THE THING WITH FEATHERS

An Anniversary Story 

A/N: Written specifically for BatBLand's 2008 April 12th Celebration – the stated theme, Hope.

A flash-forward from I Carry Your Heart, The Thing with Feathers takes place a bit more than a year after the first story in the arc - after Marriage Morning, after A Great and Thorough Good, after Iron Behind the Velvet as well.


***


They walked together now, early each morning to the park entrance. Arriving before the dawn, they would stand outside, hand in hand, quiet, preparing to part.

“It’s a lovely day for a run,” he said.

“You say that every morning,” she replied.

“I mean it, every morning. To see you dart into the brightening day along the path to the lake ... you are a thing of beauty.”

"Some days, it's raining. Some days are dark and dreary."

"And yet you are ever beautiful."

“I'm so happy, Vincent.”

“Until this evening ...” He bent to touch her lips before shadowing back into the tunnel, his fingers slipping out of her hand, sorry to leave her, even if only for hours.


She did dart into the day. Sorry to leave him as well, though the cool spring air strengthened her, energized her. The sun, when it broke through the pink clouds, sent rays to the earth, and on them, a poem to remember, to recite to him on their pillow that evening.

Another year had almost come ‘round. She could remember before, though it seemed the life of someone she’d merely known, not her own. To say all had changed that night was understatement, yet those were her only words for it. Her despair had been terrible and she’d known her first great sorrow. She hadn't known she could suffer and yet be healed, that she would find hope.

He’d shown her the way through the darkness, carried her, encouraged her, enjoyed her. He’d given her a most brilliant gift, a reflection of her best self.

How wonderful it was to love him.

Catherine made a circuit through the park, across the bridge and around the lake. She was not the first out today, passing a few couples running in easy conversation, a few silent cyclers lost in speed, heads down ...

The woman was there again, a striking woman of an age when experience and years war with a still youthful spirit – perhaps sixty, slim and fit with smooth skin, bronzed in the way of someone accustomed to outdoor work. Her hair was a long, thick, silvery braid. She sat on the same park bench, facing the lake, alone, still, as if in meditation. She’d been there every morning for days now.

Today, Catherine slowed as she neared the bench by the lake. The woman met her gaze with a bright smile. Not a New Yorker. She stopped her run a few paces out.

“Good morning! Isn’t it beautiful today?” She'd surprised the woman, she could tell, but her response was warm.

“It most definitely is. Spring time in New York ...”

“May I sit with you a minute?”

The woman scooted to the side, patted the bench. “Please do. Some mornings are just meant to be shared.”

“I saw you yesterday and, I think, every day this week, sitting right here.”

“I noticed you too. You run with happiness showing on your face. Almost everyone else seems to be, I don’t know, balancing their checkbooks.”

Catherine smiled. “Maybe I should do that too, but not while I run. There’s plenty of time to do that at work.”

This made the woman laugh, and then they were quiet. Two ducks skittered the surface of the lake, lifted into the sky.

“They seem to walk on water, don’t they?” the woman said. “It takes them a while to get going, but then, they have such ... direction and purpose, don’t you think?” There was a wistfulness behind the words, another meaning.

“I can see that." She held out her hand. "I'm Catherine.”

“Della.” The woman's was a firm grasp of roughened skin.

“Will you be here again tomorrow?” she asked, rising to leave.

“If I am, I hope you’ll stop to say hello. Run strong, Catherine.”



She sprinted the last blocks to her apartment and tried her best to sidle through the door. Her new doorman tipped his hat to her with a questioning look. “How'd you get past me this morning, Ms. Chandler? I must be losing my touch.”

“You were probably hailing a cab for someone when she left,” Brian piped up. He stood just inside the door, zipping up his book bag. She flashed the doorman a smile designed to distract him and was successful … this time

Brian leaned close, whispering, “He takes a coffee break every morning at exactly 7:45, if you want to time it right.”

“You’re a good helper, Brian.” She laughed, but she meant it, and he blushed with pleasure at her words.


She left the elevator and made way to her door. “This is becoming a really expensive closet,” she mumbled to herself, keying the lock. Once inside, both hands behind her on the knob, she studied the room. The sun streamed in through the french doors, though fewer treasures glinted in the rays – she’d moved many of her favorite things to the home she made with Vincent below. She'd needed this address above, but soon, that would change. Still, when she stepped out onto her balcony, felt the rush of breeze and memories, she knew it would be hard to give it up.

