Iron Behind the Velvet ~ Chapter 66

~ The Journey Done, the Journeyman Come Home1

Eimear’s telephone shrilled. With no working answering machine to intercept the call, it jangled on until the caller disconnected mid-peal. An instance of silence ... and the burr began again, though its demand was muffled. From the house closest-by, Catherine supposed, the alert dampened by clapboard and glass and draperies, and quelled after two rings. Only seconds later, the same signal parroted dully in the distance. Here, above. People, tapping on the master pipes. Across the street, a door opened and two wheaten terriers danced out barking, a woman in green sweatpants and a frilly, flowered blouse, all pinks and purples, stepping into the sun behind them. Catherine blinked at the jewel of her appearance. With strange words, the woman shushed the dogs and they sat down, quivering sentries at either ankle. Down the block, like subtle dominoes, storm doors and screened frames clapped, and at their porch railings, on their stoops, Eimear’s neighbors and friends stepped up in watch, prayerful witnesses.

No one emerged from the cruiser parked at the curb. One black boot was planted below the open rear door, the heel drumming the pavement. The tinted glass allowed only a shifting shadow-shape through, yet Eimear’s relief was palpable. She covered Catherine’s hand where it grasped her arm. Mo thabhartas ó neamh, she whispered.2 Catherine needed no translation. Flynn was alive, and home and Eimear was grateful. No, far more than that.

The driver’s back was turned to the cruiser’s windshield. His head moved side to side, up and down, with the speech he obviously delivered to the passenger on the rear bench. Lecture, instruction, sympathy – whichever, it was quietly uttered, and if an answer was offered at all, it was mumbled. The officer straightened in his seat. The steering wheel clutched in both hands, he stared out the window. Neal, Catherine recognized. Neal from the ceilidh. His handsomeness had sagged away. He squinted, perhaps in the sun ... perhaps with concern, perhaps with fear. Perhaps all three.

Unfolded from the cruiser, Neal braced the open door at the top of the window, at the latch handle, making no effort to assist Flynn out. Neither Sean nor David moved to help, instead formed a shield on the sidewalk, broad and tall, shoulder to shoulder, between the police car and the onlookers. Flynn shifted on the seat, both feet on the ground now. He reached up with one hand, gripped the roof of the police car and hauled himself upright.

At the sight of him, Martin took a quick step forward and froze. His black cassock swung with the checked movement. He folded his hands, eased back on his heels, a red spot of color crawling high on his cheek. Catherine looked to David, who pulled his ball cap lower, and to Sean, who just barely quirked his lips. She nodded. Though she could never explain, she understood all too well what was necessary, what was desperately, precariously necessary.

Eimear didn’t move. She didn’t fly down the steps to embrace Flynn or rush to his aide, even when she saw his arm bandaged and bound to his chest in a sling, even when she saw his face scraped raw and crusted, his skin dull-red as though chapped or singed. Even when she saw he limped.

They deserve more privacy than this, Catherine thought, though she could withdraw only to the far reach of the porch. She longed to wave the concerned away, back inside their homes, at least to their lace-curtained windows, and sought Martin’s attention, his intervention. Perhaps he might–  But with one hand splayed at his heart, the other offered out in a gentle ushering, already he’d released the brightly-clothed neighbor from her vigil. Her fingers once pressed to her lips, now she chirped Inside to her dogs. On the stoop next door, a white-bearded man touched fingertips forehead, chest, shoulder, shoulder. His door fastened softly shut behind him.

His focus on the ground, Flynn measured the bitter distance between exposure and harbor, or so Catherine sensed, his expression impossible to read behind the gun-gray sunglasses he wore. He mounted the bluestone steps deliberately, leaning on the wrought-iron handrail. The steel toe of one boot dragged, rasping each stair riser as he pulled himself along. His swaddled arm clamped to his ribs, the muscles of the stronger bunched beneath his long-sleeved, police-blue tee shirt, and though his jaw was clenched, he frowned with every advance. If Catherine had learned anything, it was the admission of pain, the inability to fully bear it, the failure to mask it, were worse consequences than the injury. 

