~The Celtic Wizard~


Chapter 2

Sitting under the tree, she checked her watch yet again.  Her students were late by fifteen minutes.  Now she was silently cursing herself for changing her clothes.  This was not the place to wear a suit or heels.

Originally, she had put on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.  As she looked in the mirror she realized that her true age was showing and switched into a suit instead.  It was hard enough to get her colleagues to accept her age and status as a professor let alone her students.  Sometimes she wondered if she had made the right decision to go through school so quickly.  It’s hard for people to take a twenty-four year old seriously as a professor.  She had given Bert a fast cheek rub and headed out the door.

Hearing engines humming she picked her head.  A stream of trucks and cars were pulling into the mission.  She studied the caravan of vehicles as they pulled in one behind the other.  People began stepping out of the vehicles and milling about.  The quiet hum had turned into a noisy riot of shouting, clanking metal, and slamming doors.  She startled when she heard her name called from behind her.

“Hey Professor Miller, we’re sorry we’re late,” came from one of her students, David. 

Catherine looked at the motley crew of four students.  Her teaching was limited to these kids.  Not only was she their teacher but advisor as well.  She had them half of the day and the other half of the day they were in high school.  When she was approached about teaching the class, she wasn’t sure at first.  She felt like a babysitter, then the dean of the department had informed her that they were gifted students like herself.  Upon hearing that she had agreed to teach the class.  She would have loved to have a program such as this in place when she needed it.  The other advantage being that in the mornings she could work on her dissertation for her PHD.

“It’s fine really,” she smiled at them.

“We were held up at the gate.  They had to call up here to let us in,” Jenna offered as an apology.

“That’s strange we’ve had this booked for over a month.”  Catherine spoke as she debated how she was going to pull herself off of the ground.  Her skirt had ridden up  high and her legs were folded to her side.  “Remember as you go through to look at the detail and see if you can relate it to what we have covered so far.”

She frowned as she looked at her knees, feeling foolish.  Paul offered her his hand.  “Need some help Catherine?” he smiled.

She ignored the use of her first name as she grabbed his hand, “Yes I do Paul and thank you.”

As she walked away she heard David, Debbie, and Jenna whispering to Paul harshly.  “It’s Professor Miller stupid, not Catherine.”

“She’s not much older than us, what’s the big deal,” Paul whined.

“The big deal is that she can kick you out of here,” Debbie grounded out at him.  “You stupid jock.”

“Good point, but she doesn’t look or act like a professor.  She’s cute and…”

“Paul,” Catherine spoke interrupting the exchange on purpose.

“Yes Cath… Professor Miller,” he stuttered back.

She smiled at him.  “You’re here to get an assignment done.”

Paul winced knowing that the last person that he had wanted to hear had overheard his whisper.

Catherine smiled as she entered the nunnery.  Well at least someone thinks I’m cute besides Bert, she spoke to herself.  They walked through the mission for well over two hours taking notes and expanding on what they had learned in class.  “Let’s go outside.  I want to review all of your notes.”

Taking two steps out of the door someone yelled, “STOP!.”  Abruptly they all did.  As Catherine turned the heel of her shoe caught in a paver.  When she turned, her foot didn’t.  A gasp escaped from her and a small, “Ouch.”  Tumbling side ways she fell to the pavement.

Paul was the first one who bent down to her, “Catherine are you okay?” as he held her gaze a little longer than he wanted too.

“Hey Professor are you all right,” came from the other three as they knelt to her level.  The sun that had been glaring in her eyes was suddenly blocked by what seemed to be an eclipse.  As she raised her head to answer, she realized that a body casting a shadow over her had caused the eclipse.

“Are you okay lady?” he asked.

“Umm… I’m not sure yet,” as she flexed her ankle and felt the sharp stabbing pain.  She gritted her teeth not wanting to show anyone how embarrassed she was about this mishap.  “I’m fine,” she whispered as she leaned on Paul to right herself.

As she placed her foot on the ground, she gingerly took a step.  As she did she felt her ankle give out and she was pitched forward into the stranger’s arms.

The man looked at her,  “You’re really hurt lady.  Let me get you some help.”

“No honestly, I’m …”

“Hey guys come here,” he yelled even as she protested the strangers hold on her.

“No, no, I’m fine honest,” she spoke as she raised her head to meet the strangers face.  “God,” came out in a groan from her lips.

The stranger laughed heartily.  “Well I’m not him.  I’m Nick Carter, pleased to meet you.”

