Night of a Thousand Stars

by Jenn Thompson

"I hoped you would come tonight." Diana said as she walked onto the roof of her building.

"I sensed that you needed to talk to me." Vincent said looming in the shadows. "Please tell me what is troubling you."

"My cousin is visiting me." Diana said. "She is asleep right now so she shouldn't hear us. She just got here today from California. She came with a friend of hers. She's going to live with me for the summer. She needed to get away from her home for awhile."

"I didn't realize you had any family Diana."

"Most of them are still in California. When I moved to New York I didn't leave under very good terms. I haven't seen my cousin since she was in high school. When she called me I was really surprised that she wanted to have anything to do with me."

"It's good she took the incentive to start the healing process. Why did she want to come here?"

"Her grandma died six months ago. I guess it has been very hard on the family. She decided she needed to get away for a few months to allow herself to grieve. Her friend happened to be moving out here at the same time so they came together. I think she decided to come here because it was so far away."

"Sometimes you need to get away to allow healing to take place." Vincent said more to himself than Diana.

"I'm just concerned that she might find out about you while she's here. I don't want to break your trust."

"You can not break my trust Diana. You put your life on the line for me. Actually I was thinking that maybe your cousin would be a great person to talk to. She's obviously been through a terrible experience, and considering what I've been through myself I might be of some comfort to her."

"Are you sure Vincent?"

"Of course."

"You know she might not be completely asleep. Let me go check on her. Perhaps you can meet her now." Diana said walking back inside into her loft. Walking into her living room she noticed Karine had fallen asleep with her glasses on holding a copy of Sense and Sensibility.

Figures she's a Jane Austin fan. "Karine." Diana said softly rocking her.

"What?" Karine asked stirring. "What time is it?"

"It's only 8:00. You are suffering from jet lag." Diana said sitting on the edge of the couch. There is someone here I would like you to meet."

"I didn't hear the elevator." Karine said sitting up. "Who is it?"

"A very special friend of mine. And someone who has lost someone very close as well."

"Okay. I'll get up." Karine said sitting up and looking behind her. "Ohmigod who are you?"

"My name is Vincent." Karine looked wide-eyed at the figure standing behind her not knowing what to think.

"He's the one I started to tell you about."

"The one with the rose bush?" Karine asked.

"Yes, he would like to talk to you."

"You lost someone too?" Karine asked standing up.

"Yes, a few years ago. Her name was Catherine." Vincent said lovingly.

"What happened to her?"

"She died a tragic death. One too long to talk about."

"So what does that have to do with me?"

"Only someone who has lost someone very close can empathize with someone who has lost someone very close. When Diana told me about what happened to you, I felt like you could talk to someone who understands."

"Thank you Vincent, but I'm not really wanting to talk about all that right now."

"Before you turn me down I want to take you somewhere. Someplace that I think you will really like."

"Is Diana going with us?"

"Sure." Diana said. "Go put on something warm. Vincent will meet us outside."

"Okay. What is this all about?" Karine asked once they started walking. "Where are we going?"

"To a place. A very special place. The case that I worked on that brought me to Vincent also brought me to this place. The people who live here are amazing." Diana said as they walked in Central Park.

"Isn't supposed to be dangerous to walk here at night?"

"Does it look like we are in danger?" Vincent asked with a laugh.

"This is true." Karine said. "Tunnels?" she asked looking at what lied ahead.

"Just follow me." Diana said grabbing her hand before she had a chance to say anything else.

As they walked through the tunnels Karine looked around wondering if she was dreaming. Could jet lag do this to a person. And why did Vincent look that way? What had happened to him and why was Diana so interested in her going to this place. Who were these people?

"Hello Father, we have a visitor."

"Hello Diana, nice to see you as always." Father stood and gave her a hug. "Who is this with you?" He asked looking at the girl in front of him. Like Diana she had long red hair but hers was curly and held back with a band. She was shorter and wore a pair of old jeans and a sweatshirt with the greek symbols Delta Zeta.

"This is my cousin Karine. She is visiting me for the summer."

"Nice to meet you Karine." Father said holding out his hand.

"I was going to take her to see the reflecting pool." Vincent said.

"You will love it." Father said. "Diana can stay with me. She owes me a game of chess."

"Not again Father, you know I hate that game."

"That's just because you lose all the time."

"Very funny. Have a good time Karine." Diana called as Karine followed Vincent out of the chamber.

"So who are you?" Karine asked as they started walking.

"A friend of Diana's. She put her life on the line for me a few times. She's been a very dear friend."

"Really? How did she ever meet you?"

"From a case she was working on on the death of Catherine, the mother of my child."

"The one with the rose bush?"

"Right. Diana brought it back to life after Catherine's death."

"So how long ago did this happen?"

"Nearly two years. The pain gets less as time goes on but it is still there." Vincent said as they went around a corner by a pool of water.

"You can see all the stars!" Karine said surprised.

"This is the only place where the outside is part of our world."

"It's beautiful."

"So you and your grandma were close?"

"Very close. She lived with my family for seven years. Her death hit our family hard."

"The loss of a loved one brings pain to everyone they touched."

"No kidding." Karine said sitting down on a rock.

"That's what you have to do. Remember their love

lives inside of you."

"But that is hard to do." Karine said sighing. "The pain is so strong."

"The pain will subside. It takes awhile, but it will begin to fade in time."

"I don't know Vincent. I've never felt pain like this before."

"You have to remember that your grandma wants you to have a happy life. She wouldn't want to see you suffering."

"I know. It wouldn't be so hard except my mom is feeling it too. She has been so depressed lately. I came out here to give her a chance to heal on her own. I hope she can."

"You must have faith that she will. It takes time, but it will pass."

"I hope you are right."

"When Catherine died I felt like my entire world shattered around me. But I had to think about the legacy of love she left me and remember like the stars she is still there watching over me. I'm sure your grandma is watching over you as well."

"I try." Karine said crying softly. "The stars are so beautiful tonight. There must be a thousand of them in the sky.

"Remember one is looking over you."

"Thank you Vincent. I don't feel like I'm my normal self, but I feel better than I have in months." Karine said reaching out to give him a hug. "I'm so glad you wanted to talk to me."

"I will talk to you whenever you want to." Vincent said. "We are part of the same people. We see our loved ones in the stars."