Iron Behind the Velvet - Chapter 21

~ I Stretch My Hands and Catch at Hope 1




He had jumped into the chilled waters. His hair still damp from his bath, one bronze tendril clung to his cheek, and in the hollow of his throat a droplet pooled and glittered. His earlier preoccupation dealt with or dismissed or – more likely, she imagined – pigeonholed for the sake of the crew’s morale, he stood loose-limbed and easy beside her in the breakfast line. Her thoughts strayed from food, smoke purposefully evident in the sideways look she sent, willing him away from whatever precipice of concern he paced. Good, she thought when, with a chuff of surprise, he was suddenly mesmerized with the toe of one boot. He’s smiling.

The sentry’s relief had appeared – Juliana – a woman she’d never met, a silver-haired, silent woman whom Vincent distinguished as their northernmost and deepest dweller – and they’d rejoined the crew, arriving just as debate had broken out concerning the name of the morning fare. The argument was good-natured enough and the anecdotes flew, everyone – even those who rarely spoke of their lives above or below – with a first-time story of camping and cooking over coals. Rather than quell the discussion, Vincent let it range, but in its wake, the frying pans remained empty and time was passing. At last he proposed a secret vote be taken, a winner declared, and breakfast begun. Now the din had subsided to a spirited burr, and Mouse moved the queue along, manning three sizzling skillets with a skill she hadn’t known he possessed. “Set ... Flip ... Yours. Next.”

She took a step forward. “I had no idea breakfast could be so ...”

“Controversial?” Vincent finished. “Your suggestion lost?”

“I read all the Campfire Girl books – Campfire Girls at Half Moon Lake, Campfire Girls and the Secret of the Old Mill. I know it’s called Eggs in a Nest.”

“Devin’s name for it was Eggs in the Bed. Every Sunday morning he’d badger our cook for a batch, no matter what feast she’d prepared for us. Often, he’d disappear from the dining hall and I’d find him in the kitchen, curled over a platter, with Camille grousing at him and nevertheless making more.

“Maybe he had a crush on her.”

“Possibly. He asked about her when he first returned. He seemed disappointed that she’d moved to Florida with a helper years ago. Of course, she was in her seventies when she turned over the ovens and pantry to William.”

“So ... how did you vote?” Catherine asked, separating two enamel platters from the dwindling stack, passing him one.

“My preference has always been for Pharaoh’s Eye.”

Mouse lifted a portion from the pan and she held out her plate. He slipped it from the spatula, followed with the golden cut-out, placing it just so atop the egg. “Toad in a Hole. Funny. Should’a won,” he said, already returned to his cooktops. Another buttered slice went in ... the second flipped ... the browned third scooped up for Vincent. She snagged two dull metal sporks from the bin on the ground.

“No, one is enough, Mouse,” she heard Vincent say.

She’d lodged her coffee mug on a narrow shelf of rock and just settled to a low ledge when Mouse appeared. He bobbed with anxious energy, a brown paper bag accordioned in his grip. “Good, Catherine? You like?”

With the chef watching and holding his breath, she sampled the dish. “ Ummmm. Soft yolk, crispy toast. Perfect.” Mouse sagged with relief, then bee-lined back to the fire to tidy up.

Next to her, Vincent carved his breakfast in considered wedges, each a balanced equation of wheat bread and egg. He speared a bite. “So, do you remember your first time?”

She’d just raised her mug to her lips and managed, in her surprise, to swallow without choking. A bit wide-eyed, she was sure, she stared at him through the steam of her coffee and he stared back with sky-blue innocence. He reached over and tapped her plate with his spork.

“For this,” he said and grinned.


She scraped up the last of the egg with a saved-out crust and from the corner of her eye, she saw Vincent do the same. He mopped thoughtfully around the rim of his plate, but she could almost hear him counting, weighing tomorrow’s need against their stores of food. He wanted seconds, she knew. There has to be enough. “Give me your plate,” she petitioned. “I’ll get you another. I’ll make it myself.”

______


Aniela dug a pen and a pad of paper from her day pack. “Okay, shoot,” she said.

