Iron Behind the Velvet - Chapter 17



~ So Long as the World Contains Us Both 1


tunnel corridor
... a waste ... such a waste. What more can he need? Stubborn man, foolish man. He has his freedom, the love of a woman, her faith, her patience ... babies born of his own blood craving his touch. Every choice in the world. Every choice, and he makes this one.

Need you, Vincent. Intercede. Champion them ... defend them.

... pushing me ... pushing at me. Demands. Expectations. Why, Father? Why must I–

Your voice, Vincent. The truest, the strongest. Promise me. Promise …

if this is my fate …

Too much. Too loud, the spirits and wills, all free to choose ... even against love.

Freer than I.

no life without limits …

My own choices so limited. Now they are hers.

not without sacrifice …

She dreams me above, at her side. We were walking down 5th Avenue. You bought me ice cream. A humble fancy. No more than that …

And I cannot.

Mine. I want what is mine! A day, a single hour without limits. My ... wife ... beneath me in abandon, the sun on my back, the light on her face …

Restrictions. Always.

I deny ... but there is memory.

Envy.

Shame.

Beyond everything, beneath the black river, what? Dark ... so dark ... raging. I hear it, hear it rising up. Smell it. Taste it.

fury pleasured to full extent ... desire …

must protect her ... must protect everyone.

A second thunder in my heart …


He skidded to a stop, a dead stop ... and for a pressured moment, his chest a dry bellows, he did not breathe. His thighs burned, his calves, fired yet for speed; a fueled engine thrummed in his ear. Flexed in anticipation, his fingers hungered for engagement.

A menace of shadows …

One more turn, a race down the last twisting corridor and he would be upon them unawares, gloried and huge in his frustration. His friends, his family ... they would see. They would learn.

He scraped sweat-damp hair from his face.

I will not give it air. Or light. The course of my blood.

I ... will … not …


But the abyss from his slippery height was a burning lake. 2 The flames licked up.


____________


tulips at night, glowing
Long waves of persimmon and rose streaked the lavender sky. Pale spring leaves darkened to shadow; in the waning light, flowers blazed with an in-drawn heat. Joe and Rosie stood together in the garden and when she pointed to his watch, he unstrapped it, offering it up without apparent question. She tucked it into his jacket pocket and his hand followed hers in.

At the kitchen window, Catherine smiled and scraped another carrot.

In the gloaming the glass was translucent and the landscape shimmered. But the evening ticked on and the window became a mirror, in it reflected a practiced dance of intimacy, of history. Behind her, Flynn shifted trays from the oven to the counter, Eimear laying out quilted mats for each one just so. He pulled sheets of foil from the roll, smoothed them flat on the table. Eimear’s knife bit through the golden crust of braided loaves and he gathered the slices, wrapped them up, set them to warm. They crossed, then crossed again, speaking with mere glance and passing touch …

Always.

A chasm of longing opened, greedy for her. I want you here.

She startled at Flynn’s voice and the peeler clattered on the porcelain. “That should be plenty, Catherine,” he said, fishing the tool from the heap of orange ribbons. “I’ll shred them up and we’ll be done. You’ll give me first dance, won’t you?”

“I will, but I don’t have a clue. Consider yourself warned, okay?” The window was raised an inch and through it drifted the fits and starts of a party – a measure of music, hailed greetings, the scrape of chairs. Its off-beat echo sounded from the living room. She turned on the water and, with a cupped hand rounding the sink, coaxed peelings into the drain.

“You’ll catch on,” Flynn assured her. “Martin will take the second dance; I’ll send one of my brothers for the third and by then you’ll be a pro. The band’s gearing up for Shoe the Donkey. That’s an easy one. Just count to four. If Gay Gordons is next, you’ll be fine. It’s a couples dance; someone will drag you through. And Seige of Ennis just has the same few steps over. If somebody asks for the Cashell Set, though, you’d better sit out.” Without her asking, he tugged open a drawer, handing her a towel from it – one faded and soft, embroidered in tiny violets behind three frayed initials – LMB.

Catherine laughed and dried her hands. “If you say so.”

