by Toni Lichtenstein Bogolub

Chapter I

     "Could you tell me where to find Joe Maxwell?"  Cathy
Chandler, standing next to her desk in the District Attorney's
office, heard the question, addressed to someone three desks
down.  Something about the voice made her want to smile; it was a
happy voice, full of deviltry, mischief, and joy.  She looked up
in time to see its owner, a young woman, being pointed toward
Joe's office.
     Somewhere in her mid-twenties, she was wheat-blonde, thin -
nice looking but no beauty. She wore a denim jacket and
comfortable jeans, and looked like a farmer's daughter who had
stumbled into the city.  But her midnight blue eyes danced with
secret laughter, and seemed to invite everyone to share in the
     Cathy watched as she approached the closed door to Joe's
little office.  She knocked, and giggled as she waited for an
answer.  There was so much enjoyment in that little laugh that
Cathy smiled almost involuntarily.  
     "Come in!", Joe called, busy as usual.  She opened the door
and stepped in.  Cathy edged herself over to see what was going
to happen.

     Joe Maxwell, Assistant District Attorney, was seated at his
desk, jacket removed, tie at half mast, up to his elbows in
paper.  When there was a knock on his door, he called, "Come in!"
perfunctorily without looking up.
     He heard the door open, and looked up to see which
investigator wanted a word with him.  
     "Hi, Joe!"  The twinkle in her eye was the first thing he
saw, as always.  
     "Johnny!"  Joe was on his feet, moving toward her.  "What
are you doing here?"   Cathy, eavesdropping shamelessly, wasn't
sure if he was pleased or not; but he was certainly surprised. In
a moment she knew: the farmer's daughter was in Joe's arms,
pressed against him, and Joe was kissing her very thoroughly.
     When they both came up for air, the woman Joe had called
Johnny asked, "Do you have time for lunch today?"
     Joe looked at the piles of paper on his desk, and Cathy
could almost see him cast them to perdition.  "Sure."  He went to
his chair, to get his jacket - and then Johnny pushed the door
closed, her eyes so bright Cathy thought irrelevantly that they
might light up a room all by themselves.
     The click of the closing door made Joe turn around.  Johnny
looked at the door, and sighed, "No lock.  Well, I guess we'll
just have to improvise. Good thing somebody chucked a stapler
through your window."  As she dragged the chair opposite his desk
to the door, and propped it under the doorknob, she pointed to
the temporary boarding covering the glass that normally showed
the investigator's pool.
     "Johnny - what -"  That was something Joe found himself
saying to her with great frequency.  Despite his quick wit,
Johnny's outrageous spontaneity often reduced him to
     She walked to the window, peered out at the sunny May day,
then flipped the blinds shut.  
     "Johnny -"  The look of angelic innocence on her face made
him very nervous.  The more innocent she looked, the more
outrageous her plans.  Right now, she looked fit for
canonization; this was getting very serious.  "Just remember I
have to keep working here."  But he trusted her; not even her
most far-out schemes and pranks had ever caused him any real
trouble or embarrassment.
     "That's why the locked door and closed blinds," she replied. 
Then she slowly unsnapped the front of her denim jacket, one snap
at a time.  Joe swallowed as he realized that the only thing
under that jacket was soft, pale skin.  She tossed the jacket
onto the floor, then removed Joe's tie and began to undo his
shirt buttons.
     "Johnny, no!"  he protested - but wherever her fingers
touched his skin, he burned; in fact, he was consumed in flames. 
His hands itched to touch that lovely exposed skin; he remembered
just how beautiful it felt.  She stripped the shirt away from
him, and moved into his arms again.  
     Joe didn't believe the strength of the desire that ran
through him. He locked his arms around her, and lowered his head
to drop kisses along the length of her neck. She reciprocated by
nibbling gently on his collarbone; Joe groaned.
     She pushed herself away from him, then knelt at his feet. 
She untied and removed one shoe.  "This isn't the time or place
for this, Johnny,"  Joe protested.  She ignored him, to remove
the other shoe. One hand slid up, to touch his bare calf; Joe
     Johnny stood again.  Joe took a step backward, and
encountered the edge of his desk. Johnny moved closer, and
reached for his belt buckle.  Joe put his hands up to stop her,
but she leaned into him, her bare skin brushing his palms.  Joe's
teeth dug into his lip. 
     "Johnny, quit it!" The words were strong, but Joe's rapid
breathing gave a different message.  She slipped past his
outstretched hands, and reached once more for his belt.  For one
moment sanity raised its prim head again; but it lost to the
primitive feeling of her hands removing the rest of his clothing. 

     She paused, ran a caressing hand down Joe's bare body, then
kicked off her shoes, peeled off her jeans and tossed them into
the corner with her jacket.  There was as much under the denim
pants as under her jacket.  
     Joe made one final effort.  He turned away from her,
reaching for his pants. Johnny leaned up against him from behind,
and kissed his ear.  Everything disappeared in a blaze of white
heat. The last nearly coherent thought Joe had, as she pulled him
down to the floor with her, was to note that she had carefully
laid his pants and shirt out so they would not be wrinkled; she
always thought of everything.  Then logic fled, and only passion

     Cathy's eyes kept straying to the closed door for the next
half hour.  Joe couldn't; he wouldn't - would he?  When the door
finally opened, she was almost disappointed to see how neat Joe
looked; neater than he usually appeared.  The young woman
casually straightened his collar; Joe smiled and returned the
favor.  They both seemed to be trembling on the edge of laughter. 

