. It's the only thing he brought with him aside from his carving tools and we had to be very careful not to damage it. I think that all our efforts were worth it though.... It is quite the most beautiful rocking chair that I have ever seen. And comfortable too! Cullen let me rest in it after our exertions as a sort of `reward'. I could soon become accustomed to that chair and it's soothing rocking. The carving on it is very intricate and an unusual pattern, I don't know what it represents. Apparently Cullen's grandfather knew the man who made it and having no family of his own he passed it to Cullen's father who had taken a liking to it as a young boy. It doesn't look it's age except that quality such as that is rarely found these days. People don't have the time to spend on detail... everything must be done now, this minute, and never mind taking a pride in your work. I very much doubt if anything made Above recently will be treasured the way that Cullen treasures that chair.]

''Now I come to think of it'' Father mused ''it's a very long time since I went and sat in that chair and had a long visit with Cullen. I wonder what he is making at the moment. I think I'll just wander along and spend an hour or so watching him''

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


[ I would never have believed, before I came to live here, that a child who was so wild and... savage even, could turn out to be so sensitive. When Vincent first caught Mouse, as he came to be called, he kicked and screamed and bit! He had no language then and no trust. Goodness only knows how he had survived for so long - he must be very resourceful. Vincent showed a great deal of insight for a boy his age. He gradually gained Mouse's trust and with a lot of patience, helped him to communicate. He is about ten years old now and appears to be very intelligent. Today he gave me a present... a kaleidoscope which he made himself! He said he wanted to give me a `tube of colours' so I won't miss the colours Above.]

Father slowly closed the book and reflected on all the mischief that Mouse had engineered. Even now as a grown man, though he still didn't look it, he could scarcely be trusted not to `acquire' something he needed by less than honest means. He often took boltcutters with him on trips Above and Father tried to convince himself that there must be some genuine need for them which did not involve breaking any laws - whether those Above or Below. He tried to convince himself because it was the only way he could put his mind at ease during Mouse's absence and concentrate on other matters. As he pondered, he also remembered the many plans which had been laid in triumph on his desk; Many of which were rejected instantly for a simple, obvious fault which had not occurred to Mouse - yet his detail was intricate and accurate. Mouse would be deflated and hang his head as he plodded out only to return again bubbling with a new plan and his spirit intact. Mouse was definitely `one of a kind'... and that was probably just as well!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


[ Sebastian is at last well enough to return Above. We shall miss him very much. The children especially have enjoyed their visits to share some magic as he has felt better. They spent more time there than in the school chamber! The trouble is, whoever went to fetch them away was equally spellbound and so his audience grew rather than diminished. He has promised to visit as often as he can but he must still take things gently for a while. The illness has left him weakened. I know that Peter will continue to keep an eye on him and he will be fine in a few weeks.]

Reading the entry now brought the memory back so vividly that Father thought he could still hear the children laughing as Sebastian pulled off yet more sleight-of-hand. But the `illness', as he had termed it in his journal, had been rather more serious than the entry suggested! When Sebastian was found he was so badly injured that they all thought they would lose him. Some thugs had seen him doing magic on the subway and clearly thought he would have money on him. They jumped on him later that evening and threatened him with a knife. When he told them he had no money they didn't believe him and one of them pushed the blade into his side, puncturing his lung. After searching him and finding nothing they punched and kicked him and left him there. Father knew that a lot of people must have walked past Sebastian that night and the following morning and done nothing - not wanting to get involved! It was heartening that the person least likely to help was in fact the only one who did! Of all those people who walked past Sebastian, Yang was the one with the most to lose by helping. Nevertheless, he stopped and managed to get Sebastian to one of the tunnel entrances. Yang became a helper and a good friend for many years. But he decided eventually to go back home, before immigration caught up with him and threw him out. At least this way he might be able to come back legally. Father put the journal to one side. It was high time he wrote a letter to Yang.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


[ Entirely through my own foolishness I have spoiled what was otherwise innocent fun! Why do I make snap judgements? I keep telling myself not to but I WILL keep doing it. Devin again bore the brunt of it. When I saw the Jack-A-Lantern carved out to look like Vincent I just assumed that he was responsible and tore into him without thinking. I only succeeded in upsetting Vincent - the last thing I wanted to do. He came in during my tirade. Devin had said nothing; I doubt I gave him the chance. Vincent thought that I was displeased with HIS efforts and... well I hope that he will forgive this foolish old man. And I was only trying to save HIS feelings!]

