Iron Behind the Velvet - Chapter 74

That a Vanished Life Might Become Visible1



It did hurt a little ... but only a little. Not so much he couldn’t believe it a sweet pain.

Vincent, looking down, solemn faced, but relaxing a bitLiz dug into his palm as Stuart or Martin – or Flynn – might spade into compacted soil to let in light and air and water, prepare it for seeding. Plowing, dibbling, raking, trenching ... the hardpan of tension that lay deep was broken up. Like tired ground renewed, he might once again receive, once again give. The earth of him sighed in gratitude.

“I didn’t realize how close I held myself,” he told her, handing over the rolled cloth pillow dislodged when he at last lifted his head. “How rigid ...” And it was true. He’d braced himself in the sling of the rope, against the drag of the current, as Miriam crossed the rising stream, as Mouse set off after her. On his hands and knees, dripping and cold beside his too-still friend, braced himself against an unacceptable outcome. Braced a mental shoulder against the door behind which consequence and memory clamored for attention in deference to Kanin’s need for an ear, for counsel. At last, in camp, braced himself in the push-pull of his own unbound thoughts, agitated and dissonant and not entirely his.

“It’s only natural to stiffen up,” Liz affirmed, the towel draped over her knee. She balled a fist and pressed it to her solar plexus, for a moment curving over it, her body a shield against any jarring, anticipated or unexpected. “You think you’re protecting yourself so you can take whatever comes, but you gotta go soft. Resisting just makes it worse, and then you have to recover from the ache that causes.” She grinned up at him. “You didn’t get shots like the rest of us did when we were sick, and you might not believe it, but those are Father’s very own words. He’d deliver ‘em, right before he jabbed the needle in.” Her gesture in illustration of the injection made him glad he’d been spared.

His left hand signaled for, she went to work on its landscape a second time, straightaway ferreting out a skulking tenderness. In his mind – and in his deltoid muscle – two live wires cracked and sizzled at each other. He tucked his chin, quashing – nearly – a yelp of surprise.

Uh huh.” A sustained pressure held to the discovery, Liz chuckled, a low-pitched cackle. “We have history, don’t forget. Ironclad’s your go-to persona.” 

Determined not to flinch, he reset his jaw, the irony of his response not at all lost on either of them. 

“‘Course,” she drawled, “it’s not bragging if it’s true, huh?”

The compression she applied astonishingly increased, but then her thumb lifted and warmth flooded in, the once-jangling sparks damped and bedded as if in sand.


New relief rinsed through him, the lightness and balance laughter brings.


Mindfully, he perceived, deftly, Liz inched clockwise circles over the hypothenar muscles from his wrist to the joint of his fifth finger. “A long time ago ...” she began, quieting to apply a vertical pressure with her nail to a concerning neural intersection. In his shoulder, a deeper stratum of limitation yielded. “... I gave you my best advice ever. We were at the falls. Do you remember?”

His spirit braced again, this time for the swell of mortification to rise up, take him under, to erase everything, but the familiar storm tide failed to shatter him. Willing to look, behind him as if on a cavern lake’s white beach, his footsteps were yet outlined, evidence of path, of lasting progress. Go soft, she’d told him only minutes ago, no less than she’d counseled years before. He could, he would, remember ...


Light hurt his eyes; his knees were fickle. His wrists and ankles showed the chafe of the shackles, and the muscles of his arms and legs still grieved his unconscious contest with restraint. But he was out of bed. Out of bed and dressed. Breakfasted, if tea and a triangle of dry toast would but sate Father’s notions of sufficient nutrition. Wasn’t it enough? Wasn’t it enough he entertained the parade of baffled well-wishers? Father’s hourly probes and checks and listens

You must regain your strength, Vincent. Walk with me?

He’d stared past Father’s entreaty and into the lantern’s flame, low-wicked and steady in its protected niche behind his bed. Beyond it, in a manner he’d never before noticed, improbable light and shadow danced as if projected to a screen, to a wall of an uninvestigated – perhaps imaginary – chamber.2 A wish too far, was it? That he might pass through stone and in to a different life ... or at least through to a secret place where he could be alone with his aloneness. If only ...

