The Shore of Dreams!
By
Sharon Holtz
Chapter Fourteen
Just then Jamie shouted from Catherine's threshold, "Catherine! Vincent!"

And because Jamie sounded upset, Catherine and Vincent quickly went to the
threshold, and then Vincent asked, "What is it? What is wrong?"

As Jamie attempted to catch her breath, Catherine took her hand to calm her,
and finally, Jamie breathlessly explained, "It’s Laura, she twisted her ankle, and
she can't walk. I tried to support her, but she is in too much pain."

Hurriedly Vincent grabbed his vest, and told Jamie, "Lead me to her Jamie."

To which Catherine anxiously expressed, "I'm coming too, maybe I can do
something to help."

Knowing Catherine would be more help alerting Jacob, Vincent commandingly
asked, "I need you to go to Father, and tell him what has happened, and to
prepare for Laura's arrival. I will bring her directly to the hospital chamber."

To which Catherine in agreement nodded and said, "Of course Vincent. I’ll go
tell Father."

And so after Vincent delivered an injured Laura to the hospital chamber, and as
Jacob finished putting the last of the wrapping around Laura's ankle, he asked
Vincent to sign as he instructed, "Now stay off of this foot for at least 2 days
Laura. If you need something...ask! You are always assisting others, now it is
your time to ask for help!"

Firmly, Jacob told Jamie, "I am assigning you to assist Laura. If you need a
break, make sure you ask someone else to step in for you. Is that understood?"

Jamie nodded in agreement and said, "Yes I understand Father."

He then looked irritatingly at both the girls and said, "I don't understand why
you two were down that tunnel so late at night! It only leads to the Crystal
caverns and the catacombs! So why were you two going that way?"

To which Jamie guiltily said, "Well Father, after we left the children, we felt like
going for a walk, and well, we were just walking and talking and didn't realize
how far we had gone!"

Seriously, Jacob looked at the two, and revealed, "I do not want this widely
spread, because this unsubstantiated news could cause undue concern, however,
to prevent you two from wandering so far again, I will tell you…”

Grimly, Jacob then turned to Catherine, and said, "You listen too Catherine, you
should all know, especially since Catherine had been targeted by…him…before."

Jacob took a deep breath and said, "Pascal heard sounds on a pipe last night,
Vincent verified the tapping as well, and it was on a pipe that had long been
quiet. We are not certain, but it may be Paracelsus. So the utmost caution is
going to be needed."

Knowing what needs to be done, Jacob turned to Vincent as he decided, "In the
morning at breakfast, I believe a universal caution must be issued to one and all.
No one must wander too far from the home tunnels. This incident tonight with
the girls proves it. Everyone must be informed."

Vincent nodded in agreement and said, "Yes Father I agree."

They all said their good-nights to Jacob, and Vincent scooped up Laura and
carried her to her chamber.

Vincent gave Laura a bell she could ring if she needed anything, and since Jamie’
s chamber was so close in proximity, they all agreed she may as well sleep in
her own bed.

Catherine and Jamie, both fussed, and fluffed, wanting to make sure Laura was
comfortable, and all settled in for the night before they left her.

However, by the time they had finished discussing the fact Catherine would
keep an ear open for Laura’s bell too during the night, Laura had drifted off to
sleep. So they quietly departed, and said goodnight to Jamie.

Vincent walked Catherine back to her chamber, and after seeing her yawn,
knew this would not be the best time to propose, so he regretfully said,
"Catherine, it is so very late. I should leave you now."

Catherine conceded, but did request, "Won't you stay, just for a little while till I
get sleepy?"

With a smile in his eyes, he compliantly said, “Prepare yourself for bed
Catherine, and I will stay."

Catherine quickly washed her face in her basin, brushed her teeth and combed
through her hair. She stood behind her wardrobe, and slipped on her pale green
satin nightgown, and jumped onto her bed where Vincent sat waiting. “All right I
am ready for bed."

Vincent took a deep breath, as Catherine's beauty took him by storm. Sweetly
he said, "Ah Catherine, my staying may help you to sleep, but I promise, your
image shall be keeping me awake. You look so lovely."

Catherine giggled as she held out her arms for Vincent, and as he came to her,
she then turned serious, and asked, "So do you really think Paracelsus is up to
something?"

With concern, Vincent replied, "Pascal, Father and I can't help but to think so.
The nature of the message indicates something is going on. We shall be more
vigilante in the future until we know for sure."

"For now...rest. Sleep my Catherine." And with a last embrace, Vincent then
made sure she was all snuggled in, before he put out all the torches, save one.
And as she drifted off to sleep, he himself headed for his bed which was calling
for him.

The next morning Jacob had issued a community wide warning, that no one
should ever travel alone, or far from the tunnels main. As he feared, his warning
had prompted a barrage of questions, and concerns, he tried his best to dispel.
Jacob confidently and assuringly added everyone should go on with life as usual,
but they should simply add a touch of caution.

A few hours after breakfast, Vincent walked Catherine and Ronald to the
drainage tunnel that opened into the park. As he hugged Catherine goodbye, he
told her, “Tell Jennifer hello for me, and remind her she is to bring those course
brochures along with her tonight.”

Catherine smiled at Vincent, and said, “Oh she is so excited about taking those
classes Vincent, I am sure she won’t forget!”

Vincent sadly looked at Catherine, and said, “Be careful Catherine.”