Again, Father thought, here was evidence that he had always been harder on Devin. He knew now that Vincent was more upset by his blaming Devin unfairly than anything else. And his journal entry sought Vincent's forgiveness - not Devin's. Father looked up at the staircase as if expecting Devin to arrive any minute.

''What can I say to him? I can't KEEP apologising for things that happened so long ago. All I can do is try very hard to be different. I dare say he'll be on his way again soon and I want him to feel he will be welcome whenever he wishes to return'' Just then an idea occurred to him ''I know!'' he added triumphantly and he closed the journal with great care then re-opened the cover and wrote in the flyleaf:-

[ To Devin - there are many injustices to you recorded in these pages. No doubt you remember
them differently - I hope so because I come out very badly. Please let this be a lasting apology.
Always remember I love you.
Father]



return to table of contents

WHO MAKES YOU JEALOUS?

I gotta admit, it came as a shock. How did she know? I've only spoken to her a couple of times. How did SHE know I was in love with Cathy when I didn't know myself?

I don't understand what happened here. I thought Cathy was just a good friend. Sure, I tried to ask her out a couple of times - but she was always busy.

I knew I cared about her - I got worried about her more than once. That time she got shot when she was working on that Docker's Union thing. And when she got worked over after Pirotta was shot. Mind you, I didn't help her much then - I was too close to that case 'cos it reminded me of my Dad...Come to think of it I'd never talked about him to anyone since I was in college - but I told Cathy. She was great about it afterwards. She really stuck by me. Especially over the Taylor Investigation. She dug me out of a very big hole that time. Yes - we were good friends.

But was I in love with her?

I admired her. She was beautiful - no doubt about that, but I admired her for more than that. Her work was excellent. Look at the Nolan trial. I know I was sore when Moreno handed it over to her but I was sure proud of the way she handled it.

Her commitment - that's what it was - she never gave less than a hundred per cent. Well.... she's sure given a hundred per cent now!

Why did I say Elliot Burch? - I wasn't 'jealous' of him.

When she came back after the 'flu - only it wasn't the 'flu - she said then that there was someone special. If I'm honest with myself that hurt a little bit but I think I'd already given up on my chances. Anyway, she said ''you have a heart like his''. WHAT THE HELL was THAT supposed to mean? Anyway - she wasn't talking about Burch - no way!

Then again - what was all that stuff with Burch and the CIA a while back?

I never knew how that ended. There were lots of things I never knew; When she got back from LA she said someone was waiting for her. Burch was out of the country then so it couldn't have been him. She was going to Providence, then changed her mind at the last minute... Not that I wasn't happy to have her stay, but she never said why.

When that guy was watching her. There was definitely something she wasn't telling me.... I don't think I'd ever been so scared for her as I was then. I wanted to hold her and make it all better. Like the night I held her, crying in my arms, when we found Jimmy Morero's body. I was just comforting her though wasn't I?

When she went missing, I was looking for a FRIEND. When she died, I lost a FRIEND. But when Jenny was crying in my arms I could so easily have joined in with her!

Walking into her apartment... after they found her... I heard a voice say ''bag her hands'' - sounded like it was a thousand miles away - I was hurting. I WAS hurting.

I guess I couldn't admit to myself that I loved her - 'cos I was afraid of losing control.



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CATHARSIS

He had seen it's beauty before... admired it from a distance but now, for some reason that he could not identify, it beckoned him... He wanted to FEEL it's power. He made his way to the heart of it. It was a difficult path but he reached it surprisingly quickly... though not without doubts along the way:-

What if it crushed the life from him? What if it swept him away and dashed him against the rocks below? What if...? But the pull was too strong to resist and at last he stood in the full force of the water and it beat against his body mercilessly. His own strength rose to meet it... to match it blow for blow and the union with it was exaltation! He became part of it for an eternal instant and his soul rejoiced.

