~The Celtic Wizard~

Chapter 17  

Kevin slowly awoke to the smell of an acrid odor permeating his home.  Coughing slightly his eyes opened slowly.  Staring up at the canopy he saw a slight wisp of smoke roll by.  Hmm, smoke, registered in his mind.  Then the alarm kicked in as he bolted from the bedroom to find the source of the offending smell.

From the moment he entered the kitchen he expected to find nothing left.  Kevin ran to the stove and slammed a lid over the flame-engulfed pan.  Tossing the dishtowel that had caught fire into the sink and turning the water on, drenching it liberally.

Catherine was fluttering about profusely apologizing to him for her mishap.  “I’m sorry Kevin… I… I…” he heard over and over again.

Grabbing the pan with another dishtowel, he walked it out the open patio door.  Setting the frying pan on the concrete outside.  Walking back in he began to shake his head as he looked at her.  Kevin looked at her as he turned the alarm off, “What the hell were you trying to do burn the house down!”

“I was trying to make something to eat,” she puckered her lips at him.  It was bad enough she had embarrassed herself with her lack of domestic skills and set part of his kitchen appliances on fire, yelling at her was unnecessary.

Kevin strutted to the sink and removed the dishtowel, placing it in the garbage can.  “Order out dammit!”  Combing his fingers through his hair in exasperation, he frowned at her.

“Fine, I’m going home,” Catherine strutted back down the hall.

A sigh escaped from him as he followed behind her.  Meeting up with her in the guest bedroom as she dashed around picking up her things from changing yesterday.  “Catherine, stop.  I’m sorry I yelled, it was just a little scary.”

“Fine,” she huffed.  She was upset, but not over the fire, over how it started.  She became agitated with the stove and not being able to figure out how it worked.  Glaring at the burner, she tossed the dishtowel next to the pan.  A blue spark came from her finger and ignited the dishtowel.  By the time she had discovered what had happened, the grease in the pan had also caught fire too.

Kevin grabbed her by the shoulders to stop her.  Catherine tried to twist away from him.  “Leave me alone, I’m going home.”

“Not until you tell me what happen,” Kevin held tightly onto her arms. 

“It was an accident, I just should have left,” she dropped her head.

Kevin began to chuckle, “It wasn’t an accident, you started it.”

Catherine’s head snapped up, “I didn’t do it on purpose.”

Kevin smiled at her, “It’s very common for this sort of thing to happen to an apprentice.  You lost control and you let your anger get the best of you.”

“Well why couldn’t you have a normal stove!” she shouted at him.  “I don’t like this, I’m going home.”  Catherine grabbed her bag and rushed to his bedroom.

“Hold up there firestarter, you’re not going anywhere until you calm down,” Kevin spoke as he ambled behind her.

“Hmmpf,” she headed for the front door after grabbing her shoes, ignoring him.

“It won’t open,” he reminded her.

Catherine spun on her heel and Kevin backed up.  He had made her angry intentionally to see how she could handle herself. 

Kevin flashed her a grin, “Control yourself.”

“AHHH,” she glared at him and began walking towards him.  “I will tell you something right now Mr. Richardson, I exercise control on a daily basis.  You know nothing about me, except what you have learned from your little mind probes and what I have told you.  You showed up when I needed you, I’ll give you that.  You show up in my home, uninvited.  I’ve been a freak all my life because of my intelligence and now you and your goofball friends have made it worse for me.  I gave you something last night that I shouldn’t have.  Now I’m just weirder than I was before.  Thank you so much!” 

The entire time Catherine railed at him, Kevin back himself towards the kitchen.  She of course was so busy yelling at him she didn’t even notice that she followed him as she berated him.  Her hands flying in the air.  Kevin carefully watched the tips making sure he wasn’t on the receiving end of a stray zap.

A blast of cold water in the face stopped her from launching into her next speech.  She sputtered and looked at him shocked, he had sprayed her with the hose from the sink.

