Catherine welcomed Vincent with a heartfelt embrace. As she looked up into his
sparkling blue eyes, she knew he had sustained his acceptance of the their newly
professed love to each other.

It seemed so often,  they would take one step forward, and two steps back. But
tonight, she could feel Vincent, and she were as one in their hearts.

Vincent looked in awe at his Catherine, and though he always marveled at her
beauty, he rarely complimented her aloud. However this night he did, and softly
he said, "Beautiful."

Blushing, she dropped her eyes in that bashful fashion she owned, and as she
looked back up,  she held Vincent's searing passionate gaze with her own, and
felt a connection with him, that went through her heart, straight to her soul.

As Catherine looked past Vincent, she expressed her surprise it was snowing,
saying, "I didn't know it started to snow! How perfect, for Valentine's Day!
Perfectly beautiful!"

Catherine then turned in his arms to look out onto the balcony, and with a joyful
innocence she smiled up at Vincent, as she was so happy to be standing inside
looking outward.

To which Vincent replied, "Yes, the snow falling does add an enchanting
element to this romantic evening. Perhaps, it's a sign someone is smiling upon

Looking up at Vincent, as he watched the snow fall silently from the night sky,
Catherine thought how brilliantly beautiful he was, and said, "Yes, perhaps they

He then noted, "Shall we go Catherine, it is time."

Picking up Vincent's gift, she asked, "Shall I bring your gift along for you to
open below at the party, or..."

Catherine then temptingly proposed, "...would you like to open it now?"

Taking her hands in his, he suggested,  "I thought we could open them here
Catherine, after the celebration. If you will permit me,  to walk you home
through the park, since it is snowing, I thought it should be lovely."

Lovingly she answered, "Yes Vincent, I would love that."

Catherine started to gather all the things they had to take below with them.
Smiling at Vincent as he prepared to make his descent from the balcony, she
said to him, "See you in a moment Vincent."  

Agreeing to meet at the basement threshold, Vincent of course was there, ready
and waiting for his Catherine by the time she had arrived.

As she started to climb down, Vincent took the packages from her, and then
reached up to help her down the rungs which expanded from her world down
into his.

There they stood, for just a moment reaching through their bond, sensing how
very devoted they were to one another.

As they prepared to walk to the Great Hall, Vincent gathered up the packages,
and with his voice, rich with warmth and passion, Vincent said, "I am so happy
you are here..." he then took her hand, and regally lead her through the
darkened tunnels.

As they neared the Great Hall, Brooke excitedly ran up to them and said, "Oh
Catherine you brought the music! I cannot thank you enough!"

She gave Catherine a spontaneous hug, which made Catherine giggle and say,
"You're welcome Brooke."

Michael, Steven and Angela approached as well, and Angela anxiously asked
them, "How do you like the decorations?"

Catherine and Vincent looked around, and they were truly amazed. There were
candles burning everywhere, and every single torch was ablaze. But the most
special touch of all, were the many lighted Sweet Heart candles, that had been
placed on all the tables. They seemed to give off an extra special glow that
created such a charming ambiance within the Great Hall.

In a breathless voice, Catherine told them, "Oh my, you have done such a
beautiful job, the Pink Hearts you have hanging, and have on each table, make
it look so romantic!"

Vincent, too told them, "Yes, you have done a magnificent job!"    

Catherine noticed a dessert table in the corner, and asked, "Oh my is that a
refreshment table set up, I made some Seven-Layer Cookies to serve! May I
include them with the other desserts Brooke?"

Impressed that Catherine was giving it the ole' college try by bringing something
she had made again, caused Vincent to say, "You brought a contribution
Catherine...I am proud of your "Try, Try, Try again spirit."

Certain he was referring to her Lasagna fiasco, Catherine smiled and said, "I
promise you these cookies will outshine my Lasagna! I have something to prove

With a smile in his eyes, he replied, "Then I must be the first to sample, I feel as
if it is my duty to the community."

Catherine slyly opened up the Heart shaped box and with a raised brow, took a
cookie from it and said, "No time like the present!"

Feigning to summon up the courage to take a bite, he then with a very pleasant
surprise, said, "Catherine! These are really quite delicious!"

To which Catherine playfully said, "Well you needn't  be so surprised!"

As Brooke laughed, she then anxiously asked, "Catherine may we have the
music so we can get it set up?"

To which Catherine happily replied, "Of course, everything you need is here
inside this bag."

As Brooke gathered everything up, she then offered, "Here, I'll put your cookies
over on the buffet table too."

To which Vincent said, "Not so fast Brooke..."

He then put a few of Catherine's layer cookies on a plate, before saying, "
you may take the rest Brooke."

Pleasing Catherine to no end, she smiled and said, "You sure know how to
make me happy Vincent."

To which he said, "Then the wish I made on my lucky star has been granted..."

