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Show Me Heaven

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When Vincent had finally left that night, somewhat consoled and soothed by Catherine holding him and speaking words of comfort, Catherine went to bed feeling her heart ache for him. It broke her heart to see him so distraught with himself, and that he thought himself unworthy of or unable to love.

If ever there was a person deserving of all the love imaginable, it was Vincent.

She wanted to give him that. But besides obstacles of her daily life and his, there was an invisible shield that he used to keep a distance between them in the more intimate moments, and she couldn’t blame him, she had at first, they both hadn’t been ready for a step like that and Catherine was more than happy with what she had found with Vincent to push for anything further, but over time they had become closer and she’d begun to feel a different kind of pull to Vincent. She could tell it was different because the more she had gotten to know Vincent, spend time with him and see inside, her love for him had changed and grown, and so had her attraction. When his arms held her it summoned more than just comfort, his touch ignited other feelings that, since her attack almost two years ago, she’d feared rekindling, but Vincent’s gentle and kind nature allowed her to heal in her own time and those feelings had resurfaced, but until the night he had spoken of what had happened with him and Lisa, Catherine had not fully understood what made Vincent hold back with her.

It had been some weeks now since the night on the balcony. It had torn at her to see him so filled with shame, and though she understood he needed his space, she missed him and wanted to be there to comfort him. She wondered though if it would make any difference if she lived Below or not, or if she would still be waiting and wondering while he recollected himself.  

She lay in bed, thinking about what he must be feeling right now. She hated to think that he was alone, those memories were hard for Vincent to share but she had been immensely grateful and honoured that he had. It was true, they had never kept the truth from each other, there had been no sense in it, she trusted him completely and she knew that whatever she told him about her past that he would understand. She hoped she was that for him too, an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on whenever he needed. She did hope though, now that Vincent had unburdened himself onto her, that they would be able to move forward together, that he would be able to release that guilt he carried for so long and give himself and her a chance to explore their relationship without the past haunting it. She wanted to have him understand that he was worthy of love, was able to give it, that she wanted to receive it, even if it still took time, she wanted them to reach a place where there were no more boundaries.

She lay there in thought for some time when an idea came to her. She smiled slowly to herself. Perhaps, if they were given an opportunity and she could show him that his fears weren’t hers, that what happened then was not who he was. It was far fetched, if she tried to contact him he might not respond, but she had to at least try.

Catherine woke the next morning feeling optimistic and with a plan in mind. She got dressed and before heading off to work wrote a note to Vincent. Folding and placing a kiss on it as she hurried out.

 

 

*

 

Vincent sat alone in his chambers, a volume of Shakespeare’s poems open in front of him. He usually delved back into his work’s whenever he needed to find some common ground. Shakespeare spoke of love, hopeful and tragic alike. Vincent felt his pain in the words and more often than he’d like to admit related to them, it was only more recently that he began to find kinship with the more happier poems. Catherine was the reason for that.

She had been such a ray of sunshine in his life. Changed him in ways he would never have been able to conceive. If it wasn’t for her, he would never have known the sweet joy of knowing love, of having someone that thought of you, that you were a part of. That was what was most divine about it, being just in her thoughts was enough to make his heart rejoice.

But light that is cast creates shadows. And there were shadows dark enough inside. He knew them well, they had walked behind him his entire life. That night on Catherine’s balcony when he had confessed one of his darkest moments to her, he had shared more of himself than he had ever done before with anyone other than Father. And Catherine, his beautiful Catherine, had loved him still. She could peek into the darkness and look at him with those eyes that held no contempt or fear, she astounded him. Selfishly he wanted her to remain looking at him, ‘Never look at anyone else’ his heart would say whenever her gaze would find his, managing to see the parts of him that not even he could find.

He had been afraid to tell her of his relationship with Lisa, not because he didn’t trust Catherine, but because he was ashamed of what he had done, could do and could never do. Over the years he had grown to accept that fate had given him a path and it was a lonely one, but ever since meeting Catherine on that night she’d shone a light on another path that had previously been hidden to him. He still found it hard to conceive of all the changes in his life since her arrival, and yet he was still the same in many ways.

Those feelings that had arisen with Lisa had over time gone, the longer she was away the easier it got to move past that day and very slowly forget those feelings and with the help of Father learn to master himself so as never to lose himself like that again.

That had seemed what was right at the time, but now - now Catherine was here, and his feelings for her they were so different to what he had felt for Lisa. He had desired Lisa, yes, and he had loved her, but that was a young man’s love - his first, they had grown up together, but they had never shared a connection the way he and Catherine did. Their bond was something that was unexplainable and defied any logic, and yet it was a blessing he was thankful for everyday.

He could feel her now, uncertain, worried - for him. It had been too long since he had last seen her, but although he missed her, he could not bring himself to show himself, perhaps it was cowardice - His lips quirked slightly, Catherine would disagree, but then she always did see the best in him. He sighed as he leant back in his chair, how he missed her, going so long without seeing her smiling face or holding her in his arms only worsened his mood. His mind cast back to when she took his hands in her own and kissed them with her soft lips...

The sound of running brought Vincent out of his thoughts. Mouse appeared suddenly, entering his chambers in such a rush he almost tripped over his own feet.

“Vincent!” Mouse exclaimed once he saw him.

Vincent stood to meet him. “What is it, Mouse?”

Mouse took a moment to catch his breath before handing Vincent a slip of paper. “A message, from Catherine.”

Vincent looked down at the message with renewed interest. “Catherine?” He hastily unfolded it, although it looked like it had already been opened but he chose not to address that right now.

 

It read,

Meet me on the balcony tonight - Catherine x

 

He reread it once more just to look at her handwriting before refolding it.

Mouse’s eyes darted between him and the note.

“Thank you, Mouse.”

Mouse fidgeted on the spot looking at Vincent expectantly. “Well?”

Vincent looked back at him. “What is it?”

“Are you going to go?”

Vincent raised an eyebrow. “Go where?”

“The balcony.” Mouse prompted unabashedly. “Are you going to see her?”

Vincent sighed. “I don’t know.”

“What’s not to know?”

Vincent dropped back down into his seat. “It’s difficult to explain.”

Mouse nodded. “It’s hard for Mouse to find the words sometimes too.” He wrinkled his nose. “Don’t you want to go?”

Vincent shook his head slowly. “No, I do.”

“Then you will!” Mouse said matter of factly.

Vincent huffed and smiled. “Perhaps.”

“Vincent will go.” He clasped his shoulder before smiling and nodding once and leaving Vincent’s chambers.

Vincent clasped his hands in his lap and exhaled. He did want to go, if it were his choice he’d never part from Catherine, but that night had taken its toll on him emotionally. It had taken a lot to speak of what had happened with Lisa fifteen years ago. The shame still felt so raw, even after all this time.

He looked at Catherine's message then tipped his head back and closed his eyes, he knew Catherine did not think ill of him, he had felt her love for him and he had both wanted to bask in it and turn away from it, feeling unworthy.

His chest deflated with a heavy exhale. Catherine...

 

 

*

 

Catherine worried her lip waiting for Vincent to arrive.

She was half afraid he wouldn’t come, choosing instead to hide himself away until whatever shame he was feeling passed. She hoped he would choose otherwise, it was risky of course, he was delicate in some respects despite his strength, inside told a different story. He’d known so much disappointment and pain, she hated thinking about how lonely he must have felt at times. Especially as he grew up and began to understand concepts like love. He never told her explicitly until that night about how he feared his own desires. How it tore at her that he condemned himself so. She couldn’t even imagine what self denial for that long could do to a person. If it were anyone else it might have driven them mad, but Vincent had become so compassionate, a gentle soul that held an endless well of forgiveness and love and she loved him because of that, she just wished he turned that on himself once and awhile.

He deserved so much and she wanted to prove to him that he did. She wanted to show him that she desired him too. How could she not? Every aspect of him was desirable, his intellect, his romantic soul, his strength that was overwhelming to think about sometimes - so much power that he used to protect those he cared for - it awed and excited her.

And yet, it worried her that she was ungrateful. She had all of this, they shared something more profound than anyone could understand, was it then selfish of her to want something ‘more’ from him.

Sex wasn’t the be all and end all of a relationship, she knew that. Sometimes she’d ended a relationship because that’s all there was left and it wasn’t enough, not when love lacked. But she swore, in moments of high tension, she saw her own needs and desires reflected back at her. She was afraid that if they went on any longer like this, denying themselves, it would tear them apart.