The front door bell had rung a dozen times. Each guest arrived with a contribution to the table and now the potluck of desserts crowded the countertop. Reflected in the muntinned window, Eimear appeared in the hall doorway, another square pan in her hands, the scent of warm chocolate curling from it. She crossed the room with the offering and wedged the brownies into a last space, between a many-layered spice cake – a stack cake, she’d called it – and a pyramid of cookies. As if she felt their study, Eimear lifted her gaze to meet theirs in the mirroring panes. Her smiled wavered – the effect of old glass, Catherine thought.

Flynn leaned over the sink. The sash was stubborn and muscles worked in his jaw and arm, but he shoved the window higher with the palm of his hand. Eimear’s image clouded away in the doubling-up; the evening air billowed in through the exposed screen. Catherine heard the rasp of his breath.

The heat of the kitchen ruddied his fair skin and his black hair curled long, caught in the high, snug collar of his tee shirt. His hip against the tiled counter’s edge, his arms folded, he was powerful ... reigned in. “It’s all about forgetting,” he said. When she asked for explanation, he looked down at her, blinking. “Don’t be shy, okay? Eat, drink, dance.” He gathered the carrots from the drainboard. “Just ... forget. Forget your feet.”


________________


Listen. 

A faint call resonated. He whirled. Not from camp, not Kanin returned. A guttural snarl thickened in the back of his throat, a knot of responsibility, of expectation, of anger unexpressed ... inexpressible.

... the other side of it, he heard. In argument, he shook his head, but she persisted, her smile patient, her step achingly slow but sure. The other side of caring, of family. Its price, Vincent. The price of love.

Catherine. 

A pinpoint of light glittered in the reach of his mind where the way lay straight between fearsome bends. The black river ebbed, the current of it calming to pacific waves. He could hear it if he tried. The music. She reached out ... and as if he bent over her hand, his lips just ... there ... the fire subsided into rings of water, a forest pool reflective of tree and sky and stars … 3

I'll find you. Tonight …



He rounded the last turn and came upon the crew at supper time. They stood around the small fire, spooning stew from rimmed tin plates, the conversation low but peppered. At his approach, everyone turned to him, their expressions welcoming, no concern etched at the corners of eyes, no grim set to a mouth.

"You're here already!" Jamie exclaimed. "We figured you'd come."

Vincent searched the group. “Is he back?”

Cullen snorted. “No. But, hey, don’t let him spoil your appetite. You’re just in time.” He set aside his plate to fill another. “You look worried, old friend. I didn’t make it. Compliments of Aniela’s mom.”

Jamie gestured him nearer the fire. “You’re a little winded. You okay?”

“I ... hurried.”

“Why?” Jamie asked.

“Maybe you should sit down, Vincent,” Cullen said. “Was there a ... problem on the way over?”

“No.” He hesitated. “Perhaps I've overreacted. I worried that Kanin’s journey might bring an unwanted element.”

“You mean he might be followed up top back to another entrance? We're on that.” Jamie poured a cup of water for him, holding it out until he thought to take it.

“Thank you, Jamie. My mind …”

“I know. There’s a lot to keep straight. We posted sentries at the first entrance either side of the blocked junction. So far, nothing. He went topside all the time ... before. It’s been a while, but he can’t have forgotten how to be careful.” She sank to the ground beside him. Cross-legged, she leaned on her elbows. “I still don’t believe he did this.”

minestrone & polenta slices
“You should see those rock falls,” Cullen said, dropping pan-warmed slices of polenta into the soup. Jamie took the proffered dish and passed it to Vincent’s hands. He balanced it on his knees. “Take days to clear them,” Cullen went on. “Kanin had some plan, all right. He must’ve worked out the physics, just where to cut. I thought we’d be dropping delaying barriers, but they’re as good as impenetrable. If I weren’t so mad at him, I’d give him a medal.”

Minestrone ragout, he registered. Aniela’s mother’s specialty. One of them ... one of his favorites. Not Peposo, but ... close. The heat seeped through the patched corduroy of his jeans.