     Joe noticed Cathy watching surreptiously, took the hand of
his friend, and walked over to her desk.
     "Radcliffe, I'd like you to meet Johanna Smith. Johanna,
this is Cathy Chandler."
     An odd look entered Johanna's eyes as Joe pronounced Cathy's
name; but she smiled, held out her hand, and said, "I'm so glad
to meet you."  Cathy could feel that her pleasure was genuine;
she returned the smile without having to think about it.  
     "I'm going out to lunch, Radcliffe," Joe said, the most
completely contented look she had ever seen on his face.  For
some reason, this was funny; both he and Johanna burst into
laughter.   Laying one possessive arm over Johanna's shoulder, he
pulled her to him, and started toward the door, calling back over
his shoulder, "Lunch shouldn't take too long."  He and Johanna
exchanged looks, and just barely held off another round of
laughter.  With a cat-that-ate-the-canary grin, he waved.  "See
     Edie, who had witnessed about half that scene, came over to
Catherine and shook her head.  "Sad when a good man falls like
that."  She and Cathy exchanged a look of complete understanding,
then they both started to giggle as well.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chapter II

     Later that night, enjoying the cool breeze on her balcony,
she described the incident to Vincent.
     "Joe looked so happy, Vincent; I've never seen him so much
at peace.  And his girlfriend - he said her name was Johanna, but
he called her Johnny - she made you want to smile as soon as she
came into the room; as if she had a wonderful secret..."
     "And wanted to share it with you."  Vincent completed her
sentence.  As she stared at him, wondering if this was a new
level of their bond, he added, "Our Johnny always makes you feel
like that."  The outermost corners of his mouth tugged upward;
Vincent's equivalent to a smile.
     " 'Our Johnny'; I thought she looked at me oddly! Is she a
Helper, Vincent?"
     "Now she is; she was born in our world, and lived Below
until she was fifteen.  That was eleven years ago; and I still
miss her."  He paused, to try to explain.  "People have different
talents, Catherine; if you need a machine invented, you go to
Mouse; messages sent, to Pascal; medical care, to Father.   From
the time she was a baby, if you needed to smile, you went to our
     "Why 'our Johnny', Vincent?"
     "Her mother left the Tunnels when she was still very young;
only four or five.  Everyone helped to look after her; she became
a sort of community treasure.  I have never seen anyone who loves
just living as much as she; and who wants everyone else to love
it just as much. Catherine, I recall once, when I was about 18,
there was a rockfall, at the mouth of a place the children often
played.  There were five children trapped behind that fall;
Johnny, who was 12 at that time, two babies of four or five, and
Tommy and Nancy, who were older; 13 or 14.  It took us six hours
to dig through to them.  We were all frantic; we didn't know if
the children were dead, or injured.   At the least, we were
certain they were terrified.  I will always remember; when we
finally broke through to them -"

   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chapter III

     Vincent lived it all again: the dust motes drifting across
the shaft of light that shone over his shoulder into the chamber;
the desperate ache of his arms, overtired from hours of digging;
Winslow's eternal pessimism as he, too, strained every fiber to
save the children; the panic that threatened to choke him as he
looked within that too-quiet chamber.
     And saw - Johnny, sitting cross-legged on the floor,
blinking up at him.   Marie, all of 3 years old, was asleep in
her lap; Max, 5, slept with his head on her leg.  Each clutched a
makeshift stuffed animal, made from one of her gloves.  Tommy and
Nancy slept too, curled next to Johnny.  Johnny smiled -
     "And I will never forget, Catherine.  She smiled at me, and
said, "Oh, hello, Vincent.  I knew you'd come."  And that was
all.  I found out later that, as soon as the rocks had stopped
falling, she'd gathered everyone together, sat them down, and
said, 'What a shame.  We'll be late for dinner tonight.' "
     Cathy laughed in amazement.   "So practical."
     "And so correct.  Such a perfect thing to say to frightened
children; when it is a matter of missing dinner, one may be
cranky - but not afraid.  Tommy and Nancy told me later that she
started them telling stories of silly things.  They were
laughing, Catherine; Nancy said later that she'd enjoyed that
     Catherine thought of that overflowing mirth she had seen in
Joe and his Johnny; tried to imagine her as a child, in the
situation Vincent described.  Vincent watched her, reading the
flow of her emotion as it passed through him.  He divined the way
of her thoughts, and strove to correct her.
     "It was not that she didn't understand the danger,
Catherine; I know that she dreamed of being buried alive for
weeks after that.  I woke her from those nightmares several times
     "I don't understand, Vincent; what are you saying?"
     Vincent sighed.  "Catherine; for me, a room becomes brighter
when you enter it.  There are colors that were not there before;
everything is more beautiful."  Catherine flushed with pleasure,
lay her head against Vincent's broad chest.  He continued, "It
was - and is - the same when our Johnny enters a room; but for
everyone.  We had our own piece of your warming sun with us; it
was a great loss when she had to leave."
     Catherine remembered the aura of delight that seemed to
surround Joe's girlfriend.  "Why did she leave the Tunnels,
     "Father sent her away."  Vincent's voice, previously filled
with the joy of Johnny's memory, was sad now.  
     Catherine shivered.  As Vincent wrapped his cloak to
surround them both, she said, "Sent her away?  Whatever for,
     "It was the only thing he could do.  Johnny was seriously
ill when she was fourteen.  It left her very weakened.  Our world
Below is cold and damp; Johnny was often ill, always coughing.  
After the fourth time Father and Mary barely nursed her through
pneumonia, Father sent her Above to live with a couple of our
Helpers; a man and his wife who knew her, took good care of her."
His lips stretched barely upward at the corners again; another
smile.  "To this day Father is very strict with her; no more than
four hours once a week spent Below.  And if she so much as
sneezes in his presence, it's back Above immediately."
     Catherine was puzzled.  "You said you still missed her; but
if she visits every week -"
     "Catherine; our dream is of a life together.  Think what we
would feel if we achieved our dream; and then were forced to
return to only stolen moments. It is the difference between
family and acquaintances."
     "How sad."
     "Yes; 'sad' is it exactly.  It is the only time I ever saw
our Johnny sad.  She was sometimes unhappy; but that was always a
small thing, soon passed."  He recalled so well the first night
he had seen her after Father sent her away.