Lodged in his big chair, he’d have been just as glad to sit sunk into its velvet oblivion, his elbows on its plush arms, his chin on his laced fingers, every day forever onward. But Father sent for Liz, and she annoyed him out of it.

an illustration of the triple fallsHe made it all the way to the triple falls. Or rather, they made it, her shoulder like a crutch under his arm. Stubborn beneath his fatigued weight, her arm locked about his waist, she stood close to him on the rock terrace. His chest heaved with distance and dismay. The mists cooled his residual fever, prismed his dreary vision. The falls were beautiful, so very beautiful, too beautiful. Lisa was still gone. He shifted to leave ... growled when he, no matter his nature, could not budge Liz from the overlook.



“Your prescription,” he murmured now, “was that I should ... peace out.” 

Liz snorted. “And you look just as silly today repeating those words as you did back then.”

“You made me laugh when I didn’t want to. Laugh at myself.”

“If you can laugh at it, you can survive it. That’s my theory. One of ‘em, anyway,” she added with a snicker.

“Did I ever thank you?”

“No. But you weren’t quite so ornery after that. Thanks enough in my book.”

Kneading another meandering path across his palm, moving infinitesimally along a mysterious road map, she turned her ear just toward him, her eyes half-lidded, her concentration warmly focused. Intent, heedless of his nails, she attended to the very tips of his fingers, pressuring the pads in a particular pulse, with a particular force, listening, watching, he believed, though for what he couldn’t be sure. The soreness she elicited was lessened, the answering pings and twinges hardly biting. Better now, he adjudged, allowing his attentions to drift toward camp and the meeting in full swing there, the decisions surely pending. I should– 

Her thumbs slid down, suddenly, insistently, hard across the uppermost mound of his palm, deep into the soft places between his metacarpal bones. A stormy vision roiled up, a stormy vision, fierce, sweeping and blind3  tumbling, gray river rubble, jagged shards of fear, Love’s cry from a high, lonesome precipice, a cold-stunned sinking from the light ... 

A spasm of coughing struck, worked its relentless way through his system, wracking him so, erupting from so deep a place, he could only let it have its way, become it. He would have spared her the gross spectacle, but her hand between his shoulder blades would not be cast off. 

“Let it go, Vincent,” she encouraged over his guttural hacking. “Just let it go.”



He wiped his face with the damp towel Liz handed him, took from her a cup of cool water. The breath he drew next was the fullest, sweetest yet since he’d been yanked into the flood. 

Let it go. You once said that to me as well ... during my darkness.” He set the cup on the ground near the leg of his stool, spread his hands. “But I remember. You cared for me.”

A glimmer of silence ... Liz blinked. “You knew that?”

She’d kept vigil beside him, though he saw no one, saw not even Lisa’s repugnance, saw only the long stretch of nothingness that would be his life. No light glinted off his teeth in that grim place, though he knew he bared them, or on his hooked and raking claws. But the weight of emptiness was not enough to keep him submerged, waiting to drown. No, light would bloom at the surface, and no matter his struggle to remain deep, to refuse what awaited him, he would rise toward it. Toward Father’s voice. Toward Liz’s.

“You held my hand, searched out ... the tense places ... while I was ...”

While you were out?” 

Liz smiled away the half-held breath he’d detected, tentative, he supposed, she’d broached a taboo subject.  She reached for one of the brown glass bottles arrayed on the limestone ledge, examined it, weighed it in her hand. He saw her shoulders rise and fall. 

“I was practicing on you, you know,” she said, turning back to him. “My technique. You were kinda captive, after all.”

He was surprised he could laugh at such a casual depiction of his abasement. Surprised and grateful. Surprised and curious

a pink pad of message slips
“I still have the stack of notes you kept,” he volunteered, though until the moment of saying so, he’d forgotten them, the pink, printed pages Liz had left on his bedside table, stashed now in an old metal lock box at the bottom of a keepsake trunk. Telephoned crossed out and Tapped penciled in. Sebastien Called To See You. Elizabeth Will Call Again. All the tunnel gossip neatly printed on the lines after Message, each labeled Urgent. He’d been touched, in clearer retrospect, even cheered, but that day, propped up by pillows, he’d riffled through them in front of her, searching for a name he knew would not appear. A certain hopeful anticipation had dimmed in Liz’s eyes; he’d looked up with a frown heavy on his face and watched the light go. He might as well have lashed out at her, too. Drawn blood. He was as angry as he was miserable. Go ahead. Leave me, he wanted to thunder.  But she didn’t, not for a while. 