She readied herself for work.

_____

Evening at last. To her apartment again. Tasks complete, bills paid, correspondence cleared away, Catherine hurried to her basement, to the ladder leading to her real life, to Vincent. He waited for her tonight as he often did, a short way down the tunnel, these days leaning against the stone wall in a carefree manner, loose of limb, an easy countenance.

“Catherine.” His embrace was close and long, as if she’d been gone days instead of hours. She kissed him with promise and felt him smile beneath her lips. They began the walk home.

“I saw the same woman in the park again this morning.”

“Did you speak to her?”

“I did. Her name is Della. Something is weighing on her.”

“Then tomorrow,” Vincent said, “if she's there, you must ask if she needs your help.”

“I will.”

______

The next morning was just as beautiful; a rosy sky gave way to brilliant blue as Catherine ran. Vincent had kissed her goodbye with a sweet ease and confidence that thrilled her and though each footfall reminded her of her earthbound life, she felt as if she were flying.

And so she flew along the path, head high and sure of foot, and rounded the bend toward the lake. She felt a twinge of disappointment and was almost past the empty bench when she saw Della standing at the lake’s edge. Catherine pulled up short and bent with her hands on her knees to catch her breath. Della turned at the sound.

“Good morning, Catherine. The ducks were back. And there were two black swans.”

“You saw the swans? They're ... elusive.”

“They mate for life, did you know that? I hope those two found each other early.” The wistfulness had returned to Della's voice, but she gave her head a little shake and straightened her shoulders and smiled at her. “You're positively glowing this morning, as if you know the most wonderful secret.”

Catherine visioned walking her back to the Tunnel entrance and showing her just what a wondrous secret she did keep, instead asking, “You don’t live in New York, do you Della? Are you here on vacation?”

“Oh, my, how can you tell? People told me to act blasé or the City would eat me alive.”

“I promise not to bite!”

“Actually," Della continued, "I'm here because of a friend. She died.”

“Oh, Della, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to bring up sad thoughts this morning.”

“No, honey, it’s all right. She was a wonderful person, and she had enough time to take care of things before she passed. She left me her house, one of those brownstones. I’m here to decide what to do with it.”

“Do you have an attorney? I'm a little rusty on estate law, but I could give you some names.”

“You're a lawyer?” Della asked. “You don’t really look like one. You’re not all buttoned up.”

Catherine laughed at that, laughed because so many of her work clothes made her feel just that way. “I am. Is there any way I can help you?”

“Thank you, but no. My friend left excellent instructions complete with a legal advisor and a real estate agent.”

“Is there a chance you might stay in the city, keep the house?”

Della turned back to the lake, searching the shoreline – for the swans perhaps, or for an answer. “That's a difficult question, and I can’t imagine wasting your glorious morning with my story. But thank you for visiting with me.”

“I don’t have to go if you’d like to talk. I can call in late ... or sick.”

“No, no. You go on. I have to be somewhere soon anyway.”

Catherine tucked a stray wisp of hair behind her ear. “Will you be here tomorrow?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. Probably.”

Della was through with talking. Catherine reached out, a brief touch to the woman's arm. “Then tomorrow, I hope I see you.”

______


They spent an hour together at the falls, and walking back, on their way to supper, they met an elderly man. He stepped aside and bowed slightly at the waist as they passed.

“Good evening, Vincent, Catherine.”

“Hello, English,” Vincent replied.

Once out of earshot, Catherine said, “Tell me about him, Vincent. I don’t know him. I don’t think I’ve seen him twice since he spoke to Brian that night.”

“Lately, he's out among the community more. He's begun teaching the older children more advanced maths, relieving Father of that burden, who has frustrated his students with his insistence on using a slide rule.”

“A slide rule? Poor old thing.”

“Father says it still works and old ways should not be tossed aside for newfangled ‘gadgets’. This from the man who longs for advanced medical equipment and spends hours pouring over Peter’s journals.”

“That makes me think of what English said to Brian, that his crime was to have grown old, that he was to be ... cast away, I think he said.”

“A Helper knew him well, watched his decline. Three years ago he came to us.”

“How wonderful for him that he found this world.”

“Yes. Finally, he feels more at home and at peace. He has much to share and, he says, there is life left in him yet.”

