As Catherine finished reading her section, she looked up at Vincent to pass the
book onto him, and saw his eyes were closed.

Tipping her head to the side, she lovingly sighed, “Oh…so sweet…he fell
asleep…”

Vincent with his eyes still closed, he opened his arms, and huskily cooed, “I’m
not sleeping. I am waiting.”

As their backs were resting on opposite sides of the settee, Catherine took a
moment to look at him, and her heart fluttered as she did so. He looked so
muscular and strong, and thought what a beautiful man he was.

Catherine then set down the book, and switched over to his side of the couch,
to cozily nestle within his embrace.

As she contentedly sighed, Vincent asked, "What took you so long?"

Sweetly Catherine smiled, and said, "I was trying to fight it so we would actually
finish our assignment, but I couldn't resist any longer."

Vincent hugged Catherine back, as he told her, “I am glad you succumbed.”

As the dinner announcement echoed through out the tunnels on the master
pipes, Vincent looked down at Catherine and she at him, and they both agreed,
it was heavenly while it lasted.

Vincent then asked, “Shall we read some more after we dine?”

Catherine smiled, as she reminded Vincent, “Yes, but then remember, I
promised to read to the children, and I was hoping you would go along with me.”

Promising he would, they then lazily walked to the Dining Hall.

As they walked, Vincent brought up the subject of Mary’s Sewing Circle, and
asked, “Tell me how did sewing circle go with Father being in attendance?”

Smiling Catherine relayed, “Well, It took everyone a little while to loosen up
having Father amongst us.  I think at first everyone was a little shy, and
intimidated, and really quiet. There was none of the typical gossip or giggles that
were exchanged, as in the week before.”

Catherine looked up at Vincent and continued, “All was quiet, that is until
Father broke the ice, by telling a bit of gossip himself!”

Questionably, Vincent asked, “Father? Gossip? What sort of gossip would
Father be privy to?”

To which Catherine raised a brow, as she said, “Plenty! Well, as we all started
sewing our aprons, our thoughts, and talk somehow settled upon William! I
suppose because the apron project is for the kitchen. Anyway, Father told us
William had once cooked for the First Lady when he was a young chef!
Apparently she took a liking to him and they well, had a…shall we say, a private
cooking session!”

Vincent softly said, “So William cooks and tells! The First Lady? Hmmm, I
have to wonder which one? Did Father say?”

Catherine shook her head no, and said, “No he would not crack, and it drove us
all crazy for wanting to know! Which really tickled Father, that he knew
something we didn't.”

She then turned to Vincent and asked, "You don't suppose it was Mamie
Eisen.."

Then at the same time, they both said, "No,  couldn't have been!"

Catherine laughed, and lovingly, accepted Vincent’s hand, as he led them on
their way, and sweetly relayed, “Father was so cute. He insisted on pouring our
tea, and was quite jovial. However, when it was time to sew, He listened
intently to Mary as she gave us all instructions. And although he did not
complete his apron as did the rest of us, he did a really beautiful job!”

Vincent tipped his head as he asked, “So, in other words, Father will have to
attend another class, so he may complete his project?”

Clarifying,  Catherine explained, “Well he may come again next week, but as far
as his apron, Mary offered to help him finish it tonight after supper.”

Vincent with a smile in his eyes answered, “I see…”

Catherine looked surprisingly at Vincent, and asked, “I see what?”

Informatively, Vincent replied, “Perhaps I see why Father opted not to complete
his project as quickly as the rest of you. He most likely was hoping for a private
tutoring session from Mary!”

Better understanding Jacob's motives, Catherine said, "Well, how do you like
that."

As Catherine and Vincent settled into their usual table, they all talked about
Mary’s sewing class that day, and what a kick it was to have Jacob join them,
and then they spoke about her Reading Appreciation Class for tomorrow.

Ronald turned to Catherine, and asked, “Is Jennifer still coming?”  

Displaying her excitement, Catherine said, “Yes she is.”

Kindly, Vincent offered, “If you like, we could invite her to arrive early, to dine
with us.”

Happily, Catherine said, “Oh that would be so nice, I would love that.”

Confirming, Vincent replied, saying, "I will send a note via a helper then. To
where shall I send?"

Hesitantly Catherine added, “Instead of sending a note…I thought I would go
myself.”

Urgently, Vincent reminded Catherine, “I don’t know if that is wise Catherine!
Remember, Joe's warnings.”

Catherine sweetly argued, “I wouldn’t be going near my apartment Vincent, I
just wanted to surprise Jen, and maybe meet her for lunch after going to
Harvey's.”

Worriedly, he said, “The thought of you two perhaps being targeted, is still a
viable concern! I, in all good conscious cannot say I approve. During the day I
cannot protect you!”

Willingly, Ronald spoke up and said, “I have an errand to run tomorrow, how
about if I escort Catherine?”

Initially Catherine thought how great that would be! A real treat for Jennifer to
be able to see Ronald! Then she remembered the jealous streak that raised its
head inside Vincent’s heart, in relation to Ronald. Catherine never wanted to
cause Vincent that anguish again, and so she said, “Maybe you are right
Vincent…I guess it would be fool…”

Contemplating Ronald's offer, Vincent agreeably said, “I suppose if Ronald
escorted you...”

Catherine smiled, and asked, “Really Vincent…then you really wouldn’t worry?”

Privately understanding Catherine's concern, Vincent lowered his eyes, and as
he raised them again to look into Catherine’s, he convincingly said, “No
Catherine I will not worry, not on any level. With Ronald’s protection, I am
confident you would be safe.”

Ronald looked at Vincent, feeling va clump, as he expressed such confidence in
him, and assuredly, he smiled and said, “You can count on me to keep
Catherine safe Vincent.”

To be continued
Chapter Thirteen
The Shore of Dreams!
By
Sharon Holtz
Chapter Twelve