She paced and glanced at the clock, then to the balcony window. Would it be too much for him to come to her?

As the hour latened, she sat down on her sofa sadly. “Maybe I’m asking too much.” She sighed and pulled her legs up, closed her eyes, and thought of Vincent.

Almost an hour passed by and she had nearly nodded off, a sudden tap at the window roused her easily though. She turned and saw that familiar silhouette. She gasped, “Vincent.” And jumped up to go to him, flinging the balcony doors open to reveal him. He stood there in the moonlight looking like some storybook lover’s hero. Catherine graced him with a smile. “You came.” She said.

He nodded. “Yes.”

“I was afraid you wouldn’t.”

He bowed his head. “I’m sorry.”

She approached him, taking hold of his hand. “Don’t be. I knew I was asking a lot.”

He looked at her with guilty eyes. “You ask so little. I do not wish to make you feel as if you cannot ask to see me.”

Catherine looked to their joined hands. “And I don’t wish to push you into something you’re not ready for.” She caressed her thumb across his. “But I think that we need to talk.”

“You are right.” He sighed and leant back against the balcony. “Talking about what happened with Lisa… I-” He gripped the stone. “It was difficult for me.”

Catherine nodded. “I know.” She sidled up to him, laying a hand on his chest. “I hated to see you like that.”

Vincent covered her hand with his own. “Catherine, I feel like I must apologise to you.”

Catherine frowned. “Apologise? For what?”

“The way I acted during Lisa’s return, I shouldn’t have shut you out like that.”

Catherine turned her head and pursed her lips. “I understand why you did. I know it wasn’t easy for you seeing her again.”

“I tested your trust in me.”

“No, Vincent, I-”

“I know you questioned whether or not I still had feelings for her, but that wasn’t why…”

“You pulled away?” Catherine finished.

Vincent nodded. “She was a large part of my past that I look back on with both fondness and shame, but I should have been more open with you, you deserved to know.”

“I’ll admit I was hurt when you felt like you couldn’t tell me, but you did and I’m glad that you did and I don’t think differently of you because of what happened then.”

“I suppose… when I saw her I was reminded of that time and I was afraid of history repeating itself. When I hurt her… I felt such pain and then when she left…” He looked away into her apartment. “If I ever drove you away because I… hurt you, I don’t think I could-” His voice broke off as emotion clouded his speech.

Catherine reached up to turn his face back to her. She held his gaze before pulling him into an embrace. Vincent’s arms came around her tightly.  

Catherine melted into his embrace. He held her close, his face buried in the soft juncture of her neck and shoulder. She held him tightly, tight enough that she could feel his heartbeat as if it were her in her own chest. He breathed deeply, allowing her closeness to soothe him.

“Catherine…” His voice was a whisper that sent shivers down her.

She held him tighter still, wanting to get as close as possible. She’d missed him so much, she hadn’t realised how much until she was once again in his arms. She yearned for him whenever they were parted, the bond between them only became stronger the longer they were together, she wondered if Vincent felt it even keener than herself and how he could bear it, she certainly couldn’t. She wanted nothing more than to be with Vincent, there was nothing she didn’t want to share with him.

And even with all his inner turmoil, Vincent was a man of deep feelings. But when it came to love and truly giving himself to that passionate side, he held back, afraid of himself. But she trusted him above all others and knew he had to let himself feel and experience, not just for himself, but for her too. She’d had a taste of the passion that lay beneath, with his words, those written confessions bled with what he daren’t act upon.  

Catherine buried her face into his shoulder. “Oh, Vincent. It’s alright. You don’t have to be afraid of hurting me.”

He sighed into her hair. “I am afraid. Afraid that I won’t be able to control myself. You have already seen too much of the ugliness inside of me.”

She pulled back to look into his soulful eyes. “I’ve seen what’s inside of you, Vincent and I could never see anything ugly about you.”

His expression turned pained. “Then love has blinded you.” He let her go and turned away from her.

Catherine shook her head looking hurt. “I know you. And I know that whatever you think you are deep down, isn’t true.” She took a hold of his arm. “It isn’t, Vincent.”

“Your heart is full of love and understanding. Something I am undeserving of.”

Catherine looked stricken. “No, Vincent. You deserve everything.” She squeezed his arm. “Let me show you.”

He kept his face turned away from her. “Catherine…”

“Vincent, don’t you see? What we have, it’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before. I’ve never had what we have with anybody. Nothing has ever come close, and yet I feel from you this distance sometimes when I think that maybe we’re becoming closer.”

“Catherine. What you and I share-”

She tugged him closer. “Is the most precious thing in my life, but I know you feel what I feel and what I want for us.” When he wouldn’t turn and meet her eyes she moved around him to force his gaze upon her. “What I want with you.”

His eyes searched hers. “You mean everything to me, but Lisa was a cautionary tale, for me… and for you.”

“You were young, Vincent. First love’s, they’re intense,”

Vincent shook his head as she spoke. “It’s different.”

“Yes, but so are you.”

“I won’t take that chance.”

Catherine deflated. “So, you would just decide that on your own?”

“Yes.” He turned towards the balcony.

Her hands fell by her sides, her eyes burning. “What happened with Lisa was scary, I know. But, Vincent, you didn’t know. Those feelings were new-”

“Is that an excuse?” He said sharply, whirling back around at her.

She shook her head. “No, but it’s an explanation. Intense feelings like that for a teenager-”

“A normal teenage boy doesn’t have to worry about frightening or hurting the girl he cares for. A normal man doesn’t have to worry about making love for fear of making the woman he loves bleed!” He spoke harshly, but Catherine could hear the agony behind it. He turned to her, hands open. “Look at me, Catherine.”

She blinked back tears. “I am.”

He growled and strode forward to grab and shake her by the shoulders. “Look at me!”

Catherine’s lower lip trembled. “I am, Vincent.”

A single tear rolling down her cheek hit him like a punch to the gut. He looked horrified down at his hands and instantly loosened his grip. “Catherine!” His eyes were wide as he began to remove himself.

Catherine wiped at her face as she saw Vincent try to escape. Desperately she thought of a way to keep him there, she reached for him. “Hold me.”

Vincent stood frozen to the spot.

“Please, Vincent. I need you to hold me.”

Seeing Catherine in pain was like a dagger to his own heart. He opened his arms and she fell into them gratefully. “Catherine, Catherine, Catherine…” He repeated her name like a prayer. “Forgive me.”

She pressed her face into his shoulder, placing a kiss there. “There’s nothing to forgive. I understand.”

He could feel her love through the bond so strongly, it was consuming. “I do not know what I did to deserve you in my life.” He looked down upon her, drinking in her beauty. “Catherine, I...” He raised a hand to stroke the side of her face.

She turned into the touch. “It’s okay.”

Reverently he took her face between his hands. Catherine’s eyes slipped closed for just a moment at his touch. When she opened them again her breath left her at the pain in his eyes. She placed her hands over his, willing him to read what she felt.

Their eyes held, words that had, til now, been left unspoken were there to see as plain as day.

His eyes dropped down to her lips then back, a flicker of longing swept through the bond. Catherine swallowed, her heart becoming restless. She wanted so badly to kiss him, but he had to be the one to initiate it.

His own heart was beating a rhythm so erratic that if he didn’t know Catherine was the reason for it, he might think himself ill. His heart was all for going forward it seemed, he didn’t want to deny the part of him that wanted to indulge in her, but if he did it would be his undoing, how could he stop at just one kiss? How could he not lose himself in the fever of his desire for her?

Her pull was so strong though, it felt almost exactly like that time with Lisa, an undeniable attraction, but there was so much more he had with Catherine that added to the magnetic feeling, their bond was making it almost impossible to resist for it wasn’t just his own desire he had to try and suppress, he could feel Catherine’s own whispering and tempting him, matching his own and bringing it forth.

The tension that swirled between them put Catherine on edge, the anticipation of a much longed for kiss was almost too much. She could feel the turmoil in him and wanted so badly to ease it, it wasn’t fair that he should hesitate so much, that past experiences had been so painful. It made her want to wrap him up, keep him with her and soothe every hurt and give him everything, show him how far her love went.

Their faces had grown closer, Catherine could feel Vincent’s breath against her lips and that was maddening in itself. Vincent hadn’t even realised how close they had gotten until their noses touched and their lips were mere inches apart. Catherine leaned into him, lifting her face so that her nose brushed along his. Vincent’s eyes closed as she rubbed her nose against his and her breath ghosted across his face.

