Chapter Five

Goldie Jones

~

Diana awoke, sensing something different about this morning. She quickly realized what it was when Vincent stirred next to her. Oh, great heavens, she thought, it's morning and he spent the entire night here. Now he'll be stuck until nightfall. Then the familiar nausea hit her, and Diana ran for the bathroom.

When she returned to him, Vincent was visibly upset. "Are you all right, Diana?" he asked worriedly.

"I’m okay. Just the usual morning sickness. Something you're no doubt unfamiliar with, but that's the price pregnant women pay for the privilege of bringing a new life into the world. It will pass after the first trimester."

"The first what?"

"The first three months are the first trimester. Then there's the second, and the third, and then the baby is born," Diana explained patiently.

Vincent stretched, and eased his large form off the bed where he had lain with Diana. "There's so much of Catherine's pregnancy I missed. You'll have to excuse my ignorance about it."

"Not a problem," Diana said, smiling. "How does a cup of tea sound?"

"That's fine, Diana." Then Vincent suddenly realized he would have to spend the day in Diana's loft until nightfall. "I do apologize for dropping off like that. I hope Father won't be too worried when he sees I'm not in my chamber."

Diana filled the teakettle and got two cups from the cupboard. "He'll probably just think we spent the night together, which we did of course."

"However," Vincent added, "You know he doesn't approve."

Impatiently Diana said, "It's about time he quit being such a prude. I mean, after all, we're going to have a baby now, so what's the big deal about us sleeping together? The damage has already been done." Diana was immediately sorry she had put it like that. "I'm sorry -- I shouldn't have said it quite that way. You know what I mean."

"Yes," Vincent replied, somewhat puzzled. Then, "What did you mean?"

Diana laughed, handing Vincent the cup of tea. "Sometimes, Vincent, you can be terribly naive." In a way, she was glad he had totally missed the point. Then she started to wonder how she would keep Vincent occupied for an entire day in her loft. She had already resigned from the Police Department, but she still had some errands to run. And even though she now had a support system, she still craved her privacy and wished she didn't have to entertain Vincent. She now felt responsible for him. "What do you feel like doing all day?" she asked.

When he was in the Tunnels, Vincent had obligations and a lot of chores to do himself. The thought occurred to him that he would probably be bored just sitting around and waiting for nightfall. He berated himself for falling asleep and not waking until morning. The last thing he wanted to do was be a burden on Diana. If she had stayed with him, he would have been able to go about his duties, and the tunnel dwellers would be around as company for Diana if she wished it. But here in her loft, he was making both of them captive.

"Penny for your thoughts, Vincent," Diana said, breaking into his reverie. "I asked what you would like to do today?"

"I don't know," Vincent answered honestly. "I hadn't thought about until just now. But if you have something you need to attend to, Diana, please don't let me stop you. Just go on about your business. I'll be fine."

Diana finished her tea and sat down next to Vincent. "Do you want to watch TV or play a game on my computer?" She suddenly realized that Vincent had never watched TV or knew anything at all about a computer.

There were some TV sets in the Tunnels, but Vincent had never been interested in watching characters on a small screen. Besides, everything on television pertained to the world above, a world much different from that of the Tunnels. He had little desire to hear news that didn't concern him, or watch soap operas or quiz shows. Diana knew this, but she was from an entirely different culture and led a much different lifestyle.

In fact, another sudden realization hit her right in the face. She and Vincent had very little in common other than their mutual love. Right now there was physical attraction and romance, but she wondered how long that would last when the baby came, and they settled into a domestic routine. And she knew eventually she would be living in the Tunnels, which she had fled in panic because of her desire for privacy. ‘It's not going to work,’ she told herself – ‘Baby or no baby, I could never adapt to Vincent's lifestyle, and he can't live in my world. What on earth possessed me? I must be out of my ever-lovin' mind. I feel trapped! I don't want a baby. Not now, not ever!’ Panic rose in her throat, along with nausea, and she again sprinted toward the bathroom.

This time Vincent came to her, concerned that she was ill again. He still didn't exactly get it about the morning sickness. He held her head until the sickness passed, and pressed a cold cloth to her face. Diana felt contrite. Vincent was being so sweet and caring, and she had such awful thoughts. How could she not want his child? Of course she loved him. All pregnant women go though emotional trauma. ‘This is completely normal. I'm normal,’ she assured herself. ‘My insecurities and doubts will pass.’

"Tell you what, Vincent. I'm gonna run some errands. I should be back in a few hours. Do you think you could amuse yourself while I'm gone?" Diana asked, pulling on her hooded sweatshirt. "If you want to make yourself useful, you can fix lunch for us so we can eat together when I get back. There's plenty of food in the fridge." That should keep him busy, she thought to herself, figuring out how to put a lunch together. He's probably never been close to a kitchen except to eat what William has prepared. He might as well start learning now, 'cause I'm not much of a cook myself.

"What shall I make us for lunch?" Vincent asked, worried since he had suddenly been put on kitchen duty. "What do you usually have for lunch?"

"I'll leave that up to you, Vincent. Surprise me."

"But…."

