~The Celtic Wizard~

Chapter 18  

“I need to go home,” she said as she cleaned up the breakfast dishes. 

Kevin puttered around the kitchen nervously, “Catherine, what do you want to do?”

“I don’t know,” she sighed at him.

“Catherine I need you to make a decision, free will is very important in this situation but you know that already from your studies.  I was tripped up on that the last time.”  Kevin leaned back on the refrigerator.

“Why are you rushing me?  Can’t you give me some time?”  Catherine continued to load the dishwasher.

“I can’t, I’m sorry.  I just have this need to have a decision before you walk out the door.”  Kevin’s face took on a sour expression.  The need he had described was overwhelming him.

Catherine grabbed her purse and keys and headed for the front door.  Picking up the balance of her items that she had dropped there before breakfast.  “I’m sorry Kevin, you’re asking me to make a life decision in a snap second.  I can’t do that, I’ll let you know.” 

Kevin watched her walk out the door and to the car.  He felt it would have been proper to walk a lady to her car but he was too upset to do so.  At that second, he had a bad feeling wash over him.  One that was unsettling to him, something was wrong or going to go wrong, he could feel it in his bones.

In a huff he went back to bed, he needed to think and he wanted to go speak to his dad.  A soft haze enveloped him the minute his body hit the mattress.  His journey had begun to the Otherworld.  “Hey dad, where are you?  I need to talk to you.”

Kevin heard a heaved sigh and then his brother’s laughter.  “Forget it I’ll come back later.”  He had no strong desire to talk about this in front of them.  Kevin was unsure as it was and he wasn’t in the mental state to share.

“Hey Kev, come on, we won’t razz ya,” Jerald spoke.  Kevin ambled over to the three men standing next to the creek.

“Hey guys,” Kevin smiled as Tim handed him a fishing pole.  “We haven’t done this in a long time,” he said as he cast his line into the creek.

“This feels good boys, real good,” Jerald smiled as he was tossing his line in with his three sons around him.

“What’s bothering you Kev?”  Tim asked in all seriousness.

Kevin pondered what was bothering him for a few minutes.  “I dunno, I have this feeling, it’s not a good one.”

“Like what son?”  Jerald prompted.

Kevin shook his head, “It’s about Catherine.  I’ve put all the pieces of the puzzle together, I know that we are suppose to be together but she…” Kevin stopped to contemplate some more on his feelings.

“It’s like she has a mind of her own and won’t be pushed into anything,” Jerald uttered as he raised his eyebrows at Tim and smirked.  The older men had seen Kevin issue the young professor an ultimatum before she left.

“That’s part of it,” Kevin balled his tongue into his cheek.  He rubbed his goatee absently with his free hand.  “I feel like if we don’t make a commitment that something is going to come between us.  I’m afraid if we don’t start off wanting a relationship, I’ll end up old and by myself.”

The two older brothers exchanged shocked looks.  Kevin wanting to settle down was nothing new to them.  Kevin wanting to settle down this quickly with Catherine was new, very new.

“What can come between you but yourselves?”  Kevin’s father asked.

Puffing air out of his mouth, “I don’t know, it’s dark and it isn’t like us.  It doesn’t like us,” Kevin nervously tossed the pole up on the bank.  Jamming his hands in his jacket pockets, he paced above them. 

Tim looked at Jerald and rolled his eyes, “Kevin you just found the woman a few months ago, you spend one night with her and now the world is doomed?”

Jerald senior didn’t speak as he watched Kevin’s mood darken.  Kevin was right there were going to be problems if they didn’t make a commitment to each other.  However even he could not foresee those problems.  He himself had a foreboding feeling the last few days as he watched the young couple grow closer together.

Kevin picked up a rock and skipped it over the water.  The nagging fear was chewing at him. 

“Thanks Kev, scare the fish away,” Jerald grumbled as he set his pole down and joined his father and Kevin on the bank of the creek. 

“Besides not everyone like us, they are N’SYNC fans,” Tim grinned from the creek holding his pole.

Kevin’s head bent sideways at the snide remark.  He charged Tim and knocked him into the water.

“Jesus Kev, I was only kidding,” as Tim swam away from his attacker.

Jerald Junior joined in as the three men took turns trying to drown each other.  It didn’t take much encouragement for the their father to join the melee.

“Boys that’s enough!”  Anne stood on the bank and watched the four men play in the water.  Tim’s wife stood next to her. 

“She’s not suppose to be here,” Tim pointed to his wife.