She pressed her forehead to his, fighting the urge to close the distance between their lips and instead brought her arms up to wrap around his neck. His hands now rested on her hips, keeping her close, feeling her warmth.

They held each other, both revelling in the feel of the others body against their own.

Catherine smoothed his hair back as she pulled away. Vincent’s eyes opened slowly, meeting hers.

“Stay.” She said, thumb brushing his cheek.

Vincent took Catherine’s hand gently away from his face, kissing the palm. “I am at my lady’s command.”

She laughed and to him it was like music. She took his hand and guided him inside. Vincent hesitated for just a moment before stepping into her apartment, feeling like he was entering a new territory somehow. Closing the doors and curtains she led him inside. Vincent looked at the sofa, letting Catherine guide him to sit with her, facing the fire, so she could sit back against his chest and have his arms around her. She relaxed contentedly into his embrace, humming at the feeling of being surrounded by him.

“This is nice.” She said.

He pressed his cheek to the top of her head. Holding her like this, encased in his arms, always gave him a sense of calm. To feel her solid and real was a great comfort to him, too often was she out of reach. It was a great form of anxiety for him to be so far away. He feared that one day he may not be able to reach her in time the next time she found herself in danger, but as long as this bond between them existed he would always come to her.

He watched her as she rested against him, eyes closed and content and let himself soak in the small moment of peace.

 

Catherine found herself in between sleep, she didn’t know how much time had passed, but all too soon she felt Vincent moving, thinking her asleep and trying to dislodge himself as gently as possible. She blinked her eyes open and grabbed a hold of his hand before he could leave.

“Where are you going?” She asked tiredly.

Vincent took her hand in his and placed a kiss on it. “Rest.” He said quietly. “It’ll be dawn soon. I must go.”

Catherine sat up. “No, stay, please. Don’t go.”

Vincent’s expression softened. “There is nothing I want more, but I must go before the sun catches up to me.”

She stood and embraced him. “There was something I wanted to ask you last night that I didn’t get to. When I sent you that message there was an ulterior motive to it.”

Vincent looked  down at her. “What, Catherine?”

“I thought that we could spend more time together. I wanted to be nearer you, especially because you were in so much pain. I called up work and told them I wouldn’t be coming in today because I had hoped that you would stay here and spend the day with me. Just the two us.”

His hesitance was evident. “Catherine, I’m not sure that is for the best.”

Catherine felt her heart sink. “Why not?”

In truth Vincent had no argument that he hadn’t used before, or that couldn’t be countered easily. He had no inclination to use any of those excuses either. To spend a day, uninterrupted with Catherine would be a dream. But to divulge in that dream, to have Catherine so close and then have to let her go again. “If I were to stay, I do not know if I would have the strength to leave.”

Catherine smiled. “Nor I to let you go. But Vincent, you said yourself, our time is always so short.” She held onto his arms. “Stay with me, Vincent. We can forget about time, forget about everything, just for a little while.”

It sounded wonderful and Vincent’s resolve was already so weak. He pursed his lips. “Father would worry.”

“I sent a message to him the same time I sent you one. We won’t leave the apartment and you can return tomorrow night.”

The hope he saw in her eyes finished him completely and he was tired of denying her the simplest of desires.

He stroked her cheek tenderly. “Then I shall stay.”

She beamed brightly. “Oh, Vincent.” Catherine threw her arms around him.

He chuckled, he knew Father probably wasn’t happy with the arrangement, but he hadn’t said anything to him, Vincent took that as his blessing. He’d have to thank him when he returned, no doubt he would still worry, but it felt good to make Catherine so happy and to do something for himself too.

Catherine was overjoyed that Vincent had decided to stay, they had never spent more than a few hours at a time together and even then it was always interrupted by one thing or another. This time they could have a chance to be together with nothing to worry about. One day to just soak in each other’s company, let the outside world fade away for a while. She took his hand and pulled him back down to sit with her.

“Come, Vincent. Come sit with me.”

Vincent went easily. The fire was low, but that didn’t really matter, warmth wasn’t a problem with Vincent around. Catherine felt so content to have him there with her, he always felt so far away, of course he was always close in her heart, but sometimes the gaps of time in between physically seeing him and being able to touch him felt like they stretched on for years when in reality it was only mere days. To have him this close and to keep him for more than a few scant moments gave her such happiness that she almost became emotional with it. When Vincent’s arms once again took her in and his hands smoothed across her back, she smiled up at him

He looked down at her curiously. “What?”

Catherine smiled reassuringly, shaking her head. “It’s nothing. I’m just…” She shrugged. “Happy.”

Yes, he could feel it. He shared that feeling. To be with Catherine was to know the greatest of happinesses. It almost felt as if he were dreaming, and any moment he might wake and feel an ache of a feeling not meant for him. But somehow it was all real, he’d long since thought that someone like him was destined to forever observe love like this from the outside. He pulled her to his chest and pressed his lips to the top of her head.

Catherine closed her eyes, settling into the embrace, listening to the strong heartbeat underneath her and drifting away with the steady rhythm.

 

The fire was long since extinguished and Vincent, though his eyes were closed, had not yet found sleep. But Catherine had and he did not want to waste the gift of having her in his arms so he’d held her protectively and savoured the feeling of her weight against him.

The day would be dawning soon and Vincent felt the compulsion to leave, as he always did, but he stayed the impulse. Soon the sun would rise and for the first time he would see it from Catherine’s… Their balcony.

He looked down upon Catherine who was fast asleep, cradled in his arms. Such pure bliss emanated from him at the sight that he thought his chest might burst with it. He knew she couldn’t be in the most comfortable of places to sleep in all night though, so, as carefully as he could, he maneuvered himself from underneath her and without waking her, lifted her up into his arms and walked her to the bed. He laid her down slowly, she made a small noise of complaint and he froze, afraid he had woken her, but she settled again and he managed to remove his arms and cover her with the duvet.

He stepped back as she snuggled into the covers and simply looked at her. How he wished  he could lay down next to her, feel her body aligned with his. Have her curled up in his arms, feel her sense of security at being so close to him and take pride in the fact that he made her feel that way, then as night faded into day, wake and have her be the first thing he saw, bathed in the golden sunlight, eyes opening to meet his and to kiss her as sweetly as the morning sun kissed her skin. He ached with the image, to see her still sleep worn smile that was only for him to see. 

He watched her for a few moments more before he left to put a little distance between them. He closed the doors that separated the bedroom from the living room. He was reminded just how affected he was by Catherine’s proximity. She was every desire he’d ever had wrapped into one remarkable, beautiful woman. It was easy to forget sometimes what he lacked, now face to face with the very real opportunities this time with Catherine produced, they were thrown back into the spotlight. How could he ever give her sunrises when his life was dictated by them?

He went to the balcony doors, opening them once again. He leant heavily against them as he looked out across the city. The sunrise had to look beautiful from here. He looked over his shoulder back at the closed doors where Catherine lay just behind and sighed, if only he could witness it with her.

 

 

*

 

Catherine awoke feeling pleasantly light. The last thing she remembered was falling asleep in Vincent’s arms, but when she went to press her face into his chest she was met with something decidedly softer. She frowned as she became more aware and realised she was in bed. She lifted her head and looked around, her bedroom doors were shut and there wasn’t a sign of Vincent. Had last night been a dream? She felt her light mood fall at the prospect. She pushed the covers aside and with an ever sinking feeling opened the doors.

Her heart dropped when she saw the empty living room, she sighed and turned to go back to bed when she caught sight of a figure, half in the balcony doorway, hidden by the curtains. “Vincent?” She called out hopefully. He turned slowly, the morning sun behind him. She felt relief flood her and the lightness returned. She went straight to him and enveloped him in a hug. “You’re still here.”

Vincent kissed her hair. “I’m still here.” 

She pulled back and looked into his eyes for some moments, radiating happiness. The sun gave him a glow as it caught his mane and for a moment she was enraptured.

Vincent searched her eyes. “What is it?” He asked softly.

She shook her head. “Nothing.”

He squinted at her. “Nothing?”

She looked down, smiling shyly. “I was just thinking how beautiful you look in the sunlight.”

Vincent huffed as he gave a smile and dropped his gaze. He rubbed her arm with his thumb in small circles and then looked back at her, admiring her in the soft morning light. “And you look like an angel.”