Jamie poked him with the handle of a spoon. “We’re going back to work right after supper,” she said. “That old two-level stairwell? Not so bad. The steps are still solid. We’re replacing the railings and hanging some torch holders.”

“Have you put up temporary–”

“Rope guardrails? Sure we have.”

He rubbed the back of his neck. “You should get some rest.”

“You’re one to talk.” Cullen passed over a basket of cookies. “Aniela’s mom again. Oatmeal raisin. I think your side’s getting dinner tomorrow.”

“Aniela is still below,” he said, taking two. “I hope she remembers to go home to get it.”

__


A fog of grit hung in the air. His mouth was dry; his teeth sooty to his tongue. They’d not thought to bring water and the nearest trickle where they might wet a bandanna and mop the dust from their faces was a half-mile back, a level down. Squinting, he traced the tight joints of the rock barricade. “Amazing,” Vincent muttered, his sleeved arm pressed to his mouth and nose. “What he knows to do ...” They backtracked in silence until they met with clearer air. “We need Kanin,” he went on. “And he needs us. I've ... failed to reach him.”

“We’ve all had a go at him,” Cullen said. “Jamie gave him a good piece of her mind first thing. She had a letter from Olivia he didn’t want to take. I guess Elizabeth did a sketch of Luke and the baby. I told him myself Olivia won’t wait forever.”

“What was his response?”

“He really didn’t have one. I don’t know what to do.” Cullen sighed and tapped his forehead. “He’s got this thing going in his head – a loop. You know. I’m a sorry bastard and I’ll always be a sorry bastard, and I’ll prove it to you, since you don’t believe me. He’s pushed everybody’s buttons in just two days together.”

“Olivia’s acceptance, her love, should free him, and yet he chooses to run.” Struck by the irony of his observation, Vincent glanced at Cullen, expecting at least a raised eyebrow, a repeat of his earlier chiding. You’re one to talk. 

“The problem is," Cullen said, his eyes fixed on the ground, "eventually you run smack into a mirror. And there you are, standing all by your lonesome, staring at your big ugly mug.”

__


Ten years had passed since he last traveled the main northwest tunnels, more since he’d explored the levels below. The upper corridors were tame compared to his memory of the deeper reaches, of plunging flumes and ragged gorges. Perhaps, when their work was done, he might lead a tour of the wilds, but now there was no reason to stay. As one the crew had toured the first worksites, compared the maps and blueprints to geography most had never seen. Jamie had organized the sentries, their watches; Cullen, the shifts and meals. Their strategy was sound. Kanin was gone across the perimeter. He would return ... or not.

“We’ll send a message as soon as he gets back.” Jamie speeded at his side, her pace matching his out of camp. “Coded somehow. Like ... Arthur loves peanuts. It won’t mean anything to anybody but you.”

He grinned. “That will do. Dominic will come for Kanin on Monday for his appointment above. Surely he'll have returned by then.”

Near the junction, Jamie slowed to a stop. “We’ll be all right,” she said. “It was good to see you, Vincent, but you didn’t have to come.”

Jamie and Vincent
How beautiful she was – her shoulders squared, her chin tipped up. A crossbow’s bolt, fierce with determination, the fire of right and fair in her eyes. So short a time ago, she was new to them – a child, hesitant, wary, standoffish to others her age, demanding a corner bed in the dormitory where, with no more than a look, she drew a defining arc around her space. At breakfast, she’d wait for Winslow’s appearance, run to him, the hem of his long vest clutched in her hand as she trotted beside him. He’d pry her fingers loose, shoo her to school or to the children’s table, but often enough no matter how remote the work, they’d look down to find her materialized at Winslow’s knee. He’d scowl and tap out an urgent call to Mary or Sarah to retrieve her, point her to some distance where she’d sit, her arms crossed, her mouth turned down – his mimic. Grrrrrl, Winslow called her.

“You’re right,” Vincent said. “This crew is in fine hands. Your hands. You’re a strong leader, Jamie. An independent thinker.” A woman to be reckoned with. He hugged her close and left her blushing her goodbye.