“I saw Brian yesterday. He seems more mature, more optimistic. All he heard that night, from Pascal and William, from English, changed him. He saved me from the scrutiny of my doorman. He’s going to be a strong Helper one day,” Catherine said.

“And you told him that?”

“Of course.”

They walked on in the hush, the spill of the falls receding and the pipes nearly silent. Vincent squeezed her hand. “Another anniversary has arrived. How shall we celebrate this year?”

“Quietly, I think. I do have the most incredible gift for you.”

“Oh, you are that, every moment of each day, Catherine, my most incredible gift.”

_____

The next morning, seconds from their parting, she ran back into the tunnel, surprising him as he reached for the hidden latch.

“What, Catherine? Did you forget something?”

“Yes.”

“Tell me.”

“She saw the black swans. She told me yesterday they mate for life.”

He took her in his arms, pressing her close. “She has a story to tell you, Catherine. Stay with her until she can.”

_____


As Catherine rounded the path to the lake, she saw Della in her customary seat, but slumped as with a sad burden, staring at her hands folded in her lap. Work could wait. She would stay with her, as long as it took.

“Della,” Catherine called, hurrying to her side. “Are you all right?”

“I just don’t know what to do next.” Her voice held the shudder of tears.

“Has something happened?” Catherine sat down, bent close. “Maybe it would help to say it out loud.”

“The realtor wants the house cleared out," Della said, her voice wavering. "It is such a final thing to do, to go through my friend’s things, to give her clothes away. Then I'll have to move on, but to ... where? To what? And more than that. I’m clinging to a silly dream.”

Catherine waited, willing her on. A soft breeze rippled the still waters of the lake.

“I never married," Della told her. "I lived in Wyoming, on the family ranch with cattle and horses and wheat fields. It was a difficult life – money worries, weather worries. After college, I went home to help out for a while and ... I just stayed. I loved it though – the rides through the grasslands, the mountains in the distance. I loved the physical work, being outside. As my parents aged, they needed me to care for them, to manage the business. Four years ago, my mother died and then two months later, my father followed her. I expected to keep the ranch going. After all, I’d lived there all my life.

“One morning, I rode out and I just knew ... I didn’t want to stay there anymore. I felt like I had to change, change radically, before it was too late. A year ago I sold the ranch. I’ve been traveling since, visiting old friends, looking for a new home, a place to grow and maybe even to love, finally, truly.

“But, now, about the dream, the dream I’ve held in my heart for ages. Years back, one April, I came to the City to visit my friend, the one who’s just died. I was unhappy in some deep way I couldn’t exactly name. I would walk out in the park every morning, early like this, sit here on this very bench. There was a man who came too.

“He came with his wife in a wheel chair. They weren’t so old, maybe only in their 60’s, but she was suffering. Alzheimer’s. He would read to her every morning – poetry – and tell her stories of their life together. After a few days, I realized he often read her the same poems over and over, told her the same stories. All with a patience and gentleness that overwhelmed me with envy.

“I sat across from them, here, on those mornings. I wanted the stories, the poetry, the love he showed her. He knew I was there, knew I was listening, but he didn’t seem to mind.

“One day, another man came with them. A younger man, perhaps a brother. He was angry, told the man  his wife’s care was draining his finances, that soon there'd be nothing left and who did he think would care for them then. He shouted, 'Why do you do this anyway? She doesn’t even know who you are anymore!’ And the man, very quietly, said just this – ‘Maybe she doesn’t remember me, but I remember her.’

“I knew then what was missing in my life. That sureness spread inside me like a great bird fanning its wings. I wanted someone to know me, someone to love me enough to pull me back from my dark places, someone to remember me when I didn’t remember myself."

Della drew in a long breath, sighed it away. “I know it’s pointless to sit here dreaming on this bench, thinking if I wish hard enough, if I sit here long enough, I'll see him again. I’ve always wanted to thank him ... for changing me ... for showing me what love looked like. I didn’t have it for myself, but I believed in it, because of him. Sometimes, I believe I could have it still, even this late in my life.”

Catherine was stunned into a sad silence and she reached for Della’s hand. “Something powerful happened to me, too, in this park,” she said. “Something that changed me forever. Perhaps there's some magic here and you shouldn’t give up. Do you know his name? I could try to find him for you?”