After Father, Liz was his convalescing’s most stalwart companion. She read to him, played chess with him and lost, on purpose he believed. She taught him dice games and draw poker and won, gleefully taking all his money – the foil-wrapped chocolate coins Sebastien had left for him every bedside visit during his oblivion. She walked the corridors with him at first under the needy drape of his arm, later with her monitoring, guiding hand clamped to his elbow. 

As she did today, from camp to here, he recognized.

“Ahem.”

Liz brought him ‘round with a soft alert. She’d taken her seat again, knee to knee with him, and held her hands before her like an open book ... until he followed suit. She loosened the screw-cap of one bottle – Centering, he read on it’s boldly-printed label. A droplet gathered on the ball-tipped glass wand she drew out, burgeoned, and fell into his palm. He remembered ... remembered what she wanted him to do.

He rubbed his hands together, brought them cupped to his nose. The friction ignited the concoction’s essence. He breathed in something citrusy – sweet and sharp at once, like the fruit mysteriously delivered every Winterfest and devoured, the fragrant orange and yellow rinds left to dry in curls at the edge of every chamber’s brazier. An undertone of honey and flowers. The tart crush of fresh, cool mint. A singing through a canopy of winter evergreens.

Grapefruit,” she confirmed. “Neroli, peppermint, and juniper. For mental clarity. To dispel fear and worry, to soothe restlessness, counteract shock–”

“And Atlas cedar,” he finished. “To assist in the alignment with one’s purpose, to encourage letting go ... of the anguish of the mind and heart, of dark and heavy thoughts, to gain a sense of inner composition.” He pulled again at the potion’s bouquet.  “This, too, I remember. The scent, your reading. Gattefossé’s Aromatherapy.

Liz tipped up her chin, peered at the tip of her nose as if through perched spectacles. “Extracurricular, Father classed it. The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Complete Works in chronological order according to The Oxford Shakespeare – if there’s time, and I pray there won’t be,” she mimed, Father’s tone and accent rather well executed, he thought, her natural delivery rarely employing r’s and half her t’s sounding as d’s. As a boy he’d tried to mimic her. 


Noo Yawk. Tawk wit me. Time for cle-ahss. Drink more warduh.

Don’t let her catch you, Devin would admonish. 

He had it all mapped out. Stacked up, I mean, on your dresser.” She measured Father’s intentions with her hands. “And I had my instructions, but he couldn’t hover over us every single minute. Even Father had to, ummm, eat. I took advantage. Figured you could use some practical knowledge, even if Father did bah, humbug me.”

He drew another clear, bright breath from his palms, then reached for Liz’s hands, their clasp resting on his knees. “I’ve never spoken of that time with anyone other than Father,” he murmured. “And even with him, only ...” He tightened his grip in the long expectant pause. “You were there, yet you never asked ...”


Liz shrugged. “I wanted to see you through. I figured ... talk ... would come with perspective. With time.” A heartbeat thumped by. “With the right person.” 

Catherine ... He’d spent years dreaming away that history, other self-confrontations just as blood-red and black. He’d confessed Lisa ... his jailing truth ... and Catherine’s acceptance had freed him. And there was more. More he would tell her now. He felt large, felt the existence of multitudes.4

The hard crust of shame was broken up; light streamed in. 

“Or persons,” she added after another thudded pulse.

And out. Light streamed ... out.


Liz opened a companionable distance between them, scooting her stool a few inches back, trapping her hands beneath her legs. He centered his elbows on his knees and laced his fingers. Their settled seating, their leaning in for conversation was an easy resumption of habit.

“So ...” she said, her gaze cast upward through the granite buffer between below and above. “You gettin’ anything from Catherine, maybe? About Wren?” 