Several spoke out at once, listing things they’d forgotten, things needed anew. Salt – there'd been an accident with the box – and real milk for the morning coffee. WD-40. Hard candy, someone called out. Toothpaste.

"Deodorant soap,” he heard Aniela mutter.

Surely a pharmacy was open. They should replenish their first aid supplies: antiseptics, peroxide, gauze and tape. Some aloe vera and a jar of pure lanolin. And tweezers, six, a pair for each tool box. Who knew, Mouse grumbled, that rock could splinter.

She'd winced when Mouse held up a reddened thumbnail for her inspection but when he asked for silk thread and a few stout quilting needles, her mouth turned down. “You mean curved needles, don’t you, Vincent. For stitches. Surgical stitches.”

“As a precaution, Catherine. Nothing more.” Vincent shook his head at their plan. Again. “You shouldn’t go up alone.”

Aniela sniffed and shoved the list into her bag, crossed her arms over it. Something at the chamber’s roof captured her attention.

“Straight shot up the little stone circle, Vincent,” Mouse interjected, clamping down hard on his lip when Vincent swiveled his way.

“I’ve made the trip a half-dozen times,” Aniela persisted. “You’re starting to remind me of my dad.”

Damien grimaced at the image, but a muffled eddy of laughter traveled the room. Dominic’s temperament was mercurial, effusive, and embellished by dramatic gesticulation. Even Catherine couldn't keep a straight face. He was glad, he supposed, she no longer frowned.

“You need supplies, you need clean clothes and you need to get to work,” Catherine said. “That’s the whole point of us going up. All of you, pile what you want washed right here. I’ll do them this afternoon.” She grinned around the circle, then met his gaze at last. “Send the message to the sentries we’ll be coming through. You’ll know soon enough if we fall into the abyss.”

A jest, nothing more ... yet his stomach muscles tightened as if in recoil from a blow. It was a straight shot up the steps ... almost. And there were sentries on alert. Aniela had made the journey on her own with no problems, and they would pass four work sites along their route on their way back with the handcart. But this was Catherine. He rubbed his neck, aware of some wispy touch there – warm, light fingers trilling high, treble notes on his skin – and raised his head. The look leveled at him, he was sure, bent even the most disinclined witness to her will. He nodded with reluctance. “You’re right. Forgive me my ...”

In front of everyone, she kissed him, rising on her toes, the edges of his vest gathered in her hands. “We have money for incidentals,” he said, after a long, speechless moment. “Take what you need.”

______

The stone staircase proved to be a dizzying workout, but once she’d climbed the Statue of Liberty to the crown and the Washington Monument too, all 898 steps, up and back. She would not give in now, not to the stairs, not to the floor or to the cold, not to the ache, not to the stiffness–

My legs!” Aniela groaned, close on her heels. “These steps are murder. My tailbone hurts. My neck hurts. I think my hair hurts!”

Catherine huffed up the final turn. At the top they stopped to rest, each bent like spent runners, their hands to their knees. “That grocery had better be open,” Aniela wheezed.


Gray skies greeted them, as gray as the stone ceiling below, but the rain had ceased. They set out for the corner, finding a C-Town Supermarket on Katonah Avenue, just two blocks up, the Emerald Pharmacy right next door. The modest list of medical supplies fulfilled, they patrolled the grocery’s narrow aisles, searching out staples and condiments, all considered for nutrition and rustic preparation ... and for weight. They could manage, they decided, a few special treats.

“Mouse would love these,” Aniela said, holding up a package of Sabrett’s franks.

“And buns are light,” Catherine agreed. “We need that onion sauce too, the red sauce.”

A display of multi-colored string bags caught her eye and she purchased four. The straps long enough to hook over their shoulders, they were freed to carry only one brown paper sack in their arms, Aniela declaring, however, that anything more in even one bag would have thrown her over.

Back at the print shop, she grimaced at her reflection in the glass. “I look like I’ve partied and slept in these clothes. Which I have.”

Aniela worked keys into the many locks of the entry. “At least we didn’t run into anybody we knew.”

“Do you think Dix prints tee shirts? I’d change into almost anything. I’ll buy.”

