In agreement, Ronald nodded, and with a light hearted tone to his voice, he brushed a tear away and said, “Ahh yes, a tyrannical woman would not be sorely missed…but you don’t have to deal with such a problem Vincent. You are a very lucky man, Catherine seems very sweet and easy going.”
Warmly, Vincent expressed, “Yes Ronald, Catherine has the heart of an angel, and you are right, I am a very lucky man.”
As they each picked up their ends of the desk, and once again, continued on to the restoration chamber, Vincent asked, “Tell me, do you enjoy being with Lisa?”
Hesitantly, he admitted, “I am a little in awe of her, she is so very pretty, and yes Vincent, I admire her energy and her drive.”
Without a doubt, Vincent agreed, “It is true, when Lisa is inspired she has tremendous drive. Father always had trouble trying to divert her attention back, to the task on hand, as she always gave her whole heart, and soul to any one of her passing obsessions.”
He then added, “Before dancing became her passion, she was into acting. We were always putting on plays for the community. Lisa would direct us in our roles, and we did not dare give anything but 100%! She was a perfectionist…even then.”
Thinking about what Vincent had said, caused Ronald to inquire, “I don’t suppose you could categorize Lisa’s temperament to be as even tempered, as Catherine’s or even for instance… say Jennifer’s?”
Contemplating Ronald's question, before he answered, he smiled and said, “Even-tempered does not come to mind when I think of words to describe Lisa. She is either very up, or likewise…very down. The world is a dramatic showcase for Lisa.”
Warmly, Vincent then added, “But I can promise you one thing, life was never dull when Lisa was near by. In some respects, Jennifer is the same way.”
Understandably, Ronald said, "I think I see what you mean, she is so full of life too, very enthusiastic, but in a more wacky sort of way."
Then Ronald asserted, “With Catherine I suppose you can count on a life that will be calm, and serene. She doesn't seem to be easily upset or excitable.”
Raising a brow, he reiterated, adding, “Well Catherine’s nature can be calm, however, I have seen her in times when her temper has risen to such a level, that would rival any militant."
He went on to explain, "When she worked at the D.A. and there was a wrong to be righted, or an injustice needing to be addressed, well she would become incensed of how cruel people can be.”
With a nod, Ronald acknowledged, "Understandable, understandable."
Changing the subject, and the mood, Vincent brought up Mouse’s unexpected arrival at the Falls last night! And so Vincent looked at Ronald, and with a touch of sarcasm he said, “Oh yes…I wish to thank you for sending Mouse to the Falls, in search of Arthur last evening!”
Looking genuinely puzzled, Ronald said, “I don’t know what you mean Vincent. I didn’t send Mouse there, in fact I don't think I even saw him last night. Lisa and I kinda went separate ways at a point. She wanted to visit with Father.”
Squinting, as Vincent surmised, “Then it must have been the others who told him Aurthur was at the falls, and they also told him Catherine and I would be most happy to aid him, in his search!”
Finding the prank a little humorous, Ronald laughed as he asked, “So they directed Mouse to the Falls uh? What a devilish stunt to pull!”
And then Vincent guessed, “Of course I cannot be sure who the master mind was, but I have a hunch."
Speculating on the reason, Ronald suggested, "Alls fair as they say! They were probably getting back at you for that last tug-o-war!"
Vincent nodded, "Yes, perhaps so, even though the contest was not even my idea. Pascal and Jamie were the ones who wanted to pit myself against all of them.”
Admiringly, Ronald noted, “Yes, five against one, and even still, they were no match! With one swift jerk, into the water they went! Now that was priceless!”
Vincent laughed silently, as he assumed, “Well, I suppose they simply enjoyed some sweet revenge...”
As they reached the restoration chamber, they set the desk down, and Vincent told Ronald, "Now this desk, this desk was an unexpected treasure in my life. I cannot tell you what it means to me to own Anna's Desk. In addition to it's discovery, the fact Catherine is going to refinish it, well it shall mean more to me than I can say."
Exhaustedly, Ronald declared, "Well I don't know about you, but this was work- out enough for me! What do you say we bypass Hoops today?"
Eagerly, Vincent agreed, saying, "Yes, I am most anxious to go check and see how Catherine is doing in the kitchen. This way of life is all so new to her."
Happy they were in agreement, Ronald said, "Great then, I think I'll grab a shower at the Falls before I call on Lisa."
As the two men were about to part, Vincent clarified, “Then you will be escorting Lisa to breakfast this morning?”
As he said he was, the two friends agreed to meet up again at breakfast.
Envisioning Catherine hard at work, Vincent couldn't wait to go see her. As he walked through the tunnels, he coincidentally met up with Lisa, on her way to the hot springs chamber.
Wrapping her arm through Vincent's, she sweetly said, "How wonderful to see you this morning. This is just like old times isn't it? Yesterday at the pools beneath the Falls, and now just crossing paths in the tunnels. It may seem silly, but I used to dream of doing these very things."