“His name? No, he never told me. We never spoke. Sometimes she would call him Liam, if she were having a good day. When she said his name, he looked as if he felt blessed. Such a little thing ...

“I've even forgotten the poems he read. Only scraps of verses come back to me now. Love is a thing that flutters, and perches in the soul.  But I remember how it felt to hear him read, to hear what he was really saying to her.”

Catherine was at a loss to help. She wanted Della to be happy. She wanted to find this man for her. But how? There was nothing to do but sit together in the morning sun until she was quite late for work.

____

She rushed past her doorman, hoping that he wouldn’t see her, in her mind, ticking off excuses to use with Joe for her tardiness. “You’ve done it again, Ms. Chandler,” the doorman said to her back as she leapt into the open elevator.

“Drat,” she muttered, checking her watch. It was well past 7:45.

____

“She told you her story today.” Vincent didn’t ask. He knew. “Tell me now.”

They'd neared the corridors central to the community before she finished the tale. “I can’t think of what to do for her," she said. "There’s no way to find him. She doesn’t know his name, and even if she did, he could have moved. It’s been years. He might have died.”

“Maybe,” Vincent offered, “the man is not as important as the message. He’s already given her what she needed – the vision of a different life, the hope that she might find it, the knowledge to recognize it. Maybe the best gift you could offer her is the strength to continue to look.”

“How could I do that? I feel so sad for her. I see myself in her, Vincent, the person I might have been if it weren’t for you. Still in corporate law, searching for meaning in my life, always an unnamed longing in my heart for something better.”

His hand tightened on hers. “Remember our first night on your balcony, when we finished Great Expectations? The chapter will always have deep meaning for us, beyond the story. Sometimes, even now, I'm compelled to hold the book itself, just to feel that night, that change, in my hands. Perhaps, you might find a book of the poetry she remembers this man reading. She could take that with her into the rest of her life, as a guide, as inspiration.”

“I like that, Vincent. She only told me one line though. Love is a thing that flutters and perches in the soul. Do you recognize it?”

Hmmm. It is familiar. Perhaps Father will know.”


Father and English sat at the library table, pages of the math curriculum strewn about. Father brandished his slide rule, but English tipped the screen of a calculator toward the closest candle.

Father smirked, nearly crowed. “What did I tell you?”

“Maybe it just needs a new battery,” English said, scowling.

“Vincent, give us a difficult problem," Father begged. Let's see who solves it first.”

Vincent shook his head. “I don’t do math on an empty stomach, Father. You know that. I’ll think of a problem for you after my supper.”

“Yes, yes. Make it a very difficult one,” English entreated, lighting an extra candle. “One with many n’s and x’s and y’s and plenty of parentheses and throw in a factorial, won't you, and a matrix exponential.”

Father winced and pushed his slide rule under the cushion of the chair. “To what do I owe this very timely visit, Catherine? Vincent?”

“We’re hoping you can help us, Father. We need to find a particular poem and we know only a few words of it. Would you like that game better?”

“Word games are my forte. Tell me what you know.” Father settled back in his chair, steepling his fingers while keeping one eye on English who now rapidly tapped keys on the calculator, scribbling out equations on a yellow pad.

Love is a thing that flutters and perches in the soul ...” Catherine repeated.

“No, no, no,” English said, never looking up from his work. “‘HOPE is the thing with FEATHERS, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.’ Emily Dickinson. It was my wife’s favorite.”

“Ah, yes, Emily Dickinson. I was just about to say that.” Father rose from his big chair and began to rummage his stacks. “I know I have several volumes of her work ... maybe under here ... no ... perhaps over here. I was just reading ... ah, here she is ...”

____

Later, they lay twined together. “Tomorrow night," she whispered. "Another year. The most wonderful year of our lives.”

“Yes.” He sighed and tucked her closer to his heart.

____

“Vincent, wake up.” She tugged on his arm. “I have to know something.”

“What is it, Catherine? A dream?”

No, not a dream. What's English’s full name? What's his first name?”

“I don’t know. I’ve always called him English. It could be his given name or his surname. I’ll have to ask Father. Or English himself. Why?”

“What happened to his wife? Was she sick?”

“I think so, yes, for quite a while.” He drowsed off, half asleep still.

“Think about it, Vincent!” She shook his shoulder. “A sick wife and he knows Emily Dickinson’s poetry. What if his first name is Liam?”

“That would be ... a coincidence?”

