by Nightwalker87

The music had been wrong. How could she have played that tape? Catherine angrily chastised herself for the mistake. How? How? How?

Grudgingly, she acknowledged the recalcitrant inner voice. It had not been a wrong choice exactly. It was a good song-the lyrics were romantic and the singer's voice could melt the ice off the snow caps of Antarctica. Overall, she had enjoyed the cassette despite the one song that made sleep impossible. She was certain insomnia had been the artist's intent when he'd recorded the song.

"If only I could read your mind

I could heal your broken heart

I could liberate your thoughts for all time

I wanna love you

I wanna care

But there's not a thing that I can do

Not until you say that you want me . . . "

The lyrics played themselves back in her head for the 16th time as she rolled onto her back to stare at the ceiling. The words continued to reverberate as though her head had become an echo chamber. Sighing, she recalled how the lyrics

had quietly eroded the relaxed feelings the other tunes had evoked.

"I'm not ashamed to say to you

You're all I've ever wanted . . . "

She rolled to her side and glanced at the bedside clock. It read 2:00 a.m. and she groaned as the words bounced around in her head. Those two lines said it all about them. She wanted him because she deeply loved him. The longing for his touch, for him, had to be contained until the time was right. However, at the moment, the gnawing throb deep within her abdomen said the right time was now.

"So turn around

Come to me now

Is it worth it all

Depends on love."

She moaned at the truth of the words. She wanted him to come to her because it was worth it-to him, to her, to them. The depth of their feelings knew no other path.

Frustrated, she threw the covers back and got out of bed. Without turning on a light, she moved into the kitchen where she clicked the overhead light on the stove on. On autopilot, she rummaged around the draws and refrigerator preparing warm milk.

"I know it's fine to want

Though it's easy to say that you don't . . . "

Oh Vincent, she pondered, how much longer, my love? How many more questions must you ask yourself before you have the answers you seek. Time is running out, my love. I know that even if you do not. The race against yourself is almost over. I wonder, do you know it? Can you feel it? Every time I look into your eyes, I see it. Each time you hold me, I hear the quickening of your heartbeat and feel the deepening shivers of your desires. Are you listening to your body? Do you understand its message?

The smell of milk beginning to burn forced her thoughts outward. Turning off the burner, she poured the liquid into a mug. Picking it up, she turned the light off and walked out the kitchen. Instead of returning to the bedroom, she made her way up the dining area steps where she stood looking out the terrace doors. Her thoughts once again turned inward, blinding her to the stars above and the faint night sound below. Periodically, she slipped the cooling milk.

"Do you spend every moment

Trying to hide out

From the way you know you truly feel?

You can try to fool somebody else But you're lying to yourself."

What is going to happen, she mused, when you can no longer hide out Vincent? We promised never to lie to each other. However, lying to ourselves was never discussed. But it would have been the harder bargain to keep. It is all too human to lie to oneself for whatever reason.

Yawning, she stretched her arms upward, shaking over the stiffness of prolonged inactivity and patted down the stairs and into the bedroom. After settling back under the covers, she groggily looked at the clock. It read 3:15 a.m. and she vaguely realized that she could get four hours sleep before the start of the work week. It was enough. It had to be.

She burrowed deeper into the covers. The words of the song were not distant, muted. As she drifted off, one line of the song remained a faint echo in her mind:

"I know you want to . . .

I know you want to . . .

I know you want to . . .

I know you want to."*

Catherine smiled in her sleep.



*"I Know You Want To" by Luther Vandross from the album "Any Love" owned and produced by Epic Records in 1988.

This story is part of an anthology entitled "All That Matters: Tales of Beauty and the Beast."  I started the anthology in January 1990 after the series ended.  As real life got in the way and the fandom dwindled, I put it away.  Recently, I discovered, thanks to the web, that BATB lives!  I pulled out my files and decided to submit the completed stories.  Who knows, maybe I will be inspired to finish the remaing stories :)