Valentines Day had finally arrived, and tonight was the big event! The entire
community seemed to be lifted out of the usual mid-winter slump with the
excitement of this impromptu event. Love just seemed to be in the air, and as
Vincent passed by Mary's chamber, he could hear her singing:
Dear Heart:

Dear Heart
Wish you were here
To warm this night
My Dear Heart,
Seems like a year
Since you've been out of my sight,
A single room,
A table for one,
It's a lonesome town all right
For soon I'll kiss you hello,
At our front door
And dear heart
I want you to know
I'll leave your arms never more!

Vincent couldn't help but wonder if this Valentine's Day could signal a new
phase in the relationship between Father and Mary.

And so as Vincent managed to pull himself away from Mary's serenade, he
headed back to Jacob's chamber. He needed to see if his copy of "Romeo and
Juliet" was there, because he thought it would be nice to include this book as
part of his Valentine's gift to Catherine. Thinking ole Shakespeare would indeed
prove to be the perfect vessel for his lock of hair.

Well...just as he was about to enter Jacob's chamber, he could hear his Father

My funny valentine
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable

Vincent in amazement, listened to his Father, before announcing himself, saying,
"Bravo Father, Bravo!"

Jacob looked up, seeming  not to be the least bit embarrassed being caught
singing by his son! In fact he opted to delight him further by doing a slight
soft-shoe dance using his cane.

However...Jacob getting a bit carried away, nearly tipped and fell! As Vincent
caught him in the nick of time, he helped him to regain his balance, then
scolded, "Easy Father, you are going to hurt yourself!"

Laughing, he replied, "Yes, you are right my boy, I don't wish to be out of
commission for tonight. You know, after you left the other night, I realized that
perhaps I too should be concerned about a gift, a gift for Mary that is. A gift
presented as a token of friendship of course."

Vincent smiled and said, "Of course...and did you decide on a gift?"

As Jacob walked over to his reading table, he stopped a moment and answered
Vincent's question by saying, "Yes, I wish to give Mary this hair ornament."

A slight humbled laughter accompanied his next words, "I have been tinkering
on it here, and there."

In awe, Vincent remarked, "This is lovely. You did some delicate carving here I
see. You are being too modest when you classify your craftsmanship as
tinkering! I am certain this will delight Mary."

Nodding Jacob said, "Well she always has her hair swept up so lovely, and I
thought perhaps she would enjoy it."

As Vincent searched through a stack of books, he noted, "Father, the children
are so excited you are allowing music at the celebration. Catherine sent word,
she will be bringing her player, along with some music appropriate for the

Smiling Jacob said, "Well good, since it was too short of notice to gather the
minstrels which play at Winterfest, this shall be the next best thing then!
Valentine's Day must be accompanied by Music, so we may Dance!"

Jacob then grabbed Vincent, and started to waltz with him about the chamber.
The two feigned an elegant demeanor, looking divine, as they waltzed about!

It was then, Mary appeared at the chamber entrance, gaining their attention with
a loud "AHEM!" Mary then started to chuckle as well, and teased, "Oh my!
Father...Vincent, I can come back later..."

The two men stopped in their tracks, feeling so very embarrassed, and both
stammered a bit before Vincent turned to Jacob, and with a note of gratitude,
said, "Thank you for the refresher course Father!"

Jacob appreciating Vincent's small tale to help him out of this embarrassing
impasse, said, "Of course Vincent, next week we shall work on your Box step!"

And so to change the subject, Vincent then said, "Well I better get back to what
I originally came for...which was..."

As Vincent shuffled through another stack of books, it was then he found his
copy of "Romeo and Juliet" and exclaimed, "Ah here is,  Shakespeare's tale of

Looking fondly on his cherished possession, he whimsically said, "It is
Catherine's favorite...well, I must depart away. I will see you both at the

Acknowledging Vincent as he left, Mary then turned to Jacob and said, "I just
wanted to let you know the preparations are completed for the party. The
Children are most excited."

Mary looked shyly downward as she then said, "It was thoughtful of you to let
the children plan this night. This undertaking has given them responsibility,
which is a marvelous learning tool."

Jacob nodded in agreement as Mary prepared to leave, and admitted, "Mary, I
too am looking forward to this evening. Shall I come for you around 7."

A blushing Mary replied, "I will be waiting Jacob."

Surprised his old ticker began to race a little, he thought to himself, "OH my!
Oh my indeed!"

Meanwhile, Catherine's excitement mounted as the hour grew near for Vincent
to come for her. She even took the day off to get ready for the party tonight.

And Catherine really did need the day off, in order to get everything done. She
had to prepare Vincent's gift, bake the cookies she wanted to contribute, and
also gather the music for the party.

And as she cut up the last of the 7-layer cookies into squares, she placed them
inside of a huge heart shaped box she bought especially for this purpose.
Thinking the cookies looked really delicious, she hoped they will make up for
her bummer Lasagna from the other night! Yes, hopefully these cookies will
salvage her reputation!

Noticing the time, she realized since Vincent would be there in about an hour, it
was time she got herself ready! Wanting to look extra special tonight, she
planned on wearing a beautiful off-white satin dress, which had a neck line, that
would show off her beautiful Crystal Necklace Vincent had given her.

She felt they were a real couple now, not only in her heart but in Vincent's heart
as well. They broke down a few barriers the other night, telling each other I love
you, and Vincent shared some of his deep seeded fears with her. Yes, Vincent
seemed to be ready to except the love she told him he deserved.

Lighting a few candles around her apartment, she then waited for Vincent. As
she heard his gentle knock on the window pane, she went to open the doors,
and was struck by how majestic he looked, and was and so thankful he was
becoming hers more and more each day. With much love and desire she
welcomed him inside, and with out reservation Vincent entered her apartment.

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