And she was there too! She was PART of the cascade. He wanted to live there, die there in that embrace but the power overcame him. He was filled with sorrow that she would never again be with him. Now he would surely be slain by the torrent... carried away and shattered forever. He could resist no longer and he allowed the water to lift him from where he stood.

Not in an angry wave was he lifted, but so gently, as on the delicate wings of a butterfly... and carried through the curtain of his tears and floated into the stillness of the waters below. He marvelled that it should be so but more wonder followed...

As he looked up at the falls he saw that she was still there! She smiled at him, as she would for the rest of his days, and her tender voice echoed through the roar...

''I will always be here''



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DEAR MR MAXWELL

Dear Mr Maxwell

I want to be a District Attorney someday.
Please can you give me some advice?

Yours

Paul Strong (aged 13yrs 6mths)



Joe's first reaction when he read the letter was ''Don't!'' He looked at the pile of files on his desk and tried to remember the last time he actually saw the leather inlaid in the centre of it. It was true that some of these papers only needed his signature but Joe was very fussy about what he put his name on... He was the one who was responsible now and he'd carry the can if it was wrong. This letter needed some thought... make that a lot of thought! He tucked it in his inside pocket for later.

Late that evening, as Joe was hanging his jacket up at home, he noticed the letter still there. He took it out and read it again then placed it on the table so that he would not forget it. At least on this table you could see it! He had snatched a meal earlier and now had indigestion so he poured a tall glass of water and ran himself a bath. A long soak was what he needed. He would also have time to think how to reply to young Paul.

Feeling suitably refreshed and much more relaxed, Joe settled at the table to write his 'advice'. Dedication, loyalty and trustworthiness were qualities he would stress. Also hard work and teamwork were very important but he didn't want it to sound like a lecture so he decided to make it a more 'chatty' letter. He made several alterations to his first draft but eventually he was satisfied with the result... but he had better type it... the kid would never be able to read Joe's scrawl!

Dear Paul

You don't tell me anything about yourself, except your age, so I have to assume that you realise you will need to go to college and then law school and that won't be a problem. And you already know you'll have to work hard to succeed - and that goes for any job, not just this one!

You want to be a DA now but a lot can happen from 13 to my age - you should really have more than one option - in case things don't pan out for you.

When I was your age I wanted to be a cop... but something happened to change that. I stuck with the law though and I'm not sorry. You will have to do that too but don't go missing out on other things: ALL experience is useful, you may not think so at the time but it is. You can't do this job if you don't know about people - how to treat them and who you can trust.

Be careful though - the DA has to be above suspicion so don't go getting yourself a sheet for some stupid prank while you're young or you could blow it. It may not be anything too serious but these things have a habit of coming out at the worst times and once the damage is done it can't be undone. The DA is elected by the people and it's the people who remember the headlines.

Join a theater group too. This may sound odd but acting skills are very useful, especially in court. It will also help with the nerves - court is a bit like the stage - except the action is real and very important. You only get one chance to get it right so everything you can do to prepare yourself is good.

Luck will play a big part in your life - and not all of it will be good luck. Sometimes bad luck has a good side to it. Without going into details some of the worst things that happened in my life were directly responsible for my being in this job today. I'm not saying I wouldn't have had it happen differently because that's just not true. I'm just saying you never know.

I wish you all the luck you need and as long as you work hard and care about people I'm sure you'll make it someday. Above all be true to yourself - don't be forced by other people to do anything that doesn't seem right to you.

Yours sincerely

Joe Maxwell



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SOMEBODY ELSE IN YOUR LIFE

I met him tonight - the man you loved.

I could only see his outline. A big man. A very big man. I had a gun in my hand. I could have killed him any number of times. When he said his name, I wanted to, but I had to be sure he was the one so I let him speak.

He SAW the man who killed you Cathy - so it wasn't him. He wants my help. Why should I help him?