“Maybe. Yeah. Brenda did some for St. Patrick’s Day. Take a look around.” They maneuvered their bags through the entrance and Aniela turned to bolt the door again. “Hey. I just remembered. There’s a huge sink in Dix’s back room and one of those hot-air hand-dryer things. We bought shampoo. If I can dig up a comb ...”

____


Vincent knelt beside an open well, pounding in shims to square the wooden frame of the trap door. Careful in his work, precise and resolute, he positioned the wedge just so and drove it flush with one strike. He moved with commanding grace even on his knees, reaching his muscled arm high, his eye ever on the mark beneath the mallet. His vest and sweater and belt – his rose – were folded in an orderly assemblage on the floor, leaving him in a faded, thermal undershirt, torn at the collar and pulled loose from the waistband of his jeans. At the junction of the three passages, she lingered in the doorway. So beautiful ...

“We’re back,” she called, her voice low in her throat.

____

“I heard.” he said, sitting back on his heels. “I knew you were safe.”

“I’ve been watching you.”

“Yes.” She moved from the shadows. Her words on the still air were round and deep, as the sweet dream and coo of the night dove.

“How can I help you Vincent?” Her fingers combed into his tangled hair and he lifted his face to hers.

Where did he end and she begin? Her demand, her call, swept through him, shot with a welcome, ruby heat to the muscles and tendons of his legs. He rose to his knees into the protection of her heart, burrowed beneath her rib cage. His cheek to the slight, soft rise of her belly, there the swell and ebb of her breath signaled more than her simple inspiration and exhale. She promised a miracle with it – tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, we are, we are, we will ever be. His arms encircled her waist. Tighter. Hold me tighter.

The cool of the stone floor went unnoticed, though in time he shifted under her hands – an indistinct stirring – and opened his eyes. His cloak lay puddled nearby and from the secreted pocket in the lining, a wedge of wear-softened paper, pale against the dark material, peeked out. At the pull of the chord – the blue-silver chord – that bound them heart to heart ... her gaze followed his.

“Something’s worrying you,” she murmured.

“I ...” Not that, not now. We’ve too little time.

“Were you afraid for me above?”

“It wasn’t fear,” he said and tightened his embrace.

“Tell me.”

“I like it best,” he admitted, “when I can see you.”

“Is that the truth, Vincent? Is that truly what you like best.” She teased a flare of joy in his breast, but his eyes again sought out his cloak and its half-hidden mystery.

The truth,” he began. “I told you I was ready ... ready for you, and when I said it, I believed I was. Now I’m not sure, not sure. So many of my truths must be reexamined, Catherine. And so many of my truths are desperate and dark.” And draped, he thought, could not stop himself from thinking, with the Gorgon’s tasseled cloak, beset at every point with fear and strife and force and cold nightmare … 2

A beat of trepidation stretched to a crowded measure, but then ... harmony. In only the note of her steadying sigh, he felt his discordance balanced, heard answer. One small, strong hand caressed his shoulder, laid next to the racing pulse in his neck. Fingertips traced the shell of his ear. So beautiful …

She loosed herself from his arms and pulled him up from his knees. “Whatever happens, Vincent, whatever comes, we’ll face together. I’ll never leave you alone. Nothing will come between us. I promise you,” she said, smoothing the torn flap of shirt into place at his throat, “it won’t all be desperate and dark.”

Her words were as motes of sunshine; the air he breathed in – blessed – for she breathed it too.3 Love and be loved.4 How simple it really was.

He believed her.

_____

A clattering came from deep within the passage, one of such exuberance and accompanied by such chatter, that Catherine was sure they were soon to be joined by fully half the crew. But it was only Mouse.

“Great stuff,” he crowed, skidding through the doorway, shaking the can of WD-40. “ Love this stuff. Squirt it on, twist off. Done!” He bore heavy bags strapped across both shoulders, and he shed them; one after another clunked to the ground. Dropped to a crouch, Mouse pulled open the pouches.

“Box of bolts from Noah’s secret place. Won’t have to buy now. Gotta get the old nuts off though. Pretty rusted.” Mouse peeked up at Catherine through an errant wing of hair. “You try? Hand ‘em down to us? Save time! Lots of it.”