She blushed. “Well, I don’t know about that.” 

He gazed upon her flushed face and felt a swoop in his chest, he couldn’t believe how lucky he was at times.

Catherine sighed softly. “What were you doing just now?”

Vincent turned to the balcony. “I was looking at the city.”

Catherine looked out with him. “It’s so different in the daylight isn’t it?”

Vincent hummed in agreement. “Without the veil of night it’s almost like another place.”

Catherine turned back to him. “What are you thinking?”

He stared off into the distance, listened to the streets that had begun to come alive. “I was thinking… how nice it would be to go about freely, take your hand in mine and explore the city and experience your world by your side. This,” He gestured to their current location. “Is as much as I can give you.”

Catherine hugged him from the side. “You give me more than you know. This, is all I could ever ask for. And who knows what the future holds, but none of that matters. Just as long as I have you.”

He turned his face to her. “You have me, Catherine. Every part.”

She smiled, closing her eyes and turning into him as he brought his arm up around her shoulders. “I know.” She whispered. “And you have me,” She breathed in his scent. “Every part.”

They stood like that for a while, looking over the city as the sun rose higher. She looked up at Vincent’s profile, his eyes were closed and looked content.

“Vincent?” She prodded gently.

He hummed to let her know he was listening.

“Did you sleep at all last night?”

“No… I was preoccupied with thoughts.”

“Of what?”

“You.”

Catherine smiled and relaxed further into him. 

"Come on." She took his hand and brought him back into the living room. Vincent sat beside her, studying Catherine as she curled up facing him. He sat back too and draped his arm across the back of the sofa. 

“So what is it you wished to do today?”

Catherine tipped her head to lie against the sofa cushions and sighed. “I’m not sure.” She bit her lip as she smiled. “I was so busy wondering if you’d stay that I didn’t actually think what to do if you actually did.” She played with the sleeve of his shirt as she spoke. “There’s always been so many things I’ve wanted to do with you.”

Vincent watched her hand on his shirt and wondered if she knew what that simple act did to him. “And I with you.”

She smiled sadly and Vincent felt the ache of all the things they could not share, but he did not wish for her to think of their limitations today. “Tell me.” He said.

She furrowed her brow, looking at him in a silent question. He encouraged her to move closer so that she was huddled by his side. She tucked herself under his arm.

“Tell you what?”

“Of all the things you wish to do, places we’d go.”

Catherine looked hesitant, but Vincent nudged her to let her know it was alright and he was rewarded with a smile.

“I’d love to take you to some of the places I visited as a child. I’ve so many happy memories of holiday’s from back then, to take a weekend away and show you would be so special.”

“Perhaps one day we will.” He said brushing her hair back. “What else?”

She quirked her lips as she settled back into him. “I would have taken us to the park, had a picnic. It’s been so warm lately, it would’ve been nice to lie in the sun with you.”

Vincent hummed at the image, both he and Catherine laid out on a blanket, nothing but green grass all around and the sound of birdsong and the laughter of children.

Suddenly, an idea sprang to his mind. He stood and made his way towards the balcony.

“Vincent?” Catherine called after him. “Where are you going?”

He opened the doors wide and held out a hand for her. “Come, Catherine.”

She rose and went over to him, taking his hand. He lead her outside and guided her to the side. She stood there and watched as he made a space, then removing his cloak he laid it out on the floor and kneeled down once again offering her a hand. Realisation hit Catherine as she placed her hand in his and knelt down with him. She smiled as she felt the late morning sun warm her back and the cloak beneath her. 

“It’s not the park,” Vincent said. “But we can still feel the sun.”

Catherine breathed in the morning air and closed her eyes. They were fifteen floors up, but the sound of traffic could still be heard and the rustling of her patio plants could easily be trees if she pretended. “It could be.” She said as she opened her eyes again.

Vincent’s brows drew together slightly so Catherine touched his arms as she positioned herself more comfortably. “Close your eyes.” Her hands drifted down his arms to take both of his. He closed them without question and waited, “Do you hear it? The wind through the trees?” A breeze disturbed the plants as she finished speaking and an image so vivid he might’ve been there appeared in his mind of tall trees with their leaves dancing in the wind.

A small smile pulled at his lips. “Yes.” He whispered. “I can even hear the birds in their nests.”

Catherine nodded. “Yes, Vincent.” She looked up at the blue sky and the clouds passing leisurely overhead. Another idea occurred. “Here, lie with me.”

Catherine lay down on her back facing the sky waiting for Vincent to join her. He did so, laying by her side, shoulder to shoulder. They both stared up and watched the clouds drift by. Catherine pointed up at the sky, leaning into Vincent. “Look. That one looks like a bird.”

Vincent followed her finger. “Yes, I see it.” He searched the sky before pointing out another one. “There, a dog.”

Catherine found it as well. “It looks like it’s chasing the bird.” She giggled.

Vincent chuckled softly with her.

They laid there for the better part of an hour, making out shapes from the clouds. Vincent’s hand had at some point found Catherine’s, their clasped hands lay between them and Vincent had no care in the world.

At some point Catherine turned her head to face Vincent and saw that he had closed his eyes, breathing evenly, enjoying the sun’s rays on his face. She propped herself up on her elbow and looked down at him, smiling softly as she laid a hand on his chest, feeling it slowly rise and fall. He looked so serene, so content, she felt her heart flutter as she gazed at him. She caressed his chest before reaching up to do the same to his cheek, he turned into her hand as she did so, pressing his lips to her palm. Catherine felt the bristles on his chin tickle her wrist and fought a shiver. Stroking his cheek with the back of her fingers she took in the details of his face; his high brow, his wide, strong, cat-like nose and square chin and jaw. It was such a masculine face, though feline inclined, there nothing delicate or soft about it, except, of course, his eyes. She traced along a prominent cheekbone, down to outline his jawline and still he lay, eyes shut, she wondered if he had dozed off. She scanned his face when a feeling of melancholy washed over her. Moments like these were rare between them, she worried that this specific moment might be the only one, but she couldn’t keep him there forever - if only she had the power to stop time. She shifted closer, cupping his jaw and brushing his chin with her thumb. She searched his restful features once more, her eyes landing on his mouth. She leaned in, letting her eyes slip shut.

Before her lips could touch his, Vincent sucked in a breath and reached up to lay a hand over her’s. “Catherine…” He rasped as he opened his eyes to meet hers.

“Too much?” She asked quietly.

He sighed through his nose, weaving his fingers through her hair. “No.” He looked at her apologetically. “Forgive me.”

She melted into his touch. “Don’t be. I understand.” She kissed his cheek and lay back by his side, using his arm as a pillow.

His eyes closed at the feather light touch of her lips. He became aware that he was holding himself tightly and he released a breath he hadn’t realised he was holding. He felt both ashamed and angry. Ashamed that his body reacted so keenly to Catherine and angry that he felt ashamed. Why should he feel ashamed of the feelings Catherine conjured in him? Were they not beautiful? Was it not a sign of his love, his desire? No. It wasn’t the feelings themselves, it was not the feelings that were the issue, but who they belonged to. He did not fear feeling lust for Catherine, he feared his control. He feared himself. What his lust could turn into.

“I can hear you thinking.” Catherine mumbled from beside him. 

He kept his gaze skyward, not daring to look at her. 

“You shouldn’t punish yourself so much. Especially for things you haven’t done.”

His brow creased. “It is the things that I could do that I must be vigilant with myself.”

Catherine laid a hand over his heart. “I know what you think might happen, I know what scares you most, but I know you.”

Vincent turned to her with a pained expression. 

“You have to trust yourself more, Vincent.” She clenched her fingers into the fabric of his vest. “I feel so much for you, sometimes it feels like I can’t breathe with it. And I know it’s the same for you too.”

Again Vincent could feel his body rebel. “Catherine, you have no idea the pain I feel when I’m this close to you. How much I want to…” He struggled to find the words. He raised himself up onto his elbows, hiding his face from her. “You don’t know how ashamed I am at how much.”

Catherine gripped his sleeve. “Don’t be ashamed, Vincent. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, if it’s you that you fear then face yourself. You can’t keep running from that fear, you have to let it come and when it does stand up to it. You taught me that my fears should never control me, that I shouldn’t turn away from them, but welcome them so that I can learn to instead gain strength from them. Vincent,” She sat up. “You are more than your fears.”

