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I Won’t Go

by Jodie Boyle

 

 

Catherine is in danger…and I’m too late!

 

Fear clenched Vincent’s heart.  He raced from the chamber as fast as he could.

 

Why was the subway so slow!  She needed him.  Now.

 

Finally he reached Catherine’s balcony.  There were no lights on inside.  Vincent peered through the curtains but couldn’t see anything.  He was a little confused.

 

Then he heard her cries.  They were soft, muffled through the doors, but he knew she was in pain.  He tapped on the glass, called her name, but she didn’t answer.  Vincent didn’t want to damage her apartment, but he had no choice.  He kicked the lounge room doors open.

 

At first, he couldn’t see her.  He scanned the room - then his heart stopped.  Catherine was lying face down on the carpet, unmoving.  Her skirt was hiked up, blouse torn and she was wearing one shoe.  For a horrible moment Vincent though she had been raped, followed by a worse thought a second later - she’s dead.

 

He reached Catherine in two strides. Vincent placed a trembling hand on her shoulder.  Catherine moaned.  Vincent relaxed just the slightest bit - she’s alive.

 

“Catherine…”  Vincent whispered to her.

 

“Vincent,” Catherine replied in a very small, pained voice.

 

Vincent carefully turned her over, and Catherine rested her head on his shoulder.

 

“What happened Catherine?”

 

Catherine didn’t answer - she was unconscious.

 

Vincent picked her up - she’s so light!  He thought of placing her on the couch, then changed his mind.  This was the first time he had been in Catherine’s apartment.  Whenever they met, he would tap on the window and they would talk on her balcony.  Vincent had often wondered what it would be like inside.  This wasn’t going to be a pleasant first visit.

 

Vincent entered Catherine’s bedroom and placed her gently on the bed.  He removed her shoe and unbuttoned her jacket, placed it over her chair.  Vincent went into the bathroom.  It was a beautiful, spacious room.  He felt a little uneasy, being here amongst Catherine’s most personal belongings.  He found a face washer and wet it.

 

Catherine was still asleep.  A strand of hair fell over her eyes, and Vincent gently smoothed it back.  She was like an angel.  Porcelain skin, green eyes, achingly beautiful smile.  Catherine reminded Vincent of a pre-Raphaelite muse.  There was a spot of blood near her eye.  She must have cut it when she fell.  He wiped it gently away and placed a small kiss there.  He was reminded of the many times he’d been comforted by Mary.  She was always there for him when he was a child, and still was.

 

Vincent placed the face washer against her forehead, careful not to wake her.  He trailed his fingers through her hair.  He saw her scar.  Catherine usually kept her scar hidden, her long hair covering it.  He kissed her scar lightly, his eyes brimming with tears.  This beautiful, courageous woman - his Catherine - has survived a horrible attack, and now, here she lay, beaten and bruised once again.  Why did people keep hurting her?

 

It was getting late.  He should be going below.  Reluctantly he rose from the bed and went to her bedroom window.  He turned and took a final look at Catherine’s sleeping form, then left.

 

“Vincent!”  Catherine called out to him.

 

Vincent was beside her in a heartbeat.  Catherine reached out to Vincent and held onto his arm.  She gripped it tightly.

 

“Please, don’t go.  Stay.  I need you close”.  The pleading in her voice made Vincent’s heart go out to her.  She hadn’t asked him for anything.  Of course he would stay with her.

 

“I won’t go, Catherine.  I’ll be right here.  Close your eyes and rest.  You’re safe.”

 

Vincent took Catherine’s hand and held it lightly.  He could tell from her pulse that she was calming down.  He stoked her hair with his free hand and was rewarded with Catherine’s sweet smile.

 

Vincent stayed with her for the rest of the night.  He wouldn’t leave this woman.  She was a part of his heart, his soul.  He would comfort her, protect and be there for her as long as she wanted him.

 

“I love you, Catherine…” Vincent whispered.

 

Until now, Vincent had never spoken of his love for her.  Those three words filled him with such joy.  He realised the depth of his love for Catherine.  It sang through his soul, throbbed like blood in his veins.  He knew it.  It was true.

 

Vincent didn’t know if Catherine heard him, but that was all right.  Vincent knew Catherine loved him too.

 

Dawn came and found them both asleep.  Vincent with his head resting against her leg, Catherine’s hand on his hair.

 

No sound awoke the dreamers.

 

There was chaos in the world outside, but for now, it didn’t matter.

 

Vincent and Catherine were at peace.

 

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