~ SandyX

Catherine listened to the tapping on the pipes and tried to decipher the messages as she made her way through the tunnels towards Vincent’s chambers.  She understood the basics, but Pascal’s shorthand changed and evolved constantly and she wondered how the others kept up with it.  She made out some short messages about Devin’s arrival.  The rest sounded like normal tunnel chatter.

She had ventured below a little earlier than necessary, hoping to steal a few minutes alone with Vincent before they joined Father and Devin for dinner.  Having hurried down the last stretch of tunnel corridors, she paused in the doorway when she spotted Devin sitting on Vincent’s bed.

“He went to the kitchen with Father.  I think they’re trying to talk William out of attempting Baked Alaska for desert,” he said with a grin.

“They’re excited about having you here,” she said as she walked across the room and sat on the bed next to him.  The bed springs squeaked as she settled on the mattress.  Devin grinned.  “What?” she asked.  “Nothing,” he said, shaking his head.  He started as if to get up but plopped back down suddenly, causing the bed springs to groan loudly in protest.  


“Yeah, Chandler?”

Catherine raised an eyebrow in question, waiting for an explanation for his sudden bounciness.

“Old beds and damp air equal rusty box springs ... they’re all like this down here,” he said, jostling the bed one more time.  

“I see,” Catherine said.  

“One night when a bunch of us were sleeping together in the dorm chambers, I got all the kids to jump up and down on their beds,” he started.

Catherine smiled, “Probably wasn’t too hard to convince them.”

“No,” Devin said. “It was a bunch of the younger kids ... they’d do pretty much anything I told them to.”

“They looked up to you ...”

Devin shook his head, smiling, “they were bored.”

“So they bounced ...”  Catherine said, prompting him to continue the story.

“They bounced,” he confirmed, “and it made an awful racket.  The old man heard the noise and came bursting into the room all fired up ... scared one poor kid so bad that he fell off his bed and sprained his wrist.”

“Uh oh.”

“Yeah. Uh oh,” Devin replied.  “I caught hell for that.”

“For encouraging the others?”

Mmmhmm. “You’re  the oldest,” he said in a mimicking voice, “you should set a better example ... shouldn’t encourage such foolish behavior ...” the smile faded from his face and his own voice returned. “He called me irresponsible.”

For a moment, they sat together in silence.  Catherine looked at Vincent’s possessions scattered around the room and wondered how many had been acquired in his childhood, wondered what dreams accompanied each.  When she turned to looked at Devin, he seemed lost in thought.    

“Irresponsible enough ...” she said, breaking the silence. Devin raised his head to look at her in question.

“Something Vincent said,” she continued. “He said that you were the only one irresponsible enough to dream dreams that included him.”

“Maybe. Once,” he replied. “But I left.”

Standing, he walked across the room, then turned and flashed a warm grin at Catherine.  “You, on the other hand ... you’ve made irresponsibility an art form.”

“Me?” Catherine laughed. “You’re calling me irresponsible?” she said, lifting her feet to a position better suited to bouncing and sitting cross legged on the bed with a pile of pillows at her back.

“If the shoe fits ...” he said, sitting next to her with a thud ...*twang.*   “Father would say you're ..."

“Father doesn’t ...”

“And Vincent ...” he interrupted, “if that’s his definition ...”  

The bed whined as Catherine leaned back against the pillows.  “This thing really is noisy,” she commented with a sigh.  

“You’ve never noticed that before?” he asked.

“No, I hadn’t,” she replied, looking down at the patchwork quilt covering the bed.

“Oh ... ” Devin replied, a smile forming at the corners of his mouth.

“Hush ...” she said, tossing one of the small pillows at him.

“Chandler, my brother ...”

Catherine suddenly looked past Devin toward the chamber entrance, a smile lighting her face.  Vincent walked across the room and took her hand, helping her to her feet.  “They’re waiting for us in the Dining Hall.”

“Great, I’m starved,” she said, taking his arm.

Pausing at the doorway, Vincent turned. “I’m afraid I interrupted when I came in ... you were saying something, Devin?” he asked with a quizzical tilt of the head.  “Your brother ... ?”

“... is a lucky man,” Devin replied patting him on the back as he passed to walk by. “My brother is a lucky man.”

Return to the Labyrinths Project Page - The Squeak!


