And so with all the errands done, Catherine now back at her apartment, started
to gather the things she wanted to take to her Dad's.

And though she wanted to stay on task, she couldn't shake this desire to read
this poem of Mr. Wells's. And so setting her earrings down, she picked up her
new acquisition, and turning to A Night-Piece...she read:


A Night-Piece
The sky is overcast With a continuous cloud of texture close, Heavy and wan,
all whitened by the Moon, Which through that veil is indistinctly seen,
A dull, contracted circle, yielding light,
So feebly spread, that not a shadow falls,
Chequering the ground-from rock, plant, tree, or tower.
At length a pleasant instantaneous gleam Startles the pensive traveller
while he treads His lonesome path, with unobserving eye Bent earthwards;
he looks up-the clouds are split Asunder, and above his head he sees
The clear Moon, and the glory of the heavens. There, in a black-blue vault
she sails along, Followed by multitudes of stars, that,
Small and sharp, and bright, along the dark abyss Drive as she drives:
how fast they wheel away, Yet vanish not!
the wind is in the tree, But they are silent; still they roll along
Immeasurably distant; and the vault, Built round by those white clouds,
enormous clouds, Still deepens its unfathomable depth.
At length the Vision closes; and the mind, Not undisturbed
by the delight it feels, Which slowly settles into peaceful calm,
Is left to muse upon the solemn scene. 1798

Yes, Catherine was struck by a couple of the lines of this beautiful poem, and as
she read it over, and over, she wondered what was it, about this poem, which
struck Mr. Wells so, and what kind of a man was he, that he would be drawn to
the words of this poem?

Catherine deduced he must be a man, with a love of the Heavens, and he must
be a person, who could identify with the "feeling of aloneness" the words of this
poem conveyed.

Yes, this Mr. Wells definitely had Catherine intrigued, and she couldn't help but
wonder about this man Peter seemed to know so well.

Maybe one day she can get Peter to introduce them.

Realizing she better get moving, Catherine quickly gathered her things and after
hailing a taxi, she headed for the ole' homestead.

And so after buzzing through the city into the suburbs, Catherine stepped from
the taxi, in front of her childhood home, and as she entered the house, she
cheerfully called out, "Anybody home?"

Upon hearing Catherine, Willie excitedly entered the foyer from the kitchen.

Yes, Willie had been with the family almost 21 years now, starting shortly
before Catherine's Mom died. Willie had been so instrumental in getting Charles,
and Catherine through it all, by performing all the domesticated chores, and
other things needing to be done. Therefore, to say the least, Willie is a very
beloved part of the family.

And so after putting everything down on the entrance table, Catherine gave
Willie a hug, and said, "It's good to see you Willie!"

In reply, Willie with heart said, "It's so good to see you too! And how's it going,
how are you Dear?"

With a smile, Catherine replied, "Everything is good, and I'm doing fine, no
complaints..."

Catherine then mentioned, "...and sooo...I hear you are staying a little later
around here now."

To which Willie replied, "Yes, starting this week. Since Bill went on seconds, I
figured it just might work out better for all concerned, if I come later and stay
later...this way I can serve your Dad a good hot meal, and bug him while he's
eating..."

To which Willie continued, "...so now I just leave after the dishes are put away,
usually right after the evening news. Then I get home just before my hubby
does."

Thinking that was so nice of Willie, Catherine warmly said, "That is so great of
you Willie..."

With a wave of her hand, Willie replied, "Awe...its nothing...I enjoy it."

As they walked arm-in-arm toward the kitchen, Willie then warmly said, "After
your Dad called to say you were coming, I whipped up your favorite dish!"

To which Catherine hopefully asked, "Oh Willie, not Almond Chicken?"

With an exaggerated nod, she smiled, as she verified, "Yes Dear, and some
chocolate chip cookies too!"

Willie then confided, "Your Dad,  is so excited about this evening Cathy. And
having you here at home, is just like old times."

And so Catherine and Willie, settled in at the kitchen table, and did some
catching up over a cup of hot coffee, and a warm Chocolate Chip cookie.

