Meantime, while Vincent was above, Brigit called on Jacob. So as she stood at As Jacob looked up from his writing table, he expounded, "Of course Brigit, come in, to what do I owe this pleasure, I should think you would be preparing for the celebration!"
With a nod, Brigit said, "Aye, I am jist aboot to, but I needed to give you this."
And as Brigit presented the note from Peter, she said, "Catherine had come by while ye were restin', so I consented to pass this message on fer her. She told me the message holds some good news from yer friend...Peter."
To which Jacob regretfully replied, "I am so sorry to have missed Catherine, most unfortunate indeed...I would have liked to have spoken with her."
To which Brigit replied, "Aye, she was disappointed as well, but Catherine didn't want to disturb ye."
Then as Jacob shook the disappointment of missing Catherine, he then thoughtfully unfolded the note, and said, "Hmm, let's see what this good news is from Peter..."
And after reading the note, Jacob happily said, "Ahh, Peter's nephew is doing better, and Peter will be able to join us tonight after all!"
In reply, Brigit kindly said, "I am thrilled fer ye Jacob, it's nice yer good friend can come to yer celebration. Well I better go and get spruced up a bit."
Jacob thanked Brigit and then thought to ask, "Ah Brigit, before you go, I'd like to ask, do you happen to know if Catherine spoke with Vincent when she was here?"
With a shake of her head, Brigit answered, "Fraid not Jacob...Catherine told me, that Mac told her, Vincent had left the tunnels to escort Lin back home. Oh dear, sounds a bit like he said, she said...bit no they didn't see one another, unfortunate timin' fer sure."
Resignedly, Jacob said, "I see, and yes, unfortunate indeed! I was still hoping they would have a chance to clear things up, and well perhaps Catherine would be in attendance tonight along with Peter and her father..."
Oh boy! Because Brigit hated being a bearer of bad news, she carefully relayed, "When I spoke to Catherine, she did say, though her father may be comin' with Peter, she would not...I am sorry Jacob..."
With a tragic smile, Jacob responded, "I see...well Brigit, thank you for bringing Peter's message, and I will see you soon my Dear."
Meantime, Vincent re-entered his world...and he felt so empty, as the reconciliation with Catherine did not happen, and now all he had left, were the sweet memories of how she once loved him.
As Vincent walked past the Library, he could hear Rolley and the children, rehearsing a song for Winterfest. It was a song from one of Rolley's favorite musicals, "The All American".
As Vincent stood listening, to the children's clear innocent voices, his heart broke as he heard the words, thinking of how this song seemed to portray all that he had lost.
Once upon a Time A girl with moonlight in her eyes Put her hand in mine And said she loved me so But that was once upon a time Very long ago Once upon a hill We sat beneath a willow tree Counting all the stars And waiting for the dawn But that was once upon a time Now the tree is gone How the breeze ruffled through her hair How we always laughed as though Tomorrow wasn't there We were young and didn't have a care Where did it go? The world was sweeter than we knew Everything was ours How happy we were then But somehow once upon a time Never comes again
Silently he walked away to return to his chamber, knowing once upon a time, he had his chance at sweet happiness, and that perhaps he was being naive, to believe he could have it again.
As Vincent removed his cloak, he searched for Catherine's Winterfest Candle, and because it was no longer there, he realized he must have lost it while in the city above.
And so, Vincent, with a sense of fait-accompli, sadly thought it was a fitting end to his and Catherine's love story, he had not only lost Catherine, but he had lost the candle he was to present to her too.
So...as the hour came to prepare for the celebration, Vincent broken-heartily thought it hardly felt like a night to celebrate...but he knew he had a role to fulfill, and out of devotion for his Father, he would be there for him, and the rest of the community.
And so Vincent carried on, moving about methodically, as he readied himself for the yearly event.
And so after Vincent dressed in his finery, he then prepared to leave his chamber, by putting out all, but the one auxiliary candle, which he left burning.
As Vincent arrived at his Father's chamber, he stood tall at the threshold, and softly asked, "Are you ready Father?"
