Dance With Me
Elaine Mills

     He stood in the Chamber of the Winds, mystified as to why he
had been compelled to come to this place.  The gale force
tempest, blustered about him and whipped his hair in complete
disarray.  Vincent cast his arms out wide and slowly rotated his
body so that he felt the exhilarating touch of the wind's force
against his neck, his body.  He had discarded his cloak and heavy
sweater so that the minimal clothing he had left on, allowed the
total sensation of the wind's inhuman touch against his exposed
skin.  It reminded him so, of Catherine's touch. The way her
fingers use to run through his hair and neck, touching that area
of flesh that had not been felt by any other since he had reached
maturity.  His hair, his cloak, his touch-me-not aura had always
kept others at bay, so that even the thought of attempting to do
so, was taboo.      
     He seemed to see and feel Catherine everywhere lately.  When
would he be able to forget?  It had been years now since her
passing and yet still, he sought her presence whenever a moment
alone allowed it.  Somehow she was still with him and coming here
where the wind could caress, albeit roughly, his skin, only
reminded him of her touch that he missed so.       
     Opening his eyes, he felt a sudden peace.  His eyes seemed
to glaze over as if the light was too bright and they were
adjusting for it.  A glow appeared before him and then a form
seemed to coagulate out of nothing, before his very eyes.  Faint
limbs appeared, mistily waving and weaving as if the wind's
currents took them where only they could.  But, squinting to make
out features and form, Vincent suddenly realised the wind was not
touching this figure that shimmered before him.  Instead, it
stood alone.  Unhampered by the movement all around it's
surrounding sphere of calm.  It was like an invisible barrier of
some kind had been erected to fend off the insistent gale from
reaching the glowing form and, he mused, himself as it was no
longer raging around him either.  He lowered his arms and just
gazed at the vision in front of him for, deep within his soul, he
knew the image for what or who it was.        
     Tears formed in his eyes.  Her features were becoming
clearer to him now.  So precious, so ethereal.  He knew she
wasn't real . . . and never could be real again.  But just this
once.  Just this one more dream.  For if one willed it so, a
dream could live forever.  A moment in time yes, but still an
eternity.  And for just this infinitesimal glimpse in time, he
willed it with all his heart and soul.        
     "Catherine my love,"  he begged in a half-formed whisper. 
"Come dance with me, one more time.  Love me, one more time.  How
I have missed you so."        
     As if she could hear his heartfelt pleas, she beckoned to
him.  Her feet weren't even touching the earth and yet, still,
she seemed so very small to him - so fragile.  Still she
beckoned, come . . . he could hear her thoughts in his heart. 
"Dance with me my love,"  she then asked invitingly.  "Let us
have this, at the very least."            
     He had always done whatever she wished him to.  This time
was no different.  Walking the few steps needed towards her
circle of light, he reached for her.  Aching to just touch her
but knowing, he could not.  The smile she gave him magnified the
ache in his soul.  As he finally reached her and moved to take
her in his arms, he felt the fine textured touch of her flowing
gown whisper soft against the fur on his hands.  He stopped,
hoping beyond hope as he gently took her hand.  Yes . . . oh yes,
he could touch her.  Bowing his head in thanks for the bestowed
wish, Vincent raised his eyes to look upon his love in wonder as
her fingers gently caressed his face.  Gliding over him with such
feather-soft contact, he barely felt it . . . but it was still
her miraculous touch.        
     How he missed her touch.  Just like this.  She had been the
only one who would reach out to him and touch him without being
aware of it, as if she knew that he revelled in her right to do
so . . . and he did.  That casual contact that everyone should be
able to take for granted.  Though he never could.  Once he had
grown to adult size, other adults shied away from hugging,
kissing or even just touching him.  Over the years he had become
aloof to the absence of touch from others so that now, none could
see his hurt at their misconception of his wishes.  Even Father
thought before he hugged or touched his son.  It was as if he
were hesitant to offend.  Only the children would come to offer
their comfort without contrivance or fear of rejection.  They
were his lifeline to normality.        
     "Once more my love," she murmured softly to him.  "Once more
with feeling."  He drew her to him and slowly started shuffling
his feet in a semblance of the romantic waltz.  Gradually the
age-old rhythm came to them both.  Music flowed between them . .
. within them.  Beautiful music that he had never heard before
and knew, would never hear again.  It was like the wind itself
had created a melody that could never be produced by any living
soul.  He could feel her heartache as well as his own.  The bond
they had shared so many years ago, was back along with her
presence.  It was like it had never been broken . . . as if they
had never been apart.        
     Her breasts brushed his lower chest.  Her thighs languished
against his own.  They fit together and the feeling of it was so
right.  They were joined as one - moving as one.  He would dance
with her as long as the powers that be allowed . . . even if it
was forever and he would rejoice in this miracle that he had been
allowed to encounter.      
     It was a gift, he knew it.  Not just from his love but from
those who blessed their love.  "Thank you for the gift."  He sent
his thoughts to her as he looked down into the sight of her
beautiful eyes gazing with love into his own.  She was so
exquisite.  They glided over the floor.  Vincent could not feel
his feet and wondered if they, like her own, weren't touching the
rock beneath them either.        
     He did not want to lose her to the wind and he knew if he
let go, even for a moment . . . she would be lost.  His touch did
not lessen.  He wanted the whole length of her body to touch his
own so that he could be sure, just for this moment, she was real. 
He needed her to be real for he knew now, that this would be the
last time he would see her.  This was her way of preparing him -
of telling him in a loving way . . . goodbye.  Vincent felt a
coldness grow within him at the knowledge that she would never
come to him again but there was also a sense of completion.  It
was time to put this part of his life, Catherine's presence, to
rest.  He was now willing to let her go - to go on with his own
life and Jacob's.  Onwards to the next stage, whatever that may
     As he gazed down at his beloved once more, her expression
changed.  Where there was once gaiety and happiness, there was
now a melancholy, a sadness pervading her spirit.  In that
instant he realised why he was seeing her here, now.  With
infinite tenderness, she drew his head down to take his lips in a
poignant kiss.  It was only the lightest of joining but still, he
felt it deep within his being.       
     If he could.  If he had another chance.  He would do things
completely different from before.  He would love her . . . body
and soul until she never wanted or needed to go Above again. 
Completely devote himself to their life together.  A physical
love that could never have been broken, torn asunder like it had
been.  Once it had been taken away, only then did he realise the
many chances that had come his way.  His lost opportunities to
make everything right.  It had been his own fears that had held
him back from consummating their love.  It was only now, with
hindsight that his mistake was heartbreakingly perceived.       
     Now, he was ready to love again.  If the opportunity ever
arose, he would take it and hold it tight with both hands and
never ever let it go.  He knew Catherine had sensed his new
awareness before he himself had done so and, now that he was
ready to carry on, she had come to bid him a loving farewell.  He
now faced his reality and the place he rightfully held in the
world he lived in.        
     Gently, stepping away from his embrace, Vincent felt her
retreat.  Each of them looked lovingly, joyfully at the other and
with a tender smile of understanding on her face, Catherine 
slowly faded . . . then disappeared, back to her rightful place
in God's wondrous scheme of things.  

About the Author

In 1994 Elaine Mills of Australia produced her Fanzine "Idylls of
The Beast". Elaine is an all season Beauty and the Beast Fan, and
is still faithful to her love of the Series. Should anyone
reading her stories care to write to her, regarding them, Elaine
can be contacted at:  

Elaine Mills 
14 Wilga Street