Eimear waited with a tender smile, a proud tip-up of her chin. If not routine, her manner broadcast, then expected. This is who we are. This is what we do. No hill to a climber. Only the contradiction between the blazing copper freckles and her pale skin belied her calm. Whatever had happened, Flynn would walk away from it and home to her under his own power.

Or past her.

“Flynn,” Eimear murmured when he gained the last porch step. “A mhuirnín. A ghrá.3

His only acknowledgement was a stiff pause just outside her reach, a grumbled I’m all right before he trudged on, leaving Eimear behind, empty-handed, without invitation. The draft of his passage was coldly magnetic, drawing Catherine in its wake, closer to Eimear’s side. The wide front door ajar from their earlier charging out, he stepped over the threshold, lugged across the tiled entry and onto the oaken staircase. Don’t, Catherine somehow kept from crying aloud. Oh, don’t ... not without her.

Beaming from the upper landing window, the sun’s ray was a sheeny ribbon on the stairs, but, his good shoulder against the wall, his good hand on the wainscoting for balance, Flynn eluded the light. Standing just within the entryway, standing guard, Eimear struggled, Catherine knew, to offer more than consent, more than concession. It was too much. Too much to ask.

Is tusa,” Eimear began, when he was on but the third tread. “Is tusa an leath eile díom.4

Clearly a loving appeal, her words stopped him, but Flynn never once glanced back, and, in the fissuring between them, both drew several uncertain breaths. “Ná leag láimh air sin,5 he finally and haltingly said. “Éist leis. Lig dom.”6 

He’d have climbed the stairway thousands of times, but the footpath before him seemed unfamiliar. Each probative step-up wavered; feeling his way along, he groped as if in a dark. Upward, away, he stumped on. Whatever he’d said was a stone passed to Eimear’s hands, one that would not be reshaped by the force of her love, one she could not set aside. Allowed no choice but to yield, she retreated ... for now ... closed the door. Her hand on the brass latch, the silvery ogham and the St. Michael’s charms yet in her grip, she rested her forehead on the doorframe.

Catherine heard the rough-frictioned slide of the secret steel gate, the clank that shut her out more than once. She slipped an arm around Eimear’s waist, tightening her hold when Eimear leaned close. She looked over her shoulder. At the back of his vehicle, Neal had raised the trunk’s lid. Nearby, Martin held a racquetball racket and a baseball bat ... now a pair of boots with their laces knotted together. He met her gaze but briefly, as his regard flowed to Eimear. The lines of his face deepened and quivered. Behind them, cars slowed through the intersection, unwilling, it seemed to turn down the one-way street. A white work van, a taxi ... a paneled station wagon. Neal yanked out a zippered duffel, lumpy and stuffed, from the trunk and slammed the hood.

David and Sean had closed ranks at the bottom of the steps, their stance wide-legged, their arms folded. Now they slumped from that attention.

“Oh, man,” David muttered, shaking his head. Sean rubbed the back of his neck.

“What?” she croaked, her throat like sandpaper. An underwater fullness in her ears was broken by a rushing pulse ... and Eimear’s turning ‘round, striding forward.

“What happened?” Eimear finished. “Tell me.”
 
Martin was first to the porch, motioned on by the other men. He aligned Flynn’s boots – toe to toe, heel to heel – near the door, propped the racket and the bat against the jamb. Slowly straightened, he tapped a fist at his chin. Some thought of action, Catherine imagined, of charging through and up the stairs, of taking charge. Taking Flynn by the shoulders, insistent, determined – wherever you go, you do not, you will not, go alone. Instead, he clasped his hands together, rested them at his robe’s cincture. The boots were gouged and scarred, Catherine noted, and Martin’s knuckles red, splotched with white.

