Meanwhile, Catherine took a cab to her Dad's home, her old home, the family
estate. And as she sat in the back, her mind was racing, thinking of so many
things...trying hard not to think of the one thing she needed to, which was how
would she tell her Dad she was leaving the firm.

And as she entered the foyer, Catherine called out, "Anybody home?"

And as she stood for a moment, she heard cheerful voices from both the
kitchen, and the study before Willie and her Dad, appeared from their
perspective corners of the house!

After giving hugs to both, Catherine commented on the decor, saying, "So
festive! I love all the decorations!"

To which Charles said, "Needless to say, it was all Willie."

But in defiance, Willie argued, "You helped! You helped with the tree this
afternoon!"

With a nod, Charles admitted to this allegation, and then added, "This is true..."

And then addressing his daughter, he mentioned, "...but only the basics...as per
tradition, I saved the ornaments to do together with you kiddo."

With a warm smile, Catherine nostalgically replied, "Nice Dad, maybe finish up
tonight?"
            
                                
Over to see Photo

To which Charles sheepishly replied, "That's kinda what I was thinkin'!"

With an elated tone, Willie inserted, "Oh good! If you two get the tree finished,
then I can pack away the last of the totes!"

Looking about once more, Catherine had to compliment Willie's decorating
expertise, saying, "Oh Willie, everything really is so lovely."

To which Willie stated, "I enjoy it, I just pecked away at it each day while your
Dad was gone, and couldn't stop!"

With a smile, Catherine noted, "Well, it sure gets you in the mood for
Christmas."

Suddenly, Catherine detected the delicious aroma in the air, and asked,
"Hmmm, Almond Chicken?"

To which Willie gave her surrogate daughter a smile, and verified it was, as she
then worriedly said, "You looked so thin the last time I saw you, so I wanted to
make something I knew you would eat!"           

With a loving smile, Catherine said, "Well you know me too well Willie. I
cannot resist your cooking, let alone your Almond Chicken!"

To which Charles jokingly pleaded, "Oh good then, you will eat something?
Please do, so I don't have to hear about it for weeks on end!"

With a laugh, Catherine replied she would eat, and after announcing she brought
some wine, Willie noticed Catherine's purse, and gushed, "Ooh, love your
Gucci! You always look so stylish honey."

Thanking Willie for her compliment, Catherine then said, "I have had it for a
few years, but you know, lately I am finding I don't care that much about
designer clothes...I suppose it's something a person grows out of as they get
older."

To which Willie guiltily asked, "Oh does one?"

After they three laughed, Catherine then asked Willie about her Thanksgiving.

To which Willie replied, they had a wonderful, but typically hectic Holiday, and
with two Grandchildren, both under the age of six, it was like being in a
whirlwind!

And then Willie added, "Yes after watching the parade from Marie's office
window, we went back home and put dinner on the table, and the guys all
retired to watch the ballgames. But those kids ran non stop! And cute? Cute as
little buttons all dressed up!"

Catherine smiled, and introspectively thought back, when she and Steven were
to be married, her Father teasingly said, he hoped they wouldn't wait too long to
make him a gloating Grandfather.

At the time, Catherine assured her Dad, she wouldn't make him wait long,
because she longed to be a mom!  However, she and Steven broke up soon
after that conversation, and she then told her Dad, his request is on the back
burner for a while, until she met and fell in love with the perfect man.

Yes, having a career was not always on Catherine's agenda. There were times
Catherine longed for the life of a housewife, and be like her Mom. In fact, most
of her other friends were now married and had children, and she envied them
that, as she too wanted to extend her own family's lineage.

And so snapping out of her thoughts, Catherine wistfully told Willie, "Though it
was hectic, it sounds like those two little whirlwinds made it a lovely day Willie."

Willie put her hands together in prayer, and ecstatically said, "Oh Heavens yes!
It sure was."

Willie then said, "Your Dad tells me he met up with your nice young man again
Cathy."

Catherine smiled compassionately toward her Dad, feeling saddened with the
talk of Grandchildren still hanging so heavily in the air, and could not help but
think, her Dad must realize, he may not ever have the blessing of a Grandchild
since she met Vincent.