“Sure. Show me what needs twisting. I’ll do it.”

“You’re a good teacher, Mouse,” Vincent suggested when Mouse looked to him. “Show Catherine what to do, and I’ll get back to work.” He stepped down onto the ladder and disappeared from view.

“Okay, good. Okay, fine! Take a rusty bolt. Like this one. See?" Mouse brandished the offending machine screw. "Nut's stuck. Squirt here ... and here," he instructed, focused on the precise placement of the lubricant. "Wait. Wait some more. Then twist and twist and twist." He yanked a rag from his pack. "Wipe off. Then ... find a new washer. Find a new nut. Slide on new washer. Twist on new nut." He placed the completed assembly in the palm of Catherine's hand and continued his demonstration with a second bolt. "Make a bunch of new things, okay? Put 'em in a bag, this one with the rope tied to it. We go down. You lower the bag. We get the parts out! Hold on to the rope. Don’t forget and drop it.” Mouse rubbed his chin. “Oh, yeah. Careful. Don’t hit us in the head.”

“I will ... I mean, I won’t. I won't forget, Mouse. Promise.” Catherine laughed, crossing her heart. “I had a girlfriend in college who thought WD-40 was the finest cologne a man could wear. It meant he could fix things.”

“Cologne? You mean ... perfume? On a man?” Mouse sat back and rolled his eyes to the ceiling. “Don’t get it.” Vincent’s distinct chuckle floated out of the ladder well.

______


“That's quite a pile.” Aniela stared at the jumble of colors and textures massed near the camp fire. “It must be everything they have except what they’re wearing. You sure you don’t want some help?”

“I’ll manage. It’s mostly waiting after all. Let’s get them into the canvas bags we brought down. I hope Dix won’t miss them.”

“He had a dozen stacked in the closet, I guess for when he does big mailings.” Aniela giggled. “Catherine, are you sure about those sweat pants? I mean, they’re clean and they’re all we could find in Dix’s storeroom, but you’re lucky that tee shirt’s extra long on you.”

“I know! Who could want this printed on their–?” She groaned and tugged the hem lower. “You’re right. I’ll have to be careful.” She pointed at Aniela. “Yours are worse. And very, very green.”

“They are! But I’m getting in the van and driving straight home to change. And I’m not taking off my coat until I’m inside the house and past Mom. You want me to bring you something decent?”

“Thanks, but no. I'll wash my things and change later.”

Bent to the task, they folded the clothes and stuffed the two bags full. Catherine stood and stretched. “I’m glad we need the cart. Any excuse to avoid the little stone circle.”

“Yep,” Aniela agreed, “I’m totally, completely, one hundred percent in favor of the circuitous, long and more level way up. Ready?”


The door of the van squealed in complaint. “Sounds like me this morning,” Aniela said as she climbed aboard. She cranked open the window and adjusted the side mirror, leaning toward it with widening eyes. “Wow,” she said. “That’s some really bad hair. I’m bringing back a real blow dryer, just in case I,  umm, need it again.” She leaned away and returned upright. “I’ll need about three hours. Want quarters? Something to read? I’ve got some old Fine Homebuilding magazines.” Grinning, she held the proof aloft. “The latest issue of Brickmason’s Quarterly.”

Catherine laughed. “I keep an emergency book in my trunk and I have money. There should be a change machine inside. But you may have to wait for me, depending on how many machines are free.”

“That’s okay.” Aniela fitted the key to the ignition and took a deep, staggered breath. “I love having this secret," she said, both hands tight on the wheel. "Love knowing what we know. Sometimes I think ... well, sometimes I dream about buying a house, a brownstone maybe, on the grid so I could come and go, really be a part of things? I’m always looking.” She gazed at something over Catherine’s shoulder, something in the distance, in a longed-for future. “I like this neighborhood,” she went on. “It’s got that small town feeling, friendly, you know? And I might be able to afford a place here one day. But it’s awfully far from the community. Too far, maybe. I worked on a place last winter in West Village. Needed tons of work. Cost a fortune probably, but I’d bet there’s a way Below. I went down in the sub-basement once or twice. Well ... more than twice.”