Upon hearing Vincent's voice, Jacob proudly looked upward, and said, "Yes my Boy...I am."
And then as Vincent descended the steps, he noted, "You are looking well rested Father, am I to assume you had a peaceful rest?"
With a nod, Jacob with regret, replied, "Indeed I did, however sadly it was ill timed."
Needing clarification, Vincent asked, "Oh?"
Hesitantly, Jacob explained, "Upon my waking, Brigit gave me a message from Peter, a message which had been delivered here by...Catherine."
Taken aback, Vincent repeated, "Catherine? Catherine was here?"
To which, Jacob with an apologetic tone, said, "Yes, you see, Catherine came while I was resting and because she didn't want to disturb me, she entrusted Brigit with forwarding Peter's correspondence to me. And unfortunately at the same time, you...you were above escorting Lin home."
Though Vincent was saddened he did not see Catherine, he was curious about Peter's message. And so Vincent asked, "May I ask what Peter had to say to you Father? Was it anything about Catherine?"
In response, Jacob said, "Unfortunately no...nothing about Catherine, but I am happy to give you a bit of good news, due to his nephews recovery, Peter will be attending Winterfest after all."
With a nod, Vincent replied, "This is good news..."
Jacob then paused a bit before he expressed, "I suppose since Catherine was here, even if you had decided to reach out to Catherine while up top, you couldn't have, not even if you had tried."
In reply, Vincent sadly answered, "In truth, I did try Father...and at the time I did so, Catherine was indeed home...however, unfortunately...she was not alone..."
Tragically, Jacob looked downward as he empathized, and said, "I see Vincent. So you never had a chance to present Catherine her Winterfest candle, inviting her to Winterfest..."
To which Vincent relayed, "As fate would play a hand, after seeing Catherine with her ex-fiance, I lost her Winterfest Candle, so now...there is no way for Catherine to ever know of my intention to invite her to Winterfest."
Wanting to give his support, Jacob then hobbled toward his son, and resignedly he said, "Well, it appears we have our work cut out for us then tonight Vincent. We must be festive for the others who look to us for guidance. It is difficult, I know. With our circle so badly broken,because of Catherine's absence, it WILL be hard...however somehow, for the others...we must try."
To which Vincent nodded, and sadly said, "I will put my grief away, the best I can for the festivities."
Then Vincent assuredly conveyed to his Father, "However, do not be mistaken Father...I DO have much to be thankful for, and I will celebrate my good fortune tonight. If it had not been for your vision of another kind of an existence...I often wonder where else could a lost child such as myself, live life so freely..."
With much emotion, Vincent then added, "...and if it had not been for your kind heart, reaching out to accept me as your son...well, yes Father, I am thankful to you and to our helpers, who make our life here possible."
Vincent then elegantly, presented his arm to his Father, and said, "We should go Father, everyone will be waiting for us to begin the Winterfest Pilgrimige."
In reply, Jacob shakily smiled, and tearfully said, "Thank you Vincent...you are a remarkable son."
Jacob then accepted his son's aid, and they then walked arm in arm, out into the Tunnel Main.
Yes...it was customary to gather first, in the Dining Hall. The designated meeting place, where the walk to and through the Chamber of the Winds, and ultimately into the Great Hall, would begin.
So, as Jacob, and his son turned the corner, they crossed paths with Brigit who was escorted by Pascal. And needless to say, Brigit's Emerald Green laced dress design, was...well...to put it mildly..."Eye-popping!"
And although both Jacob, and Vincent, managed to retain their "Gentlemanly Air" by NOT lowering their gazes to Brigit's cavernous cleavage, Poor Pascal was not so successful, because he was so enamored by this flamboyant Irish beauty!
So as Brigit gleefully greeted Vincent and Jacob, and included Pascal too by saying, "How wonderful ye three look, all polished and shined up! Tis a magical night here in yer world, and I am so pleased to be a part of it!"