There are so many uncertainties evolving around her relationship with Vincent,
uncertainties, and sacrifices she herself is willing to make, but felt sorrowful her
Dad would be making them too.

And so Catherine answered Willie, by trying to lighten the mood, by saying,
"Yes Dad met with Vincent, and I was surprised he didn't grill, interrogate him
or even cross-examine him!"

To which Charles then teasingly looked at Willie, and said, "Not that Cathy
knows about anyway!"

Charles then anxiously asked, "How long until Dinner Willie?"

In reply, Willie scurrying back into the kitchen, over her shoulder, said, "In
about 20 minutes."

To which Charles replied, "Great, we have time then. Come in here a moment
Cathy, I want to show you something."

As Charles closed the doors to the study, He brought his scrapbook over to the
couch where Catherine had sat, and he settled in beside her.  

And as they sat, Catherine found it difficult to talk about anything, other than
what she knew was really on both of their minds. And because she could not
ignore the subject of grandchildren, she put her hand on her Dad's, and she said,
"Before you start, I think we should talk about it don't you?"

Charles tried to look unaffected as he inquired, "Talk about what Princess?"

As Catherine took in a deep breath, she then shakily said, "Grandchildren Dad. I
think we should talk about Grandchildren."

Knowing the cat was out of the bag, so to speak, Charles thoughtfully stood,
and as he poured them each a brandy, he came back over to Catherine and
handed her a crystal glass.

And as Charles sat back down, he kindly nodded, and said, "So talk Cathy."

Catherine didn't know where to start. Any insinuation that Grandchildren may
not be possible, would mean talking about Vincent and his differences! And
talking about this, made it hard to explain her path. Not to mention, she and
Vincent have never insinuated to ever being intimate in any such way, which
would naturally bring up the subject of children.

So gingerly Catherine began, "Well Dad, I don't know where to start. I only
know I saw a look come across your face as Willie spoke of her family, and it
made me feel sad, as if I may be letting you down, if I were never to have a
child."

As Charles took a sip of his brandy, he softly said, "Yes, I do realize having a
child is not possible with Vincent. I only hope you realize it too Cathy. I want
you to go forward with your eyes wide open."

Charles then continued, proudly saying, "But let me down...no road you choose
to follow would ever let me down. So long as you promise to follow your heart."

Catherine sat silently teary, feeling both sadness, and gratitude.

She and her Dad have shared so much, been through so much...lost so much,
and now she was asking him to let go of a dream every man owns as he grows
older, to be a Grandpa, and she felt as if she was depriving him the joy of sitting
back and watching his family grow.

Yet, at the same time, she was grateful to her Dad for accepting her choice to
have a life with Vincent.

Upon seeing his daughter's emotional manner, his heart broke as he said, "Awe,
don't cry honey...no need for tears..."

As Catherine reached over to hug her Dad, she softly said, "I love you Dad."

Charles hugged her back as he softly said, "I know you do, I love you too
Princess, and well, let's just leave this subject for another day shall we?"

With a nod, Catherine wiped her tears away, and as she took a deep cleansing
breath, she quizzically tapped on the album, and asked, "What is it you wanted
to show me?"

As Charles gathered his own emotions, and as he opened the album, he said,
"Ahem, well you know kiddo, when I met Jacob, there was something about
him...something about his name, I don't know just something familiar. So I
looked back at some of my Dad's cases, and found he had helped represent
Jacob when he was an up and coming young attorney, along with Allen Taft!"

Charles turned the page to an old newspaper article, which had a picture of both
his Father, and of Jacob, sitting together at a long table. The case involved
Jacob who, at the time, worked at the Chittenden Institute. He had to testify in
front of the Un-American Activities Committee, which was an investigating
committee of the United States House of Representatives.

Stunned, Catherine surprisingly asked, "Granddaddy Chandler helped to
represent Jacob?"

Charles nodded and said, "Yes way back in 1952. It says here the hearing was
held in room 1703 of the Federal Building, Foley Square, with the Honorable
Francis E. Walter presiding. The article says Jacob was accused of some
possible Communistic ties because of his research about radiation. Jacob had
testified at the time that the Atomic Energy Commission had miscalculated the
effects of such man-made generated power. Alan Taft, along with your
Grandfather had successfully proven these accusations as false, however by the
time his name had been cleared, Jacob had vanished. That must have been
when he established the tunnel community."