'Because you loved her too'

Oh yes, Cathy, I loved you. But I lost you - I kept on losing you. Before I knew you I was so sure of myself: who I was, what I wanted and how to get it. That night at the museum I was expounding on the value of art, how it enhanced the quality of humanity.... but I was looking at you Cathy. I remember telling you your father should be proud of you. Hell, I was proud of you and I'd only known you a couple of hours!

'Call me' you said and it was like you'd popped out of a magic lamp and granted me three wishes.

I remember walking with you and telling you about my dreams - I can still hear the saxophone! Even as we spoke my dreams were changing but when you kissed me it was like the whole city had changed. Then I just wanted to be with you more and more. Remember when I brought lobster to your office? Boy, I'd never seen you look so determined - I thought I was in real trouble for that stunt.

Did you know Vincent then?
No, I don't think so. He couldn't have sat back while..... Unless.....
Perhaps he did love you enough to do that even then?

All I know is that I trust him and I believe what he said. I'll go see Joe Maxwell and I'll speak to Cleon again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Joe doesn't like me much! But he wants to find your killer too. He didn't like the idea that maybe Moreno is on the take but I think he'll check it out.

He hurt me though! He said I only ever used you if there was something in it for me. That's not true Cathy. Okay, so when the DA's office were trying to make a case against Max Avery, I took my chance to try to make you see that I'm not one of the bad guys. I just wanted your trust back. Then you came to see me - you looked like a different person - behaved like a different person. You were somehow cornered but I never knew how. No explanations, just a shopping list you couldn't fill at Bloomingdales! You wanted my trust then. How could I withhold that, or anything, from you? It didn't matter why you needed those things - all that mattered was that you were in trouble and I had the power to help you.

I can't help you now Cathy. You're dead and whoever killed you is making sure I don't find him. And he's gradually destroying me. He burned one of my hotels as a warning - over 200 people died in that fire - people who had nothing to do with any of this. Since then he's been taking me apart. Cleon knows it and so do I.... but who is he?

I used to think it was Vincent but I know better now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Cleon murdered, left hanging there for me to see! What kind of man would do this? I can't stand up to him. I'll have to tell Vincent tonight that I can't go on with this. I'm sorry Cathy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


'There is a child'

You had a child!
Vincent wouldn't say if it was his child but it must be. I can't even decide how I feel about that but I'll carry on now because the monster who killed you has your child.

I still haven't seen Vincent's face. Why won't he let me see his face?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Now Joe knows Moreno is dirty and he knows where you died. It knocked him sideways, I could see that. He wants to know where my information came from but I can't tell him. That would be breaking a trust and we both know how important trust is.

Remember when I was trying to build the Tower and you agreed to come to see my dream in the making? Ever since I was a child I've wanted to build bigger and better than anyone else - even sandcastles! Burch Tower meant so much to me.

It meant too much.

If only I'd agreed to stop it when you asked me to I could have....... No! When you agreed to marry me Cathy, it wasn't because you loved me, it was because of something else. I knew how much the Tower meant to me but even I didn't know that I could let it ruin my chance of happiness with the only woman I've ever loved. But your reasons were a mystery to me then. I still can't imagine why you would be willing to marry me when you were in love with Vincent - or how he could let you do it.

I'm meeting Vincent again tonight. Maybe I'll ask him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


He saved my life tonight. They shot him twice but still he saved my life. It's not the first time either - Now I know HE was the one who saved us back on the docks that night. He sounded like.... I don't know what he sounded like but it was the same.

And I saw his face. Now I know why he was a secret.

I called after him but he disappeared off into the night. Maybe he crawled off to die somewhere and I'll never get to thank him.

How did you meet him Cathy? Where? When I knew I had a rival, I flattered myself that he must be very special, but this man. Man? I know from the way he speaks of you that he loved you very much but you had a child together! How do I deal with that - now that I've seen him - in action?

I can't stop thinking about that night on the waterfront, after the helicopter blew up, when I kissed you.... And later, when I told you things I'd never told anybody before. You listened and you understood. It felt right to tell you those things. You were close then.

Oh Cathy, I did love you!