Her benediction, his blessing through their bond. It’s all right, she’d murmured, calming his tumult, steadying his disorientation. Now she was a diamond-thought of light. Assurance. Purpose. The beat of her heart unfaltering, if drumming, he discerned, with a heavier pulse. Fatigue? The labor of sheltering, of shielding? He couldn’t be sure.

“I ... can’t read her mind. Anyone’s mind.”

Another glimmer of silence ... But before he could probe it, a dimple deepened in her cheek. Sympathy brimmed in her brown eye, but the blue one glimmered with ... ... ... 
Was it sport?

Well, I knew that.” For a moment she looked away, but when her gaze again met his, her expression was entirely tender. “But you glean. Back at camp, something struck you. Like a blow. I didn’t want it to be Wren’s case lost. Sweet little Edward ... lost. Or Wren’s heart broken, her confidence gone.”

“It wasn’t Wren’s pain I felt. Or Catherine’s for her. I believe ...” Flynn’s despair was too private, their new-forging bond ... too strange. Liz waited for him to go on, where and how he could. “It was Flynn’s,” he told her. 

“Eimear’s husband? You’ve never met him, have you? Or Eimear, either, until last night?”

“Not on this plane ... not in this life.”


The possibility didn’t phase her. “Eimear told us how Catherine and she were brought together, her Father Martin and you. Now Flynn. The more she told me of him, the more familiar he seemed. I’m glad he’s not left out. Glad for both of you, for all yous.” Her eyes clouded above a kindly smile. A fleeting notion of something else, something unsaid, crystallized ... shimmered out before he could appreciate it, like a snowflake caught on his fingertip. “Eimear dreaded telling him about the threats,” Liz went on. “Worried what else he’d hear, where he’d go. Is that what you sensed?” 

The bleak landscape he’d glimpsed was veiled now, its picture drawn from his own journeys through. He grieved that forlorn first step into trial, the solid perforating ache in his calves, in the stuttering muscle of his heart. Trial with a powerful stranger who might scream or keep silent. Change that could burn or heal. The course a moonless badland  – wintry, barren, roughly crevassed, its horizon too far. Too dark to see the whole of it ... 

“Where he is,” he allowed, “I have traveled. I promised Eimear I would meet with Flynn ... walk with him in that estranged place.”

“You trust ... that much,” she whispered.

“I know him. I can’t expl–”

Liz stopped him, a touch to his arm. “When? Do you want me to go up with you? Or Noah? Or better, Wren and Stuart? They’ve met Flynn. It might–”

“Martin will ease my way. As to when ...”

Liz splayed her hand over her heart and nodded.

“Or Catherine will come with a message,” he said. He drew and released a breath. “But I can’t go above until whatever is unsettled here is settled. Until I hear what Kanin proposes, know what I must do.”

An unexpected flame ruddied Liz’s face; both her blue and brown eyes flashed caution. The ambience between them wrinkled, but how to smooth it ...

“Take my advice one more time, Vincent.” The timbre of her voice ... condensed. “Don’t say that to either Noah or Stuart, not like that.”

Vincent felt his brows knit. “Not like what?”

She squinted back at him. “All of us here will ... stand up. We’ll do our parts, whatever it takes. But you, of all people, must understand – this is their home, Noah’s and Stuart’s. They must protect it. And to do that, they had to admit to Father, to you, they couldn’t, not without help. Help, Vincent. Not ... taking over. We’re not ... something you must do.” 

Her fire sputtered out, and she was sorry for it, reached out with grasping hands as if to take back her words, but from her deep heart’s core, like an ember brushed by the passion of the wind, a truth glimmered. He sought her gaze, and in her tear-bright eyes saw himself dumbfounded and waiting.

Risk, he heard in the vulnerability between them. Courage. 

Answer. 

“Be one of us, Vincent. It’s what we’ve always wanted.” 