Singly, Flynn’s partners filed up. Unsurprised by her presence, or trained to not show it, each acknowledged her with a touch to his cap, a quarter-smile of recognition. Neal let the duffel drop by the railing, hitched up one leg to sit on the wide top-cap. He stared into the distance, the muscle in his jaw working. Sean took position against a flared column and crossed his arms, crossed his feet at the ankles. The last in line, David stopped at the crest of the steps, his back to the street, his thumbs hooked on his belt. None resembled their happier selves – the men who doled out hotdogs and Mets pennants to a dozen little boys, or the man who’d guided her through two sets at the ceilidh, who’d cheerfully endured her bumbling.  Their gray presence clouded the porch. Only now did Catherine notice how grimy their faces were, how sooted their uniforms – all of them still wearing their loose-fitting cargo pants, their tactical jackets with their brass precinct pins on their collars, the ESU patch – Truck 1, Manhattan – on their upper arms. And below it, their blood-type patch, the necessity of which, she suddenly and profoundly recognized, each man accepted, not as a possibility, but as an eventuality. Something Vincent would understand, even if he– Even if his–

“What have you heard,” David asked.

Eimear tucked the charms away as she looked man to man to man. “Nothing.”  She began to twist her wedding ring on her finger ... but only once around. “Nothing,” she repeated, her hands forced to quiet at her sides.

“I figured Mary Beth would call you,” Sean said. “Didn’t she?” 



Was Mary Beth Sean’s wife? A dispatcher? Another of their squad? No matter. Her call, if it came, came after they’d rushed below.

“The phone’s been weird lately.” The obfuscation was smooth and natural from Eimear’s lips, the characterization arguably true. And when the muted but indisputable, ill-fated brrriiiiinng began inside, she hardly startled. Catherine glanced at Eimear, whose expression revealed nothing more than it should ... even now. Even with ... all this. “I guess it’s fixed,” she said and shrugged. The telephone silenced and did not start in again. No one imagined Flynn answered, no one would be surprised, when they ventured inside, if they found the upstairs set in pieces on the floor.

Eimear eyed the men each in turn. “He’s not in the hospital. He’s not been ... detained. One of you needs to speak up.”

“We don’t really know what happened. Not all of it,” Neal offered. Catherine puzzled the struggle in his tone, the flush he wanted to hide behind the hand that mopped his brow.

“Well, tell me what you do know.” Eimear nodded her permission and trust. Nodded readiness.  “We’re family. All of us. You’re furious with him. You love him, but you’re furious. I can see that. Just ... start.”

Neal didn’t bother to deny her observation. He lowered his leg, shifted to brace both hands on the railing. “A call came in, late,” he said, leaning into the telling. “We’d been on the Manhattan Bridge. A girl made it almost to the top of one of the towers.”

Catherine’s throat prickled. She’d seen the photographs, the news footage. Impatient horns blaring, taunts flung up to hurry, to finish. The officers walking the tightropes of cables, crawling over barricades to stand on the narrow ledges, in the wind, in the rain. Tethered, she knew, but still ... inching within reach, risking the plummet. A human being finally in their arms, heavy with despair. How did it feel? Had Flynn gone up? Had Neal? Most likely all of them, and more.

“Who made the grab?” Eimear asked.

“Albie.”

Ahh.” Eimear could – and did – smile. “Maricel will be proud of him. I’ll call the hospital later and tell her, since he probably won’t.”

Something fleeting passed between the team, Catherine perceived, but the off-beat was left laying in the path, stepped over, brushed past.

“She was Fugianese,” David said. “Couldn’t understand us. We almost ...”

“But you didn’t,” Martin reminded him. “She’s safely down.”

“Well, she’s down,” Neal agreed. “And I hope she’s safe. I don’t think things are too good for her at home.”

“Where was Keng?” Eimear asked him.

Keng Di Yeung. A negotiator, multi-lingual. In the early days of the case, she’d translated their more complicated questions for Phan – hers and Joe’s and Rita’s – and Phan’s detailed answers, his precise observations. Keng had commented on his courage. Phan’s disappearance ... the fire. Did she know?