   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chapter IV

     He was twenty-one; a grown man, just coming into the full
strength of his adulthood.  There was so much to do Below; so
many things to watch, to guard, to explore.  There was his young
friend Mouse to see, to teach; he had just started a class with
some of the children, to share his love of poetry with them.  
     It was six weeks since Father had sent Johnny away, Above.
It was for the best, Vincent knew; he missed his "kid sister"
vaguely, but he remembered Father's worried countenance and
three-day bedside vigil during her last illness. Afterward,
Father told him he hadn't thought she'd pull through.  When she
did, he said, "The choice has been taken from me, Vincent.  She
cannot live here.  Above, warm, dry, she can live a fairly normal
life, with reasonable precautions."  
     As soon as she was strong enough to be moved, Robert and
Lucinda had taken her to their home.  It was far away;
Connecticut, Father told him.  Yes, he missed her; but in a
distant, intellectual way.
     On that night, he had been on his way to - somewhere; the
memory eluded him. As he passed by Father's chamber, Robert
approached through the corridor.  The man looked worried; his
"Hello, Vincent," was distracted and automatic.
     Just then, Father stepped from his chamber. "Robert! I got
your message; what is the problem?"  
     "It's Johnny, Father; she's still - the only word I can use
is sad."  Robert shook his head.  "It doesn't sound serious,
Father, but -"
     "Robert, I know; to think of Johnny and "sad" at the same
time is almost a contradiction.  But it is understandable.  This
is the only home she's ever known; of course she'd be sad to
leave here."
     "Father - it's more than that. She tries so hard not to let
us see. Lucinda cried yesterday after Johnny left for school.
Father, her joy is gone."  He stopped, aware his disjointed words
didn't express what he felt so profoundly. "I don't know what to
do, Father; she was a wisp before, and she's lost weight since
she's been with us. She sits by herself and stares out her
     "Robert - you must let her adjust. She was ill; that can
also lead to mood changes.  Give her time." 
     Vincent, outside the chamber, listened intently to every
word.  He recognized the concern in Father's voice, the worry
that lay beneath his words.  Father was grasping at straws,
giving Robert advice he couldn't believe himself.
     "All right, Father."  Robert shook his head.  "It's breaking
my heart.  She keeps up a good front, but it's as though - the
light has gone out inside her."   So saying, he retraced his
steps, almost brushing Vincent but not really seeing him.
     Vincent could not imagine Johnny joyless; more than an
appearance, she had a presence, and that presence was joy.
     Almost involuntarily, he entered Father's chamber.  The
older man, caught off guard, looked tremendously worried and
     "Father -" Vincent's furry voice brought the other man out
of his self-absorption. 
     "Vincent!" He tried to cover his former mood with
heartiness.  "What brings you here?"
     "I overheard your conversation with Robert, Father."
     The concern returned to Father's eyes. "She will adjust,
Vincent. I had no choice in the matter.  One more winter here,
and she would be dead.  Surely anything is better than that."  In
a scarcely audible voice he added, as if to himself, "I don't
think I could bear to lose her that way."
     Vincent's heart ached for the pain in Father's voice; but he
was distressed still.  Father went on, still speaking under his
breath, "In time she will be able to visit; she is not on another
planet, only in Connecticut."
     "It may as well be another planet, Father; she is exiled
from our world as surely as I am from the world Above.  Her
plight is worse than mine; for I have never lived Above, I have
no connection with that world.  All my friends, my family, are
     Father had no answer. Vincent stood for a moment, then said,
"I'll be back, Father."  In advance of Father's command to wait,
he moved through the tunnels swiftly, in search of the proper
subway line to begin his journey.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chapter V