He retraced his route in a long, swinging stride. His frustration pounded out, the veil of it lifted, familiar passages opened right and left, reviving in his memory the youthful discoveries at their end. Another day, he might linger, explore again, but now a silken summons, the coral voice within a seashell, beckoned him.

I miss you. I want you here. 

I’ll find you.

______________


Eimear's House - fireplace mantle
Red-faced and gasping, she collapsed in a chair, one pushed into a corner far from its likely position flanking the tiled hearth and oak mantel. The yellow upholstery was worn soft, the cording threadbare, and as she traced the scrolled-leaf pattern on the wide, rolled arms, she imagined it below. Nothing matched, she noted. The furniture a mix of styles and eras, there was nothing ... frail ... in the room. Heavy, overstuffed, substantial. Inviting. A family’s history graced the walls; mementos and artifacts the plate rail. Books jammed the glass-fronted cabinets – paper and hardbound, the odd leather binding, the lustered jackets of library loans. The colors – paint, fabric, photographs – were more jeweled in the abundance of light, but if the floor were stone instead of burnished wood, no windows but niches of candles …

The front room had been made larger with the removal of walls, the dining room and pantry sacrificed for space before she was born, Eimear said. The widened archway to the hall was spanned now with a hewn timber, stained black in places. Salvaged, Martin explained during the respite of a two-step shuffle, from a fire in a church two blocks over, three decades earlier. Nearly took Francis out, he said, when it came crashing down, the neighbors having pitched in to clear the damage. Behind her back, he had, she was sure, signaled the band to repeat the slow air from start to finish, tightening his hold on her hand ever so slightly, asking her questions she was able and willing to answer.

house band
Two fiddles, a guitar, an odd-shaped, bellowed-thing – the button box, she learned – sometimes a flute or a whistle ... The musicians commanded the entryway and the stairs, their tunes somehow pitched to the space – loud enough for the caller to be heard, for the stamp of feet to accent rather than drown the music out. Already she’d learned that ceilidh meant a visit, reason enough for a kitchen party and different from a hoolie, which was rowdier by far. That ceol meant music, and damhsa, dancing. That this evening was craic – fun, indeed – and all these terms taught to her by a neighbor from three houses down, Madhuri, and her young son, Rohan, over her pista sandesh and the promise of its recipe.

Now the Cashell Set began and she was glad for Flynn’s advice to decline and retreat.4 None of her dance partners – Martin, Flynn, his brothers Eli and Cormac or the half-dozen others – flinched when she stumbled or flailed. She had ... nearly ... forgotten her feet, but in her mind’s eye, she saw herself tripping up one couple after another in this complicated circle, heard their wooomphs of surprise as their knees buckled. Flynn’s baby brother Hugh whirled by, Rosie on his arm, a delicate version of his strapping siblings and a teenager clearly in love. Even the momentary loss of his partner to the Ladies Cross caused him to squint as if in pain. Joe sat out as well. Slouched against a wooden column, his sleeves rolled up, his smile was Catherine’s favorite – the one that dimpled his cheek and wrinkled the skin at his eyes – one she’d not seen often enough lately. He met her gaze, raised his glass of beer in acknowledgement and barreled over, perching on the broad upholstered wing of her chair. He threw his arm around her shoulders.

“Cathy, I gotta tell you. I never expected to see you like this.”

“You mean you’re surprised I’m such a klutz?”

“Where’s your sense of rhythm?” Joe grinned at her and hitched his knee higher. “I thought you East Side girls had mandatory dancing lessons.”

She nudged him with her elbow. “If it’s a waltz or the cha cha or even the mambo, I’m fine, but in a Haymaker’s Jig ...” She blew out a breath that riffled her bangs. “But you! You look mighty confident out there.”

“What can I say, Radcliffe.” He buffed his nails on his shirt. “Some of us have it …"

“Others don’t. Yeah, yeah. Promise you won’t tell that I bollixed up an entire set by turning the wrong way? I do know my right from my left. I do!”

He studied her for a moment. Not so long ago at all, barely hours really, she’d have turned from his regard, felt it necessary to forestall any declaration or curiosity. But now, the way between them lay easy and open …

Well, easier, she amended. More open at least. 