“Maybe a miracle! You’ll help me find him tomorrow, first thing?”

“First thing. Anything. Sleep now.”

____


Hours later, nearer morning, Catherine was beside herself, anxious for Vincent to help her. At the staircase, waiting for him, she tapped her foot, and when he emerged from the bath, dry and dressed, she pushed him up the steps.

“What are you thinking, Catherine?”

“I’m thinking there's a woman, probably making her way alone to that bench right this minute, and we have to get him there before she gives up. To see.”

“You believe English is Della’s man in the park?”

“I believe English might be Della’s April 12th.”

_____


Vincent went first to Father’s chamber while Catherine searched the dining hall. When she reached the passageway leading to the park entrance, Vincent had English in tow.

“You two must tell me what the mystery is,” English said. “This is a bit of excitement for an old man so early in the morning.”

Vincent said nothing, only looked to Catherine. It was her story, he seemed to say.

No, it was Della's. “English, what's your first name?”

“William. Why do you ask? No one calls me that.”

“You have to come with me into the park. There's someone there who's been waiting to see you. For days. Years.

“No one above has any need of me and how could you know anyone who ...” English grew wary - his eyes narrowed and he scuffed his feet.

“Trust me. Please?” Catherine begged.

“Trust her,” Vincent suggested.

English scratched his head. “I don’t understand what's happening, but I do know you two are impossible to resist. All right. Whatever, whoever it is you want me to see, I’ll see.”


English shed his outermost tunnel vestments and stood outside the entrance, his face tipped to the sky. The sun broke through clouds left from a night rain, igniting the song of the blue-winged warbler, of the meadowlark. Catherine turned to Vincent. “Don’t go. Stay. I’ll come back to tell you.”

“I’ll know, Catherine.”

“Wait for me.”

He nodded and slipped into the shadows.

English offered his arm, courtly and kind. “Are you going to give me even a little hint,” English asked. “I can’t imagine who you've unearthed who would remember me. I haven’t lived up top for over three years now. There’s no one for me there.”

“You might be wrong about that," Catherine said. "Or I could be wrong. You may not know her; she may not know you. But even if that proves to be true, you could ...” Could what? She had no answer, other than their meeting seemed so necessary.

“You have so much extra happiness, Catherine, you wish me to share it?”

“I have that much hope, English. Vincent gave it to me. If I can, I want to give it to you. And to Della.”

“Della?” English puzzled the name. As they neared the lake, he slowed his steps. “I spent many spring mornings here with my wife. She loved the park, this lake. That was our bench.”

Catherine stopped. Della sat on the same bench, reading by the early light. English followed Catherine’s gaze. He walked a few steps farther, stopped again, rubbed his jaw. A rush of birds took wing from the lakeside. Della looked up at the sound, turned to them, to him, her expression a strange sea of wonderment and sudden knowledge.

English nodded and closed the distance between them. He took Della’s hand. “I remember you,” Catherine heard him say.

_____



They stood on her balcony, leaning close, no shadow of one parting from the other.

“Happiness never decreases by sharing it, does it?”

“Never. You did a wonderful thing, Catherine, stopping to talk to Della. You changed the course of two lives with your compassion.”

“There was a time in my life,” she said, “when I might not have noticed her, when I would have passed her by, caught up in my own thoughts, my own plans. You changed that for me. You changed me. That night was the darkest of my life, Vincent. To find you, to find what is beautiful and good, I’d go through it all again.”

“I couldn’t name what I was waiting for, until that night, Catherine. I only knew I could never give up longing and wishing while I lived. Certain things we must simply hunger after, and never lose hope.”

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul ...” She placed his hand low on her belly. “Hope  … flutters.

12 comments:

Sonia Who? said...

Aw, What a sweet story!

Vicky said...

I love this story! So sweet and uplifting... Out of a B&B episode. And the poem is so perfect!

PS: One tiny thing I just realised: “I saw Brian today" should really be "I saw Brian yesterday." ;-)

Carole W said...

Right you are, Vicky. I fixed that, just now.

You know - I know you know – I meant this story as something of an allegory ... how so many of us might have passed each other by, might have passed potentially dear friends up, if it weren't for the change BatB wrought in us - to look more closely, to pay more attention, to see beyond ourselves and beneath the surface, to allow people 'in' past our self-made barriers. And that one can come back to a place, years later (like nearly 20 years later) and find the same saving grace of love and fantasy and dreams answered.