With a sweet reply, Catherine said, "And so has mine..."

Catherine then looked about, and excitedly said,  "Everything really is so

Taking in Catherine's beauty, he replied,  "Yes...and you being here, at my side,
is beyond all of my fondest imaginings..."

Standing off in a secluded part of the Hall, Vincent and Catherine had a birds
eye view as more and more of the community began to arrive. And they
couldn't help but comment as Jacob, and Mary made their entrance,that they
looked so wonderful together!

Jacob looked so handsome in his finery, and Mary had on a charming
periwinkle frock, with a beautiful lavender shawl tied about her shoulders, and
was donning the most exquisite hair pick in her up-swept hair-do!

Vincent noticing the hair pick, told Catherine in a secretive tone, "The ornament
in Mary's hair..."

Nodding that she noted it, replied, "Yes Vincent I see it, it is lovely. Why do
you mention it?"

Tipping his head as he shared, "Father carved it for her."

Catherine smiled as she asked, "Oh my it really is beautiful! Do you think
Father is smitten with Mary?"

Raising his brow, he answered simply, "All I can say is he did boast a gaiety as
he talked of Mary today."

Catherine smiled and turned her attention back to Jacob and Mary, enjoyably
she watched the older couple as they greeted everyone.

It wasn't long until they made their way to Vincent and Catherine. And as they
exchanged a few pleasantries, Vincent heard his Father clearing his throat, and  
knew his Father was about to address Catherine!

And so pleasantly he said, "Catherine I understand you brought some cookies to
share this evening. AHEM, I must try them."

Just then he noticed Vincent's plate, and asked, "Are these them?"

To which Catherine said they were, and Vincent offered, "Would you care to
try one Father?"

And so as Jacob took one from the plate, he said, "Don't mind if I do!"

But before he took a bite, Jacob went on to say, "It is so seldom I am able to
enjoy a baked good! William always puts in walnuts, and pecans in his breads,
and cakes for additional nutritional value. Well, sadly I can never sample them
because I am allergic to nuts of any kind!"

Upon hearing this news flash, Catherine looked up at Vincent with panic in her
eyes, and without hesitation, she snatched the cookie right before Jacob took a

Everyone was stunned by Catherine's actions, Mary, Vincent, and especially
Jacob! And so she quickly explained, "Father, I am afraid I too added pecans to
my cookies! The recipe called for them. I am so sorry, had I known..."

With a raised brow, Jacob tried to make Catherine feel better, by saying, "Oh
my, I nearly had a bite in my gullet! Tis a good thing you are young and quick
my Dear."

And then he added, "Not being able to sample shall be my loss, and a plus for
everyone else, as they may have, and enjoy my portion!

Knowing Jacob was extending an olive branch of sorts, in reply Catherine
sweetly asked, "What is your favorite cookie Father?"

To which Jacob decadently said, "I am partial to the Snicker doodle cookie! I do
love the cinnamon spice!"

And so Catherine promised, "Then I will bake a special batch just for you
Father, I happen to have a Snicker doodle recipe passed down from my Mom."

With a warm smile, Jacob replied, "I will hold you to it my dear."

With real concern, Catherine looked firstly to Vincent, and then to Jacob as she
said, "It's the least I can do Father, after you choked on my oregano laced
lasagna the other night, and now tonight, the  nut laden cookies I baked, I hate
to think they could've caused you real harm!"

Raising his hand, Jacob indicated he didn't want Catherine to even go there, and
so he said, "None of this is your fault, I on the other hand, being the one who is
allergic, SHOULD have inquired!"

Just then, the song "Dear Heart" started to play, and Mary sighed, saying, "Oh I
just adore this song!"

And so Jacob picking up on the hint, turned to Mary, and asked, "Would you
like to dance?"

Happily, Mary shyly answered, "Yes, that would be lovely!"

With much style and grace, Jacob turned to Vincent and Catherine and asked,
"Apparently there is a song which needs dancing to. Won't you excuse us?"

Replying to Jacob's question, both Catherine and Vincent said they would of

As Vincent stood with Catherine, he thought of how wonderful it was having
her with him tonight, in his world, where they were declaring them selves a
couple. And it pleased him so that Catherine was wearing the necklace he had
given her, where it sparkled, and glistened over her beating heart.

It was not long until the party was in full swing, and there was great music,
dancing, with joyful chatter filling the stone walls of the Great Hall!

Everyone was enjoying the refreshments too, and as Catherine inquisitively
looked over at the dessert table, she happily noticed  the cookies she had baked
were actually disappearing! Yes, her cookies were a success, at least with those
without allergies!

What a time it was for the tunnel community...and everyone attended the party
this night, they were all there, and having a wonderful time.

To be continued
Chapter Six
Sweet Passage!
By Sharon Holtz
Chapter Five