Liz’s breath whisked by. Like the brush of butterfly wings, he nearly murmured. The ensconced torches flickered as if a presence moved near.5

“Oh, I shouldn’t have said that!” Lines bit into the skin at the corners of her eyes. “I’m grateful. We all are. I should be apologizing, not ragging on you. What happened today is my fault, Vincent.” She pressed a fist to her lips; they bloomed from white to a dark ruby-red when she tucked both hands under her chin. “I told you what I battle – my vanities. I sent you to the laundry to change those stupid light bulbs, which you know for a fact I could reach myself, and plied you with food – with cake! – so you and Noah and Stuart wouldn’t just rush off, so you could spend some time together. You haven’t, really; it’s been all-day, half-the-night crazy here. Then Kanin came back from across the perimeter and things seemed not so touch and go ... back to more our ordinary defending. And when Mouse’s call came through this morning for the three of you to come ... I decided to, I don’t know, gift you. I thought I could orchestrate something, and instead I about got you killed, you and Mouse both. And poor Miriam! If she’d made it across and Mouse hadn’t, if she’d survived and not you, she’d feel a terrible kind of guilt. That’s on me, too. If I’d known what was gonna happen–”

“Liz. Stop. You couldn’t know.”

“But–”

“The corridors near the channel were dry; there was no evidence of an earlier flood. The surge was an irregularity. And Mouse is ... spontaneous. He didn’t mention he was going after the crimping tool, did he? Did he?” he repeated.

“If you’d gone straight there, Vincent, none of this would have happened. Don’t sugar-coat it.”

“That’s true. What happened wouldn’t have.” Her mouth was miserably turned down, but her burdened shoulders lifted. The relief of telling, he believed, of being heard and not contradicted, not appeased. Still ... “But you must know this.” He reached out for her, holding fast to her upper arms. “Something else would have happened, and it might have been worse, far worse. We can be sure of this one thing. We lost no one today. No one. That we arrived together, Noah, Stuart, and I, made the difference. Noah hauled us up. The rescue breath was Stuart’s. That’s ... on you.” 


He gave her shoulders – her brooding a little shake. 

“I guess,” she allowed. 

“I guess what?”

“I guess you’re right.” 


“It pains you to admit that?”

“Yes. Yes, it does.”  She grinned, more or less. “Don’t tell anybody.” He released his grip of her arms but she caught one hand as it slipped away, gave it a hard squeeze. “I am sorry, though, for griping at you.”

“It is I who should apologize. What you said ... Vanities ... I need to, I will, examine my own.” He stared at the toe of his boot, shook his head. “I’m not sure where to begin. What I’ve labeled expectation ... even fate ...” He shook his head again. “If I have overstepped my bounds, dismissed your feelings, insulted you in any way ...” 

“We’re part of each other, Vincent. It’s just been a long time since we’ve been together.” Liz fell silent, her lips skewed and pressed to a line. A decision worked through, she began again. “I – we – understand how important Devin is to you. When he came back, we were all glad. Beyond glad. I mean that. That he wasn’t dead, yeah, but more, for you. Noah and Stuart have always talked about him, about the stuff you guys got in to as kids, and it was great to hear the stories again without the sadness, you know? But Devin always came first with you, even after he left. Maybe more first, after he left. And Lisa! Don’t get me started! But Noah and Stuart and– They– We! We dreamed dreams that included you, Vincent. Dreams that couldn’t come true. We don’t have the Above you need here; there’s not enough night freedom for you. Not enough city or park or waterfront. But that’s not what really what kept us apart, and it doesn’t matter now. You know I believe this: things happen when they’re supposed to. This mess we’re in – the perimeter breaches and whatever’s really going on on the other side – got you back up here. You found Catherine, and she found Eimear, and if Catherine’s friendship with Eimear and yours with Martin, maybe even Flynn, means we’ll see you more often, then it’s good. All good.” 

Liz’s disclosure brought chagrin and discomfit, an awkwardness he could not have imagined, a frustration of waste, the vice-grip of sorrow, and yet ... up through it all, his heart stirred. A fire kindled. Invitation. An agitation of the air – butterflies swirling toward the light, birds clearing the treetops for open sky, the territory of his spirit swept by an even larger wing, like the blessing of angels. Every dark ambivalence and contradiction lessened, their contours emerging from shadow, hinting of color in the new-shining light. 