Kevin rocked back on his heels, “See you have excellent control, but you have to know when to cool off.”  Tossing her a dishtowel, “Clean up, I’ll make you something to eat.”

Catherine dried her face off, her t-shirt now soaked.  “I’m not hungry anymore, I just want to go home.  Bert is probably missing me.”

Kevin shook his head and spoke as he went to the fridge and pulled things from it.  “Bert is fine.”

“I have class,” Catherine shifted slightly in the doorway.

“Not until later,” Kevin continued to foil each reason she gave him.

Catherine sat in the chair, fresh out of excuses.  “Do you think the Council will say it’s okay for you to be my mentor?  They don’t really know me and we’re just friends.  What are you going to ask them?”

Kevin bobbled the egg carton in his hand he then gently set it on the counter.  Leaning back on the counter, he crossed his arms over his chest, “First of all I’m not going to the Council to ask them if I can be your mentor.  Second, I think after last night we are more than friends, and last but not least, I’m going to ask them if I should proceed with this relationship or are they going to cut my heart out again.”

Catherine understood what Kevin was saying but she didn’t know if it would work.  She knew that he had just come from a very long relationship that had recently ended.  It was never made public as to why.  “I don’t know if I want a relationship Kevin.  I’m not used to this, this isn’t me.”  She didn’t look him in the face.  It would show all the reservations she had about starting a serious relationship with anybody.

Kevin waited to answer, he needed to know, but he wasn’t going to be hurt all over again.  “You are a highly intelligent woman.  I would like to know if you are afraid of me or of yourself right now?”

“Both,” Catherine sighed as she looked at him.  She rested her bent elbow on the table with her chin in the palm of her hand.  If there was one thing she had learned, Kevin was easy to talk to once she had gotten over her initial shyness.

“I didn’t start your kitchen on fire, so why are you afraid of me?”  Kevin asked.

“I haven’t dated much and I feel foolish sometimes.”  Catherine leveled with him, ignoring his sarcasm.

“I think I figured that one out last night,” he wrinkled his nose at her as he began to break eggs in the bowl.

“It’s not funny,” she frowned at him.

“Catherine you are sweet, it doesn’t matter that you haven’t dated much.”  Kevin was stirring eggs in the bowl.  He couldn’t think of a better word to describe her.  Her simplicity and intelligence is what attracted him the most to her.

“You’re older than me,” she tossed at him.

“You’re smarter than me,” he grinned. 

“I don’t know,” Catherine was studying Kevin intently.  She was watching every move he made in the kitchen.  She was thinking of anything that could be a problem for both of them in a personal relationship, “You’re a neat freak.”

“You’re a slob,” he snickered.

“I am not,” she protested loudly.

Kevin’s eyebrows shot up at her over the fib.  She groaned knowing he was right, he giggled slightly and bit his tongue.

“You’re too good looking,” she grinned.

Setting the bowl down, he walked towards her with a smirk on his face.  Grabbing her face quickly, he kissed deeply and passionately.  “That I am Professor,” as he swaggered back over to the counter.

Catherine was still trying to recover, when she heard Nick say, “Don’t forget modest!”

Catherine and Kevin both smiled and dissolved into fits of laughter.  Kevin came towards the table with two plates.  “We’ll never have privacy,” Catherine shook her fork in the air at him.

“When it counts we will, right fellas?”  He smiled at her as they listened to four, ‘Yes Kevin’ come back to them.

“What about school?  What am I suppose to do?  The dean is going to furious with me.  I have the kids to worry about.  I have my dissertation, speaking engagements, guest lectures.”  She took a deep breath and began again.  “You tour and have all of your obligations, you travel so much....”

Kevin pushed his chair back from the table and left.

“Where are you going?”  Catherine called to him.  That was rather rude, she muttered to herself as she filled her plate with a second helping.  Kevin came back and sat down.  Silently he placed a roll of duct tape on the table next to her plate.

Catherine blushed and hid her smile.  They ate the rest of the meal in silence.  He smiled at her wryly.





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