But you already loved Vincent. It was that night I really knew there was someone else in your life. When that door slid open and you said we were below Central Park I had so many questions. But you were already starting to move away from me again. I was in no doubt when I left you there that I was competing with someone else, and losing.

But there was no evidence of the other man, not that I could see. I didn't have you followed - there was never any question of that - but no-one saw you out with him, not in restaurants, not at the theatre, nowhere. So where was he? Who was he?

I know the answer to that now and some things are starting to make sense.... but I still have so many questions. Who do I ask Cathy?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


After almost a week I thought I'd heard the last of Vincent but then I got a message to meet him at pier 39. He doesn't mind me seeing his face now - and I know it sounds curious but he doesn't seem half as strange as I remembered him. Maybe it's because now I can see past the differences to the man. The man you loved. Something else struck me too - He is just as persuasive as you were! I was all for pulling out but he convinced me to go on searching for this monster - Gabriel. How Vincent loved you Cathy. He spoke of you tonight and I could almost touch his pain. Together with my own it was almost more than I could bear.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


First Bennett came to see me again - she's smart! She'd worked out that I was there when Moreno died. She asked me what I knew and for a moment I wanted to tell her, let her have the responsibility, but only for a moment. Next thing I know I'm in this cell. My attorney thinks I'm insane for not telling him what happened. If I did tell him - then he'd really think I'm insane!

I'm here, charged with Moreno's murder and I have no idea how to play this one.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


So... that's Gabriel. He doesn't look anything special.

He had me brought to your grave to meet him.

'We don't have to be enemies' he said with ice in his voice. Then, almost casually, he said if he'd known how much trouble it would cause, he wouldn't have killed you - like it meant nothing at all to him! I wanted to deck him there and then but I knew I wouldn't be allowed to get that close.

Oh Cathy... he said you never loved me.

I tried to say that you did but the words wouldn't come. You loved HIM. You had HIS child. HE was the one who took you away from me. Gabriel lit a fire in me and now he was fanning the flames. Forgive me Cathy but I'm burning with jealousy and all I can see now is that I can at least have some part of my life back if I just play ball with him.

He's not asking much.

I just have to betray Vincent, that's all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


He's here.... I just have to get him out in plain sight.

Look at him. What could he have given you Cathy? What?

'All I could. All I had. All I was.'

God Cathy - what have I done?



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THE ELEPHANT'S CHILD

I decided to learn to read... for her. So she'd be proud of me... and so I could read those stories myself. It wasn't as hard as I thought it'd be! I already recognised my own name in print... and my father's from the death certificate... 'from injuries sustained in a road traffic accident' I can read that now too, not that I didn't know it already. I've found all sorts of advantages when you can read - not just for books. Want ads, lost and found, special offers, hey I even started reading newspapers! I saw her picture in there several times... months ago... but I couldn't read what it said then. Now I wish I couldn't read 'cos when I saw her picture again last week I bought the paper so I could take my time over it.

She's dead! She'd been missing and now she's dead! I went to the graveyard on the day of the funeral... oh, nobody saw me, I made sure of that. So many people there... but he wasn't there. He couldn't go till it was dark... I saw him then but I didn't know what to say to him so I stayed out of sight. I will talk to him one day... when it doesn't hurt so much. He goes there a lot at night.

Just think... I learned to read for her and the first proper thing I read was that!



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A GYPSY NEVER FORGETS

From his attire you would have thought that he lived Below:- fingerless gloves, patched knees - generally raggedy. But no, his home was Above with his grandparents. Now, as he approached the drainage culvert he looked hesitant, almost shifty. But for the flowers, you would have said he was definitely up to no good! He looked around one last time before entering quickly, trying not to be seen. The children who had been by the grill had seen his approach and retreated behind the safety-door where they now stood silently to discover his purpose.

Tony tapped on the pipes - no recognisable message.

'Should we fetch someone?' Kipper whispered.

'Wait!' Zak commanded softly.