With a smile in his eyes Vincent said, "It doesn't seem silly Lisa. I missed them as well."
Lisa hugged his arm tightly, as she giggled, saying, "Oh Vincent, you will always be my most favorite person in the world. You are my dear, dear huckleberry friend. Oh we did get into mischief at times didn't we?"
Vincent nodded in agreement, and then Lisa admitted, "Well of course most of those times, were because of some idea I cooked up! But you never got angry with me, and you covered for me the best you could, and before you knew it, we would be off on a new adventure."
As they continued walking Lisa turned serious, and asked, "Vincent...what do you think of my pursuing a relationship with Ronald?"
Vincent was silent for a moment, and then said, "I want whatever makes the two of you happy Lisa. It is not for me to say. I do know he is a good man, a very good sensitive man."
Poutingly, Lisa said, "So in other words, don't do anything to hurt him!"
Correcting her, Vincent said, "No, that is not what I meant. I just thought you should know a relationship for him, would be a big step in his life, and...I feel as if I have said too much already. Please Lisa, just follow your heart, my concerns are for you as well."
Lisa nodded, and said, "I know, I can always count on you to look out for me. Well all right then, I will see where my heart takes me then."
As she stood at the threshold of the Hot Springs Chamber, she said, "Thanks for the heart-to-heart Vincent. I promise to take your advice seriously."
Vincent stood silently for a moment, watching Lisa as she entered the chamber, and then continued on to the kitchen, eager to find Catherine.
When Vincent found her, she was busily at work, deep within the bowels of William’s kitchen, still peeling potatoes!
He stood for a moment, and quizzically watched her, wondering why Catherine seemed so frantic and upset! She looked as if she had been put through the ringer!
Walking up behind her, he softly spoke her name, saying, “Catherine?”
Vincent's unexpected greeting, caused Catherine to jump, as she spun around and said, “Oh Vincent, I didn’t hear you coming!”
Quickly she handed Vincent an extra knife, and begged, “I am so glad you are here…you gotta help me! If William comes back again, and sees I’m not finished yet, he is gonna tell everyone how useless I am!”
Vincent looked at the huge mound of potatoes that still needed peeling, and then he looked over at the 10-15 potatoes Catherine had peeled. Hesitantly, he inquired, “Has William taken a batch of peeled potatoes already Catherine?”
Catherine shook her head no, and exclaimed, “No this is all I have done so far! It is hard to cut these skinny little peels off Vincent, and William told me to be mindful not to take any of the white potato off with the peels!”
Catherine started to cry as she said, “It is so very difficult to do!”
Vincent looked at the pile of shavings that Catherine had meticulously shaved off of the potatoes. As he gathered her in his arms, he wiped Catherine’s tears away, and sympathetically said, “Yes Catherine, it is difficult, and I of course will help.”
As he unhooked an extra apron from the rack, Vincent masterfully said as he tied it around his waist, "Catherine, you cut the eyes out of the potatoes, and then I will peel. This is usually a 2 person job, I am surprised William had you on this duty all alone."
Catherine ashamedly said, “Well it is my fault really. I mean I have peeled a few potatoes before, but never a pile like this. I told him I didn’t need any help. I assured him I would be fine!”
The two stood together working diligently, and silently side by side, as they whittled away at the huge spud pile. Vincent peeled with the skill of any chef who had done this a thousand times. In fact, he had, as they all have had to take turns helping in the kitchen.
Catherine looked up at Vincent, as she watched him, and with great admiration she said, “Thank you Vincent. I don’t know what I would've done it you hadn't showed up."
With a smile in his eyes, Vincent said, “My pleasure Catherine.” He then added, “I cannot recall ever enjoying K.P. duty as much as I am this morning!”
They had just finished, when William had come to gather the potatoes. Teasingly, William said, “Ah Catherine, I see you bamboozled the expert to help you uh. When Vincent was a young boy, he was the best little potato peeler we had here in the tunnels!”
Vincent nodded and said, “Perhaps it was the reward you offered that gave me the incentive to be so quick with the knife.”
As Vincent wiped his hands, he explained, “You see Catherine, William would reward the most expedient helper. Who ever peeled the most potatoes, shaved the most carrots, popped the most pods of peas, or cracked the most green beans…they would be rewarded with a cookie, or another rarely doled out pastry from the pantry. His rewards insured we would stick to the job.”
Thoughtfully, Vincent added, “He in fact, still rewards the children.”
A beaming William, boasted, “Of Course I do! And...it still works!”
William thanked them for their hard work and before he shooed them out of the kitchen, he gave them both a rolled oats cookie!
After they left, Catherine heaved a huge sigh, as she told Vincent, “I had no idea what all William’s job entails. He certainly has a huge responsibility!”
Vincent agreed, “Yes and it is a service he provides us unselfishly.”