“I’ll keep your secrets, Cathy.” Joe winked and pulled her hair. “But, man, it’s gonna cost you.”

Would it? The keeping she never doubted. But the price of his knowing …

With a deep sigh, he settled in, his arm outstretched across the back of the chair. He took a long swallow of black beer. “Nobody cares, no matter how bad you mess up. Now that’s a great feeling. I don’t know when I’ve felt so …”

She looked up at him and laughed. “Messy? You have a foam mustache.”

Hmmmph,” he mumbled behind his hand. The Eightsome Reel was announced – for those who know, the caller said. Rosie started off the floor but was called back by Hugh and over his head, she flashed Joe a look of playful apology. When she bent to Hugh’s appeal, the yellow cast of the lamps gloried her copper hair. “Hmmmph,” Joe repeated. “I could use some air. Wanna go outside?”



The small porch was strung in tiny white lights, its railings wrapped and looped in a necklace of pearls. A cream wool cardigan hung from a wooden peg just outside the door. Joe held it open for her and she slipped into it, snugging the lapels. Heavy, it fell almost to her knees. Likely Flynn’s, she imagined. The warm, earthy perfume of lanolin mixed with something spritely herbal. In the pocket, she found loose leaves, lemon-like when she brought them to her nose, dried a crisp green-brown.

The night garden seemed an enchanted place. Pathway lights teased into the darkest corners and from the trees green glass bottles hung, wired for bulbs. The swath of lemon-yellow tulips paled to meringue and chiffon. The air was sweet with honey and vanilla, whether from the kitchen or from evening-scented flowers, she wasn’t sure. The party spilled outdoors, even into the church yard where just beyond the archway, a spontaneous concert roared. The high stone walls surely funneled the sound to the shrouded stars.

Vincent ... I want you to hear this.

“Crazy, isn’t it? That’s called a seisiún,” Joe said, “when a group gets together to play like that.”

“Rosie’s helping you with your Irish, is she?”

Ummm.” Joe gargled his answer behind another gulp of beer.

“I can see you blushing,” Catherine whispered.

He set his cup on the railing, turned it round and round in its thin ring of condensation. “It's weird. This feels like ... like it might be something. Ahhhh,” he scoffed and drained the glass. “I can’t think like that. You, of all people, know I’m not great at relationships. I have some ... strange expectations.”

“Strange? Honesty, loyalty, commitment. You call those strange?”

“I’m not always easy to be around.”

She leaned a shoulder against a post and crossed her arms. Leather patches protected the sweater’s elbows, their rough-sewn edges both familiar and a surprise. “Easy isn’t necessarily ... necessary, Joe. Maybe all the other relationships were a kind of preparation, to make sure you’d be ready when you met Rosie.”

His forearms on the railing, his hands clasped, Joe stared into the distance. “Do you believe in soul mates, Cathy?” A measure of music sang by. “Of course, you do,” he said and dropped his head. “You got any advice for me?”

“Will you listen, if I do?”

“This time I will.”

Joe looking quizzicalAll right.” She turned her back to the garden. Propped on the balustrade, Joe seemed tired and forlorn but when he looked sideways at her, something hopeful sparked from him, something ... boyish. A glimpse of his heart. “What we do feels ... heavy. The work is relentless. And the things we see, the people we try to help, often far too late ... Sometimes right doesn’t win and that hurts. But you’re conscientious and honorable. You don’t give up or in. You’re not jaded or defeated–”

“Dull stuff, Radcliffe.”

“No, not dull stuff. You’re a man to be counted on, a man who’ll stay the course. Erica hurt you …"

“And I deserved it. I let–”

“Stop right there, Joe.” She curbed an impulse to pinch him. “One of these days you and I are going to have a talk about Erica, but not tonight. Let’s take a look at your list. Counting backwards ... Nia, Faylinn, Jewel …"

“Who wasn’t one.”

“No, she wasn’t. And who was that woman you were dating before Erica. Justine? Juliet?”

Joe’s head dipped further. “Journey,” he muttered.

A laugh bubbled up. “Right. And what do they all have in common?” She didn’t give him time to answer. “They’re all lawyers.”

