I Carry Your Heart - Chapter 13

~ Dream World



Catherine repeated two words to herself. “Damn it, damn it, damn it.” Nothing was going as she had planned and she cursed the egotistical belief that what kept the two of them apart was hers alone to change. Still, she would not allow the word impossible to be uttered, not into the air between them, not even in her mind.

The way Vincent led was again new to her. There were narrow passages and more strange steps; the dust on the tunnel floor showed little disturbance. After some time, they emerged into a small atrium bathed in a mysterious light, two levels with a narrow gallery edging the upper floor.

It was not nearly as large as the Great Hall, but still impressive. Stacked stone pillars stood at intervals, flanking two arched openings. Two metal staircases, one circular, another sweeping in a long curve, rose from the ground floor toward seductive entrances to smaller chambers and shadowy corridors. The floors were etched in a pattern resembling intricate tile work and at one end of the room, a watercourse trickled rivulets down the wall collecting in a narrow trough. As they passed through, Catherine was startled by a flash of light. She had little time to look, none to explore, but she recognized her fleeting reflection in a massive mirror inside one of the arched doorways.

“Vincent, what is this place?”

He did not slow. “It is mine.”

“What do you mean? Where are we?”

Without response, he indicated ascent of the curved staircase, standing aside, courteous even now, even in what seemed like fury. She climbed several steps before he followed, his tread thunderous on the rungs. At the top of the staircase was an iron gate. He reached past her, pressuring a hidden lever to open it, and without a word, led her down a passageway. Through an opening, she could see the stained glass window of his chamber, a host of stately candles burning steadily, the constant illumination of the room on the other side. The hidden passage!

But his chamber was not their destination. He led her through another gate and another hidden portal to emerge near her guest chamber. The tunnels there were empty and quiet; even the pipe sound seemed muted. Certainly they were alone. She felt her own aloneness, huge in her throat.

“Vincent!” Catherine tugged his sleeve. “Please, this silence is too much. Whatever it is, we can talk it out. Please,” she repeated. “Or I can endure it,” she whispered, when he did not respond. She walked deep into the chamber and turned to him, where he hovered in the doorway. “You can come in." She tried a smile. “I know you’re there.”

His face was an impassive mask. With a measured, hoarse delivery, he asked, “Were you comfortable here, Catherine?”

“Yes.”

“Did you have everything you needed?”

“No, Vincent. I didn't.”

Without meeting her gaze, he moved to the little table, fingering the marbles in the bowl. He scooped them into his palm and let them trickle from his fist, a musical reverberation in the stillness. Then, spying the nightdress Catherine had chosen months and months ago, the nightdress draped over the mirror in the far corner of the room, he stepped closer to it, reflected in the glass as she had never before seen him.

The silky fabric in his hand was a watery rope of diamonds. He drew his hand along its length until it slipped from his grasp, fluttered and spread against the glass. In the mirror, she could see that his eyes were closed and yet the longing in his face was never more evident.

“A woman would wear this on her wedding night.” His voice wavered away.

“Yes.”

“Did you intend to wear this for me, Catherine? Did you intend to employ some of that girlish power you spoke of earlier?”

For the first time, she heard sarcasm in Vincent’s voice – a flame to the kindling of her frustration.

“Well, you’ve seen all my others, Vincent. Several times.”

“Yes. I suppose I have. I’ll leave you now. When you're ready, I will walk you home.”

Home? I don’t want to go home!”

She tried to block his way through the door, and while he did not touch her, he moved roughly past her into the hallway. His cloak billowed with his swift stride away from her, but he spun on a heel and swept back. Standing close, so close that Catherine could see the thundering pulse in his neck, he took her hands in his, pressing both to his heart.

“Do you feel that, Catherine? Do you feel your power? You bring me life! This close to you ...” He drew her toward him. “I can come this close.”

His breath warmed her skin as he bent his head to hers; his lips brushed her ear as he whispered to her ...

“In my imagination, Catherine ... in my imagination ... it is the end of the day. Our work is done. I am waiting for you ... and you come to me. Warmth fills my chamber as you draw near. You bring light, an angel as you round the doorway ... and you smile. You smile for me.”

He removed one hand from hers, the other keeping her close. His forearm went against the rock wall to the side of her face. She could feel the length and power of his body almost as if he were pressed to her, yet as two repelling magnets, a charged distance remained between them. He stood over her, his weight born above her.

“In my imagination, you come to me with the scent of ice in your hair – needles of winter wind – captured there as you walk through city streets ... to be with me.

“In my imagination, it is summer, and you come to me tasting of ripe berries. Always, there is a gentle perfume lingering in the movement of your clothing ...

“And in my imagination, Catherine ... you lie with me in my bed. I can scarcely breathe; my heart is so filled with wonder, with astonishment. I tuck you close. I feel the softness of your breasts, the curve of your hip under my hand ... I tuck you closer ... and you embrace me ... accept me ... invite me.