He finally looked her in the eye. “There is a part of me, a dark part, Catherine, that you have seen. That is unpredictable, that when it raises its head I am powerless to stop it. You have seen what I can do, what I am capable of. Even after I told you about my past with Lisa, can you still trust me not to do the same to you now?”

Catherine nodded. “Implicitly.” 

When he searched her eyes he found no lie; he didn’t expect to find one, but there too lied a fear that he did not like to give rise to. He cupped her face, smoothing his thumb over her cheek. A wave of desire swirled within and for a moment he almost gave in, wanting nothing more than to bring her soft lips to his. This prolonged close proximity had been a mistake, he was losing his will… but to just have one taste.

Catherine was no better, all she wanted was to surrender herself, let Vincent take whatever he wanted from her. She was on a knife’s edge, she could feel the tendrils of Vincent’s restrained ardour and it made her tremble. Her skin tingled where his hand rested, in fact, even where he had not touched her, her skin was alight with sensation, that was his effect on her. He needed to do something soon, or she was likely to go mad with anticipation.

Vincent thought he could get a grasp on his flickering need, but as soon as Catherine’s answering emotions merged with his that mere flicker became a flame. He pushed himself into a sitting position to match Catherine and took her face in both hands, he felt her fervor, calling to his. If there was any time to turn back…

Catherine closed her eyes and then, finally, their lips touched. A soft, careful kiss though it was, she felt her heart leap. He pulled back, his hands still cradling her face and searched it with uncertainty. Catherine opened her eyes and their gazes met, a beat passed, Catherine’s eyes flicked down to Vincent’s lips and lingered a moment - a frisson of heat passed between them when her gaze met his again and without another moment’s hesitation his lips hungrily sought hers for a second time. He drew her in without conscious thought, only when their lips met and hers parted against his was he suddenly aware of himself. An intense rush of feelings flowed through his veins, all thought went to the wayside, all that mattered was keeping her close. 

Catherine felt electricity the moment their lips met, she couldn’t help but lose herself in the kiss. She grasped at his arms to anchor herself, she could feel Vincent change as he grew more relaxed under her touch. Her hands travelled to his shoulders and he wrapped his arms around her, his hands spanning her back. His movements were more confident now, his lips took and she gave willingly.

When the kiss broke, their eyes locked, the moment charged. Vincent, without breaking eye contact or his hold on her, twisted them both, lowering Catherine back onto his cloak and lying half over her. Catherine kept a hold of his shoulders, feeling her pulse jump as he covered her. He did not waste time in returning to her waiting lips and taking what he had craved for so long, her arms came around his neck in an automatic response. He kissed like he spoke, soft and with purpose and just like his voice it permeated her very soul.

Her fingers curled in the ends of his hair as the kiss continued. He kissed her like he was starved, she felt her very breath stolen from her as she felt his need in every caress of his lips. It seared through her and when she felt the tip of his fangs catch her  bottom lip, a delightful thrill sung throughout her body.  

Her body arched, seeking friction and needing to eradicate every inch of space left between them. Vincent felt himself stir and groaned at the urge to rub himself against her. He ripped his mouth from hers, gasping for breath. His body was burning for her, it was the most exquisite of pains, it licked at his skin and ensnared every sense. Catherine turned his face back to her and he knew that he could not give this up now. He claimed her mouth once again, she gasped and that too he claimed.

He was lost in the taste of her, the feel of her, every drink from her lips was a remedy to a seemingly never ending thirst.

Catherine was feeling no better, she had never felt so wanton before, Vincent unlocked parts of her she did not know existed, that no other man had bothered to try and find. 

So consumed were they by the other, clinging and kissing, that the changing weather went unnoticed. Blue skies began to turn grey and white clouds black. Even when rain began to fall it went unheeded. Catherine found herself laughing as they slowly became more drenched. She blinked away the raindrops falling into her eyes, sighing breathlessly. Vincent looked up at the darker growing sky and took a moment to relish the rain on his face, he turned back to Catherine exchanging smiles.

“We should go inside.” Vincent said as the rain became steadily more insistent.

Catherine pushed back her wet hair. “It’s alright, I like the rain. Don’t you?”

He stood, pulling her with him and hoisted her up into his arms making her laugh in delight. “I like the rain, but when you might catch a cold, then I must insist.”

She wrapped her arms around him as he carried her inside. “It seems I have no choice in the matter,” She said with an air of breathlessness.

Vincent walked through to her bedroom and set her down, both of them soaked to the skin. Vincent rubbed her arms when he noticed her shiver. “Are you cold?” He asked, concerned. 

Catherine shook her head. “Not really.” 

“You should change. You don’t want to get ill.” 

Catherine looked down at herself, her nightgown was rather wet.  “I suppose you’re right.”  She looked back at him and remembered he wasn’t wearing his cloak. “Oh, Vincent, your cloak.” She looked outside at the pouring rain.

He laid a hand on her shoulder. “It’s alright, I’ll fetch it.” 

Catherine found herself a change of clothes, her underwear hadn’t been affected too badly by the rain so she decided only to pick out a fresh nightgown. She found a white silk one, a little shorter than her current one, reaching her knees instead of her ankles and sleeveless unlike the last. She was just pulling it over her head when she could hear Vincent returning. She flattened out the creases in the silk material before turning to face him.

He stood just outside her bedroom doors, donning a look that made Catherine blush.

“What?” She asked, feeling for the first time a little shy.

He shook his head.  “Nothing. It’s just you are so beautiful.”

She smiled, holding out her hands to him. He walked closer, taking her hands in his and kissing them, starting with the tips of her fingers then making his way to her palm then to her wrist where he felt her pulse against his lips.

Catherine stood still, taken with the display and prayed that it wouldn’t end here. He ran his nose along the inside of her wrist, smelling the perfume that had been rubbed there the day before.

“That’s a lovely perfume.” He commented while keeping her wrist close.

“A friend gave it to me for my birthday.” She answered almost whispering. 

“It suits you. Sweet and alluring.” He drew back. “Tell me, do you wear this perfume anywhere else?”

She nodded, feeling her heart race again. “Yes.”

“Show me.”

“Well, sometimes I spray a little in my hair.”

“Your hair?” He asked, stepping closer and running a hand over her hair before pressing his nose into its softness.

Catherine closed her eyes at his closeness. “And sometimes,” She continued. “I use it here too.” She reached around to pull her hair back and reveal the length of her neck.

Vincent pulled back from her hair and caressed the side of her neck. “Here?”

“Yes.” She answered without opening her eyes.

He bent his head to smell the lingering notes of the sweet fragrance. He hesitated a moment before bestowing a kiss at the base of her neck. Catherine’s breath caught, Vincent had never been so bold with her before. She tilted her head to give better access, when his lips touched her skin again she held onto his arms, unable to do much else but to succumb to him. She could feel the coarse hairs on his face rub against and tickle her skin, the sensation made her shiver.

Vincent felt Catherine’s growing desire and nearly groaned knowing he was doing this to her. He cupped the back of her neck as he kissed it, holding her to him as he listened to the way her breathing changed as he reached a place just beneath her ear. Catherine reacted when Vincent found one of her more sensitive spots and was disappointed when he pulled away. He pressed his forehead against hers, clasping her shoulders as he tried to centre himself from the mounting feelings that were close to overtaking him completely. 

“Catherine…” 

The smell of her skin was dizzying. 

“You undo me.”

“How do you think I feel?”

“I know. I can feel it in you, the way you- respond to me. That’s why it must stop.”

She wrapped  her arms around his waist. “You want to stop?”

He released a breath. “No, but I must end this before I can no longer control myself.”

“Vincent, can I ask you something?”

“Anything.”

“Do you trust me?”

Vincent looked taken aback. “Of course, Catherine.”

She nodded. “And I trust you.”

“But I do not.”

“I know, because of what happened with Lisa you’re afraid you’ll see that same look in my eyes like she had.”

“I can’t lose you like that just because I could not control my desires.”

“And what about mine? Vincent, how can we move forward if you’re still afraid of the past? We’ll be forever dancing around each other, denying what’s between us when we both know what’s there, right in front of us. You just need to trust in us. I won’t hurt you. I know you could never hurt me.”

“You sound so sure.”

“I am sure. I want to share this with you.”

He rolled his forehead against hers. “My resolve is already so weak. I do not think I could stop myself again.”