He pushed away from the railing and scrubbed his jaw. “But that’s who I tend to meet.” She arched her brows, held them high until he grinned. “Until now,” he conceded.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to talk something besides shop? Rosie’s confident and she won’t be competing with you. No conflict of interest ... or ambition. She sees beneath the surface, past the walls to a whole other world. Imagine it, Joe! And I think she’s been waiting …"

“I’m no prize, Cathy.”

Now he scrubbed his face with both hands. She reached out, pulled one away ... the other ... forcing him to meet her gaze. “You are. Take this chance, Joe. Rosie has wings. Fly with her a little.”

“She made me take off my watch.”

Ah, ha! The dimple was back. “She made you want to take off your watch. And think about this. She doesn’t have a car here. She’ll need a ride home.”

___________


Certain the outposted sentry marked his return, still he skirted his camp, hurrying past without report. If there’d been trouble or news he’d have been waylaid but he passed unaccosted. Purposed toward the narrow corridor, his thoughts were pulled toward the mark as an arrow through the air ... his heart arching, his quivering focus on the landing at the stairs, on the music he was sure he could hear …

stairs up into churchyard wall
He took the steps two at a time. A cluster of musicians played fast and near – strings and winds, an echoing drum, a mellow droning pipe – the repeating melodies a rush of dark-hued passion. He bent his ear to the door. Beyond the music, he discerned the banter among men, a child’s squeal and skipping step, the murmur of women – the company of friends, not unlike concerts and gatherings below. He strained to hear her voice in the throng.

She was close ... closer now, her laugh dulcet on the night air. He sensed her merriment and more, something deeper than delight. He leaned against the door, his palms flat, pleading against it.

I’m here.

“Go on back in, Joe. I should give the other dancers a break.”

“Okay, kiddo. ” He knew when Joe embraced her, that he touched a soft, sweet kiss to her cheek. He felt both. “You’ll be all right out here by yourself?"

So close …

Her contentment was almost a tangible thing. He pressed his fingers to the slats. Words spilled to his tongue, to his parted lips.

“I’ll watch over you, Cathy.”

His exhilaration plummeted. Not his voice, not his promise she heard, but a man’s ... another man’s.

My vow ... stolen from me. 


An icy anticipation spiked his lungs, but he chided himself, stepping back, his hands clenched at his sides. This is wrong. She doesn’t know I’m here. I cannot ... I will not spy. Determined to leave, he whirled toward the trap door, but curiosity bickered with his conscience. With his confidence.

“Neal, right?” she asked, her voice turning him from the stairs. “You work with Flynn.”

“Right on both counts. Have you given up on the dancing?”

“It’s the merciful thing to do.” She laughed, guileless. “Didn’t you hear the yelps of pain? I know I mashed your toes, several times. Hard, too.”

“You showed some potential by the end of that last set.” The appraisal ... he could hear it in the man’s tone. The effect of her smile washing warm over him …

“You’re being kind, but thank you.” Inescapable, her presence. Her pull

“Perhaps you’ll come again. For practice,” the man continued. “We have these regularly enough in the church basement. Those are well attended, but these in-house are more intimate.” His voice rounded and softened on the last word.

Only a sudden, gentle wariness stirred within her and she moved closer to the door. Save for the damning barrier against which he now pressed, she was almost in his arms.

Can she know that I'm here? He forced himself to breathe.


“Neal, I have to tell you …”

Uh oh. I’ve put my foot in something.” The man laughed as if her refusal carried no sting. “I should have known you’d be taken.”

Taken.

The word aroused the callous, banished creature whose foul mutterings seeped like fog into his thoughts. Cold fingers wrapped the bars of the dungeon gate, rattled them.

Taken by ... what.




Click HERE for Chapter 18.

_______________

1. Robert Browning. Life in a Love. 1855.
2. Theodore Roethke. The Abyss.
3. Ibid.

8 comments:

Mich said...

You told me not too long ago that you wished you had a certain person's talent for expressing much in few words. My dear ... you do.

I am a man. I am ...