Seeing that she was still visibly uncomfortable in his embrace he continued to speak to her.  More men began walking towards the group.  “It’s a good thing it’s me,” he grinned.  “If it had been A.J., he would have said 'yes.'”

Her students began to laugh along with him.  “Of all the places to meet BSB,” Jenna squeaked.

“What now Kaos?” came in a deep timbre from behind him.

“Hey we made the lady fall down,” he answered as he looked at Catherine.

“No you didn’t whoever yelled stop did,” Catherine grumbled.

“Oh that was Nigel,” Brian quipped.  “Are you okay?”

“Yes I’m fine,” she stuttered.

She felt a hand on her foot and almost jumped out of her skin.  Her eyes immediately dropped to her toes.  “Looks like a bad sprain,” as the fingers grazed up and down her foot and proceeded up her calf.

A strange sensation surged through her quickly, frightening her.  Her eyes met his and she tried to jerk her leg away.  This wasn’t as easy as she imagined since Nick still had a death grip on her waist.   She almost fell over backwards.  The green eyes locked on her and she relaxed slightly.  A serene feeling overtook her.

“Thank you, I’m fine.  My students will help me from here.”  Inhaling sharply she broke his gaze.

“You should have that looked at,” he spoke as he surrendered her leg.

“I will.  Guys help me to my car please.“  She moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue as she tried to break free from Nick’s grasp.

“You can’t drive, “ Nick added to the conversation.

“I agree,” came from below her.

“Then Paul will take me.  Won’t you Paul,” she said as her leg began to ache even more.  

Jenna and Debbie were mesmerized, neither of them could speak.

“Um… you won’t fit in Paul’s car,” came from David.

“I’ll take a cab,” she whispered as she began to unlock Nick’s hands from around her waist.

The conversation was burst in on by a man with an English accent.  “Boys we have work to do we’re loosing daylight.”

Brian looked apologetically at Catherine.  “Oh sorry Nigel, but it seems we caused this lady to fall.”

“Are you okay Miss?” he asked.

“Professor Miller is fine,” Paul spoke in an annoyed voice.  “If you will excuse us now.  We’ll get her to a doctor or something.”

“Or something?” Kevin spoke as he stood up.  “Professor hmmm….  Awfully young to be a professor?”

Catherine suddenly felt that familiar feeling again.  Age doesn’t make a difference my rear.  “Well Mr. Richardson I am a professor of Mythology at UCLA.  I doubt you would know much about what I teach.”

Kevin couldn’t hide his amusement and chuckled slightly as he spoke,  “I guess not, I’m just a Backstreet Boy.”

“Nope, don’t know nothin’ about it,” A.J. grinned.  Four sets of eyes glared at him as he continued to speak.  “Maybe someday you could enlighten us.”

Catherine laughed understanding that she had come off a little too defensive.  “I’m sorry,” she smiled at him.

“No problem,” he grinned as he lifted up the trademark glasses.

“Well I’ll be going now.  Thanks for the help.”  Catherine spoke hastily as that unsettled feeling came over her again.

With the assistance of her students she managed to make it to her car.  She looked at Jenna, “Would you drive me?”

 “Sure, come on,” as she grabbed Catherine’s keys from her hand.

Paul gave Jenna a slight frown for agreeing.  This was the reason Catherine had asked Jenna in the first place.

“Where to Professor?” she grinned as she shifted into gear.

“Just drop me off at the medical center on campus.  It’s close to home.”

Jenna smiled, “And that would be where?”

Catherine was concentrating on eliminating the pain from her leg and nothing else.  “Home is the Village Terrace Condos,” she winced.  Hands suddenly settled on her door as she proceeded into the passenger seat.

“Take care Professor Miller,” as her door was assisted shut by Kevin.

“Thank you,” she mumbled.  A sudden discomfort came over her again.

As they pulled away she glanced out the mirror to see Debbie, David, and Paul speaking to the Backstreet Boys.  “Ohhh,” she groaned.

Jenna promptly let out a scream. 

Catherine almost went through the roof of the car. “Let me guess you’re a fan too,” Catherine grinned.

“Oh babyyyy,” Jenna howled.  “Deb better keep her hands off the Latin man!”

“Jenna!”  Catherine shouted.

“Sorry,” Jenna laughed, knowing full well she wasn’t kidding.  Jenna glanced at Professor Miller.  I’m not the only fan either she grinned as she drove.





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