     It all came back to him so vividly as he related the tale to
Catherine; the furthest journey of his life, to that far place
called Connecticut.  He traveled unseen upon the late-night
trains, following long-memorized maps; memorized for the sake of
bringing reality to his dreams.  So many times he had traced
routes to Helpers' abodes, to visualize their place in that
vastness.  So it was with swift sureness he travelled the unlit
suburban streets to Robert and Lucinda's.  
     The hour was late, but there was a light showing through one
window toward the back of the house.  Vincent knew the room had
to be hers.  Slipping through the shadows, he approached the
beacon of light.
     When he was close enough to look in, he saw - Johnny.  Just
as Robert had described her, she stared out the window.  Although
in the night, it was obvious that she didn't see the view,
Vincent would have bet she saw nothing of her surroundings even
in the light of day. 
     From the safety of a tree's shadow, just a few feet from her
window, he watched.  His heart contracted with pity and pain. 
Robert's words hadn't prepared him; this wasn't the girl whose
presence could make even Winslow smile.  This was a dim copy, a
pen-and-ink drawing faded by time.  She was pale and drawn, but
Vincent had seen her like that before.  No, Robert was right;
there was no light in her anymore.
     The window was closed against the night's chill.  Vincent
slipped up and rapped gently.  Startled but still lethargic,
Johnny rose from her chair and peered out into the darkness.   
     Vincent let himself be seen; that brought a little
animation.  She opened the window, helped him in.  "Vincent! 
What are you doing here?  How - why -"
     He took one of her hands in his gloved one.  "I came to see
you."  The midnight blue eyes that danced with light in his
memory looked up into his - and he saw only sadness.  He released
her hand and opened his arms.   
     Johnny hesitated for a moment, then accepted his invitation
in a rush.  She clutched at him, as if to save herself from
     Closing her eyes, she inhaled the smoky perfume of his
clothing; the fragrance of home.  Vincent felt her tremble,
overwhelmed by her homesickness.
     Her voice was as unsteady as her body; she whispered, "My
beloved big brother Vincent - you understand.  I've seen the
lights of the city draw you - but they can never be yours."  She
burrowed against him, feeling in his solid body the stone walls
of her home.  "We're both exiles; you from the world you could
love so much; me - from my home."  Vincent barely understood her
last words as the tears overtook her; she rested her head on his
shoulder and cried.
     She cried quietly, with only an occasional sniffle or sob,
but her grief went on and on.  Vincent lifted her into his arms,
sat them both on her bed, and tried to let the tears wash some of
the sadness from her soul.
     Eventually the tears slowed; Vincent tried to reach her. 
"Johnny - you will find a life for yourself Above."  She shook
her head subtly against him; he tried a different tack.  "Father,
Mary, Pascal; we all miss you."
     "Do you?"  There was a hopeless sound to her voice; Vincent
pressed on.
     "Johnny, Father did only what he had to do; you can have a
life here, Above.  There was nothing but death for you Below."
      Her hands slackened their fierce grip on his shirt.  "But
I'm so lonely, Vincent.  What use is a life without friends;
without love? Everyone that I love - is out of reach."
     Vincent tightened his arms around her.  Johnny's life was
always bound up with people; they were more important to her than
places.  But she hadn't lost her family; how could he make her
see that?
     "Not out of reach, Johnny.  Father says that eventually you
may come Below again, although only to visit."  
     "He did?  I can?"  There was a hint of the girl he'd known
as his words sank in.
     Vincent continued, "But Johnny - we are all with you; within
you, always.  Think about it, Johnny; know it in your soul.  Our
love is always with you.  Father was heartbroken to have to send
you away."
     "He was?"  She sounded puzzled, but heartened.  "He seemed
so angry, Vincent."
     "If he was angry, it was at himself; that he could not find
a way to enable you to remain with us."
     "That's not his fault, Vincent!"
     "I know; and I see that you know.  But Father takes the
burdens of all of us upon himself; and it is a personal insult if
something does not work out in the way he perceives it should."
     Johnny smiled a watery smile.  "Thank you, Vincent."  She
sighed, her head resting on his shoulder, and he could feel the 
light slowly rekindle within her.  "I thought everyone had
abandoned me, and Father was angry.  I thought I'd never see them
again; or you."  She yawned, and Vincent felt the last shred of
tension leave her. Her voice became fainter, sleepy.  "I guess I
knew all along that I was wrong; but thank you for making me
see..."  Her voice trailed off as her eyes slid closed.  Vincent
eased her onto her bed, and drew the heavy quilt over her.  
     He stood watching her sleep for a moment; the first thing
he'd do upon returning was convince Father to allow her Below
again immediately. She stirred then, and her eyes opened just a
bit. "Vincent; you need to start back now."  Sleep tinged the
tone, but it was Johnny's voice again.  Her concern warmed his
heart.  "Go on; you don't want to get caught Above." She smiled a
little. "Just think how angry Father will be when you tell him
where you were!"
     "I don't think Father will be too angry with me, Johnny; he
loves you, you know.  He was very worried by Robert's reports."
     "I know, Vincent; I'm sorry to worry everyone. I guess I was
just scared, and kind of lost inside my head."  She yawned again. 
"Go back home, big brother.  Tell Father I love him; and I miss
everyone.  But I think I'll make it now."  She chuckled. 
"Especially if I get to go back and annoy everyone with my tales
of life Above!"  Her voice was again the light in the room;
Vincent smiled to himself, and moved back toward the window.  As
he opened it to exit, she called softly, "I love you, Vincent. 
Thank you."  Then she rolled over, and Vincent took himself into
the silent darkness, to return to the world Below before the
light overtook him.