Catherine kissed him softly. “We can go slow. Here, lie with me.” She pulled him towards the bed. Vincent froze, but Catherine gently pulled on his hands. “It’s okay. Just lie with me.” She guided him again, bringing him to the edge of her bed and sitting and shuffling backwards, keeping a hold of his hands encouraging him to follow her. He knelt on her bed, thinking of all the barriers he’d crossed that day. Coming inside her apartment, touching her in ways he’d only dreamed of and now being invited to share her bed. It all felt too good to be true and he felt in some way- due to his nature- he would spoil the perfection. Nothing as good as what Catherine was offering could be meant for him.

“You’re thinking again.” Catherine said, some amusement in her voice.

“Yes.” He answered looking down at her expectant face.

“Come, Vincent. Don’t be scared.” She made room for him, tugging him down beside her. He lay down, facing her. She took their hands and intertwined them. Anxiety still plagued him though he wanted to enjoy the moment with Catherine. He looked into her eyes and saw the trust in them, he wondered if he deserved it.

Catherine saw and felt his uncertainty, she brought their joined hands up to her face and twisted them so she could kiss the back of his and rub her cheek against them. 

Vincent watched, rapt, as Catherine gave attention to his hands just as she had that night on the balcony. She rested her cheek against his hand and left her emotions wide open to allow Vincent to feel how content she was. He released one of his hands from her hold and lay it against the side of her face, his thumb brushing across the smoothness of her cheek. 

"Catherine." His voice was barely a whisper.

She covered his hand and closed her eyes. "I love you." She said suddenly overcome with emotion. How she loved him. She gripped the wrist of his hand on her cheek. Too much. Sometimes it was all too much to bear for her heart that wanted an outlet for all the love stored inside for the remarkable man beside her.

Vincent's forehead came to rest against hers. "No one word could encompass what I feel for you. What I feel is too great, too large to be limited to just one word.

Catherine smiled. "Then, in the meantime, 'I love you' must do."

"Yes... it will have to do." 

Gentle, blue eyes looked into her soft, green ones, falling deeper into their depths. Vincent felt that draw to her again, like a magnet. They looked at each other across the pillow, the rain still persisted outside, batting the window and casting streaked shadows across the room.

Catherine's eyes left the hold of Vincent's gaze, sliding across his face, taking in every beloved detail to travel down to his mouth. She'd had it against hers just moments ago, felt the hard press of lips as desperate need took over and ravaged her own. She wanted to experience it again, perhaps slower this time, deeper, take their time.

"Vincent?" 
 
 "Yes?"

 "Kiss me."

His eyes lowered. Unable to help himself from looking at her mouth. She'd always been a temptation and now he knew.what giving to it felt like, the plush softness of her lips was something that he could not forget easily - nor would he want to - but to deny having those lips against his again was surely a sin. It had to be, because it felt wrong to his very core that their lips should not be joined. He did not answer her with words. He simply drew closer until their noses touched. Catherine held herself still in anticipation, desperate for him to close that gap, soothe her aching with the soft caress of his kiss.

The same thrill ran through them both when their lips touched again. His lips softly brushed hers, lingering just a moment. As before it was impossible to stop just there, her lips were meant to be kissed, to be worshipped and like a sinner begging for forgiveness her kiss offered salvation.

With renewed fervour his lips captured hers. Catherine took his face in her hands and parted her lips for him - an invitation that he was free to take.

Vincent gathered her in his arms, pulling her to his body and wrapping her in a tight embrace. He had meant to be gentler, go slow, but there was too much held within him that had gone unheeded for too long.

Catherine had similar ideas but the moment he had captured her lips with a passion she had only seen glimpses of, all thoughts of taking their time flew out the window. When his strong arms crushed her to his equally strong chest she was lost. She grabbed at his arms, feeling the hard muscle of his bicep beneath his shirt sleeve. To be held in these arms which she'd seen carry grown men with ease thrilled her, she loved the sense of safety she felt when she was encompassed in them, her mind often wondered how strong he truly was, when he worked in the tunnels on excavations did he move large rocks with his bare hands? Did his muscles flex when he used heavy duty tools to chip away at rock? Did his shirt cling when he worked up a sweat? Her fantasies had more often than not left her frustrated and flustered.

His hands wondered over the soft expanse of her back, the silk of her nightgown an enjoyable sensation against his palms. 

Catherine was highly aware of his hands, felt her excitement grow as one hand dared to glide lower, close to the swell of her bottom. She wanted to lean into his touch, but feared breaking the spell. Vincent's hand migrated down to her thigh to the back of her knee to lift her leg and drape it over his hip. She could feel the tremors in his hand as he became bolder. Catherine laid her hand over his where it rested against her thigh. She became gentler, slowing things down, drawing out each kiss. She removed his hand and before the insecurity that his touch wasn't welcome set in, she pushed herself up, turning him as she went and positioning herself above him. She placed her hands against his chest, feeling the thumping of his heart beneath. She left his mouth and began kissing across his cheek and then down along his jaw and down his neck. Her hands moved; caressing his chest whilst her mouth continued its ministrations.

Vincent's voice came out ragged when he spoke. "Catherine. What are you doing?" His eyes remained shut, lost in the feeling of her mouth on his sensitive skin.

 "Ssshhhh." Came Catherine's gentle reply. She kissed her way back to his face and touched it tenderly.

Vincent opened his eyes and looked into hers, his chest wrenched at the adoration he found in them. Her fingertips traced his cheek and trailed down, outlining his lower lip.

"Let me take care of you, like you took care of me."

Vincent shivered at her whispered words. Her eyes lowered and Vincent only had a moment for breath before she descended upon his mouth again, in a deep and searing kiss. 

Catherine's thighs tightened around him, she revelled in the feeling of having him beneath her, at having his solid mass practically at her mercy.

When her hips moved against him, he gasped, turning his mouth away from hers to draw in breath. Catherine returned to kissing along the tendons in his neck.

"Catherine." She'd never heard him speak so breathily before. "Can I touch you?"

She nuzzled at his ear. "You don't have to ask, Vincent."

"I know, but, please."

She stroked his cheek and pressed a lingering kiss to his lips. "Yes, Vincent, you can touch me."

Relief flooded his gaze. His hands found her thighs where they caressed her satin smooth skin. They moved up over her hips, across her back and down her arms.

Catherine closed her eyes, focusing on the sensation of having his hands on her. Only in dreams had she felt his touch like this, the real thing was better than any dream. When his hands returned to their starting point on her thighs she was all but putty. She pressed her face into the side of his neck, the tingling sensation between her thighs growing.

His hands glided up and down, stopping at the edge of her nightgown before retreating again.

"I like it when you touch me." She confessed as his rough palm created delicious shivers.

"You do?" He said with a certain amount of wonderment.

"Mmhm." Catherine nodded. "I love the way your hands feel on me. Knowing the strength in them and yet how gentle you are with me. I like that." She covered his hands and guided them beneath the silken nightgown. "You know though, don't you? That you can touch me anywhere you want."

Vincent's arousal twinged as his hands delved under, touching hidden skin and feeling the line of her panties. He almost couldn't believe this was happening. He looked up at Catherine, a sense of awe overwhelming him.

“I never imagined a moment such as this.” His smile dimmed as his brows drew together. “I feel as though this is a dream and any moment I’ll awaken to find it all taken away from me.”

“If it is a dream,” Catherine drew him closer. “Don’t wake up yet.” Her lips collided with his, pouring every ounce of her love into the kiss.

Vincent’s arms wound around her, one of his hands tangling in her hair. She spread her knees and took the opportunity to move against him. He groaned at the friction, it was too much, he grabbed her hips to hold her still while his frazzled brain tried to regain composure. She breathed heavily looking up at him with hooded eyes, his breathing matched hers, she bumped her nose against his and slowly began swivelling her hips in a circular motion again, he watched, his throat contracting, swallowing as she he felt her bump against the bulge of his erection.  

Vincent was transfixed by her as she moved, his hands twitched to grasp her tighter and manhandle her, lay her beneath him and have her begging him for release. She sighed against his lips as she found her own pleasure rubbing against him. Every brush of her lips was intoxicating and that was dangerous, he almost feared losing himself to his more feral tendencies, but the way Catherine handled him made him feel safe, trusted, and her touch both tamed and fanned the fire that burned within him. Catherine did not fear his desire, not like Lisa had, no, Catherine desired him back, as unbelievable as that was to him, he could feel her body call to his and he was helpless but to answer.

