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 us."
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 are."
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 now!"
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, "...now 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 lovely..."
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 bite!
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 course!
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.