Work. The word was a guilty buzz.

But not now. Not now!  Her office, her desk, even her apartment were the fittings and fixtures of another life.

“Out at a scene,” he answered. “Naked guy with a knife in a laundromat on Henry. Keng made it over before we put the girl in the ambulance, though. Went with her to Bellevue.” His report was matter-of-fact, one he had delivered many times in his career, but it was followed by a long, riddled sigh and a glum study of the fieldstone beneath his feet.


“Good.” Eimear said, and let the silence that fell lengthen.

It was taking too long. Why had Flynn come home with a gripped heart, a thorny insulation? What happened to his arm, to his face? Why had he arrived ... accompanied? Under escort, it seemed? Why had Neal emptied what appeared the contents of Flynn’s locker into Martin’s hands? How could Eimear not throw herself at Sean, grab his arm, shake the answers from him? Wrest them from David and Neal. A choked, anxious sound slipped free.

Eimear glanced her way. Fire blazed in her eyes, and Catherine imagined in it the blue flame of love, the red of passion and protection, the yellow-orange of stoic sustainment. Every day brought danger and uncertainty. Every day. This was – nearly – normalcy. The men had endured a full and pressured shift before whatever happened next ... and whatever happened to Flynn happened to them as well.  Eimear bit down on her lip. She could not crumble or beg ...

“The late call,” Martin prompted.
 
“We’d been back ... an hour maybe. Still in debriefing.” Neal closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, wiped away the beads of moisture gathered beneath his lashes. So tired, Catherine recognized. Wounded, if bloodlessly so. There was no one at home for him – no one special, she knew – on whose shoulder he might later rest, who might coax his easy smile to return. 

Sean picked up the story. “A hot call. Some guy’s taking shots from the top floor of a seven-story. Report of a hostage.”



“Where?” 



“Chrystie, off Broome Street.”



Broome Street. Father’s rebuke was fresh again and just as chilling. The most dangerous part of the city for us. In her mind’s eye, Vincent smiled at her, tenderly, humbly. Where wasn’t? 

“We get to the scene,” David said, “the 5th’s already there, the street’s cordoned off, the crowd’s as contained as it can be.  A woman’s screaming her sister’s inside, that the subject had her at the window with with his arm around her throat, a gun at her head. The fire escape’s on the front of the building. Witness says a shooter came out, peppered the street from there, later from a busted-out window. There’re two down on the sidewalk. EMTs tried to go in, but they’re hunkered down behind their bus. Teenage witnesses argue a Walther or a Glock.”

Ach, that’d they’d know,” Martin muttered.

David blew out a breath. “I hear you.”

“You know the drill after that,” Neal said. “Shield the paramedics, extricate the wounded. Neutralize the situation. Rescue the hostage.”

As if she were in the tunnels, she heard the pounding of Vincent’s boots. Each rushing stride brought convergence – comprehension, assessment, action – his own well-being less than secondary. This is who I am. How many times had he uttered those words, as if she might be warned off. She gazed from man to man, warrior to warrior – Neal, Sean, David. She imagined cupping each man’s cheek, whispering, This is who you are. Some by training, some by gift, but all by nature. How can you even look at me, Vincent had once asked her. She would answer now, always, over and over, To me, you are beautiful

“The supervisor’s busy,” Sean was saying. “Buildings Department advises four units each floor, but he’s waiting on the phone company. Doesn’t matter. When he does get the list, half the apartments got no phone, and the ones that do, nobody’s answering. We don’t know how many are inside. Neal’s talking to a couple of neighbors who give us the layout of the building. Next thing, the subject marches the woman out on the escape, yells some stuff over her shoulder, lets off a few rounds.”

Martin drew in a rocky breath, wheezed it out. Eimear hooked her arm through his and studied his face, which was both florid and wan. “Should you sit down?” she murmured.

He patted her hand, kept hers covered. “I’ll not.”

