When Catherine and Peter arrived, Vincent was sitting up, with his head bent

In reply, Vincent explained, "I...I felt nauseous for a moment, but I am better

He then acknowledged Peter, by saying, "I don't know what it could be.
Perhaps the fumes from the old kerosene bottles I cleared out of the previous
storage chamber."

Calmly, Peter said, "Lie back down and let me check out a few things."

By the time Jacob arrived, Peter already had Vincent remove his shirt, and he
was checking his blood pressure, and listening to his heart.

Catherine stood by nervously, when Jacob stepped to Catherine's side, and he
asked, "Tell me again Catherine what happened earlier, and describe to me
Vincent's symptoms."

Catherine took a deep breath, and said, "Vincent had just came to see me after
finishing the things he needed to get done in the old storage chamber. We were
talking a little bit about Samantha, and it was then his breathing changed! I could
tell he had pain in his chest, because he brought his hand to his heart! Father
what do you think it could it be?"

Jacob gave Catherine a fatherly hug, and said, "I'm not certain Catherine, there
was one other time when Vincent was a small child, perhaps too small for him
to remember, this happened to him. We thought at the time it was an acute
myocardial infarction. We watched him and we monitored him, and never since
that day, had any of the symptoms reoccurred! I'll go talk to Peter and check on
his findings."

As Catherine approached the bed, she took Vincent's hand, and Peter stepped to
the side with Jacob.

Catherine's grip was intense as she asked, "How are you feeling now?"

As Vincent's gaze settled on Catherine's beautiful face, it brought a smile to his
eyes, as he weakly said, "I will be fine. Now I don't want you to be concerned."

She knelt down on the floor beside the bed, and said, "I am going to be
concerned until we find out, what is wrong."

Vincent reached over and smoothed her hair and said, "Ahhh, Catherine, please.
We don't know anything yet. It is probably nothing."

Worriedly, Catherine looked at him, and as she touched his cheek, she lovingly
said, "It has to be nothing Vincent...it has to be."

Jacob, and Peter agreed on the course of treatment, and they wanted to tell
them what they planned to do.

As Peter helped Catherine to her feet, he held her tightly, as he said, "Now
Kiddo, we don't know if this is anything to be concerned about, so don't go
getting all upset. It's most likely the kerosene fumes he told us about. Now,
Vincent needs you to be strong. You don't want him to worry about you, now
do you?"

Catherine dried her tears, and snuffled, as she said, "No...of course not Peter."

Soothingly, he said in reply, "I didn't think so...and I understand  you are

He then turned to Vincent, and as he helped him on with his shirt, he said, "All
right, here's what Jacob and I decided we should do. I have a portable EKG
machine, and a portable x-ray machine in my office. I'll bring them down, and
then we will perform some tests, and take some pictures of your heart."

Hesitatingly, Jacob added, "If it is what we suspect...then we will go from there."

Anxiously, Catherine waited for Jacob to continue, but when he didn't, she had
to ask, "Which is?"

Dryly, Jacob continued, "Which is...a weak valve, nothing perhaps life
threatening, but normally it can be treated with Heparin, and chewing an aspirin
for an immediate response."

Needing clarification, Catherine asked, "Normally? What does that mean

Jacob carefully, explained, "Well we are limited to the medications which are
compliant with Vincent's system. However, let us not jump to any conclusions
at this time, shall we? Let's see what Peter finds out with his tests. It is
important to rule out those possibilities before we pass this off blaming the

Just then, Ronald, Mary, Pascal and Rebecca appeared at the threshold of
Catherine's chamber. They had heard about Vincent's episode, and they wanted
to know what was going on!

Mary rushed in and said, "Tell me what I can do!"

Jacob put his hand on Mary's shoulder and said, "Vincent is resting, I am sorry
if my sending for you alarmed you so Mary. In truth I didn't know how serious
this was. He is fine for now. Peter is going to bring some equipment here, and
we will do some tests."

Ronald stepped up and offered, "Peter, do you need some help hauling the

Nodding, Peter accepted his offer, by saying, "Yes, that would be great Ronald."

Concerned friends, Pascal and Rebecca came forward, and as Rebecca and
Catherine looked at each other, they shared a heartfelt, tearful smile.

Rebecca then approached Vincent, and said, "William said you better recover in
time for supper, because he had you in mind as he planned the meal."

Weakly, Vincent guessed, "Stewed roast beef, with dumplings?"

Rebecca smiled, and said, "Yes, and he made extra dumplings this time!"

Vincent replied, "Then I have no choice. When you see William, tell him I do
not want to miss such a meal. I will be there."

Pascal touched Vincent's shoulder and teasingly said, "What a ploy to receive
some extra attention my friend!"

Vincent grinned, and said, "Yes, such a fuss all for nothing."

Ronald too approached, and in disbelief, said, "I never thought I would see you
down and out Vincent. You are as strong as an ox! This must be just a fluke."