After a pause Tony decided that there must be someone there, a sentry perhaps so he said out loud, 'It's not much. I couldn't afford much... but I wanted you to know that I heard and I'm sorry.' His voice was strained as he fought with his emotions. 'Please see that Vincent gets the flowers. Tell him they're from Tony - He'll know' He laid the flowers on the dirt and slowly turned to go, 'Please' he added 'It's important.'

He left, rather reluctantly and walked a little way from the culvert before stopping. He couldn't just leave like that, not knowing. He sat there on the damp grass, turning it over in his mind for two or three minutes, then stood up and made his way cautiously back to the grill. The flowers were gone! Tony was elated. He yelled 'Thanks!' and once in the park again he raced most of the way home. By the time he was tucking into his breakfast there was a vase of flowers by a stained glass window in a chamber deep beneath the city and two hearts were lighter than before.



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...IT CHANGED EVERYTHING
(extracts from Diana's diary)

October 10 1989 3.30am - Graveyard hunch paid off this morning, just after midnight. Hard to process the details. Hard enough trying to explain to myself what has happened, what I've found...

I found Vincent. I found him at her grave, half dead. Don't know if he's going to make it. Can't call the doctor. I'm scared, disoriented. Even though he's in the next room it's impossible to believe he's really there... The thought of him's too great to hold in my head.

8pm - Something made him violent but he's quiet again now. Can't imagine what happened to cause his injuries but I guess he's entitled to be mad at someone. It's only one side of him though... ...I know that he's capable of great tenderness too: He brought Cathy home.

October 12 - Had to send Mark away. Can't really introduce him! I didn't lie but I didn't exactly tell the truth either. He's mad and he has a right to be. Vincent is still having bad dreams. I hope they stop soon. He needs proper rest and I need a new door!

October 14 - He's gone. He left while I was talking to Joe. He had decided before that because the last thing he said to me was like a parting... ...only I didn't recognise it at the time. Was that the first time he said my name? It has never felt so beautiful, just to have someone say my name. Now I've started to have dreams I can't explain.

October 18 - A week has passed and nothing. Still no sign. I dreamt of him again last night. A strange dream: I held his face close to mine... but he couldn't see me. I spoke to him... but he couldn't hear me.I was with him but... he was alone. Impressions - Am I finally losing my mind? Probably. But his sadness, it's carried over into me... and these last few days especially.

October 19 - I had to look for him... He saved my life. I tried to convince him to let me help but he refused. Somehow he believes that if he does it'll put me in danger. He told me to forget him... then he walked away. How can I?

October 20 - Today I tried to convince Joe that Cathy invented Vincent. I gave it my best shot but I don't think he bought it. He thought too much of Cathy......but I guess I already knew that.

October 21 - Last night I thought Vincent had lost all hope and would never let me help but this morning I found a message from him. Something has changed his mind. I'm glad. He trusts me now... He trusts me.

October 24 - So much has happened! When Vincent went to meet Gabriel I was so scared. I don't know why Gabriel didn't kill him... I was sure he would... but it doesn't matter now. When Vincent and his son were safe Gabriel was talking to me.. and I realised in an instant that you can't just lock someone like that away for a few years. The answer was in my hand... Cathy's gun... it was right.

October 26 - Vincent came as he promised... but much more. He showed me his world. Can't describe it... it's so... unreal... perhaps I dreamt it? I met his family at the Naming Ceremony for his son. Everyone made me feel welcome.... Don't know when I'll see him again.

November 17 - He visited tonight. The two deaths were linked to the tunnels. The motive isn't clear though. I have to find a way to follow this up without giving his world away.

November 24 - Vincent got my message and came to see me again tonight. At first he didn't know the latest victim but then he realised that he was involved in a cave-in Below a long time ago... and so were the other two. A man died... his son went missing... that's who I have to find. The other helpers should be safe - no-one else was there.

November 30 - Late. If only I'd realised sooner, Father wouldn't have had such a narrow escape. But...Vincent knew he wasn't dead... He is remarkable! He went straight to the place where Gregory buried him and pulled him out. Everyone was so relieved... including me.

December 3 - Tonight I held Jacob in my arms. Can't put into words the way it felt. I think Vincent must know how I feel about him but... I can't tell him because then... who knows how things might change. But now I'm content... I have his trust and his friendship and if I must... I'll settle for that.