Sean pushed off the column he leaned against and motioned Martin to the vacated spot. “Apparently, the guy’s got a beef with the woman’s boyfriend. He’s waiting on him, hopped up. And we’re thinking, good. One-on-ones de-escalate most of the time.”

“But nobody’s getting through the front door,” David explained. “The subject strafed the street again, shot up a couple more cars, and disappeared before the negotiator could get started. So we’re going in.”

“You know the place is a circus by now,” David said. “Bullhorns warning residents to stay inside, like that works. Flashing lights, portable spots set up. News crews. Everything’s hard. We sent two through the back alley. All the rear windows are bricked up, something Codes will hear about. The rest are barred, Alpha, Bravo – front and side – to the fifth floor. The building on the right’s condemned, boarded up after a fire on Three. CIDS says the stairs are compromised, the roof, too.7 Basement’s sound enough though, and we can get in through the back. We figured we could score the shared wall with the carborundum saw and bash through with the battering ram.8 The other side’s a vacant lot, narrow, a driveway, maybe an old garage once upon a time. The next building over, the roof’s the only place we’ll have eyes. Same seven stories, exposed, but a view into three windows. The address fronts Sarah Roosevelt Park, so there’s no vantage point across the street.”

“Flynn went up, then.” There was little question in Eimear’s voice.

“Yep.”

Eimear’s resolve flagged, and she balled one fist at her heart. “Did he ... did he have to ...”

“No,” Neal said. “It wasn’t him this time.”

On his belly over pebbly asphalt and gluey tar, through the residue of pigeons or worse. Catherine imagined the roof tops Flynn too often crawled. He’d set up his station, swept the field through his scope. Three windows, he’d radioed, all with torn blinds. A light was on in the front room of the hostage’s apartment, a sliver of a view, some jittery shadows. The rifle trained and steadied, Flynn signaled his readiness. Lodi One go. And his assessment. No solution.

“After that, things moved pretty fast. But you know how it is,” Neal said to Eimear – and only to her. As if she’d experienced it all herself. And hadn’t she? “Everything slows down.”

He’d supplied his expected reports, Neal told them. Roof – clear. The sixth floor, the fifth – dark. The residents knew the drill as well. Stay inside, stay low. Back to the roof. Clear. Back to the seventh floor. Windows 7B, 7C. Clear. Clear. 7A, shadows, movement, but again, no solution. Trained to focus and wait, he could direct body heat to the finger hooked on the cold trigger he’d been taught to squeeze between heartbeats. Trained to react without hesitation when all hope of resolution had passed, he would act when the code word was given. Badger. He’d surveyed the landscape again. Again. Still, no solution.

“We were quick with the saw. Old mortar. We got the word on the stairs. More than one subject. Gun, gun. Two, maybe three, Flynn said, but he’s got no solution.” Neal heaved off the railing, paced a tight circle. David and Sean tensed at the reliving. “David blew the door,” Neal said. “Sean was flash-bang, Albie first in behind the bunker man. There’re two, Glocks up and firing through the concussion and the smoke. Albie takes ‘em both. I’m right; behind me, David’s left. He grabs the hostage, hustles her out to the EMTs. Albie’s all the way to the back already.” Neal snatched off his cap and ran fingers through hair stiff and spiked with dust and sweat. “The bathroom,” he growled. “Door’s shut. Maybe three, we’re thinking. Maybe three. Albie kicks it, dumps a mini-bang, rounds in with the Ruger. Damn it, he almost killed him.” Neal shoved the folded hat into his back pocket, jerked it out again and snapped it open again and on.

“What?” Eimear stammered, her face blanched. “How?”

Catherine didn’t follow, but clearly Eimear did. She pressed both hands to her mouth. A cold chill inched up her back.