Farther down the block, tended front yards threatened to riot soon with color. Screened doors smacked against their casings; neighbors called to one another porch to porch. The sun pierced the thinning clouds and glinted off the still-wet streets. The van started up, grumbly as if reluctant to leave, and she gave room, stumbling against the laundry bags behind her. For a moment, it was impossible to see through the quick veil of tears that collected on her lashes, impossible to think of losing the balcony, impossible not to share Aniela’s dream. She wished she’d borrowed the Fine Homebuilding magazines after all.


Across the street, she bumped the laundry over the curb and propped the door open with one bag, bent to drag the second inside.

Hop up, Rory,” a soft voice urged, and in seconds, a young boy scuttled past her. His small hands clutched at the drawstrings of one bag and he heaved himself backwards and over the threshold.

Catherine straightened, grateful and surprised, her hand to her lower back. “Thank you!”

“No problem,” he responded, adding, when his mother coughed into her fist, “ Ma’am.”

“I’ll get the other one,” said a second boy, older and taller than the first, but almost his twin. Clear-skinned, with dark curls and eyes the color of cornflowers, either could be Flynn O’Carroll’s child. Or his nephew. A frisson touched the nape of her neck, a triplet of anticipant notes, and she surveyed the room in a quick sweep, a relieved exhale lifting the bangs from her forehead when no one proved familiar.

Butting shoulders in mock argument, the boys trudged backwards across the tiled floor.
“Where to ... Ma’am?” Rory asked.

“How about all the way in the back,” Catherine suggested, spying empty machines. “And thank you again, both of you, very much.”

The room was large and warm and dewey, with natural light aslant through floor-to-ceiling windows. In one corner, a television mounted at the ceiling was tuned to a Mets game and grouped beneath it, a small audience groaned, but over the center folding tables, paired friends leaned close in whispered confidence. Along the window wall, sitting in yellow plastic chairs, children swung their legs, cutting their eyes at one another in an age-old game of dare-you-not-to-laugh. Greetings were called out. Goodbyes. It was a nice neighborhood.

She fell to her task, sorting the jeans and corduroys from the thermal shirts and cotton sweaters, choosing the gentle cycle and a cold water wash in fear of ruining the lot. These clothes haven’t seen the inside of a dryer in ages, she worried, not since their rebirth in the sewing chambers. When Vincent’s garments were unearthed, she lay them flat on top of the washer, and though she had no needle or thread or particular skill, she searched them for rips and missing buttons. Sure she garnered no attention, she ran her hands the breadth of his sweater, crumpled a shirt and held it to her face. Breathed him in.

Get with it, Chandler. With quarters from the change machine and detergent from the dispenser, she started five large loads. Tropical Breezes, the boxes promised. Aniela will be pleased.

She tucked into the farthest chair. The monotonous, low chug and constant whir were, together, a powerful lullaby, stronger than the discomfort of the hard, molded seats. Drat, I forgot my book. This was, she remembered later, her last sentient thought before she dropped off to sleep.

The gentle tap to her knee, the tap she believed she dreamed, became a full fledged, two-handed shake.  A small voice pitched with escalating urgency. “Ma’am ... Ma’am ... Ma’am!” Her eyes flew open and the boy jumped back. “Whoa!” he cried, his hands up in surrender. “I’m supposed to tell you your washers are done.” He backed up another step and regarded her with concern. “We have to leave now.”

Catherine managed a smile. “I can’t believe I fell asleep. Rory, right? You’ve been a good helper today. Tell your mom I said that, okay?” She ruffled his hair and, beaming, he bounced away.

Four dryers in a line were available. She lifted the damp clothes from the tubs, pleased that the spin had removed so much water. Setting three to low heat and one to air, she settled again in her chair and checked her watch. Aniela would be back for her in two hours.

This time she roused herself, thankful for the thudding clunk that signaled the end of the dryer cycle. The shirts were fragrant and soft, and she piled them onto a work table; the cords and jeans and sweaters would need more time. Punching the buttons again for air-only, she recalled the rough, line-dried towels, the sun-whipped sheets of her lake-house summers. One day ...