To which Jacob said, "We are honored to count you as one of our new friends Brigit."
In reply, Brigit said, "Oh my! Tis I who is honored Jacob, here I am Brigit O'Donnell a wee lass from Ireland, in this enchanting place, befriended by three grand Gents....oh trust me...I've been many places and met many people, but it dinny git any better than this!"
So because it was time, Jacob asked, "Well, shall we venture onward?"
And so as they then entered the Dining Hall, the community cheered, as they were all eagerly awaiting Jacob and Vincent to lead the way!
Yes, they were the Tunnel's royalty, the Father and Son. And they in turn, graciously received everyone, happily greeting Helpers they had not seen in a while, and warmly embracing their tunnel community as well.
So as Jacob and Vincent stood talking to their old friends, Lou and Sebastian, Mouse came up, and said, "Vincent come help William with the pot of potatoes!"
After Vincent excused himself, and left with Mouse, it was then all the ladies arrived in their Winterfest dresses. And yes because of Lin's generosity, they all looked beautiful and quite colorful!
So as all eyes were on the Tunnel Beauties, Mary stepped forward, and when Jacob saw her, under his breath he murmured, "Mary..."
To which Sebastian quizzically asked, "What was that Jacob?"
In reply, Jacob politely asked both Sebastian and Lou to excuse him for a moment, and as he approached Mary, he said, "Mary...you look...well lovely is the only word that comes to mind...truly lovely."
Shyly, Mary looked downward, and said, "Thank you Father. You look very nice as well."
Look over to See Father and Mary
She then inspected his tunic, and as she smoothed out the lapel, Mary said, "I have always admired this garment on you Father..."
Just then Samantha, Heather and Natalie came running up, to which Jacob shifted his attention to comment, "Oh my, don't you girls look like little princesses tonight!"
Happy to be wearing such pretty dresses, they twirled, and whirled around while they said, "Thank you Father!"
And it was then Samantha pointed as she noticed, "Oh look Father! Peter and Catherine's Dad are here!"
As Jacob turned to the threshold, he noted, "Ah so they are!"
And then asking Mary, "Won't you excuse me, I should welcome them."
With a wave of her hand, Mary said, "Oh yes go! You must!"
So as Jacob stepped up to welcome Peter and Charles, he warmly conveyed how happy he was they were there, and then said it sure was good to see Charles was back in the pink after his food poisoning!
To which Charles replied, "Thank you Jacob, I feel like I've bounced back pretty good, and thanks too for inviting me tonight."
With a chuckle, Peter relayed, "Yeah poor guy, couldn't figure out what or where this mysterious Candle came from! And when I showed him my Winterfest Candle, and it was then he realized it was his invite."
Jacob chuckled too, and said, "I dare say, perhaps we should include some sort of instructions on them for newcomers."
And then on a serious note, Jacob voiced his disappointment...Catherine would not be coming.
To which Peter then said, "Yeah...too bad Vincent's message of atonement didn't change things between them."
And so upon hearing Peter's terminology, Charles knitted his brow, and asked, "Atonement?"
To which Peter nodded, and said, "Yea, in the message that the nurse passed on to Cathy..."
As Peter looked back at Charles' who was hosting a very baffled demeanor, he wrongly deduced that Charles didn't know the whole story. And so he said, "I can see I have to fill you in on all that happened around here, north of the equator. You see, Vincent was actually on his way to apologize to Cathy the night you had your Swordfish saga! So we figured one way for Vincent to let Cathy know he realized he was wrong, was to send her a message at the hospital, via the nurse on duty! But unfortunately, Cathy never responded to his apology."
And then Jacob down heartedly, added, "Yes...evidently, his apology came too late."
And because Charles knew what the note had said, he then clarified, "Wait a minute here, the message Cathy received from the nurse, was no apology! In fact it stated the opposite, it actually reaffirmed his stance, and that was why Cathy didn't respond!"
With the pall of another unfortunate "OOOPS" dawning upon the group, they began to realize that somehow, something must have gotten mixed up!"