“But that is only in my imagination. We cannot ... for all the reasons I have given you and for all the reasons I haven’t the strength to name ... we cannot.”

He took one step away from her, then another and another until he leaned against the opposite wall. She winced at the wrenching, almost physical pain she felt as he distanced himself from her.

“Vincent ... we can ... I can ... I will!”

“It is impossible.”

He left her there, standing alone, hollowed, wanting. Her chest heaved with the effort of living on. Her ribs hurt. Her defense against the shock, against the defeat, was ... anger, red and roiling, and from the entry, she shouted ...

“Well, in your imagination then, hear this! I AM SLAMMING THIS DOOR!”

She ran to the bed and pitched onto the quilts, rolling to her back, pounding the bed with her fists.

“Damn it, DAMN IT!” She had no other words.



Click HERE for Chapter 14.

12 comments:

Vicky said...

"In my imagination"... Oh, so very powerful... Dam it is right!

Thank you, Carole; this is priceless.

Carole W said...

Vicky, you are making my morning with your comments! This was the scene I visualized before I ever started line one of the story. I'm so glad it works and has weight. Thank you, AGAIN!

~ C

Krista said...

You know, I'm rereading this (again) and this scene still strikes me as being incredibly powerful. It's so them, trapped between wishes and reality and the power of what could be.

Great job, again. :)

Carole W said...

Krista, this chapter is near to my heart - it contains the scene (in my imagination) that started me writing again after years of not.

Thanks for liking it too.

Carole

Brandy said...

*fans face* Man, this chapter is hot.
Vincent's beautiful imaginations of Catherine through the seasons. Very compelling is the iamge of two opposing magnets...so close and yet no closer.

I still want to kick Vincent.

Though I sympathize with Catherine's hindsight of hubris; it's NOT all her decision, but it would be easier if Vincent was less of an ass. Makes me want a big stick to pound his head with.

Carole W said...

Thanks Brandy! Face fanning is much appreciated commentary.

The magnet imagery I still like myself. And as I've said in a couple comments, the 'imagination' dialogue is what brought me out or back or to the page again.

Sonia Who? said...

Ch. 13

Powerful chapter. Love Vincent's romantic imaginings, the magnets imagery and the imaginary door Catherine slams on Vincent's retrieving form.

This chapter makes me want to yank Vincent by the ears. He can be so exasperating!

It's interesting to know that the idea about this chapter is what started you writing this story. I'm so glad it did.

Carole W said...

Yes, Sonia. This image of him leaning over her, her pressed against the stone wall, and V revealing all he imagines just rushed in as I watched my DVDs for the first time (having long since worn out my vcr and couldn't watch the original tapings I had any more). At that point, I was a melting on the floor. How I wish we'd seen Vincent tell her how he dreamed of her.

I like the imaginary slamming too. That lack of doors makes it so difficult to punctuate one's annoyance!

AZLadyWolf said...

OMG - my heart is pounding! What a powerful scene!!! Vincent, Vincent, Vincent.....If I'd been that close to him, I would have been a puddle on the floor...

Argggh! I'd help Catherine slam the damn door - (I've had experience -- popped out the finishing nails on the frame once..)

Carole W said...

Catherine is a bit of a spit-fire. She made that door zing, I hope.

This scene is the one that popped fully clothed (so to speak) into my head when I first watched the dvds through (seasons 1 and 2) again. I will admit I am partial to it.

I'm so very very pleased you like the story. My spirits are so bolstered! Thank you.

C

Anonymous said...

“In my imagination, Catherine ... in my imagination ... it is the end of the day. Our work is done. I am waiting for you ... and you come to me. Warmth fills my chamber as you draw near. You bring light, an angel as you round the doorway ... and you smile. You smile for me .... And in my imagination, Catherine ... you lie with me in my bed. I can scarcely breathe; my heart is so filled with wonder, with astonishment .... I tuck you closer ... and you embrace me ... accept me ... invite me."

"You come to me/Coming to me" is almost a mantra you have embued into Vincent throughout this series and on into I/V. It rings so very, very true to his character, this imagine of Catherine coming to him and bringing him Love, Beauty, Light, Freedom. He is the Hero imprisoned in Stone, and the Heroine releases him, not through force or violence, but through Love, through Faith, through Constancy.

"Coming to me" is such a very powerful phrase, and I love the way you employ it and evolve it throughout the series!

Regards, Lindariel

NYC Utopia said...

It is a wonder I never commented on this chapter or even the one just before. I was holding my breath! I do each time I revisit rhe scene, even though I kmow all will end well!
Door-slamming is understandable. He is like one first attempting to (deep-)dive without equipment. He cannot hold his breath for long in this new element. But he *does* bare his... imagination! Frustrating in the heat of the moment, but still momentous.