After taking a bite, Catherine expounded, "Honestly Willie, you should market
these things. We could call them "Wee Willie Winkie's chocolate chip cookies."

To which Willie laughingly said, "I can see it now, my picture on the label, I
could be the new Martha Stewart!"

Willie then laughed as she asked, "Do you remember you started calling me
Wee Willie Winkie"after you saw that Shirley Temple movie?"

To which Catherine lovingly recalled, saying, "I do...I do..."

Yes...being back at home was a bitter sweet feeling for Catherine, sitting talking
to Willie like this, took her right back to those childhood days after her Mom
had died. She and Willie shared many conversations in this kitchen, and noshed
on many a cookie here too.

As Catherine took a deep breath, she then said she had better lay out her Dad's
costume for him. And so after giving Willie a loving hug, she grabbed the
costumes, and  headed upstairs.

To which, Willie informed Catherine,  "You have about an hour till dinner."

With appreciation, Catherine looked down smiling, and replied, "Sounds great
Willie!"

Stopping at the threshold of her old bedroom, Catherine solemnly looked about,
thinking it was still just like it was, when she  lived at home.

Stepping in, Catherine remembered the fun she and her Mother, had decorating
it. Choosing a pink floral bedspread, for her canopy bed, with oodles of toss
pillows in shades of pinks, whites and beige's. The furniture they chose was in a
very feminine Antique White. And for the window treatments, they picked out
some beautiful, frilly, white, tie-back curtains....which gave the whole room just
the right touch!

Ironically, she then smiled to herself, realizing she had patterned her current
apartment's décor, after her old bedroom's.

As Catherine stretched out on her bed, she sadly recalled that it wasn't long after
they completed the decorating project, that her Mother's illness became obvious
to her.

Catherine knew something was wrong, but at first no one was saying anything
to her, thinking she was better off not knowing until she had to. However she
did know, kid's always know.

Snapping herself out of her melancholy memories, she thought she better start
getting ready!

And it was then she realized, she had forgotten her earrings!

So aloud Catherine spewed, "Oh darn it!"

As she traced her steps, she remembered setting them on the nightstand, when
she stopped to read Mr. Wells' poem. That Wordsworth poem, which she
blames getting her off her game!

Yes...reading that poem "A Night-Piece" really affected her, and knew it was
because Peter said it impacted his mysterious friend too.

And though she was curious about Peter's friend on one hand, on the other, she
couldn't help feeling a little perturbed at herself, thinking, "Just because of being
preoccupied over this whole Mr. Wells' poem thing, I forgot the earrings I was
going to wear."

At any rate, Catherine was sure of one thing, which was that her earrings were
in good company, on her nightstand, side by side, with William Wordsworth!

And so as Catherine finished curling her hair extensions, she heard her Dad,
from the foot of the staircase, boisterously announce, "Cathy I am home."

Peeking down the stairs Catherine replied, "Hi Dad, I'll be right down."

And so after putting the finishing touches on her hairstyle, she descended the
stairs and was royally greeted with an outstretched hand from her Dad.

Playfully, and with a note of snobby sophistication, he said, "Shall we my
Dear?"

To which Catherine curtsied, and replied, "Of course kind sir."

With a nod of approval, Charles noted, "The long hair...nice touch, very, very
renaissance-like!"

Playfully, Catherine agreed, saying, "Yes, I felt my dress called for it!"

Meanwhile, as they entered the dining room, Catherine's Dad told her how
beautiful she looked.

Sweetly she accepted the compliment and modestly said, "Thank you Dad!"

To which Charles sincerely reinforced, "Honestly Cathy, you were such a
tomboy when you were young, but you have turned into such a lovely young
lady, just like..."

Suddenly Charles stopped in mid-sentence, as he was too emotional to
continue.       

Compassionately, Catherine asked, "What were you going to say Dad, like
Mom?"

She then wistfully reiterated, "Oh I hope that's what you were going to say."

Charles nodded, and with a tearful voice said, "I was. I still miss her so very
much..."