It was then, Jacob recapped, and sadly summarized, "So, it is because of this misinterpretation of Vincent's message, that Catherine has decided to move on, and she has since, reconciled with her ex-fiancé'."
In reply, Charles scoffed and said, "Moved on, and reconcile with Steven? Nothing could be further from the truth. She has resumed a friendship with Steven, only to help him cope with his terminal illness."
The three Amigo's united once again, all felt helpless, as they wondered how to correct all these misconceptions, but ultimately, Jacob said they must tell his son this news.
Meantime, Dr. Wong, Lin, and Henry also arrived, and not so surprisingly, Lin looked anxiously about for Vincent, until she finally spotted him helping William.
And so Lin told her husband, "I will be right back Henry...I need to speak with Vincent."
So meanwhile, William slapped Vincent on the back, and gratefully said, "Thanks Vincent...I couldn't have lifted the vat of potatoes into the cart without ya!"
To which Vincent with concern asked, "Won't you need help wheeling the cart to the Great Hall?"
With a shake of his head, William declared, "Nope! I have a couple of volunteers to help me transport the food. But thanks for asking."
So as Vincent nodded, indicating William was welcome, he started to walk back to re-join his Father, when Lin approached him. And she could tell without asking, that a reconciliation had not taken place between he and Catherine.
And so as they walked back together, Lin sadly said, "You don't have to tell me, I am sorry Vincent..."
In response, Vincent tried to lesson Lin's sadness by saying, "Events unfold Lin, both good and bad, serving as stepping stones to our destiny."
With a tear filled voice, Lin said, "But Vincent..."
Affectionately, Vincent cut Lin off, as he asked, "For me Lin, try to smile tonight. Our community has come together to celebrate, and I promised Father...I would be festive tonight..."
And then to thank Lin for her generosity, Vincent spanned the Hall, and noted, "And how could we not feel festive? Because of your gift to the women, they have never looked more beautiful..."
As Lin stifled her emotions, she then took in the site of the tunnel ladies, and with a hint of a giggle in her tear filled voice, Lin noted, "Or more colorful..."
With a nod, Vincent replied in agreement, "Indeed..."
And as they approached Dr. Wong and Henry, Vincent warmly greeted them, and after some conversation, Vincent noticed his Father waving him over. "
And so Vincent explained to his three friends, "If you will excuse me, it appears Father needs me. Until later..."
So as Vincent stoically stepped up to ask his Father what he needed, it was then he saw both Peter and Charles! And so with a welcoming embrace to Peter, and a gallant nod to Charles, he noted, "How good it is you are both here..."
And after the greetings were expressed, the three wanted to fill Vincent in on the news of Steven, and so Charles began to say, "Ah Vincent...I, that is WE felt you should know something in regards to Steven...the only reason my daughter is speaking to him, is because he is terminally ill, and he needs help with..."
Meanwhile, the crowd was getting restless, and so Mary efficiently stepped up to Jacob, and said, "Father, it is time to begin the procession."
To which though Jacob felt torn wanting just a moment more to help explain things to Vincent, he compliantly nodded to Mary, and as he asked for everyone's attention, he then said, "It is now time to begin the Winterfest Journey to the Great Hall!"
Kindly Charles along with Peter whispered to Vincent, "We'll continue this conversation later on."
With a thankful nod, Vincent accepted this news about Catherine would have to wait, as Winterfest was beginning!
With elegance, Jacob put his arm out for Mary, and gallantly asked her, "Mary...may I escort you to Winterfest?"
To which Mary gracefully accepted, by saying, "Yes Father."
As he looked over to his son, he asked, "As per tradition Vincent, won't you lead us?"
Humbly Vincent said, "Of course Father..."
And so as Vincent stood tall before the community, it was then when suddenly...a gasp could be heard throughout the Hall!
Everyone turned to the back entrance to see what had caused such a reverberation through the crowd!
And as Vincent himself turned to look, he brought his hand up to his heart, and he huskily whispered, "Catherine..."