Neal stepped in close. “Eimear, you know. Flynn’s got some skills we don’t. Stuff he learned in Delta. Maybe stuff he taught them. He saw something and somehow he got over. He jumped, he swung over – he’s not saying. We found the grappling hook caught on the roof and the rope dangling at the window he booted through. Two kids were hiding in the tub. Two kids ... wrapped up in his vest. One of ‘em was wearing his helmet. Flynn was standing there, between them and the door ...” Neal’s voice broke. “Holding this ... this little gray metal flashlight.”


Click HERE for Chapter 67

____________
1. Walt Whitman. Proud Music of the Storm. Leaves of Grass. 1871.
2. Mo thabhartas ó neamh. Gaelic: My gift from heaven.
3. A mhuirnin. A ghrá. Gaelic: My sweetheart. My love.
4. Is tusa an leath eile díom. Gaelic: You are the other half of me.
5. Ná leag láimh air sin. Gaelic: Don't touch it.
6. Éist leis. Lig dom. Gaelic: Leave it alone. Leave me alone.
7. CIDS: Critical Information Dispatch System of the FDNY.
8. A carborundum saw is a gas-powered tool fitted with a blade that can cut through steel, bricks or stone. It's often used by emergency response units to gain access to buildings or to rescue the trapped.

10 comments:

Mamacrow said...

Dear Carole - Ok, 1. I described what happened in the chapter to my husband, (and I hope you take that as another compliment since I never, share fan fiction with him,) and he knew exactly the scenario that you wrote from his military training down to the flash mini-bang grenade. Incredibly well researched, lady
2. I LOVE that I had to work when I was reading, that I had to read the chapter twice (ok, the end 3 times,) :) in order to really get all the was going on, and what Flynn did, what he risked to save those kids. I really hate being hit over the head. You treat your readers with respect, and I am very grateful.
I feel for Flynn, and I am also impressed at his instinctive judgment and actions.
Just a perfect job, as always. I am once again in awe, jealous and amazed at your writing. Thank you again.

Carole W said...

Karen - I am humbled. First, that you'd think this reasonable enough to share with your husband, who I know knows. I am awed that you'd share it, awed that he'd find it believable ...

and weepingly relieved. I can only read and study about - and watch facsimiles of - these real-life experiences. I cannot fathom the stress, the adrenaline-shifts, the gear-up and the aftermath, and I feel something more than admiration for those who do this work. It's a stirring that goes deep.

I'm a fan of the tv shows The Unit and Flashpoint, and that helped with the scene-setting, but I did do a lot of research, which is (part of) what took so long to get this chapter out, reading two memoirs of NYPD ESU officers and a Delta Force member's memoir, the latter, I am positive, necessarily skipping over a lot of details. I did so many google searches for specific weapons and hostage situation information, I had a moment of wondering if I might be on some government watch list somewhere now. If I disappear and can't finish this story ... :-D

The original chapter end was far longer, and I condensed and condensed. For one reason, men communicate differently, with fewer words. For another, I figured the reader might not be so interested in the details, but might like it better if I'd get on to why this will matter to Vincent and what he does or doesn't do about it. I should assure people, I guess, that it's important to the plot that I spent a chapter on non-V/C characters.

I'm so grateful for your kind words and your support and interest. I'm honored and moved. Thank you so much.

Carole

Anonymous said...

My internet service is spotty over here. I had to read quickly and do not know if this comment will show up for you, but here goes.

WOW! Exciting! Scary! Sad. Thank goodness Catherine is there. I think she will feel like she "has" more by being able to "give"friendship and understanding to Eimear. You did a great job of description, down to the neighbors standing on their porches watching. I am from a small town, and that is what happens here, too.

I will say more when I am back from vacation. Your friend, A'Bella

Carole W said...

Annabella, Thank you for taking the time to read this while you're on vacation. (I'm so jealous of your trip!) I'm glad the moment rang true with you. I'm from a small town, too, and I know how folks pour out of their houses, some in all concern, some in curiosity, but in the end, always managing to pull together in support. That's what I hoped to portray here, since Woodlawn is actually very small-townish to be in the Bronx.