NYC Utopia September 17, 2010 at 12:09 PM  

Continuing my squeaky round...
I have come to declare you the Thursday Queen of understatement.

SandyX September 17, 2010 at 12:50 PM  

LOL, Claire. Thank you, I think ...

Ophelia September 17, 2010 at 5:31 PM  

I love this, Sandy. The word that comes to mind is "poignant." The gentleness of this piece is truly lovely.

Krista September 17, 2010 at 5:44 PM  

Very sweet and honest, Sandy. I love this. Love it. Vincent is very lucky indeed. :)

SandyX September 17, 2010 at 6:08 PM  

Awww, thanks you two. That my little story would bring such words to mind is encouraging and really means a lot to me.

Anonymous September 17, 2010 at 6:51 PM  

I have to echo Krista. Honest That is this story in a single word. You made this scene alive in every sense.

I love the irresponsible exchange. Love it.

And *twang*. How I laughed.

Your story brought out a lot of feelings - wistfulness, hope, recognition. A distilled gem.

Michelle K. September 17, 2010 at 7:24 PM  

How lovely, Sandy! I read it a few times, and I marvel at your talent. I believe Carole used the word I would have chosen "distilled" ... you express much with few words, and yet the power behind those words - the emotions - are impossible to miss. I am engaged in this moment with Devin. This is the perfect continuation of The Pause - naturally connected, explored faithfully and with gentleness. How lucky indeed!

SandyX September 18, 2010 at 9:21 AM  

Mich, thank you! I hadn't really thought about this being an extension of the Pause project, but I guess Devin and Vincent were still on my mind. I wish we had more opportunities to see C and Devin together, they shared so much in their dreams for Vincent.

And Carole, hugs! You know that I just want to stay true to these characters who have given us so much, so that you would find this "honest" is all I could ask for.

RomanticOne September 19, 2010 at 10:35 PM  

I think we all need just a little irresponsibility in our lives. Otherwise, it would be so boring! I can just see all the little ones jumping on the beds in the dorm, laughing with Devin. For obvious reasons, we usually look at Catherine as the lucky one. It's nice to see the shoe on the other foot. Great story.

SandyX September 20, 2010 at 11:44 AM  

Thank you, R1. I think Catherine and Vincent were both lucky - each was better for having found the other. And I guess a little irresponsibility can be a good thing, especially the kind of "irresponsibility" that allows you to dream dreams that include the improbable.

Vicky September 22, 2010 at 7:26 AM  

Ah, Sandy... this sceen should have been in an episode! I'm glad Catherine told him, made him aware of a different kind of irresponsibility; Devin so needed to hear that. Love all of it! I'm so happy you started to and keep writing, dear.

Cyndi D September 22, 2010 at 7:32 AM  

I know I am partial to this particular story, Thank you for a Devin squeak!!!
I love these peeks into the stories that should have come to us all those years ago. I love "seeing" our favorite characters again and knowing the the story does indeed go on and on and on...

SandyX September 22, 2010 at 8:57 AM  

Hey Cyndi! I'm glad I could provide you with a little Devin fix. I enjoy Devin too, especially for the bridge he provides to Vincent's childhood. I'd love to know more about Vincent as a little boy, and can you imagine the stories that Devin must have to tell?

And Vicky, I'm glad I started and have kept at writing too, I really do love it. I'll always be grateful to you for nudging me in that direction. Hugs!

OKGoode September 22, 2010 at 12:03 PM  

Being the unofficial VP of the Devin Devotees, I have to agree with Cyndi - you've written Devin so true that I can see this whole scene to perfection! Thank you so much - I am certain that this happened just this way - damn shame they never filmed it for us!

Anonymous September 23, 2010 at 8:09 PM  

Hi Sandy,

I loved your story. I really felt like I was right there with the characters.

Can't wait to read more!

Lion hugs,

Jodie xxoo

Unknown October 24, 2010 at 12:07 PM  

Hi Sandy,
Oh, that was touching ! I love the subtleness of the story. Here Devin was thinking otherwise but Catherine said she didn't notice the squeaks before, so just as Vincent comes in, Devin could share his thoughts that Vincent is truly a lucky man. You could feel that Catherine was a special lady by the respect in Devin's remark! Well done, Sandy !
Tweetie Lynn

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