     "So you see, Catherine, Johnny has always been very special
to all of us.  Her weekly visits are an event many anticipate
greatly.  I am - everyone will be so glad to hear of her
happiness."  He looked at the city twinkling below them.  "The
hour is late, Catherine.  I must go."  He held her tightly to him
for another instant, then vanished to return to his world.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chapter VI

     As usual in the D.A.'s office, five o'clock came quickly,
and before the work allotted for the day was finished.  Cathy
closed the file she was studying, stretched, and cleared her desk
to leave.  Behind her, she heard the click of Joe's office door.
     "Hot date tonight, Radcliffe?"  Jacket slung across his
shoulder, tie peeking out of the pocket where he'd stuffed it,
Joe stood near her desk, his gaze straying toward the bank of
     "As a matter of fact, yes, Joe."  He wasn't listening to
her.  He continued to watch the elevators, plainly watching for
someone.  Cathy waited for him to move away from his desk, but
instead he said, "Did I ever tell you how Johnny and I met?"
     "No, Joe," Cathy sighed, "you haven't."
     "I was visiting my sister, in Connecticut. She has three
kids, a husband who travels for a living, and an untrained 80-lb.
Olde English sheepdog. I was doing her a favor; taking the dog to
the vet."  Joe stopped and shook his head.  "Anything that big
can't be called a dog; that thing is more like a horse."
     Cathy laughed.  "Joe, horses are a whole lot bigger than
     "You've never seen Rosencrantz."  He grimaced at her puzzled
look.  "That's the dog's name.  My sister's really into that
Shakespeare stuff.  Anyhow, I drove that monster to the vet."

     Joe had pulled his sister's station wagon up to the animal
hospital, then walked around to the back of the car to get the
dog.  He opened the tail gate, grabbed Rosencrantz's leash, and
tugged.  Nothing happened.  The dog was crouched as far from the
opening as he could get, paws braced.  Joe pulled with all his
might.  The dog did not budge an inch.  With a sigh, he shut the
tail gate.  His sister had warned him this might happen.  She'd
said, "Go into the office and tell them to have Johnny come out
and help you."
     Joe went in, and followed the instructions.  He expected
Johnny to be a muscular teenage boy, to help him drag the
recalcitrant animal into the building.  When the thin smiling
"farmer's daughter" stepped out and said, "Hi, I'm Johnny," he'd
looked at her in disbelief.  "Lady, unless you're a lot stronger
than you look, you're not gonna get that mutt out of the car
      Her smile had become a grin, and Joe felt its warmth in the
pit of his stomach.  "Rosie's just scared, Mr. --"
     "Maxwell.  Joe Maxwell."
     "Well, Joe Maxwell, let's go get Rosie." She lead the way,
opened the tail gate, and crawled in with the huge dog.  To Joe's
amusement, she started to talk to the frightened animal.  Her
voice was low and soothing, no words discernable.  After a minute
of gentle dialog, she took the dog's leash and backed out of the
car, affording Joe a lovely view.  As he admired her, to his
astonishment he saw Rosencrantz follow, even cheerily wagging its
tail as it stayed next to her.
     "I've got to admit, you certainly have a way with animals."  
     "Thank you, Joe Maxwell.  Let's get Rosie in so the doctor
can look at him.  Come on, puppy,"  she cooed to the dog, who
looked adoringly up at her. Joe's expression was nearly a match
for the dog's, as he followed them in.
     "Radcliffe, that dog obeyed her perfectly.  As long as she
stood there, it did anything she asked.  After the vet was
through, she went away, to take care of something; and I couldn't
get that mongrel to budge.  I even tried to drag it out.  Then
she walked back into the room, and damned if the dog didn't start
obeying again.  After we loaded Rosencrantz back into the car, I
asked her if she was busy for dinner.  She wasn't; and the rest
is history."
       Before Cathy could speak, Joe stepped away from her desk,
waved toward the elevators, and called, "Johnny!"
     With an acknowledging wave, Johanna Smith hurried to his
side.  Somehow the fluorescent lights seemed to shine more
brightly; the bureaucratic decor wasn't so gray.  All of
Vincent's tales from the previous night ran through Cathy's head. 
She looked at Joe; her boss looked younger, and not so
hard-edged.  There was a gentleness there she had never seen
before.  Johnny reached his side, flowed against him, and kissed
him.  Catherine could almost see steam rise from them, even
though the kiss, by objective standards, was rated no more than
     Cathy wanted to tell Joe's girlfriend in some way that she
knew of her history; but there was no opportunity.  Johnny and
Joe finished their kiss, and Johnny fit herself comfortably to
Joe's side, beneath his arm.  She smiled at Cathy, and some of
the frazzle of the day departed.  "Hello, Miss Chandler."
     "Cathy, please."  She glanced at her watch.  "I've got to
get going.  I'm meeting a friend for the concert tonight in the
park."   She thought of Vincent, with whom she would listen to
the delicate chamber music from beneath the park, and waved a
goodbye to the two by her desk.
     "Maybe we'll see you there, Radcliffe."  
     Cathy halted in her tracks.  "Did I hear you right, Joe?   A
concert of classical music?"
     The impish light in Johnny's eyes told Cathy whose idea it
had been.  "We'll go to the park, eat bad hot dogs and potato
chips, sit under a tree on a blanket; does it matter what the
music is?"
     Joe, whose musical taste did not precede 1963, provided yet
another proof of how very stricken he was.  He nodded, and all
three of them moved toward the elevator together. 