POWERFUL. Gave me the chills. What you've done here is positively lovely ... not overly superfluous, perfect and appropriate for the situation, and the language, the conversation ... LOVE IT.

I am in love with Cullen's final thoughts about staring at one's ugly mug in the mirror. You have nailed Cullen's voice. And and conversation between C and Joe ... aside from Vincent's thought above, my absolute favourite line is this one: "Take this chance, Joe. She’s lighter than you. Freer. Fly with her a little."

I never thought of Joe as "heavy", believe it or not (that probably sounds crazy coming from me ... and given my own past few chapters, lol). But I love how Cathy sees him. Between Cathy and Joe, he always seemed the lighter one. And yet, he's not really "light" is he? You have done a wonderful job. I can't wait to continue!

AT44 said...

I don't know what to say! Thank you just isn't strong enough, Michelle. I pared down and deleted and reordered and changed Vincent's words on the trek over a dozen times. I was still worrying it in my brain. You've made me feel settled with it.

I'm so grateful and encouraged. I can only say it again, Thank you.

C.

Mich said...

Well, all those edits worked for you. I like Vincent's stream of consciousness. It's a difficult thing to achieve in writing, no? But I was imagining that scene near the beginning of "Remember Love", when everyone else's voices are coming at Vincent with such force, he just can't take it. I'm hoping that's what you're going for, because that's exactly how I pictured him moving through the tunnels.

Krista said...

Oh, my. I took an early break to come and reread this...Carole, this is magic I love how real you've made everyone...Flynn's "key is forgetting" (even though he can't do it himself, can he?); the dancing; the talk with Joe. (But, um, an attorney named Journey? Really? :-P LOLOL)

And Vincent, strung between the worlds, not yet realizing that it's never mattered to Catherine what he is, only that he is.

Marvelous job, again and still :)

-Krista :)

Carole W said...

Krista, you deserve a medal for not only plowing through this story with me, but re-re-replowing. Thank you for so many things.

The Flynn phrase - forget - came to me out of the blue - like he was speaking in my ear. Now given he is, in my mind, a young Gabriel Byrne Look-a-Like, that was very pleasant whispering. :-)

Vincent can't forget either and one of these days, when V and Flynn finally meet each other, they should have some doozy of a conversation. (Yes, I'm both anticipating and freaked about writing it.)

Poor Joe. Journey. I was just perusing name lists, looking for some good past girlfriend names and there is was. I laughed out loud and a terrible, no good, awful, short period of dating popped full blown into my head. Perhaps he'll work some of that out in the Joe/Rosie story to come one day.

Seriously, thank you. I try my best with this story and it really matters that you're enjoying it.

Carole

Krista said...

Well, it really helps that your stories are just that good. I believe it was Vincent who had that line in "Masques" about books being like old friends...the same goes for the best of fanfic. I tend to do a lot of rereading of both. ;-)

I can't wait to read that Vincent-Flynn conversation...that really should be a doozy. ;-)

Great job, again,

Krista

Anonymous said...

I've only recently found this site, but I look forward to chapter 19! At this point in my life, I could really use a happy ending.....

Carole W said...

Hi Anon! And welcome. I'm truly grateful you enjoyed the reading and would take the time to leave comments. Knowing you're out there makes the work so worthwhile.

I'm with you on wanting the happy ending!

You're coming to Iron/Velvet as it becomes its final self. I started it more than 2 years ago, never expecting it to grow and meander so or take so long to finish. I'm doing edits now - and there have been some changes since the first versions. I have to warn you that I'm a tweaker - never satisfied and obsessive sometimes - and slow, but I hope to move a little faster through the edits now. The earliest chapters were the thinnest and required the most reworking. I'm thinking - hoping - the middle will pass muster with less work required.

I don't know exactly how many more chapters past #47 there will be (at the time of your comment, I'm working on #48) – at least a dozen more. When I'm not distracted by other projects or RL, it takes me about 3 weeks to write a new chapter. After I finish some things I'm working on for WFOL, I should repost one or two edited chapters each week as well.

Thanks again for reading and I do hope to hear from you in future comments.

Carole