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GLIMPSES

''You gave me these glimpses...
wonderful little glimpses...
but you never let me come in.
It was like somehow the shade
always got pulled.''

Mark
A TIME TO HEAL


Dear Diana

I'm writing this letter but I know I'll never send it... Still it's the only way I can think of to release my feelings. You were always a very private person and I respected that. I knew how important your work was and that sometimes I'd be 'surplus to requirements'. Sometimes I'd turn around and leave without question... Sometimes I'd stay, until you needed me, even if it was only for a minute or two. It was enough. I told myself it was enough.

But you... you were on another plane half the time. It was like I was watching a movie with you in it and... you were playing two parts. There was the Diana I first met, however long ago that was, who was... not shy exactly but reticent. God, I remember that day so clearly... and the searching look that passed between us. We had a spark to build on. But your fire burns cool... if it burns at all! Then there was the cop or more precisely the investigator. When you work it's like watching Picasso at his easel. You can't see what the final picture will be at the start... sometimes not until very late but when it's finished you have to admire all the brushstrokes... every one that make up the masterpiece. And the patience! I have patience, I need it to be able to teach, but yours... yours is infinite. I swear you could wait forever for something... or someone if you had to. I'm only sorry it's not going to be me.

I loved you Diana, I still love you... but now I have to find a way to stop. I can't see a woman with long red hair without my heart jumping in case it's you. Isn't that ridiculous? Can you become SO dependent on someone in the short time we had together?

I have to stop writing this letter now... it isn't helping at all.



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OR, IF YOUR WISH BE TO CLOSE ME...

Diana stood looking out over the city, as she had done many times, but she saw nothing of the lights or the traffic below her. She had no conscious thought at all... only Vincent and HIS world filled her being. Where is he now? What is he doing? Is he reading? Working? Eating? Even these simple questions merged into one concept, and one pain. He had given her the great honour of attending the naming ceremony for his son... shown her so many wondrous places in his world... even talked a little of his childhood. He had told her she was welcome there but to her question ''When will I see you again?'' he had answered ''I don't know''. That uncertainty was such a tangible thing now, a week later.

An hour passed without any discernible movement, before her eyes focused again on the real world. She stirred and slowly retreated indoors. For a moment she paused, then crossed to the keyboard. Still displayed on the screen was the unfinished passage from an hour earlier...

SEPARATE FILE

Since I can't talk to him and I can't tell anyone else I have only the keyboard to be my friend. It is impossible to describe what I'm feeling except that it is nothing I've ever felt before. That one person can fill another person's being so entirely... I never realised this was possible. Could this be what he felt with Catherine? What he STILL feels for her? How cruel life is to give me this intense love for him when nothing can come of it! Does he realise I wonder? I hope not. At least then he may feel able to contact me sometimes. If he knew the effect he has on me he would surely distance himself from me completely. Could I bear that?


... That was the question she still could not answer. There were times, perhaps she would be cooking a meal and the thought would cross her mind ''I wonder if Vincent likes chicken''. The realisation which followed, that she may never know the answer, was like the thrust of a sword to the deepest place in her heart... and tears very slowly followed as her whole body registered the pain of it. She would wake in the morning and she was surrounded by him... but when the truth dawned that he was not there, nor ever would be there, she was engulfed in sorrow once more.

Could she continue to live like this? That was her main concern now but what of the answer? If it was ''No'' then what could she do to change it? She could leave. Go right away from New York and from him... But even as close as she was to him now, she couldn't BE further away no matter how much distance she put between them! That was not the answer. She would have to live with the pain and hide the grief for as long as it took. Even if she never recovered she could not contact him and risk losing even the possibility... WHAT POSSIBILITY? ''Wake up Diana!''

She completed the entry...

Could I bear that? I can bear anything BUT that.


She saved the file and remained still for several minutes, just staring at the blank screen which now seemed to represent her life. The silence was broken by a light tapping noise coming from the roof and when she looked up to the window... Vincent was there!



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