Catherine shook her head in wonder and stated, "I can't hardly believe it Dad!
So Granddaddy helped represent Jacob?"

Charles nostalgically said, "Yes...it's all right here."

Charles then went on to explain, "Your Grandfather had his apprenticeship at
the DA. It was after his apprenticeship had been completed, that he went on to
establish the firm in late '53."   

Charles stood and he placed the book on his desk, and as he turned around he
leaned against his desk, and he thoughtfully reiterated, "Before long the practice
took off in a different direction, and soon he had established a successful name
delving into corporate law. And that was when the firm began to handle
corporate cases exclusively. Ahh, but he did grow to love corporate law. But
you know, Dad had often said, he missed the satisfaction he derived when he
represented and fought for the average man at the DA."

Catherine stood and paced for a moment, realizing the perfect door had been
opened for her to tell her Dad about Joe Maxwell's job offer.

Catherine cleared her throat, and as she turned to her Dad, she asked, "What
about you Dad? Have you ever wanted to handle any other kind of law cases?"

To which Charles reflectively said, "No...no corporate law...is all that I ever
knew. I apprenticed with Dad at the firm, and I always loved it. Either it is in
your blood, or it isn't!"

Thoughtfully, Catherine sat back down near her Dad, and, gathered her
thoughts, and then asked, "Dad...what would you say, if I confirmed
something...something you must already suspect. That the love of corporate law
does not run though my veins, and...what would you say if I told you, when I
talked to Joe Maxwell the other day, he offered me a job at the DA."

With a tip of his head, and with a raised brow, Charles solemnly walked around
his desk, and resignedly sat down in his leather chair. As he looked down into
his folded hands, he nodded, and said, "If you were to tell me you wanted to
work for the DA, then I would say you should...that is, IF you were to tell me
that."

Hesitantly, Catherine then sadly said, "I guess then...I am telling you that Dad."

Charles looked at his daughter and with a tearful smile admitted, "I think I
always saw and knew you had a lot of your Grandfather's spirit Catherine, and
it was only a matter of time. All I can say is what I just told you a moment ago
about Vincent, follow your heart Cathy...do what you have to do. Life is far too
short for regrets."

In reply, Catherine truthfully said, "I believe I would regret not seizing this
unexpected opportunity Dad."

To which Charles wisely acknowledged, "That is your answer then Cathy, you
should go for it."

As Catherine listened and talked to her Dad, not as a Father, but as a mentor,
and friend, she asked, "Have you any career regrets Dad?"

Charles shook his head no, and said, "No honey, and it is due to the fact your
Grandfather had a similar talk with me. You see Grandma, wanted me to
become a Doctor...like her Father. But I loved the law...I wanted to become a
lawyer. So as a young man my Father told me to follow my heart, no matter
what, as that is the path I am meant to follow. So I listened, and did just that."

Charles then concluded, "So when I die, I will die a contented man because of
those words from a very wise man."

Thoughtfully, Charles hesitated a moment, before he added, "But you already
know all of this...about following you heart that is..."

To which Catherine softly asked, "You are now referring to Vincent?"

In reply, Charles nodded, and said, "Yes honey, such a unconventional
relationship will take a lot of strength you know..."

Thoughtfully, Catherine admitted, "I know Dad..."

And because of his Fatherly concerns and duties, he added, "And now you are
planning a major career change...are you sure you are not taking on too much
all at once...I mean the DA will always be there..."

To which Catherine, with firm confidence, responded, "I know, but somehow, I
feel it is right...it is time, my time to give back..."

Upon hearing the strong commitment in his daughter's voice, Charles with a
acquiescent nod, said, "Well there you have it then...you are decided, and
honey, I couldn't be more proud of you..."

Just then, Willie knocked at the study door, and yelled, "Come on you
two...soups on!"

They then stood, and before they left the study, Catherine hugged her Dad once
more, and arm, in arm they walked to the Dining Room.

To be continued
Chapter Five
Protector of my Heart!
By Sharon Holtz
Chapter Four
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