     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chapter VII

     Later that warm late spring evening, as she moved through
the scattered concertgoers arrayed on the grass, toward her
rendezvous with Vincent, she spotted Joe.  He was sprawled on a
blanket, his head on a folded jacket.  Curled to his side, one
arm flung over his chest, Johnny slept with her head pillowed on
his shoulder.  Joe cradled her to him.  The light in his eyes was
tender, and full of awe and wonder. It reminded her of the way
Vincent sometimes looked at her; not sure how or why this miracle
had come to him.
     She walked on to the great concrete pipe, and down to the
iron gate and secret door where Vincent awaited her.  As they
strolled toward their listening place beneath the grate, she told
him of what she had seen.  "I'm so glad for him, Vincent.  Joe
deserves the very best."
     "If Johnny loves him, he must."
     "I wish you could see them, Vincent."
     "It may happen, Catherine; Johnny is still a regular
visitor.  Perhaps someday -"
     "Anything is possible, Vincent."  Since I found you, she
added silently; then the music began, and they settled into their
secret spot, surrounded by the beauty of the sound.

     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chapter VIII

     In the week since the concert, the D.A.'s office had kept
Catherine overworked and short of time.  Now, on a rare free
afternoon, she had determined to visit Vincent below.  She walked
slowly through the semi-familiar stone corridors.  She knew her
way to a number of places - if she was careful.  Heading for
Vincent's chamber, she concentrated on turns and levels.  Unaware
of anything around her, she was counting openings when she plowed
into someone.
     "I'm sorry!"  she began, reaching out a hand to help her
victim up.  It was Joe's Johnny.  The other woman took the
proffered hand, and dragged herself up.  "Miss Chandler - Cathy!" 
she corrected herself.  She sounded breathless, but that radiant
quality banished the shadows from the torchlit corridor.  "Oh,
I'm so glad I have a chance to talk to you!"
     Cathy released Johnny's hand as the younger woman leaned a
little against the stone wall.  "I just wanted to thank you for
loving my big brother."  Johnny laughed, and the sound warmed
Cathy the way the thought of Vincent did.
     Becoming momentarily more serious, Johnny continued, "He's
never more beautiful than when he talks about you."  She grinned
then, the full wattage of her personality almost making Cathy
blink.  "But I'll bet he looks even better when he's holding
you!"  Johnny winked saucily, and breezed away, calling over her
shoulder, "I've only got one more hour, and I have so many people
to see!  Father's next, I guess! Nice to see you here, Cathy!" 
Then she vanished around a corner, and Cathy swore the lights
dimmed.  At that moment, Vincent appeared down the corridor, and
Cathy would not have noticed anything so mundane as light or
darkness as she hurried to him.
     "You look lovely," he murmured, holding her gently to him. 
"But a trifle dazed -"
     "She's like a velvet hurricane," Cathy laughed, and Vincent
chuckled knowingly.  "Oh, Johnny passed this way, did she?"
     Cathy nodded, and then Vincent said, "Elizabeth has finished
some new paintings.  Would you like to look at them?"  At her
nod, the two of them headed away, now in a world all of their