Catherine felt Vincent melt and fold under her. She was still very aware of him, hot and hard below her, she rocked her hips down against him and Vincent moaned. The sound made the throbbing sensation between her legs intensify, she wanted to hear it again. She moved her hips again letting out a soft moan of her own. “Vincent…” She looked down at him and felt a pang in her chest at the look she received back - Vincent’s eyes were filled with awe, like he couldn’t believe that she was real. “I need- I need you.”

He stared at her, his breathing ragged. He had to take a moment to comprehend that this was happening, that the woman he loved wanted him and that he had been able to maintain his control, managed to keep the beast at bay. He had been afraid that he would forget himself, scare Catherine and lose her. But he felt Catherine’s trust and maybe that was what allowed him to hold on.

Catherine stroked his face to bring him back, she could see the thoughts building up in his eyes.

Vincent closed his eyes and turned his face into her touch, kissing her wrist.

Catherine watched with eyes heavy with desire as he took his time as he travelled up her arm to her shoulder and continued across to her collar bone. She tipped her head to the side as he reached her neck. Her eyes slipped closed as he mouthed his way upwards.

Vincent felt her racing pulse against his lips and rumbled against her skin, then licked over it.

Catherine gripped his biceps as she writhed ontop of him and delighted in his ministrations. The action drove Vincent to bare his teeth against her throat and drag his fangs against her skin. Catherine’s eyes fluttered and her lips parted, she dug her fingernails into his arms needing something else to happen. She reached down between them and cupped him over his trousers. He moaned into her neck and his hips jerked upwards. Catherine’s arousal was peaking as she watched Vincent give himself over to her touch, she’d never felt so close to completion before without being filled or hardly being touched even, but then she’d never been bonded with someone like she was with Vincent before either, it had to be their connection heightening everything.

Catherine’s hands wandered underneath his shirt, feeling the heat radiating from him. She pulled back then, holding his gaze.

"Would you do something for me?" She said.

Vincent's chest rose and fell in quicker succession as he tried to catch his breath. "You need only ask."

Her fingers dragged across his stomach. "Take this off for me?" She trailed across the hem of his vest. "I want to see you."

A moment's hesitation crossed his face before he nodded.

Slowly, Catherine lifted up his vest until he lifted his arms so she could take it off. She teased the edge of his shirt waiting for permission to remove this layer too. When his hands joined hers, she smiled as they lifted the article together. As Vincent discarded it to the side her eyes dropped. His chest was just as glorious as she had imagined, proud and covered in fur that travelled down to his stomach, thinning slightly as it did - His stomach was toned, not defined by abs but he wasn’t built in that way, he was strong and well muscled, yes, but he wasn’t sharp edges and cut lines, there was a softness to his strength. She lifted her eyes again, a blush staining her cheeks due to so blatantly admiring him.

“You’re beautiful, Vincent.”

“You’re the beautiful one, Catherine.” He stroked the side of her face with the backs of his fingers. “So beautiful.”

Catherine closed her eyes. “I mean it. You are.”

Vincent cupped the side of her neck. “Thank you, Catherine.”

She smiled and touched his face. His eyes flicked down to her mouth and leaned forward to meet her in a languid kiss. Catherine stopped him, placing her fingers against his mouth.

Before he could say anything she shook her head.

"My turn first."

Vincent swallowed. "Catherine." He said weakly, taking the meaning of her words.

"Here." She said, taking his hands and guiding them to the edge of her nightgown, encouraging him to take hold of the fabric and lifting it. 

Vincent's mouth went dry as Catherine's body was revealed almost painfully slowly to him. He was speechless, merely allowing her to guide his hands to help her remove her clothing. His breath caught when at long last he was gifted with the sight of her breasts.

Catherine lowered her arms and blushed at Vincent's enraptured stare.

Vincent had never seen anything as beautiful as Catherine did at that moment. His hands seemed to move on their own, the desire to touch was just too strong, they slid up her sides, Catherine could feel the slight tremble to them. He marvelled at the soft curve of her breasts, how the light fell across them. He traced the sides of her breasts, being oh so delicate in his touch. Catherine shivered and Vincent watched, rapt, as her nipples hardened.

Just from my touch? He thought with a hint of disbelief.

Catherine waited patiently, expecting him to take his time but was surprised when he took her breasts in his hands and began to massage them experimentally. She gave a small gasp, her head tipped back as he fondled her. His palm was warm and rough, she bit her lip at how good the sensation felt against her sensitive nipples.

Vincent watched her reaction, opened the bond to its full capacity to feel everything she felt as he touched her. The amount of pleasure he received from her side of the bond surprised and emboldened him.

"My touch pleases you."

Catherine held onto his arms for support, her breath becoming unsteady.

"I sense your desire." He continued, lust clawing at his insides and burning in his chest. "I can feel it, deep inside of you."

"Yes." Catherine whispered, biting her lip harder. "Vincent. Please."

“Catherine…” He breathed. “You must tell me to stop now,” He pressed his face to her chest, his heated breath ghosted across her skin. “You must… While I still have the strength.” His chest heaved with the effort to not let his desire completely consume him. “I feel like I’m losing control and if you don’t stop me…”

"Please... Vincent..." 

He squeezed his eyes shut, burying his face between the valley of her breasts. "Promise me you'll stop me... if I lose control." He began to plant kisses on her chest, already feeling helpless against his desire.

"I promise." Catherine agreed desperately. Vincent was driving her crazy, she needed him inside of her. Again she reached down between them, finding his burgeoning erection and attempted to undo his trousers. Her hands fumbled and she let out a soft moan when Vincent's mouth found her left breast. She abandoned her task to fist her hands in his hair.

Vincent growled and released her breast.

"No, please, don't stop." Catherine begged.

Vincent's heart raced in his chest, his body wound tight with tension. "I don't intend to." 

Suddenly, Catherine found herself on her back, pinned beneath Vincent. She looked up into his dark eyes, her chest heaving with excitement. He immediately returned to her chest, hungrily kissing and mouthing a path that slowly lead downwards. Her stomach dipped when he reached it, her core throbbed and fluttered as his kisses drew lower still, lingering just above her panty line. Her breathing had become shallower, he could feel the slight tremble to her breath as he pressed his lips to her stomach. He'd found his way between her legs, he could smell her arousal, it made his primal side growl. He continued his journey, kissing further down still, crossing the line of her panties and reaching her mound. Catherine gasped sharply as he ran his nose along her folds. Her legs fell apart, invitingly. Vincent groaned and took that invitation, mouthing and licking her through the thin material.

Catherine forgot how to breathe, she'd never expected Vincent to take over and do something that not even experienced men would offer, even men she had dated for a while hadn't done this for her. Vincent was suddenly a man with experience with the way he touched her. Catherine writhed and panted as her arousal grew, Vincent was intoxicated by how she was currently taking over every sense. He pulled back to her distress, but he needed to remove that last barrier between him and her. He peeled down her panties and discarded them before returning, he took her legs and put them over his shoulders as his mouth descended on her again. At his first proper taste of her he moaned, Catherine's thighs squeezed around Vincent's head as his tongue expertly teased her. Small noises escaped Catherine which spurred Vincent on, his only goal was to bring her to completion, he could feel the part of him which wanted to be inside of her, take her for his own and make her his, but he was going to keep control and if that meant denying himself release than so be it, he was experiencing enough pleasure as it was.

"Vincent..." Catherine gasped. "Vincent, I'm..."

Vincent could feel how close she was, he only had to tip her over the edge. "Catherine." He moaned, his voice sounding rougher and deeper than she had ever heard it before.

Catherine was close, she could feel it, that familiar tightening sensation at the pit of her stomach, the growing throbbing that kept mounting until finally Vincent's tongue pressed down against her swollen bud and her orgasm crashed over her. Her mouth opened on an elongated sigh of ecstasy and her arms and legs began to tingle pleasantly. 

The sound of Catherine's release made Vincent shake, his body trembled, his arousal almost painful. He breathed harshly, the taste of Catherine on his tongue making something inside him roar for more.

Catherine lay there trying to catch her breath, she reached for Vincent, he obliged her instantly. She pressed herself close, breathing him in. Catherine snuggled up to him and closed her eyes. The rain had stopped at some point and the sun had come back out, bathing them both in the late afternoon sun. She turned into him as he offered an arm to her tucking herself into his side and smiled. She placed a hand on his sternum, feeling it rise and fall and then brought it up to lay over his fast beating heart.