As he held Catherine tightly to him, he then raised his eyes to look at Ronald.

There were no words needed to be spoken between the two men. Ronald knew
what Vincent’s look meant. He would protect Catherine for his friend, and see
to it she would return safely back home to the tunnels.

It was a beautiful spring day, and the sun felt wonderful on Catherine’s face.
She smiled up at Ronald, and said, “I love walking in the warm sun shine after a
long cold winter. But honestly, when I am down below in the tunnels, I don’t
seem to miss seeing the sun or feeling its warmth. I don’t give it a second
thought.”

Catherine quizzically asked, “Is it that way for you too?”

Ronald nodded in agreement, as he said, “Yes it is Catherine. I have come to
the conclusion it is because of the contentment I have, when I am at home in
the tunnels.”

She agreed, and said, “That must be it. When you are happy, who needs
anything more!”

As they approached Jennifer’s office, Catherine excitedly said, “I cannot wait to
see her face when we surprise her Ronald.”

Opening the door to the receptionist’s desk, Catherine smiled at Ronald as she
said, “Well here we go!”

Catherine politely asked the secretary, “Hi Margie, would you buzz Jen and tell
her Ronald and I are here?”

Margie disappointedly looked at Catherine, as she asked, “Oh my was Jennifer
expecting you?”

Worriedly, Catherine answered, “No we thought we would surprise her.”

Regretfully,  Margie informed them, “Oh Dear me, Jennifer took the day off. I
suppose  she needed it after all the excitement you two had this weekend!”

Catherine was a bit puzzled, as to what Margie was referring to! What had she
meant when she mentioned the excitement of the weekend?

The receptionist then offered, "Shall I call her at home for you?"

Catherine politely answered, “Yes would you Margie? Please don’t tell her  
Ronald and I are here, just make sure she is at home.”

Margie happily obliged as she said, “Of course. I would be happy to do anything
for a real home town hero Catherine! I have to tell you the whole neighborhood
is talking about your and Jennifer’s bravery!”

Suddenly Catherine understood Margie was referring to the break-in! Catherine
looked at Ronald, and widened her eyes as she smiled.

Margie’s phone call verified Jennifer was at home, so Catherine thanked Margie
for her help, and then off they went, and walked the couple of blocks to
Jennifer’s apartment.

As Catherine rang the buzzer, she and Ronald both laughed as they heard
Jennifer say, “Just hang it on my mailbox door Ernie, I will stop by and pay you
later! I can’t come down right now!”

Catherine pushed the buzzer again, and said, “Who’s Ernie Jen?”

Jennifer squealed as she said, “Oh Cath, I thought it was the dry cleaners!
Come on up!”

As they ran up the two flights of stairs, they saw Jennifer had her door askew so
they could walk right in. Excitedly, Catherine whispered to Ronald, "She is
going to be so surprised to see you are with me."

From the bathroom, Jennifer said, “Oh Cath how fun that you are here! I’ll be
right out.”

Joyfully, Catherine told her, “I have a surprise for you Jen! Ronald is here with
me too!"

But because the water was running, Jennifer didn't hear her say Ronald with
there!

And so she came out of the bathroom with an inch thick coating of hair removal
cream on her upper lip!

Embarrassingly, she ran back into the bathroom, and said, “Oh my God! How
terrible! Why didn't you say Ronald was here too?”

Apologetically, Catherine said, “Oh Jen…I guess you didn't hear me! Sorry!”  

In a welcoming tone, Jennifer yelled through the door, “Just give me a minute
ok and I’ll be right with you two. Cath offer Ron something to drink, and make
yourselves at home.”

When Jennifer reappeared, she looked both upper-lipped lotion-less and hair-
less! And she light heartedly said, “Well chalk up another embarrassing moment
for Jennifer!”

Both Catherine and Ronald laughed,  and then he said, “Ah as far as
embarrassing moments, I believe I have you beat!”

Curiously, Jennifer asked, “Well if you have, I have to hear about it!”

Dramatically, Ronald cleared his throat, and began, “Well I was in college, and
one morning I was running late! I had just stepped out of the shower, when
there was a knock on my dorm room door. Well I was in such a hurry, and so
disheveled, that I answered the door stark naked! And the person on the other
side of the door? Well it happened to have been a Nun who was collecting for
the Little Sisters of the Poor!”

Jennifer started laughing, when suddenly, she suspiciously looked at Ronald and
said, “Oh please…that didn’t really happen! I don’t believe a word of it Ronald!
You are just trying to make me feel better!”

Catherine laughed too, saying she agreed with Jennifer.

Smiling because he knew he had been discovered, Ronald admitted, “It did
really happen, and well perhaps I exaggerated a little, in truth I did have a towel
on!”

Both the girls laughed, and Ronald felt good, he was able to ease the
embarrassment Jennifer felt.

Jennifer shook her head, and said, “Well Ronny, you have just seen me at my
worst! I suppose it can only be up hill from here!”

Ronald smiled as he said, “What's a little embarrassment between friends.”

Friends!!!! There's the "F" word Jennifer didn't want to hear. And so she took a
deep breath thinking, that was a subtle message if ever she heard one!

And as she looked up at this gorgeous man, she decided she would gladly accept
whatever Ronald could offer her right now.

And so she smiled, and said, “You are right Ronny, what's a little
embarrassment.”

To be continued
Chapter Fifteen