"No buts. Just a sandwich would be fine. There's peanut butter and jelly in the pantry. You can open a can of chicken noodle soup. I made chocolate pudding the other day, and we can have that for dessert. Use your imagination. Pretend you're a master chef in a fine restaurant." Diana knew she was being reckless--anything to take her mind off the bigger issues that threatened her heretofore peaceful existence. ‘If he can't prepare a simple lunch, what will he do when I go to the hospital to have his kid? Starve? Oh, I forgot. He'll be in the Tunnels and everyone will come to his rescue, poor thing. Uh-oh, there I go feeling sorry for myself again. I shouldn't do that. I'm just gonna get out in civilization for what might be one of my very last times. I'm going to pick up my cleaning, stop at the post office to mail a package, maybe do a little shopping, and when I get back, he'll have something for me to eat. Maybe. If not, I'll fix something for us myself. He's just got to learn to be a little more self-sufficient.’ "Okay. I'm leaving now. Any questions?"

"Diana, do me a favor. While you're out, can you stop and let Father know that I'm at your place, and that I'm all right?"

"Sure. I can do that. Let him rant at me for leading you astray." The comment was so funny for Diana, she laughed out loud.

"Diana, please!"

"Okay. Sorry. Yeah, I'll let him know you're here."

"Thank you." Vincent turned and went into the kitchen. He began opening the cupboard doors, and peering into the refrigerator.

"I'm leaving now," Diana called.

"Okay. Goodbye."

‘Just like that, huh? He's letting me go without the usual embrace? You'd think we were married already. Married! Omygosh! We're gonna have to get married so our child will be legitimate. I never gave marriage a thought. Then a silly rhyme started to run through her head. 'First comes love, then comes marriage. Then comes Diana with a baby carriage'. And who will perform the ceremony? Is there clergy in the Tunnels? It's for darn sure an ordinary minister couldn't do it. Did anyone give that a thought? Even Father with his sanctimonious attitude toward our premarital cohabitation. Did the high and mighty Jacob Wells even think about the marriage ceremony?’ As this new thought assailed her peace of mind, Diana didn't even realize she had been standing by the door until Vincent noticed she hadn't yet left.

"Is anything wrong, Diana?" he innocently asked.

"Wrong? Is anything wrong?" she repeated. "Everything's wrong. It's been wrong from the very beginning. I want out! I can't do this anymore."

"What are you talking about, Diana? Did I do something to offend you?"

"No. You did nothing like that. It's just that…."

"Just what, then? Please tell me."

"It always goes back to the same thing, Vincent. We have to get married so the baby will have a legitimate father. But I don't want to marry you. I just want this nightmare to end."

"Nightmare. What nightmare? Will you please explain yourself to me?" Vincent began pacing, a mixing spoon in one hand, and an egg beater in the other.

Diana started to laugh uproariously. Just the sight of him sent her into hysterics. What was he doing with an egg beater, for heaven's sake? "What were going to fix for lunch, Vincent?" she asked, still convulsed with giggles and temporarily forgetting her tirade of a moment ago, "some whipped cream?"

"Actually, I was just trying to figure out what these gadgets were for," he told her. "I don't believe I've ever seen one of these before."

Diana couldn't help herself. On the one hand, she felt trapped and miserable, but on the other hand, Vincent was terribly funny--sincere, child-like at times, and irresistibly lovable. She ran up to him and hugged him so hard, he dropped the egg beater.

When he could finally come up for air, Vincent said, "Diana, I just don't understand your behavior. One minute you're in tears and screaming at me. The next minute you're hugging me like you never want to let me go. I never know how you're going to react. I've never seen you this way before."

"It's very simple, Vincent. I guess it's because I'm pregnant. All pregnant women act this way. I've seen it in my friends, and I've read about it. And now I'm experiencing these ups and downs myself. I'm not thrilled about spending my life in your world, but I love you. I can't live without you, but I don't know how I'm going to live with you either. You can't live above and I can't live below."

"You don't know that for sure, Diana," Vincent said simply. "Can't you at least give it a fair try before you make that kind of a judgment?"

"I'd miss my own world too much. I like to grocery shop, go to movies, walk in Central Park, see people I know, sit and talk to the pigeons."

"You could still do all those things, Diana. You wouldn't be a prisoner. You'd be free to come and go as much as you please. The only restriction would be that I couldn't accompany you. But you could still do the things you enjoy, just as you do now. I would never try to stop you. You can be as independent as you wish, any time you wish. All I ask is that you spend some time below with me. Don't you see? You can have the best of both worlds."

The best of both worlds. Does he really mean that? Would he really allow me all that freedom and flexibility? The only thing I would really have to sacrifice is having him with me above. But I can be with him below whenever I want, especially at night. And during the day I can go and do whatever I please. Wouldn't that be unfair to him? I wouldn't want to take advantage of the situation. "Do you really mean all that, Vincent?"

"Of course I do."

"But what about after the baby comes?"

"What about it?"

"Would I still have freedom?"

"Well, I would expect you to care for our child. But you would have as much freedom as any other woman in the same situation. I wouldn't expect you to neglect our baby, but other than that, you're free to go and do what makes you happy. I trust you to be faithful to me."

"That goes without a doubt, Vincent."

"Well, then. Would you reconsider and marry me, making me the happiest man on earth?"

"Oh, Vincent, how can you love anyone as stupid as I?"

"You're not stupid, my love. You're just pregnant."

~