“Are you tired?” He asked, his voice slightly rougher.

Catherine shook her head but didn’t open her eyes. “No.”

A small smile pulled at Vincent’s lips. “Are you sure?”

Catherine was in the middle of nodding when a yawn betrayed her. Vincent chuckled lightly and pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “Rest, Catherine.”

She turned her face up to look at him. “What about you? I don't want this to end yet."

Vincent smiled and pulled her in with both arms. “I’m not going anywhere.” He closed his eyes. “Sleep.”

Catherine wrapped an arm around him and kissed his chest before laying her head there and closing her eyes again. The day was nearly done, they both knew it, but neither was willing to acknowledge it, not yet.

 

Vincent found himself actually falling asleep, the feeling of Catherine at his side and the high that was still running through his veins allowed him to relax enough to find rest. He didn’t know how much time had passed but he was woken by the feeling of Catherine kissing his face.

He smiled tiredly as she kissed his forehead and down to his cheek. “Catherine…”

“Hm?” She answered absently, continuing her journey across his face.

“What are you doing?”

She ended her exploration of his face with a kiss on the lips. “I don’t know what you mean.”

Vincent opened his eyes and noticed how dark it had gotten. He looked outside at the night sky then back at Catherine, he sighed and brushed a hand down her back. “I have to go.”

Catherine stroked his chest. “Not yet. Just a little longer.”

“Catherine…”

“I know. I know… but the night’s young. You don’t have to go just yet.”

He looked back out towards the balcony. He was loathsome to leave just yet himself. “I… don’t want to go.”

Catherine turned his face and kissed him. “There’s still time.”

He ran a hand down her arm. “Yes.”

Catherine pulled him into another kiss, he turned onto his side and she slid her leg over his to tangle them together. Vincent’s hand found her thigh and squeezed it before gliding his hands upwards. It didn’t take long for them to find themselves back where they had left off with fervoured touches and dizzying kisses.

Catherine caressed his shoulders as he explored her thighs and bottom. She felt his hard length again and knew that this time she had to have him inside her. She moved against him, pleased that he pulled her closer and began to rub himself along her. Catherine turned with Vincent following to be over her, but never disconnecting. She kissed down his neck as he continued to touch and grind against her, she felt herself react to having him so fervent above her, just the thought of him entering her made her tremble and become wetter.

“Vincent. I need you.”

He groaned, those words… He needed her too, there was an itch, so deep and undisguisable, yet to be scratched that clawed incessantly at his insides. “Catherine… I-” He breathed heavily as he was once again swept up in the intensity of his emotions.

“Make love to me, Vincent. Please.” She’d never felt so desperate before, never needed to feel someone’s touch as badly as she did Vincent’s.

Vincent felt her need and nearly came undone on the spot, his desire was raging, needing to be fulfilled. He raised himself a little to look down at her spread out beneath him, the beast in him roared to take and he couldn’t deny that he too wanted to claim her as his own. He ran his hands down, following the curves of her body to stop at her hips. He gazed down at her.

“Are you sure, Catherine? If you aren’t, you need to tell me. Because I can feel it, the desire running through me, it's consuming me."

Catherine nodded. “I know. I feel it too. It’s alright, Vincent.” She ran her hands up his chest. “Let go.”

He closed his eyes, breathing in deeply, concentrating on the feel of her hands. “I’m afraid to.”

“Don’t be. I'm not.” 

He gathered her up into his arms, aligning their bodies, his erection resting against her thigh. She arched her body up into his, wrapping one arm around his neck and the other sliding down until she found his length and guided him to her entrance. As the tip bumped against her he felt how wet she was, he felt the beast rise within but he held onto the anchor of Catherine’s gaze and touch, letting it ground him. His hands held her carefully as he kissed her deeply, slowly and pushed forward, feeling the wet, warm heat start to envelop him. His eyes closed at the sensation and found he had to pause.

“Don’t stop.” Catherine said, brushing their noses together.

Vincent released a breath then slowly, almost torturously so, he continued to sink deeper into her. Catherine’s breath hitched as his girth began to stretch her, she held onto him tighter, biting her lip.

Both were breathing irregularly by the time he was all the way in. Vincent’s hands were once again balled up in her bed sheets, he panted as he tried to find the tether of his control while the feeling of being buried inside of Catherine was drowning everything else out. Catherine’s eyes were closed as she clung to him, feeling the tremors under her hands. It took her some moments to adjust to his size before she was ready for him to move.

“Vincent… Y-you can move.”

His eyes searched hers, looking for any discomfort.

“I’m alright. It doesn’t hurt, please, move.”

He nodded then bowed his head as he pulled out again, just a little ways, then pushed back in and groaned as he was gripped by her tight heat once more.

“That’s it. Yes, Vincent.” Catherine encouraged him breathily.

The next thrust and the one after that he grew more confident, pulling back farther and driving back into her with more force. It didn’t take him long before he was setting a pace that had Catherine gasping and moaning as his hips worked with increasing enthusiasm, each thrust driving the breath out of her.

“Catherine.” He moaned desperately, his claws tearing at the sheets as he steadily became more possessed with the feeling of her surrounding him, her moans and shouts of pleasure only increased his lustful frenzy, he was lost in the act, every time he slid back inside her hot channel he lost himself a little more - in the way her body arched up into his, her breasts brushing against his chest, the way she clutched and grabbed him and the way her voice sounded as she moaned his name - that especially made his stomach flutter and his length twitch inside her.

Catherine kissed along his neck, passing over his pulse, he continued until she reached his ear, kissing it then nuzzling the side of his face, peppering kisses there until Vincent turned to meet her lips. Bringing a hand behind his head she kissed him harder, taking his bottom lip between her own dragging a delicious moan from him. She worked her hips, meeting him thrust for thrust as her second orgasm of the night began to build.

Vincent’s was also drawing close, he thrust deeper, hitting a spot inside Catherine which made her cry out.

“Oh, Vincent!”

Her eyes fluttered shut as Vincent continued to hit that spot that made her breathless and her walls clench around him, nearly pushing her over the edge of release. Catherine clung to him, running her hands over his muscles which tensed as his hips worked. She wrapped her legs around his waist, trying to pull him ever closer. Her hands found their way into his hair, tangling themselves in the wild mane, holding him close as his name fell from her lips again and again, desperately begging him for more.

Vincent became wilder with his movements as Catherine’s need struck him low in his stomach, then suddenly he could feel her pleasure too, feel it rising and merging with his, their desire intertwining to form a hot and bright ball of passion.

Catherine felt it first, her second release, it built up to a crest, her back arched as it hit, her mouth falling open on a loud moan of his name.

Vincent still chased his release and he growled in frustration.

Catherine held onto him as he picked up speed wanting Vincent to reach that high with her. His claws tore at her bedsheets, surely shredding them, but she didn't care at all.

Finally, a roar of triumph ripped from his throat as he came. His hips still thrust weakly as the intense waves faded. Catherine stroked his hair and held him while he breathed hard. They stayed like that, foreheads pressed together, tired and sated. It took Vincent a few long moments before he could muster any strength to speak.

 “Are you alright?” Vincent asked finally, his eyes closed and his brow slightly furrowed.

Catherine’s lips pulled up into a small smile. “Yes, Vincent, I’m alright. More than.”

He let out a breath and visibly relaxed as relief flooded him. “For a moment… For a moment I thought I might have…”

Catherine reached up and turned his face to her. “You didn’t. Just like I said.”

Vincent looked at her, taking in her flushed skin, marvelling at the glow she emitted.

"Catherine, that was..." He searched for a word to describe, adequately just how mind blowing that experience was. The euphoria from their love making made him feel lighter than he could ever remember feeling.

"Indescribable?" Catherine offered with small smile.

Vincent shook his head in wonderment. "...Yes."

They both laughed softly.

Catherine pulled him down to lie with her, she had no plans to let him go just yet, and Vincent hadn't the energy nor the inclination to do so. He let out a contented breath, bringing Catherine closer. 

Catherine pushed herself up to look at him and kiss him soundly. "I love you." She said, the side of her face cast in moonlight giving her an ethereal glow.

Vincent brushed her hair back and cupped her face. "My love..." He brought her head to his chest, wrapping one arm around her waist. "Thank you."

Catherine closed her eyes, a smile pulling at her lips as an idea formed in her mind.

"Vincent? What if I took tomorrow off work as well?"