     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chapter IX

     Father, seated at his desk, was bent over a book, as usual. 
He stood and stretched, removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes,
trying to ease the gritty ache that often overtook them.  There
was a soft sound; he lifted his head, and small hands covered his
eyes.  "Guess who?"
     Even with his eyes covered, he seemed to see new colors.  He
reached around, gripped slender wrists, freed his eyes and stood,
to face Johnny.
     She threw her arms around Father's neck, stood on tiptoe to
kiss his cheek.  Father's eyes were warm at the sight of her. 
Vincent had told him of her new love Above; he hugged her, the
brightness she always brought intensified by the glow her love
had added.  
     As he held her, a warning bell seemed to ring within his
ears.  Father concentrated; what was giving him this signal?  As
he slowly released her, it came to him: her breathing was slow
and controlled; the muscles surrounding her rib cage had felt
rigid and locked under his hands.  He transferred his grip to her
shoulders, and held her at arm's length for a moment.  
     His professional side took over, surveyed her in painstaking
detail.  He didn't like what he saw.
     Propelling her to a chair, he seated her firmly and went for
his stethoscope.
     Johnny sighed with long-suffering patience.  "I'm fine,
     "Young lady, I have heard you say that when you suffered
from double pneumonia."  He returned, donned the earpieces, and
slid the stethoscope beneath her sweater to listen to her lungs.
     "Father -" she protested sharply, trying to dodge the
instrument, but Father ignored her attempts at escape.  All he
said was, "Take a deep breath."
     She seemingly complied, but Father frowned.  "Again - and I
mean a deep breath, Johnny."
     She took the deep breath this time; and it set off a
coughing spasm that went on and on.  Father didn't need the
stethoscope now; all he could do was to hold her as she struggled
to recage the cough, to breathe around the congestion within her
lungs.  Slowly she brought it under control, breathing in shallow
pants as she leaned against Father.  Just as he was about to
begin a stern admonition, concluding with an order to see Peter,
a Helper who had been her doctor since he sent her above, Johnny
reached into the pocket of her blue denim jacket and withdrew a
brown plastic bottle; a prescription.  She handed it to him,
still unable to speak.
     As he looked it over, slowly she regained the power of
speech.  "I saw Peter yesterday, Father."  Her voice was still
not steady, she was still short of breath; but Father could hear
what sounded like resignation.  Carefully she brought her
breathing under control; after a moment of silence she continued,
"His advice was the same as always."  
     Father nodded; he and Peter had been trying to convince her
to leave the cold climate, to find a warmer, dryer place, for
years.  Some part of him wanted her to always refuse the advice;
even her short weekly visits brought colors and brightness.   But
it was the same advice that had exiled her from the Tunnels; her
constitution was not suited to the climate.
     "I didn't want you to worry, Father."  Her voice was a
whisper now.  "I didn't want to ruin our time together."  
     "Johnny..."  Guilt overwhelmed him.  Johnny stood up
carefully, stretched to her tiptoes, and kissed his cheek again.  
     "You were just worried, Father; because you love me.  I
know."  Her voice was nearly the same as when she'd walked in,
but Father heard that unfamiliar note still.
     She stood away from him, ran her glance around the
well-known stacks and piles of books.  "You're right to worry,
Father; I am sick a lot.  I'm not very strong."
     "Johnny -"  Father tried to put in a word, to reassure her;
this was not at all what he had wanted to happen.  But Johnny
forged on, allowing no interruptions.
     "I suppose you and Peter are right.  Peter especially.  I'm
just being foolish again."  The words weren't addressed to Father
as much as to herself.  She turned back to the older man.  Father
wanted to take back every word he'd spoken since she'd entered;
the radiant light in her eyes was extinguished, as if it had
never been.
     Johnny saw the guilt and sorrow on his face; returning to
his side, she hugged him again.
     "Don't look so guilty, Father.  It needed to be said.  I've
been burying my head in the sand." Her voice was resolute, but
Father heard a dream dying as she spoke.
     "There are certain limitations on your life, Johnny; but
within them, you can still live a very full -"
     She silenced him with a shake of her head.  "No more
daydreams, Father."  Her eyes locked into his, focusing all his
attention.  "It was time I woke up.  Past time."  Her eyes
shimmered; but now it was with unshed tears.  "No sadness,
Father; I'm not going to do anything stupid.  In fact, I'm just
going to listen to advice - for a change."
     Hugging him hard one last time, she whirled and fled before
he could move.  After she was gone, he stood very still in the
center of his chamber, as she had left him.  His shoulders
sagged; his eyes were haunted.  "I'm so sorry, Johnny," he
murmured after her.  "I'm so very sorry."

     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chapter X

     Satisfied to be getting an early start on her day, Cathy
strode into the investigator's pool, ready to put away some of
her backlog.  She wasn't the first one in, but close enough.  She
stuck her purse in the drawer and sat down, pulling out the first
file she had earmarked for this morning's labors.  Before
starting, she glanced around the room, curious to see who else's
dedication brought them in at the first light of dawn.  
     Joe's office door was open a crack, and the light was on
inside.  But it was unlike Joe to be in early; working late was
more his style.  Cathy went over, to tease him about yet another
change in his life.  
     She rapped gently on the door; it swung open beneath her
touch.  Joe was seated at his desk, his chair turned to face the
window.  "Good morning, Joe," Cathy started tentatively. 
Something about the way he sat chased all thoughts of teasing
from her mind.  
     "She's left me, Radcliffe."  The words were stark; Joe's
voice was harsh and hoarse.   
     "Oh no, Joe!  I'm so sorry."
     "She said she loved me, Cathy.  She said she loved me, then
she said goodbye."
     Joe still hadn't turned away from the window.  "She said she
wasn't what I needed."  Finally he swung his chair around to look
at her.  His face was ravaged with bewildered pain and anger.  A
plain black jewelry box was in his hand; he flipped it open.  The
deepest blue sapphire Cathy had ever seen gleamed in the ring
within; it was almost exactly the color of Johnny's eyes.  
     "I asked her to marry me, Radcliffe.  What a laugh."  His
voice was bitter.  Silence prevailed for a long moment.  "She
said she loved me, Cathy.  I know she did.  How could she leave
     Thoughts of her own recent near-breakdown, and how Vincent
had broken off their relationship at his perception of the pain
it caused her, filled Cathy's mind.  "I'm sure she thought she
was doing the right thing, Joe. She really does love you.  Maybe
she'll come to her senses..."
     Hope lit Joe's eyes quickly, then faded.  "She's gone,
Cathy.  Her aunt and uncle; all they'll say is that she's gone."
     "Oh, Joe."  Cathy put her hand on his shoulder.  
     "Thanks, Radcliffe.  I'd like to be alone now."
     "All right, Joe."  As she left the office, she heard Joe's
chair swing around again.  As she shut the door behind her, she
could see him staring out the window again.