In the mica-bearing rock walls of the chamber, he saw his reflection mirrored, a thousand times, a million. Convergence seemed so gloriously promised.


Click HERE for Chapter 75


___________

1. John O’Donohue. Angel of the Bog. Conamara Blues. Cliff Street Books. 2001.
2. First referenced in Marriage Morning: how the stained glass window in Vincent’s chamber came to be, what was there before, the discovery of the hidden chambers beyond it that Catherine and he now call theirs.
3. James Gregor Grant.  To the Silent: 131. Madonna Pia and Other Poems. 1848.
4. Walt Whitman. Song of Myself. 1855.
5. Rainer Maria Rilke. You Darkness.



14 comments:

Kuli said...

I always have such a sense of...breadth when I read your works, a glimpse of what lies beyond the narrow confines of daily expectation, a lightness. Thank you for another fine chapter.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't help it but waited impatiently for the continuation of this story, and it was well worth the wait. :)
Now I'll wait even more impatiently for the next chapter...
I like how the past unfolds, how the relationships between people develop.
Thank you for another nice chapter.
*winks* So, how long til I can look out for the next one?

Greetings from across the Great Pond,
The Crashcat

Anonymous said...

Carole, Carole, Carole, Carole -- these words are like water in a desert! I've been parched for the shimmers and sparks, the light and cloud-shadows, the dance of imagery and insight.

How wonderful to come back to Liz caring for Vincent, and end up with Vincent returning the favor!
They're both laboring under the mantle of leadership and needed the relief of a burden halved through sharing.

Thanks for this! It seems so greedy to demand more already, but -- MORE!

Regards, Lindariel

Carole W said...

Kuli, I could just hug you. I can scarcely believe you, but I want to! :-) I'm floored, really. I will work harder than ever to deserve such kind words. Your encouragement means so much.

Thank you for still being here.

Carole

Carole W said...

Hi, Crashcat! I'm grateful you said hello today and very pleased you've enjoyed what you've read. It really helps to know people are reading - particularly when I've taken so long with it.

"So long" is such an understatement! I'm shaking my head at myself.

I know I try a reader's patience, taking weeks between chapters. This last break was not ... exactly ... normal for me. (I had to put in some extra WFOL work-time last year.) Generally, I can write a chapter in about 3 weeks time. This story, as it winds up, still has a lot of loose ribbons waving around, but no more than three weeks in-between is my goal. Fingers crossed!

Thanks again for reading and for taking the time to leave a comment. It matters!

Carole

Carole W said...

Lindariel, bless you! You really made my morning! You're so generous.

You've put into words a concept I felt, but couldn't quite form up - they're both leaders, Vincent and Liz, introspective leaders, and it isn't easy. Thank you for finding and clearly stating what I feared was a muddled theme. Again, I'm encouraged to keep working, to work even harder.

You should see all the cut-outs of Vincent/Liz backstory I have in a folder - nearly a whole story's worth that just didn't fit in Iron/Velvet. I might write it up as kind of an adjunct or a digression, because it's better revealed at this point in I/V than be placed in a prequel position. If that makes any sense. It doesn't belong in I/V, but it does segue from it. Oh, I'm confusing myself!

I'm about a thousand words into the next chapter already, and with any luck, it will come together quickly. My muse probably needs cookies. :-)

Thank you so much for sticking with me on this journey.

C

Anonymous said...

"Stick with you"? Are you kidding? From what I've read in the comments so far, it seems to me you're not getting rid of any of us so easily now. :P And now you have me even more curious about Vincent's and Liz' past.
I think everyone needs a friend, more someone like a companion you can turn to even after years of not seeing another, and who -understands-. I'm lucky enough to have a friend like this and I know how important it can be.
As for BATB, for years I haven't followed any of that whole series and the existing fanfiction since it was only aired in Germany back in the 80's and I never could follow it completely. I was very happy when I stumbled over it again while having a hard time myself, and got addicted again. Much of Vincent's character and troubles remind me of someone who is very dear to me but out of physical reach.