She inspected the clothes for damage. The long-sleeved undershirts were sturdy and had withstood the machine washing well, but her concern was for the more intricate ones, those with the stitching and piecing-together. Of them, one had separated at a shoulder seam; from another, an applied pocket hung by its last leather lacing. Not bad, so far.

The bell jingled in announcement. Her back was to the door and she didn't see who came through, but when she pulled a garment from the mound, when she held out before her one of Vincent’s well-worn shirts, one rare and particular, one curiously intricate, she most certainly recognized the voice …

Catherine?”

She turned, even sorrier now she’d panicked atop the parapet of Blarney Castle. “Hi, Eimear.”



Click HERE for Chapter 22.

________________

Illustration by MLA. (Thanks, Michele!)

1. Christina Rossetti. De Profundis. 1881.
2. Homer. The Iliad. Book V. Lines 844-846.
3. Thomas Moore. The Loves of the Angels. 1823.
4. George Sand. 1804-1876. Quotation attributed to her.

19 comments:

Brandy said...

Aaargh! What a cliffhanger! And what DOES the seat of Catherine's pants say?? Thanks for the update, and not even a week into the new year!

Krista said...

Oh, Carole...this edit...there are no words. I'm going to have to work through to the end of the day without my break since I just, um, took it early to read this but it's more than worth it. ;-)

I swear half the floor heard me giggling over the "first time" question. Innuendo, from Vincent ? I love it. Love it.

It has had a good, hard tweaking (perhaps a poor choice of words compared with the innuendo of the last statement LOL) but it's just marvelous what you've done, deepening and broadening and making things altogether real The feel of this is not fiction at all but eavesdropping on dear friends.

Great job, again and still. :)

-Krsita

OKGoode said...

So, so GOOD, Carole! I can smell the laundromat, I swear.

You strike a perfect balance with Vincent - the way he knows, yet fears to trust what he knows. Delicious!

Brit said...

Well, I got caught giggling out loud. My husband asks "what are you giggling about over there?" and I read to him Vincent's choice words and Catherine nearly choking on her coffee and he laughed too.

Vincent's truths..desperate and dark places..
Isn't he the one that said Catherine has strength, perhaps he should draw on her strength and..He believes her :) that's a good place to begin

Aniela...I like her! :D

Catherine had to know of course-Eimear showing up at the laundromat-it had to be Providence! :D

Brit

Carole W said...

Krista, you and I have always agreed on Vincent's sense of humor. He has one! And I suspect it's wicked. Catherine is in for a rollicking good time - in between the bouts of angst. Oh, the comforting! Oh!!

Now you've said something so kind, so encouraging - I'm nearly speechless with gratitude. The rewrites are taking some time and I want them to be worthwhile. You've made me feel good about my efforts.

Hugs and thank you,
Carole

Carole W said...

Laura! Thank you for reading. I'm glad to know you're here - it matters.

Vincent … I doubt he'll ever be wholly confidant, but that vulnerability makes him so completely lovable. Baby steps, though, with moments of breaking through to his whole glory. :-)

Hugs,
Carole

Carole W said...

Brit! I made your husband laugh! How cool is that!!

You're exactly right. He needs to follow his own advice. Surely it has to get easier and easier for him. I do envy Catherine her nurturing time with him. LOL.

Yea! I'm glad you like Aniela. I've had concerns, writing in so many new characters, but it just seems like we didn't get to meet so many people necessary to the community. Winterfest was crowded with strangers!

I reckon Catherine wasn't all that surprised to see her, not after all that's come to pass already. What more will come?! Tell me to get busy!

Thanks for reading, Brit, and for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it.

Carole

SandyX said...

I love this: "A beat of trepidation stretched to a crowded measure, but then ... harmony. In only the note of her steadying sigh, he felt his discordance balanced, heard answer." Very, very nice.

Sporks! My brothers and I used to have long, fun, discussions over whether those things should be properly called sporks or foons. (I always preferred "spork")

These edits are fun to read, Carole. I see you, sitting back in your chair, looking over a fresh tweak with a contented smile. Or at least, I hope the tweaks are smile producing for you - they certainly have that effect on me.