     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chapter XI

     Father had been waiting for the hammer to fall for two days;
when Vincent entered his chamber slowly, carrying an envelope, it
was like the stroke of doom.  
     Before Vincent was halfway across the chamber, Father asked,
     Vincent nodded, brought the envelope to Father, seated at
his desk.   "She left this for you.  I promised her to give it to
you, stay while you read it, and reassure you."  
     "Vincent, I never meant to  -"
     "I know, Father.  Johnny knows as well.  I did my best to
dissuade her, but she is nearly as stubborn as you are."  Vincent
proffered the envelope, and Father reached for it.  He turned it
over in his hands, seeing the familiar half-legible scrawl of
Johnny's handwriting.
     Vincent seated himself, and waited.  With trepidation,
Father removed the folded note.  The scribbled words were barely
readable, but Johnny's voice filled his mind.

     "Father  -
          As I said, I'm taking your advice.  You and Peter       
          together convinced me. I'm off to warmer climes.        
          Goodbye - I love you.

     He read through the few lines three times, then cleared his
throat.  "Johnny never was much of a writer."
     "No, Father.  Her gifts were with people, not paper."
     "Did she tell you where she's gone, Vincent?"
     "West, she said.  Father, don't blame yourself.  Johnny told
me - Peter has warned her repeatedly that to carry a child would
endanger her life.  Johnny did not feel she could bind - Joe - to
her so."
     Knowledge and new pain illuminated Father's face.  "Yes,
that is surely Johnny.  She would take the responsibility."
     Vincent shook his head.  "She told me Joe had spoken of
children.  I am certain she is wrong in this, but she felt she
could not force him to chose between herself - and those future
     Both men sat silent, each one seeing his life's love before
him.  Father would have sold everything except his soul for
Margaret's company for the past 30 years - just Margaret.  And
Vincent knew Catherine would satisfy him as long as he lived. 
There were other memorials than children of one's loins; other
contributions to the world.
     Father sighed.  "Johnny is as stubborn as she is special.  I
hope she will at least write; or visit."
     "Perhaps her heart will lead her back one day,"  Vincent
murmured.  "Her heart will never leave here; not where there are
so many that she loves."
     Silence descended again upon the two men in the great,
book-strewn chamber.  The only answer lay in the future; they
would have to wait for it to come.

The End....

About the Author

TealBee@aol.com - Toni Lichtenstein Bogolub lives in Deerfield,
IL and is a member of the Chicago Area Tunnel Society (CATS). 
Toni has written over 20 Beauty and the Beast stories that are in
various zines, and four of her own Beauty and the Beast zines. 
She can say, like so many of us:  "It (B&B) changed my life!" 

She would love to hear from anyone who wants to e-mail her about
her stories online as she is always interested in fanzine

Toni's stories are scattered about in a number of zines:

Two of Nan Dibble's "Phoenix" zines
One of Kathy Resch's "Masks"
"Media Rare" - a CATS publication
"Rich in Hope"
"The Chronicler's Tales"
"The Garden"

and in the brand new 

"Media Well Done" (a CATS publication)

Her own zines include:

"To Dream of Daring/From the Branch to the Earth"
"Ad Astra"
"Yearning Hearts" - written with another of our America Online    
     family, Debbie Ristick (DRistick), which received three      
     nominations for Fan-Qs at Tunnelcon III, and contains "Thy   
     Sweet Love Remembered", a novella co-written with Debbie     

How to get them:

"Origin/Destiny" (a very limited number of copies are left) is 
     available for $11 postpaid. Teal Bee: A Lothlorien           
     Enterprise, c/o Toni Lichtenstein Bogolub, 437 Swallow Lane, 
     Deerfield, IL  60015.

"Media Well Done" is available for $20 plus postage.
     Send a SASE for info to Jackie Paciello, 9109 S. Parkside,   
     Oak Lawn, IL 60453.

"Phoenix" zines are available from Nan Dibble, Therion Press, 379 
     Amazon Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45220.  Send SASE for pricing.

"Masks" - for information on ordering, e-mail Kathleener@aol.com

And look for two Beauty and the Beast stories in the upcoming
"Remote Control #6", due out in May of 1996.   Send a SASE to
Kathryn Agel, 9-11 Ayres Ct., Bayonne, NJ 07002-3510 for info (or
e-mail badkarma1@aol.com).  Be sure to mention you are interested
in stories by Toni Lichtenstein Bogolub (she was bumped from the
1995 issue!).


Hope you liked the story! Anyone interested in the sequel to this
story, "The Promised Land" (15,000 words--about twice as long as
this one) (which is what Nan Dibble calls a "Fourth Season"
story; i.e., it takes place after third season, and accepts what
happened therein), just email me (TealBee@aol.com), preferably
with comments about the story, and I'll be glad to send it to