As Vincent walked through the tunnels, his thoughts faded back to the
conversation he had tonight with Catherine. Their sweet exchange of "I love
you's" still resonated with him, and their promises of a future, made his heart
pound so wildly, the cadence seemed immeasurable!

Heading for his chamber, he passed by his Father's, and saw the candles from
within were still burning.

Wanting to check on his him, Vincent entered, and softly inquired, "Father?"

Jacob looked up from the maps he was studying, and said, "Ah Vincent, come
here my boy, I am so glad you are here. I can't make heads-or-tails from this
old map! Now show me exactly where the renovating will be taking place, if it is
here, like I fear, there is an old electric ventricle behind the wall!"

Vincent walked over to his Father's side, and looked down where he was
pointing. Vincent carefully said, "Allow me Father." With much subtlety, he
turned the map around for Jacob, because he was reading it...UP-SIDE-DOWN!

Jacob embarrassingly said, "Ah, Oh Vincent that does make a difference! Good
then, very good. We shall proceed as planned."

Vincent politely said, "I concur Father...it will be a good addition for the tunnel
community."

Vincent then sat down, and resting his chin on his hands, he heaved a heavy
sigh, which alerted Jacob to the fact that Vincent had something on his mind.
And so as he turned to look at his son, Jacob asked, "Was there something  you
wished to discuss Vincent?"

Without turning his head, he raised only his eyes to look at his Father, and he
then contemplated if he should discuss something with him. Ultimately deciding
he really needed some gift idea advice, he began by saying, "Father, Mary gave
Catherine and I an invitation to the Celebration, on Wednesday night."

Jacob nodded and smiled as he said, "Ah yes The Sweet Heart's Dance, Mary
gave me an invitation as well."

Vincent noticed a slight blush spread across his Father's face! Tilting his head in
a questioning fashion, he asked, "Father, Mary has asked you to escort her to
the celebration?"

Jacob cleared his throat, and with a small chuckle escaping his lips, he
answered, "Why yes I suppose if you put it that way..."

Jacob then looked at the map once more, at the same time, Vincent was waiting
for him to say whether or not he was going to go!

And because his Father was not forthcoming with any scoops, Vincent realized
he would have to come right out and ask!

And so Vincent impatiently inquired, "And...what was your reply Father?"

Jacob smiled downward, trying to downplay the fact he would be Mary's date,
answered, "I'll be attending with Mary."

Vincent stifled his smile, and said, "Well it should be a time."

Jacob licked his thin dry lips, and while looking over the top of his glasses, he
nodded as he feigned to still study the map.

Jacob remembering they got off the track of Vincent's dilemma, asked once
again, "And so Vincent what of The Sweet Heart's Dance, will you be
taking...ahem...Catherine?"     

By now Vincent knew it was not just a coincidence, that every time his Father
either spoke about, or to Catherine, he had a nervous habit of clearing his
throat! What was this barrier between them? They were both warm, caring
people. True...his Father could be a bit stuffy at times, but still he was a kind
man. And so because Vincent wanted to get this out into the open, he decided
the time had come to ask, "May I ask you why, you don't seem to be
comfortable around Catherine?"

As he pushed his glassed upward, he looked at this son and asked, "What ever
do you mean?"

With a look, Vincent replied, "I think you know what I mean..."

And so with his guard down, Jacob walked over to join Vincent at the table, and
while standing at his side, he put his arm around him, as he said, "You know, I
believe...ahem...Catherine is a wonderful person."

Believing what his Father just told him, Vincent still had to note, "Yes Father,
but still you have an uneasiness around her?"

Answering honestly, and looking down at  Vincent, Jacob replied, "I...I don't
know why Vincent, I do try, but for some reason I do feel uneasy...is it that
noticeable?"

Vincent nodded, and said, "To me it is Father, because it is so uncharacteristic
of you, you are always so gracious to everyone else, but you hold back when
you are with Catherine."

Searching his heart for an answer, he admitted, "I wish I could tell you
why...and Catherine does deserve better Vincent, I promise you I will try."

Vincent nodded and said, "That would mean so much to me if you would."

Looking downward Vincent then brought up the subject he was originally going
to ask, and then humbly said, "Father, I wish to give Catherine something
special for Valentine's Day. I know her so well, yet I am at a loss. Have you
any thoughts on this subject?"

Jacob thinking back on past Valentine Days, remembered the time when
Vincent had made him a Valentine's card.

A smile spread across Jacob's face as he privately recalled that wild haired little
boy who approached him, and handed him the card he had made for him. Yes,
Little Vincent was so proud to present this hand-made greeting to his Father, as
it was his own original artwork and verse as well!
                       
                                
Over to See Card

Vincent noticing his Father's faraway look, couldn't help but wonder why he
was smiling? And so quizzically he asked, "Father, is something amusing?"

Snapping out of his daydream, Jacob held up a finger, saying, "Un momento
Vincente'"

Jacob then went over to his chiffonier to retrieve a little box. A special box
which held his most valued treasures. He then explained to his son, "Ah
Vincent,  your quandary has brought back memories...let me show you a card
you made me when you were a small boy."

Bringing the carved wooden box over to the table, he sacredly lifted the lid. The
contents mostly consisted of special items from Vincent's childhood, and so
Jacob had to shuffle a bit, before he found the hidden gem! To which he
announced, "Ah here it is my boy."

            
                      Over to see Photo

Jacob felt a few tears form in his eyes as he inspected the craftsmanship of the
card that had remained enclosed for nearly 27 years! It was a folded piece of
black construction paper, with hearts of red, purple and pink pasted on the
front.  The verse was written in a white crayon, and Jacob read it aloud, saying,
"To you Father.....I love you with all my heart....I think you are nice and....also
very, very smart!"

