The Avenging Cat series evolved from a theme set at the writers’ circle a few years ago. My take on the ‘love’ theme was ‘Chemistry of Love’. It is definitely tell rather than show, and ultimately is the motivation for Catherine Vibrissae’s vendetta against Cerberus. Dates and certain other incidents were altered when I wrote the book, Catalyst.
CHEMISTRY OF LOVE
They were inseparable, Deborah, Daniel and Loup. The young constantly reinvent themselves and the world, rediscovering things their elders take for granted. They probably knew that
had been an exciting place for students for centuries, but it just seemed that in
the 1960s everything was different and new.
Out with the old, in with the new. Perhaps they took heart from Harold
Wilson’s words when he was leading the Opposition. They were certainly keen to
be part of ‘the white heat of the scientific and technical revolution’ he
espoused and to prove it they found daily challenges in their respective chemistry
Loup Malefice joined the university in 1961 to read chemistry and immediately excelled. He was a good rugby player and swimmer and, despite buck teeth, he was both handsome and popular. His fellow students were not averse to tell him that it was most unusual for him to link up with someone who joined the college two years after him, yet Daniel Vibrissae was precocious in the extreme, bordering on genius. Within months of beginning his course, Daniel had the entire chemistry faculty buzzing; he was bold, innovative and not scared to trample on old theories. Both young men found that they had much in common and enjoyed the other’s company. Some friendships flicker and fade, like guttering candles, others tend to gain strength from adversity and last a lifetime. In those heady days it seemed that Loup and Daniel would be friends forever. There was no rivalry between the two young men. Loup accepted that he would never be as good a chemist as Daniel. He knew he could still be good and carve out a future for himself in business. And there was no rivalry over girls, either, because there were plenty around only too willing to accompany them at the balls, dinners and sports events.
Then Deborah Radley joined the university in 1964 and it seemed as if everything changed overnight. Many heads were turned by the attractive young woman with long auburn hair and piercing blue eyes. She was athletic and humorous and, like Daniel, she was capable of grasping the most complex theories about chemical structures and reactions. Surprisingly, Deborah found few like minds in her own intake year and gravitated towards Daniel and Loup. It seemed totally natural that they should form a threesome. They spent many late nights discussing the latest discoveries. While Loup was good, Daniel was excellent, yet Deborah was simply brilliant. Not one of them would fail. Failure wasn’t even considered.
Inevitably, the chemistry of hormones and pheromones reacted on the threesome. Loup was older and appeared more mature, almost a father figure to her even though he was only three years her senior. He made the first move and she was surprised and flattered. Deborah had not thought of either Daniel or Loup in that way before. But now it was exciting and since Daniel hadn’t shown any interest in her sexuality she didn’t feel she was disappointing him.
Yet when Daniel found out, he was furious, though not with Deborah. He was annoyed with himself. He couldn’t blame Loup, either. They were friends, after all. Everything was almost the same. But Daniel burned with jealousy.
As time passed, Deborah began noticing small things about Loup. He rarely displayed anger or displeasure, but she realised that he was a bad loser. He always wanted to excel. And he took pleasure from winning. When he was selected to spend his final year on a full-time project with a big pharmaceutical firm in
They had a fight before he left. Loup wanted her to give up her studies and marry him and go with her to
. She refused.
Loup then accused her of going behind his back with Daniel, which she
obviously denied as it was totally untrue.
Before, she had glimpsed a dark side to Loup, but now he was very
unsettling. When he stormed out, her first instinct was to go to see Daniel. Switzerland
Over a bottle of Blue Nun she poured out her hurt and mixed-up feelings for Loup. She still loved him, and yet... Daniel was supportive, sitting away from her at the dining table while she slouched quite bereft in the settee. He argued for Loup: ‘It’s a big opportunity for him, Debs. He doesn’t quite know how to handle it yet, that’s all.’
But Loup’s advocate was fighting a losing battle and, besides, his heart wasn’t in it. The pair went their separate ways at the holidays and simply expected to see each other again for the new term. They kept in touch but as the weeks passed and Loup didn’t get in touch with Debs, she despaired and telephoned Daniel. They met on neutral ground in the town of
. Within a couple of hours, they were no longer
neutral and made love on the beach, oblivious of the shingle and, later, the
waves as the tide turned. Brighton
It was a whirlwind romance lasting two weeks, their studies forgotten. Neither had previously experienced such raw and wonderful feelings for another person. The chemistry was just right. When they returned to
Loup tried contacting Deborah twice during his time in
. It seemed as if he was no longer nursing any
hurt pride at being turned down. When Loup returned to be awarded his degree,
they met briefly and were polite, but that was all. She and Daniel
congratulated him and they had a desultory drink afterwards. Loup caught the
next plane out back to Switzerland Berne.
The first signs of aching bones showed up in the Spring of 1967, but Debs simply shrugged it off as having indulged in too much alcohol. When Daniel left in the summer of 1966 to complete his final year in Boston, Deborah wanted to throw in her studies and join him, but he convinced her that she had come so far, it was important to continue. Even for his powerful intellect, the course proved very intense for Daniel. Yet they managed to find two weeks together to roam through the Eastern Seaboard of the
The following year, Deborah went to
From time to time Deborah suffered excruciating pain in her limbs but the doctors could find nothing wrong. The pair excelled in their work and they even heard that Loup was doing well too.
A freak accident claimed the lives of both of Daniel’s parents and he inherited a great deal of money and several businesses. He immediately set up his own pharmaceutical firm and in the summer of 1972 Deborah and Daniel were married. Everything seemed wonderful but their honeymoon was spoiled by severe bouts of cramp in her legs.
It took several trips and a number of years to see an assortment of specialists before any firm diagnosis could be given. Finally, they learned that Deborah was suffering from a rare bone cancer, Schaffer-Neumann Syndrome. There was no cure and the only consolation was that it was slow-acting. The following day they learned that she was expecting a baby and against medical advice she decided to take it to term and prayed the child would not inherit her problem.
Catherine was born on
Then in 1983 they were contacted by Loup after several years of silence. He had recently heard about Deborah’s condition and believed he had a viable cure, though the drug wasn’t fully tested or cleared yet. Loup’s drug brought immediate relief to Deborah. But it was short-lived, as was she destined to be. Within eighteen months she was dead. The autopsy determined that her chest bones had crumbled and she had suffocated. Little Catherine was seven as she stood at her mother’s grave-side.
Over the years Loup Malefice built a prestigious empire, Cerberus which dealt in cosmetics, drugs and plastics.
The cure for Schaffer-Neumann Syndrome was found by the Vibrissae Pharma in 1994. Two years later, Catherine Vibrissae went to
Catherine vowed on her father’s coffin that one day she would get even with Loup Malefice and his company Cerberus. It just might take a few years. But she would be patient.
Catalyst, published by (appropriately) Crooked Cat Publishing.
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