Maybe that's a lot to hang on a simple love story ...

~ C
:-)

Vicky said...

So true. Except this particular love story is anything but simple; so many layers, so many intertwining threads... so many feelings and messages and stories behind it, beyond it!

Carole W said...

Vicky, perhaps Father needs to meet Della - what do you think? English is too old for her, really. And she's free to live ... wherever. Hmmmm, how they would meet and what would happen ... ???

Anonymous said...

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul....” She placed his hand low on her belly. “Hope...flutters.” A baby?! Is "Iron Behind the Velvet" after this story in sequence, or am I just too off base. I'm not at all sure why I put off reading this particular story. It is as beautiful as everything else you have written. I love your thoughts about this story, and don't believe it is too much to hang on a simple love story! I would love to find my own April 12th someday, but I believe that only exists in BATB and these brilliant stories. Thank you for each and every one.

Carole W said...

Anon! What a nice thing to say - I'm glad you like this story. I'm kind of partial to it myself.

But no, Feathers comes AFTER Iron Behind the Velvet. I'll give you some history.

I'd written I Carry and Marriage Morning and was then asked by the administrator of BatBland to participate in the April 12 celebration project. I was given the assignment to write a story using the them of "hope".

BatBLand Anniversary

Because I was in the beginning stages of Great and Thorough Good and because I can't seem to think outside the world of my creation, and because I was enjoying the rooms beyond the stained glass idea, I cast this story, Feathers, well into the future - a flash-forward. My plan was to fill in the year or so between I Carry and Feathers with more stories.

So the stories go in this order: I Carry, Marriage Morning, Great & Thorough Good, Iron/Velvet (and there will be at least 2 more stories after it) and finally Feathers

I'm so curious about commenters named 'anonymous'!! It's killing me!! :-D

and yes, on their 4th year together – their 4th April 12th - a baby. :-)

Anonymous said...

Doh!!! I was so caught in the story that I forgot to sign my name to the 7/30 2:14 p.m. post, and as I said once in a PM, this is the only way I can figure out to post here - dumb I know! I really need to come back to the real world from Below, but I just don't want to! I especially love their chamber being behind the stained glass - but if I mentioned everything I love about your stories, I'd be quoting them start to finish!!! I'll use your most recent info as a guide. You know you're going to have to keep feeding this addiction don't you!!! I am sending you good and happy vibes as you continue to write.

I'm at work today, but as you can see, I've kept my priorities as I want them - with Catherine and Vincent!!!

jitterbug

Carole W said...

"Tis you, Jitterbug! Hi!

If you look at the main page of the site Imagine That the stories are listed in order - the ones in the arc. I should put a note at the beginning of Feather to make it clearer where it comes in the set. It's confusing, I know, because there's a beginning and and end but the middle is still under construction! LOL.

I need vibes! Send away, please. I'm working on 31 - it's still rough, but it's getting there.

You're a sweetheart - so generous with your praises. You're making my day, you know!

Carole

Sonia Who? said...

I just re-read this story and enjoyed reading it again even more than the first time. It is such a wonderful story of hope. You're such a good writer and I hope you'll continue writing many more BatB stories.

I like your idea of Della meeting Father and maybe them falling in love, though I wished English wasn't so old for her. Also, I always thought Mary, who's always loved Father, would end up with him. I hope Father doesn't live the rest of his life alone.

So does Catherine get pregnant 4 years after she met Vincent or is it 4 years after they've gotten married?

Carole W said...

Thank you, Sonia! You're so kind.

I agree that Father shouldn't spend his remaining years alone, but see ... the story line about Mary's long-term affection for Father occurred in that season that shall not be named! I don't go there - for anything - as you well know! LOL!

I guess there might have been hints at Mary's affections in S1 and S2, but in I Carry and I/V, I've made Sebastian smitten with her and she and Father old friends. I want Mary to find happiness too and have romantic plans for Father in an upcoming story.

Yes, Catherine is pregnant - just - in this story, and it is their 4th anniversary of meeting, not marriage. I reread the story quickly and I think I didn't make that clear. I'll make an edit to fix that vagueness.

Krista said...

I read this once before and never commented on it---but I loved it then and I love it now. It's just such a story of hope and finding love where and when you least expect it.

And I do love the ending. But then, you knew that :)

-Krista