If I had ever had the opportunity to visit Blarney Castle, I might have better words to say how grateful I am for you and your writing, but for now, I'll just say Thank You.

Sandy

Carole W said...

LOL, a foon?!?! I've never heard that. The discussions I missed being an only child! And I'm imagining Vincent saying 'foon'. Uh-Oh. I'm having an idea for a story-lette! An amusing, gauzy one with the spork-foon conversation at its center.

Seriously now: Thank you for liking the music metaphor. And thank you for your encouragement and willingness to reread. Thank you for making me feel like the editing matters, because I want to bring the best story I can. Thank you for understanding what this all means to me.

Carole

RomanticOne said...

"Her words were as motes of sunshine." Wish I had your imagination. What an awesome phrase. Those few words say so much about how very much he loves her. And my vote is on foon. It sounds like so much more fun to eat with than a spork. I read this chapter at the end of a tough week and it really lifted my spirits.

Carole W said...

Hi, R1! It's so nice to hear from you. Thank you for your encouragement and your kindness. I'm so grateful for your interest.

I don't like hearing you had a hard week. I hope the weekend was sunny - we had perfect spring weather today and outside in the bright really perked me up. Please let me know how you're doing.

Foon is such a great word! I'd never heard it before Sandy said it, though I actually own a spork or two. LOL.

Thanks again,
Carole

Kat said...

Oh Carole, reading this makes me feel I'm right there with them :)
And it's so much fun and V&C's moments together are so amazingly sweet and REAL :D

*lol* "do you remember your first time" ^.^

~Kat

Carole W said...

Kat, thank you! That V/C's moments together seem real - that's all I would ever hope to hear. I'm just so glad, so glad!

We only saw smidges of V's sense of humor in the episodes, but he surely had a quick wit, particularly since he was so well read. One of my most favorite fan fics for that is Sibling Ribaldry by Olivia K. Goode. on Tunnel Tales. Who isn't entertained by a Shakespearian insult!? :-)

Thanks so much for reading, Kat, and for taking the time to leave comments. It really means a lot to me.

Carole

I'm keeping my eye on your Deviant Art site and can't wait to see what you do next.

Anonymous said...

I just love your story. The fullness of it, the intricacies. It's hard to stop at just one chapter a day but I must be strong. Don't want to catch up with you too soon. Stop reading this and get back to your editing!!

Cathy S

Carole W said...

Cathy! Thank you so much. What a surprise your comment was this morning and what a difference it's made in my day.

Uh oh!! After the edited chapters, I probably have another dozen to write from scratch and each will probably take forever! I know I've frustrated a few readers, maybe more than a few. If only I had a clone to do the stuff, you know? Really, you might should drop from reading one chapter a day to just a few paragraphs!

I'm so glad to read, though, that you're enjoying the story so far. Thank you for telling me.

Carole

Anonymous said...

It's ok Carole. When I catch up I'll just go away for a bit then return for another visit. First time I read this you were only up to Chapter 18. Now you've progressed all the way to Chapter 30. I have staying power and the anticipation is worth the wait. Visiting old friends is reward enough in itself, and all your characters are as familiar to me now as my favourite winter jumper.

Cathy S

Carole W said...

Cathy - again, you've boosted my spirits and made me eager to get on with the story this morning. I really appreciate your interest and kindness and understanding.

Thank you for finding the characters in this story familiar and comfortable. That really does mean everything.

It's a sun-shiney day, a good writing day. I feel like finishing a new chapter!!! And tomorrow (Friday) I'll put up a revised one.

Carole

Carole W said...

Blogger had a glitch of some sort - a service problem - and all posts and comments made after Wednesday were lost. I'm reposting Cathy's last one, copied from my email notification. Today is the first day we've been able to get into our sites.

Carole W said...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post Iron Behind the Velvet - Chapter 21:

It's ok Carole. When I catch up I'll just go away for a bit then return for another visit. First time I read this you were only up to Chapter 18. Now you've progressed all the way to Chapter 30. I have staying power and the anticipation is worth the wait. Visiting old friends is reward enough in itself, and all your characters are as familiar to me now as my favourite winter jumper.

Cathy S