In agreement, Vincent replied, "Yes, although...thinking back to this morning, I
did discover some old kerosene that had been stored in an old storage chamber.
As I suggested to Father and Peter, perhaps the fumes may have affected me."

Ronald nodded and said, "I bet you are right! That must be it!"

Vincent agreed, saying he is hoping it is only something like that, and then
gracefully, he switched the subject by asking Ronald, "How was your visit with

Shyly, Ronald said, "It was nice, I am discovering we are a world apart in our
interests, but still there is something there...any way, a day at a time uh?"

Peter turned to Ronald, and asked, "Are you ready Ronald?"

Saying he was, Ronald smiled at Vincent, and said, "See you later."

When Ronald saw how distraught Catherine seemed, he said, "He'll be O.K.
Keep the faith uh?"

As Catherine took in a deep breath, she said, "You are right. I get so caught up
in worry, sometimes I forget to Pray."

Peter looked to Jacob, and discreetly asked, "Walk out with us so we can
discuss what I will need."

Peter then turned to address the others, and said, "Vincent, Cathy, I will see you
in an hour, and Mary, and Rebecca, we will need your help when I come back.
Oh and have Mouse set up the generator for me. I will need it."

Catherine and Vincent both thanked him, and as everyone departed one by one,
they were then left alone.

They didn't move...and as they stared at each other, they realized time, and life
has so many uncertainties, they are once more reminded to cherish, each and
every moment they are given.

Vincent sat up, and held out his arms, as he waited for Catherine to come to
him. Slowly, she walked to him, never letting go of his searing gaze, both
thinking the same thing, how could this be happening, when everything was
going so wonderful.

She sat aside of him, burying her head in his chest, and she cried against his

As Vincent held her lovingly against him, he silently feared if this does turn out
to be something serious, something that cannot be treated, how hard it would be
on Catherine.

As she stayed with him, she, herself wondered what she would do if something
were ever to happen to him! She needed him so much, and as she listened to his
beating heart, she thought of how much she took him for granted. Since the day
they realized how strong their bond was, she had always thought Vincent would
always be there with her. As She squeezed her eyes tightly shut, she fought the
tears once more.

As Vincent rested, Catherine became more and more anxious waiting on Peter
and Ronald to return. One by one Jacob came back, along with Mary to set
things up, Mouse brought the generator, and Rebecca too came with some
rations William prepared. Even Zach Samantha, and Kipper, stopped by to bring
the Get Well Cards all the children made for Vincent.

Catherine noticed how sweet it was Samantha had the satin blue ribbon in her
hair, and complimented her on how pretty it looked.

To which Samantha proudly smiled and said, "I just love it! But I can't quite tie
it like you did Catherine. But I guess with practice, I will learn."

To which Vincent listening in, thinking Catherine needed a diversion from her
fidgeting, suggested, "Catherine, why don't you show Samantha once more."

Thinking she had much to do to get things ready for Peter, almost blew it by
saying "But Vincent..."

With a subtle nod of the head, Vincent urged her to take the time, and so before
she said too much, she caught herself, and said, "Come sit at my vanity
I would love to show you again."

And as she brushed through Samantha's tangles, she retied the ribbon, so it
flowed beautifully amongst her long tresses. As Samantha inspected, she said,
"Perfect Catherine! I would love to have the ribbon in my hair for the concert
on Saturday. Do you think you could tie it for me then too?"

Saying she would love to, she told Samantha how proud it would make her to
be fixing the prima ballerina hairdo for Saturday's concert!

They shared a hug before the children were all shooed out because the word
was Peter and Ronald were back.

All was a buzz after Peter and Ronald returned with the equipment, and by
mid-afternoon, all the testing had been completed.

The results from the electrocardiogram showed the P waves, QRS comple, QT
interval, ST segment, T wave, and normal U wave were all normal, and there
was no elevation or depression. The x-rays did not indicate a myocardial
infarction, and Vincent's blood pressure was normal, and his heart rate was too.
Everything looked great. And so as Vincent's strength and appetite returned,
they all concluded it had been the kerosene fumes that were the cause of all the
problems. For now, he had been given a clean bill of health.

Catherine exalted at the news, and they were finished with all the testing in time
to join everyone in the Dining Hall for supper, and Vincent joked this was all,
much ado about nothing.

As they entered the Hall, they were greeted, and answered a barrage of
appropriately intensely asked questions! As everyone settled into place, and
Jacob presided over the community with a Prayer of thanks, he voiced his
gratitude for their food, and for the  clean bill of Health Vincent had been
issued. In addition, when it came time to eat...William served Vincent himself!

They all enjoyed the meal, and after visiting for a while, some decided to retire,
and Vincent and Catherine were apart of that group, saying they wanted to get
some reading in yet tonight.

To be continued
Chapter Eight
The Shore of Dreams!
Sharon Holtz
Chapter Seven