You've managed to hit the nail on the head in your assessment of Catherine! I don't want to say much for more for fear of giving the story away, but you've described a fine point I'll explore more fully soon. Yes, Soon!!

Thanks again, for reading and for your kind words. Safe travels.

Carole

Brenda K said...

Interesting you see Flynn as Gabriel Byrne. I picture him more as Clive Owen - a bit more stoic, expression less mobile. But no matter.

Do we teach this stoic solitude to the male of the species, or is it innate? What a mismatched pair male and female are -- she needing to express her love by comfort and support, he needing to express his by shutting her out.

Flynn seems even worse at this than Vincent, if that's possible.

Carole W said...

Clive Owen is a handsome man, that's for sure. I might should have left him to the reader's imagination, but I've always pictured Flynn as Gabriel Byrne, younger.

Character Look-alikes

Flynn, like Vincent, finds it necessary to retreat. He's got a lot to think over, as it will be revealed. His 'dark river' isn't so easy to get to, physically. Flynn and Vincent should have some stuff to talk over, should they ever, ever, ever get to meet. Hopefully, as Vincent did and does, and probably will necessarily forever, with Catherine, Flynn will respond to Eimear's steadfastness. Let's hope so.

I don't know that I see it as a mismatch, but certainly a challenge to see the world as our Others see it. As Catherine once said, it's complicated.

Thanks for reading, Brenda. It's always good for my spirits to see you here.

Carole

Anonymous said...

Oh Carole! What an amazing chapter! I love the way you convey Eimear's ability to read and understand her husband, and the struggle she goes through to walk the fine -- almost invisible! -- line between the comfort she wishes to give him and the comfort he is willing to accept at this point. Catherine understands this all too well and knows the pain of inadvertently over-stepping that damned line and driving the suffering warrior further into the Darkness.

It's almost like trying to befriend a wild creature. You have to sit just outside their sphere of comfort -- not too close, not too far. You have to offer the right incentive for them to come closer. And you have to be excruciatingly patient, because if you reach out too soon, you will completely undo all the progress that has been made, maybe even make things worse, and you'll have to start all over again, if you even get the chance to try again at all.

Steadfastness -- that is definitely the correct term for what Eimear and Catherine offer to their soul-wounded men. "I am here, and I will always be here when you are ready, when you need me. Whether you acknowledge me or not, whether you ask for my comfort or not. I will love you no matter what happens. I will stand by you in the face of all troubles. I will never, never leave you."

These women are fierce and magnificent in their love, aren't they?

Best regards, Lindariel

Carole W said...

Thanks, Lindariel! I like your analysis and comparisons very much, and can only hope I get someplace close depicting just that. I'm printing your comment out to use to keep me on track.

Thank you for liking the word 'steadfastness'. The non-wavering love is and will be returned to both Eimear and Catherine by Flynn and Vincent, always and forever.

At last Catherine has someone she doesn't have to explain so much to, but so does Eimear. She's somewhat isolated, somewhat set apart, herself. The four of them together – twin souls and soul family - well, it's surely powerful. I hope I can do them justice as the story rounds toward the finish.

Thank you for reading and for your encouragement, which has sustained me through many rough sections and blank moments. You're so kind to me!

Carole

RedNightBird said...

I think it's interesting when Catherine can see other men making great sacrifices like Vincent makes... AND it gives her 'sister under the skin' who can understand the situations with men like theirs.

Stellar work, your pen is like a brush painting vivid images in my mind.
Rusty Hough Bader

Carole W said...

Thank you, Rusty - for reading and for your kindness. I will work hard to deserve it.

You're absolutely right about Catherine. How happy - and how lonely - she has been on her side of the river.

Vincent and Flynn do have character in-common, Vincent's escalated ... elevated, even. Still, I'm really looking forward to their meeting (which will surely mean the story is closer to its end!) I hope nothing happens to mess that or this possibility of friendship up.

Thanks, again, Rusty. I'm grateful for you.
Carole