“Oh is that so?” she looked at him and winked.  “Just for that you can forget it,”

Kevin’s voice boomed from the middle of the creek as he swam in his clothes,  “Ya ain’t get any now Tim!”  Laughter followed his announcement from both him and Jerald.

Tim crawled up the creek bank out of breath.  He wrapped his arms around his wife and gave her hug.  Turning he looked at Kevin and shouted, “Raise you left hand Kevin!”

Tim and Jerald began laughing he had fallen for it again.  “Tracy honey, meet Kev’s new girlfriend Rosey Palm!”

“You Boys!”  Anne looked at all of them and frowned.

Kevin was still in the creek with his dad laughing, “Sorry Mama.”

Kevin’s mood had lightened after talking to his family; he journeyed back home.  Waking up in bed the sun was much lower in the sky. 

Jenna watched Catherine become side tracked in the lesson several times.  This was highly unusual for their teacher.  Quite a few times all of the students looked at her with puzzled expressions on their faces. 

Catherine kept going back to what happened earlier in the day when she arrived back home.  Watching the clock, she called the class over sharply at the appropriate time.  “Tomorrow we will meet on campus in my ante room, like we used to,” Catherine added as they began to pick up their belongings.

Jenna hung back from the group as they filtered out of the condo.  “Are you okay, you’re awful jumpy?  They didn’t even mention seeing you on television last night.  I think you scared them.”

“I’m fine,” she spoke in a dull tone. 

“Catherine you went to the Grammys last night with a guy.  Your date won a Grammy and all you have to say is ‘I’m fine.’”  Jenna plopped down in a chair, she wasn’t leaving until she knew that Catherine was fine and hopefully got the dish about last night.

“It was special,” Catherine glanced at the floor.

“Okay special is not a word I would use to describe the Grammys.  Special is the word I use to describe what happens after a date,” Jenna flashed a smirk at Catherine.

Catherine’s cheeks burned warm and hot.  Jenna had come to the correct conclusion.

“I see it was special,” Jenna nodded with amusement.  “But was it good?”

Catherine coughed suddenly at the question.  “It doesn’t matter because I won’t be seeing him again.”

Jenna jumped from the chair and placed a hand on Catherine’s forehead, “Nope, it’s not Backstreet fever.”  Stepping back, she looked Catherine in the face.  “If I am assuming correctly, you did the horizontal bop with Kevin Richardson and you’re not going to see him again.  This tells me one of two things, one he sucks in the sack or two you’re a chicken.”

Catherine’s eyes became huge, “He doesn’t suck.”

Jenna shrugged her shoulders, “So you’re a chicken.”

Catherine shook her head back and forth.  She couldn’t tell Jenna all of the truth about herself, at least not yet, but she could tell her what had influenced her decision.  “The Dean was here when I got back home.  I received a long lecture on my responsibilities to the school, to my students, and to him.  He has sacrificed so much for me to be his protégé for the department and that I was tarnishing his image and the schools.  The Dean brought up a morality clause that I signed when I was sixteen.  I can’t see Kevin anymore or I will lose everything.  My car, my apartment, and my position.”

“OH,” was the only thing that Jenna could express.  Her mind was sifting through the information that Catherine had just spilled to her.  “So what you’re saying is that the Dean gave you all this stuff?”  Jenna’s hand motioned in the air.

“Yes, I’ve been with him since I was sixteen,” Catherine frowned.

Jenna had a ton of questions but one thing was clear, the Dean called the shots with Catherine.  “Did you ever sleep with him?”

“WHO?  THE DEAN!”  Catherine was shocked even at mere mention of such a thing.  “Of course not!  I was virgin until last night!”

Jenna blinked at Catherine, not knowing what to say.  “Umm... anyway, so what are you going to do?”

Catherine tossed the towel on the sink that she had been wringing in her hands.  “I can’t see him anymore Jenna, I’ve worked too hard.”

“I think you should think some more about it Catherine.”  Jenna grabbed her things and stood up.  “The Dean doesn’t have a right to dictate to you how you’re going to live your life.  If you were with Kevin last night, you must have felt something for him.  You have never slept with anyone before.  There are other avenues in life besides books and teaching.  You haven’t lived much.”

Catherine held back the tears until Jenna was gone.  Jenna was right, she finally felt alive and warm.  Then when she came home and found the Dean waiting for her, she was cold again on the inside.  This man had been her father figure for the last eight years of her life.  He reminded her of it continuously throughout his speech.  She watched him loose his temper for the first time and forbid her from seeing Kevin again.  This was so unlike the loving man she had come to know.  By the time he had left, Catherine had made her decision not to see Kevin again or pursue her new-found talents.





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