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Classic Round Robin

Chapter 2

by Kathy DeNormandie



“I wouldn’t count on that.”


Vincent and Devin both looked over at the voice carrying to them from the doorway.


“Pascal!” Devin said as he scooted to the end of the bed.


Pascal smiled broadly as Devin stood and gave him a hug. “Dev, it’s good to see you again.”


“It’s good to see you too, Pascal. How’re the pipes?”


“Busy,” Pascal shrugged as Devin sat back down on the edge of the bed.


Vincent nodded toward a chair. “Pascal, Devin and I were just reminiscing. Would you care to join us?”


Pascal showed the book he was holding in his hand and shyly started to decline. “I just came to return the book I borrowed. I didn’t mean to interrupt....”


Devin laughed aloud. “Since when? I can remember you and Vincent always butting in when Winslow and I were trying to talk.”


“Is that why you spent so much time trying to lose us?” Vincent wondered.


Devin grinned. “You two were the peskiest kids when you were young! Winslow and I spent hours trying to find ways to get away from you two.”


Pascal chuckled aloud. “You might have stood a chance if it wasn’t for the bond Vincent had with you.”


Devin groaned and wrinkled his nose. “Yeah! That was a pain!”


Vincent rushed to defend himself. “I can remember a few times when it proved to be useful.”


“So can I!” All three men looked at the doorway to see a smiling Rebecca. “Sorry to bother you. We just finished the laundry and I’m on delivery duty.”


Vincent shot to his feet and took the basket from her. “Thank you, Rebecca.”


Devin had also risen to his feet to offer a hug. “Hi, Becca.”


“Hi, Dev.”


“My God! You’re still the prettiest girl down here!”


Olivia stood in the doorway with a basket of clothes in her arms. “You told me not two hours ago, I was the prettiest girl down here!”


Devin took his basket of clothes from her arms as he grinned devilishly. “I meant that you were the prettiest married girl here. Becca’s the prettiest single girl...”


Pascal rolled his eyes at Rebecca, who was giggling. “Nice save, Dev.”


Vincent brought over two more chairs. “Would you ladies care to join us?”


Olivia looked eagerly at Rebecca who nodded. “Sure, you were the last delivery anyway.”


The five friends all sat down, and Devin looked over at Pascal. “Where were we?”


Vincent cocked his head. “I believe Rebecca was just about to share her memories on the countless times our bond and I managed to save you.”


Devin shrugged indifferently. “I can’t remember.”


Rebecca exuberantly interrupted him. “How could you forget the time at the waterfall when you got trapped on that ledge?”


Olivia gasped. “I forgot about that! Didn’t Mitch dare you to climb up to the ledge and jump?”


Devin looked down angrily. “No...he had taken one of Vincent’s favorite toys. He threw it to the top of the waterfall and it hit a rock and bounced down to the ledge. I was just trying to get it back.”


“I never knew that, Devin,” Vincent said.


Devin looked at Vincent and shrugged. “It was no big deal.”


“What toy of mine could have prompted such a display?” Vincent wondered.


“The raft,” Devin clarified.


Pascal’s eyes grew round. “That was his favorite one of all time. You had that forever!”


Vincent chuckled. “I still have it.” He nodded over to a shelf in the corner and everyone looked at the little plastic toy.

Rebecca and Olivia exchanged glances and started to giggle.


Olivia looked over at Vincent. “What on earth made you love such a toy?”


Vincent smiled. “I guess it reminded me of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Devin and I were going to build a replica of it when we got older.”


Rebecca smiled. “You were going to make it bigger, right?” She and Olivia started to giggle again.


Devin laughed aloud as he shook his head. “It looks pretty pathetic now, doesn’t it? I can’t believe I risked my neck to save that thing!”


“And Father’s too,” Pascal added. “If I remember correctly, Vincent sensed you were in trouble and got Father.”


Rebecca nodded. “I remember hearing Mary talking about how she couldn’t believe Father scaled that wall so quickly and was able to bring you down safely.”


“Safely! I was only safe until he was done panicking! Boy, did I get it!”

Vincent nodded as he looked around the chamber. “I remember these chamber walls echoing with his anger at you. I’ve never seen him so mad.”