Long story short: yes, I'll stick with you, as I told you before I very much like your way of writing (even though I have to check for the one or other translation of words :P English isn't my native tongue) and how each character is based on a solid backstory. To me, it makes them authentic.
As for your muse needing cookies - better never let me know your address, because I send cookies to the US pretty often already ... *grins*

*waves from the Old Lands*
The Cat

Carole W said...

Crashcat - I hope you've found WFOL. It's over for this year, but all the chambers are still viewable. I have a link in my sidebar - just scroll down. So much BatB goodness to be found there!

Cookies from overseas??!! I want!

What is your first language?

Oh, thank you for liking backstory and not shying away from original characters. I wish the series had gone on so much longer. I'm sure we'd have met so many more tunnel dwellers and friends above. But since it didn't, I think we must all fill in those voids.

BatB does touch something in us and binds us together in such a tender way. I understand exactly what you're saying about friends and history, and what you're saying about the story helping us through hard times. For me, too.

I'm so glad you left comments, and I look forward to getting to know you better.

C

Anonymous said...

I tried to save this chapter to read over spring break, but I failed miserably! I have even read it more than once. I feel like everything is right with the world again now that you are back to this story after Winterfest Online.

So much seems to be happening between the lines, Carol! That pause of Liz's! 'A glimmer of silence. . . Liz blinked.' Then she 'smiled away the half-held breath he had detected'. I don't want to speculate, but I am having ideas that I will have to email you about.

I love the concept of Liz's battle with her vanities and how Vincent applies that to his own life. He said in an earlier chapter he realized he had chosen some of his aloneness. Maybe he is realizing he has chosen some of his expectations too.

Liz is a great character. She is every bit as real to me as Rebecca or Jamie. I did not have to see her to 'see her'! I really want to know more about her personal history and her history with Vincent.

Like Lindariel, I want MORE! And like Crash Cat, if there is anything I can send your muse. . . :)

Thank you for this story. I am really glad I found your site. Watch your email. I have questions!

Your friend, A'Bella

Carole W said...

Hi, Annabella - it's so good to hear from you. Thank you for always being so supportive. Your interest, encouragement, and patience are so appreciated. I just want to keep working now, as hard and as fast as I can.

It really matters to me that Liz (and Wren, Stuart, Noah, and, of course, Martin/Eimear/Flynn) seems a believable character outside the canon-given ones. And if you're interested in Liz's backstory, then I hope you'll like hearing there'll be segue-chapter for her eventually. Not until I/V is done though! No new digressions! I won't tease - there was undertone and understory in that little excerpt you mentioned. I'm very pleased you noted it, and I'll be interested to hear your speculations.

Vincent is nearly perfect ... except for his falterings and flaws. He has some things to think over, some perspective to gain. He's ready, but it's not over. :-)

Thank you again for sticking through the quiet times between chapters. You're good to me.

C

Anonymous said...

{{{waving}}} I'm still here. So glad to read more.

Leanne

Carole W said...

That's really good to know, Leanne. :-) It matters that you are. I'm so glad you said hello again today. I hope all is going well!

Carole

Anonymous said...

*shuffles feet with impatience*
*digs through cookie recipes*

Hello Carole,
I'm trying not to "scratch the wallpaper off while waiting" like we say around here sometimes. ^^
BTW, sent you an e-mail to the address that's linked to your page the other day to answer some questions.

*continues to count hours til the next chapter and waves from Overseas*

The Cat

Carole W said...

Good morning, Cat. I apologize for the delay of chapter (I know that's an old, old song from me). I've a chorus of real life excuses - some stuff that consumed nearly two full weeks and ate up my writing time. Couple that with my chronic tweak-itis, and nearly a month has passed between postings. Arrgh! I'm impatient with myself!

But at the same time, I'm grateful for your impatience. It helps keep me going, knowing you want to keep reading.

I have company arriving this evening and some last minute cleaning to do this morning, but I've mapped out the afternoon to get the chapter up. Send virtual cookies!

I did get your email and have been thinking on it since. Your thoughts really resonated. I have a reply started that I will send off soon. Usually the day or two after a posting is full of catching up and reconnecting.

More soon!
C