He then looked at his son, and with much pride said, "I knew way back then
you had a flair for the written word my boy!"

With a haughty humorous demeanor, Vincent noted, "It did have a bit of
rhythm to it..."

Jacob laughed, and then sighed, "Indeed it did...indeed it did..."

As a pall of melancholy settled over Jacob, he looked at Vincent, and
thoughtfully asked, "Where have the years gone?"

Vincent placed a hand on top of his Fathers, and answered, "To memories
Father, where they can remain, cherished, and untarnished."

Jacob looked back at his loving son, and as a shaky smile crossed his lips as he
nodded in agreement.

Vincent then asked, "What else have you in this mysterious little box?"

With care, Jacob reached in and brought out a journal of sorts, and as he
handed it to Vincent, he said, "This is all about you Vincent..."

In astonishment, Vincent leafed through this rustic styled baby book, where
Jacob had religiously chronicled Vincent's development as a small boy. In awe
Vincent commented, "I have never seen this before."

Vincent then read about himself as a budding child, and as he turned a page, he
found a lock of hair from his first haircut.

Jacob looked at the long golden curl and told Vincent, "I remember that day so
clearly. Lou was in charge of haircuts here in the tunnels even back then. He
put a covering about your shoulders, and sat you in this big old barber chair!  Its
the same one we use to this very day in the Grooming Chamber, not that you
would be aware of this fact since I can't remember the last time you occupied it!
At any rate, you sat in that chair with such a pout upon your face, and when
that very lock of hair you are holding now, was cut from your head, you
screamed, and cried! I finally told Lou, enough was enough, and that curl, was
the only one removed that day! We waited another year or so, to try again."

Vincent thought about how Catherine often tells him how much she loves his
hair, which prompted him to think she might find a lock from his first haircut, a
very special gift indeed. And so he asked, "Father...may I? I would like to give
this to Catherine."

Jacob nodded and said, "Of course my boy! Yes, yes, I believe Catherine would
like that! Oh yes, women seem to love things such as a lock of hair, a single
rose, handwritten poetry, you know something sentimental...something from the
heart."

Vincent eagerly confirmed, "Those were Catherine's exact words Father, she
asked for something from the heart."

Feeling proud and maybe even a sort of bonding with Catherine, since they
were on the same wave length, Jacob asked, "She used those words hmmm?"

Privately, Vincent smiled to himself, as he noticed his Father's demeanor
changed a bit after being told he spoke in sync with Catherine. Kindly, Vincent
then replied, "She did."

Satisfied, he had the perfect gift for Catherine, Vincent took his Father's face in
his hands, and gave him a kiss on his forehead. "Father you have been a great
help, thank you!"

To which Jacob proudly replied, "Any time Vincent."

Leaving Jacob alone to look at the memorabilia, he lost himself in the nostalgia
of days gone by.

The next morning, the tunnels were bustling with all the added activity of getting
ready for the party. All the children were asked to do different tasks for the
celebration, but it was the older children, Brooke, Michael, Stephan, and
Angela, that took full charge of all the major preparations, such as making
decorations, arranging tables for the party, menu planning, etc.

And as the conversation fell upon music, Brooke had a great idea!
Since the Winterfest minstrels were busy, she thought of an alternative, which
was to ask Catherine to bring down her portable player along with some
appropriate music. And so tomorrow, she would send a request via Jerry their
helper, up to Catherine.

As far as candles, they asked Rebecca if she could help. And so she was happy
to pour a special batch of candles for the Sweet Hearts Dance. She had a little
red dye left over from the Christmas candles. And so, the little bit of red color,
mixing with the natural wax, made the loveliest shade of pink, just perfect for
the occasion!

William even allowed them access to his kitchen after the evening meal was
concluded, so they could make the Heart shaped cookies, and the also cupcakes
they planned to serve.

Happily, the older children felt everything was going to plan!

The next day, Catherine was having an especially stressful morning, and so she
took a moment to daydream about tomorrow night...and wondered what it will
be like attending such an event with Vincent. Just then, Jerry, the Sandwich
Vendor, broke through her thoughts, asking her if she cared for a sandwich.

Catherine smiled, telling him no thank you, because she had packed a lunch.

Unfortunately, since Catherine declined, Jerry needed to become insistent,
suggesting  she really should try the Bratwurst, because VINCENT
recommended it!

Once Catherine heard Vincent's name, she realized Jerry was a helper! And so
she took, and unwrapped the sandwich, and found the note inside, which said:


Dear Catherine,
Father has given us permission to have music at The Sweet Heart's   
Dance tomorrow night.  Will you help us?
We are wondering if you can please bring down a portable player  
along with some romantic music to dance to.
If you can...it will make the dance so much more fun, and we
sure will love it if you can.
                                                        Thanks so much
                                                        Sincerely Brooke


Imagine! Receiving a message inside of a sandwich! Catherine loved this New
World she was becoming a part of, and she wondered if she would ever get
used to all these interesting forms of communication they used...messages
clanging through drainage pipes, and now...a note mingling with a bratwurst!

As she re-read the note from Brooke, she smiled feeling honored she would turn
to her for this favor. Thinking on her romantic music repertoire, Catherine knew
she had some great songs which will be perfect for the party.

And so as Jerry stood waiting, Catherine quickly wrote a reply, telling Brooke
she would be happy to bring the music. Folding the note in half, she handed the
concealed note inside a five dollar bill, and handed it to Jerry!

As his eyes widened, he said, "Hey thanks! Ya know you don't hafta!"

With a sincere thank you, Catherine said, she knew, but the bratwurst was more
than worth it!

To be continued
Chapter Four


To you Father
I love you
with All my heart
I think you
are nice, And
alSo vEry, VeRy smart!
Sweet Passage!
By Sharon Holtz
Chapter Three