“I don’t know, Vincent...” Pascal began. “I remember him being pretty mad at all of us.”


Olivia asked, “Do you mean when we snuck out to go swimming?” Pascal nodded as she continued. “If I recall it correctly, Vincent got into trouble that time!”


Devin was intrigued that Vincent finally did something wrong to bring Father’s wrath down on him. He leaned forward curiously. “Tell me! I’d love to hear what happened!”


“Me, too!” said a voice from the doorway.


Vincent looked up in surprise. “Catherine?!”


She smiled brightly as she made her way into the room and was treated to a chorus of hellos.


Devin patted the spot on the bed between himself and Vincent. “C’mon and sit by me, Chandler.”


Catherine rolled her eyes as she kicked off her shoes and climbed up between them. She gave Devin a quick hug then settled down close to Vincent. “I didn’t mean to crash the party...please, Olivia, continue your story.”

Olivia nodded and started again. “I’m not sure why, but when we were about seven we decided to go swimming.”


Pascal groaned aloud. “I remember. We were jealous because Vincent had taken swimming lessons with Devin and Devin had bragged about how much better Vincent was after only two lessons.”


Rebecca nodded. “Not wanting to be left behind, we all agreed to meet at the late night time of 10:00 to swim.”


Catherine laughed aloud. “I’m sorry...did you say 10:00?”


Pascal grinned as he nodded. “Well, when you’re seven...10:00 seems very late.”


Catherine giggled as she settled against Vincent’s shoulder and waited to hear the rest.


Olivia continued. “We all snuck out and met at the swimming pond.”


Rebecca looked at Vincent. “I made Vincent promise to show us what he’d learned so far.”


Pascal took over for her. “It was pretty impressive until Mitch and Ike came in. They dared Vincent to swim underwater through a crevice and into the chamber that was behind the falls.”


Catherine held her breath and squeezed Vincent’s hand. He smiled shyly at her as he caressed her hand with his thumb. “I made it, Catherine.”


“Barely!” Rebecca said. “You made it there but coming back out you were so tired you couldn’t make it.”


Catherine gasped as Vincent sighed and quickly explained. “Pascal’s father arrived in time and pulled me out of danger.”


Devin wondered aloud, “How come I never knew about that?!”


Vincent looked down. “Father didn’t want anyone else trying to make the swim. He had it sealed up the next day.”


“We were all grounded for a week to reinforce the punishment,” Rebecca added.


Catherine was surprised. “I thought I had a pretty adventurous childhood; now it seems pretty mild compared to that story.”


Devin grinned and wagged his eyebrows. “I bet you were a wild would have fit in here perfectly.”


“I wish I had known about it,” Catherine said. “How wonderful it must have been to grow up here. It must’ve been fun having so many brothers and sisters around.”


Rebecca smiled. “You never felt lonely.”


Devin groaned. “Not in this place! You could never get an ounce of privacy!”


Olivia giggled aloud. “You certainly wanted privacy when Cindy was here. Devin and Cindy sittin’ in a tree....” she sang childishly.


“Who’s Cindy?” Catherine wondered.


For two more hours, Catherine listened to story after story about growing up in the world Below. She stifled a yawn but Vincent caught her.


“You’re tired. Would you like me to walk you home?”


Catherine stretched her arms out in front of her. “I’m having such a wonderful time I hate to leave.”


Rebecca jumped up. “Let’s do it again!”


Olivia readily agreed. “Maybe you could bring a friend down and share some of your stories with us...”


Catherine immediately thought of Jenny and felt a stab of sadness that she couldn’t share this part of her life with her best friend. She knew Olivia had meant no harm by it and she smiled graciously. “Maybe someday….”


Vincent grabbed his cloak, and he and Catherine left.


Devin looked at the others. “Catherine still hasn’t told anyone about this place?”


Rebecca shrugged. “I don’t think so. She looked...sad for a second when Olivia brought it up.”


Pascal nodded. “I caught that look, too. She should be able to trust someone with our secret!”


“I agree,” Devin added.


Rebecca suddenly grinned and looked around. “I have an idea.”

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