I Carry Your Heart - Chapter 15

~ An Ancient Word

Cleave ... what a beautiful word, Vincent.”


There was a charged moment between them, yet he knew before she spoke.

She was his.


“If ever two were one, then surely we,” she promised.

He drew her close and she laid her cheek to his chest. She felt the rise of his lungs and the drub of his heart, the strange hidden parts of his body fully vulnerable to her. Sweetest was that he did not pull away from her and, while his skin quivered under her touch, he did not flinch.

Setting her away from him, a bare half-step, he looked at her fully on, still holding her in his loose embrace. “How will this work? We are destined for a significant journey and we have no map.”

“We don’t,” she agreed, “but we are never giving up.”

“I have so little to offer you, except this ... for all eternity ... my heart is bound to yours and I will never leave you.”

“What greater thing is there, Vincent, for two human souls, than to feel they are joined ... to strengthen each other, to divide the burden of sadness, to multiply the joys, to live together and share unspoken memories?” 1

He thrilled at her words – two human souls. “Will you ... will you marry me?”

“I have. Just now.”

She favored him with her slow smile. He drew back, never letting go of her.

“You do surprise me, Catherine. Know that.”

She simply looked up at him, never taking her eyes from his. Waited. Waited ...

Until he bent to her and touched his lips gently to hers, fleeting, almost chaste. Until he took her face in his hands, without worry or fear, and kissed her again. His touch was warm and his breath shortened ... he opened his mouth first against hers. He gathered her close to him, tighter, and she felt the first shy probe of his tongue, a quickening and a rush and finally his restraint as he broke from her.

He bent his forehead to hers. “Too much.”

No,” she replied.

“That wasn’t a question, Catherine, but a statement. I have to ... stop.”

They shared both a shyness and deep exhaustion. This day had drained them, turned them both inside out. It was enough, this much. Later would come and with it ... everything.

She toed off her shoes and smoothed and straightened the bedclothes. His gaze was riveted to her motions; his heart would not slow, the thud of it shaking him.

She crawled in and settled herself. “Lie down with me.”

He would not deny her. Pulling the quilts around them, she burrowed close. He enfolded her, reverent in his touch and with her head in the crook of his arm, they fell asleep ...

After ...

After she’d kissed him twice more ... and after she'd touched his hot, rose-flushed skin and told him he was beautiful. After she'd brushed back his tangled mane and traced his peculiar ears with her fingertips.

After she’d whispered, “For I am running to Paradise ...

After he’d answered, “And all that I have to do is wish.” 2

Click Here for Chapter 16


1. George Eliot. Adam Bede. Chapter 54, The Meeting on the Hill. 1859.
2. William Butler Yeats. Running to Paradise. 1914.


Brandy said...

Whoops Carole...when did Vincent stand up?

Rushing through, on to more!

Carole W said...

I had to go back to look myself!

Near the end of #14, this happens:

She felt a looseness spread through him and after uncounted minutes, she stepped back and tugged him to his feet.


Sonia Who? said...

Ch. 15

I know that in their minds and hearts Catherine and Vincent have gotten married, and it's beautiful, but will they ever have a joining ceremony in front of his tunnel family, proclaim their love and commitment to each other in front of them?

Carole W said...

That comes in the trilogy, A Great and Thorough Good, specifically in the first story of it, Interludes. It's low-keyed, but there.

They know the Tunnel community would want something, some kind of celebration. I hope you've just missed reading that story, or else I didn't do a very good job of making it memorable!

NYC Utopia said...

Sweet. Their exhaustion is entirely believable. Even we, mere readers... feel a bit drained, don't we?

(I am reminded of a passage of Mozart's Magic Flute, about walking through fire and water and coming out unharmed... but the music may not be especially relevant)