Sadly Catherine softly answered, "Me too Dad..."

It was then Willie walked in carrying in the hot rice, and told them they better sit
down, while everything was good and hot.

And so they did, and then after looking at her favorite meal before them,
Catherine enthusiastically said, "Willie, you out did yourself, this Almond
Chicken looks so delicious. Thank you for preparing it for me."

With a look of enchantment, Catherine then noted, "What a wonderful night...a
date with the most handsome man in New York, the Honorable Charles
Chandler, getting spoiled rotten by Willie, and oh yes, I cannot leave out the
fact, that I will have the opportunity to finally meet Brigit O'Donnell!"

To which Catherine then excitedly noted, "It is a magical night, don't you feel it
too Dad?"

In reply, Charles with a spooky voice, teasingly said,  "Well it is Halloween after
all!"

Just then the first of the trick-or-treaters arrived at the door and Willie offered,
"You two start eating, I'll get the little rug-rats."

And although Charles and Catherine allowed her to treat the first tricksters, they
agreed they'd be taking turns from here on out.

And so as Catherine and Charles started passing the dishes, she informed her
Dad she had ran into Peter today.

To which Charles warmly asked, "How is the old Doc doing these days?"   

Catherine smiled as she thought of the coincidences surrounding their meeting,
and said, "He seems wonderful, and he said to tell you hello."  

She then added, "Oh and I am supposed to give you a hug from Jenny too."

Wondering how their lunch went, Charles asked, "So did you two girls have fun
this afternoon?"

In reply, Catherine chuckled a little as she said, "You know Jen! You can't help
but have fun with her. Oh yes, and your costume is on your bed."

As Willie came back, they all finished dinner together, and she then urged them
to get ready, saying, "Now run along you two...I  will get all this."

But of course Catherine and Charles helped, and they laughed and had fun with
Willie as they did so, and then finally, as many hands made light the work,
Catherine and Charles headed upstairs to get ready for the Masquerade Party!

As Catherine zipped up the back of her dress, she looked into the mirror to
arrange some of the long satin ribbons to mix and mingle with her long falling
faux tresses.

Catherine was so excited about her dress, because she thought it was so
beautiful! It had laced white puffy sleeves, and the bodice was in light peach,
and accented with a pale green, and the bustle was full below the waist.

She truly did look lovely, and since it was a Masquerade Party, Catherine found
an enchanting white Owl Mask to wear in honor of the children's book "An Owl
Woman" that Brigit had written.

And Charles in his Civil war costume, also looked the part, and as he crossed
the hall to check on his daughter, he knocked, asking if she was ready yet.

As Catherine opened the door, she said, "Believe it or not...yes I am!"

She then sorrowfully said, "I did forget the earrings I was going to wear though."

As she brought her hand up to her ears, she asked, "Doesn't it seem like I need
a little something?"

To which Charles looked at his daughter and softly said, "Just a minute Cathy."  

Upon returning, Charles presented his daughter with a red velvet box, and
warmly asked, "See if these will work out..."

With hope, before Catherine opened, she asked, "Are these..."  And then
opening, she saw the beautiful Diamond earrings she always admired on her
Mom.

And so with excitement, Catherine asked, "Oh Dad! Do you mean it?"

To which Charles kindly said, "Of course Princess...put them on, and let's see
how they look."

And so as Catherine sat down at her vanity, she looked into the mirror, and with
emotion said, "They are beautiful Dad, it means so much to wear something of
Mom's..."

With misted eyes, Charles nodded and said, "They look beautiful on you
Honey, Wear them in her honor."

As Catherine stood to give her dad a kiss on the cheek, she said, "Thanks
Dad...I will be so proud to wear them for her tonight."

And so in shaking the melancholy mood that settled upon them, Charles then
humorously noted, "Well my Dear, I think it time we go...time to Party Hardy!"

As Catherine giggled at her Dad's cornball joke, the two descended the stairs
together, ready to embark upon the night.

To be continued
Chapter Four
Captor of my Heart!
By Sharon Holtz
Chapter Three
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