~The Celtic Wizard~

Chapter 21

Kevin had some serious time to make up for.  After charging the amulet, he was running late.  He needed to beat Catherine back to the condo.  Wanting to make the evening special, he worked on something of a theme.  Kicking ideas around in his head as he drove to Catherine’s, glancing out the window he slammed on his brakes almost causing an accident.  Searching for a place to park, he found one, a block away. 

Checking the time he sprinted to the store, he had to have what was in the window.  Turn on the charm, Kevin chanted in his head, be Backstreet Kevin.  Kevin gave the woman a lingering smile explaining that what he wanted was in the window.  A small fuss over it only being ‘for display’ was turned to Kevin’s advantage. 

Sauntering out of the store he waited until he was out of view of the glass windows.  His feet hit the pavement in double time to get to his truck.  He was singing along with the radio as he went through a few lights that he deemed ‘pink’.  Tapping his watch at the last light, as if he were trying to make time stop for his plans.  “C’mon,” he bounced his fingers off of the steering wheel.

Punching the gas he roared around the corner into the parking lot of Catherine’s condo.  Grabbing his gifts, he darted up the stairs.  Grabbing the knob, he checked the hallway for onlookers.  Laughing as he opened the door, “Locks are for amateurs.” 

“Hey Bert,” he reached down to pet the cat.  “Your mistress is in for a treat,” he glanced to Bert.  “Make yourself scarce tonight buddy.” 

Kevin unloaded his packages as fast as he could.  Standing back to admire his work, he referred to Bert.  “Think she’ll like it?” as he ran to the spare bedroom to change.

“It’s not too much is it?”  Kevin’s insecurities begin to twist inside of him as Bert trotted after him back into the kitchen. 

The door opened, “Too late,” he whispered.

Catherine stood in her doorway looking at her kitchen table.  The table was set with fine china and silver.  Pink roses in a tall vase and candles everywhere.  Blinking she absorbed the atmosphere that had purposely been planned. 

“Oh,” she blinked.  Setting her things down she walked in.  Stepping out of her shoes, she still was gazing at the table.

Kevin was waiting, this wasn’t what the reaction he had anticipated.  The side of his neck bulged when he looked at Bert. 

“Too much?”  Kevin winced.  Way to start-off the evening, he groaned to himself.

Catherine began to smile, she titled her head to the side.  Walking to Kevin, she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him lightly on the lips.  “No pressure, no influence, remember free will...”   She giggled slightly as she pulled away and headed back to her bedroom.

“She’s too damn smart,” he grumbled to Bert.  The cat let out a satisfied meow that sounded more to Kevin like a laugh.

“You dissin’ me cat?  Cuz if you are, I’ll turn you into a mouse.”  Kevin glowered at the cat. 

A chorus of laughter resounded in the room.  “Ya’ll better leave or I’ll kick your asses.”  Kevin gave them his warning knowing they would leave.

Catherine came from the bedroom wearing sweatpants and a tee.  Kevin frowned at her, “I left a box on your bed.”

“I know, I saw it,” Catherine went to the table and picked at the food.  “Very good,” she said quietly.  Spinning around to face Kevin, “Please let’s just have dinner, I’ve almost made my decision.  Can we just have a normal dinner?”

“Fine,” Kevin shrugged as he held out her chair.

“Thank you,” a nervous smile twitched on her lips.

Half way through the meal Kevin captured her hand in his.  “I have some gifts for you.”

Setting her fork down, she knew he wasn’t going to wait until after dinner.  The chair slid over the linoleum as he pushed back his seat.  He went to the living room and came back with a backpack.

Catherine raised an eyebrow back at him, “I have one of those.”

“Why do you have to be so smart all the time,” Kevin muttered.

Gently placing the roll of velvet on the table he unwrapped each item and spread them out.  “These are for you, they’re very special.  I hope you will accept them.”  Kevin stopped talking as wonderment danced in her eyes.  Kevin knew she was impressed as well as informed.  He proceeded to explain where each item had come from and the attached memories that came with it.  Slipping the cauldron on the table, Catherine glanced at it.

“That’s a little cliché’ isn’t it,” Catherine studied the black cast kettle.

Kevin chuckled slightly, “I dunno I guess you would have better luck than with my stove.”

Catherine was fighting the tugging of a smile on her face at the remark.  Yes, it was in insult but she knew he was right.  Her eyes squinted shut and her nose wrinkled.  “Got any matches?”

“No and I’m not giving you any for a long time.”  Kevin clasped her hand in both of his.  “I want to go to the Council but I can’t if you are not willing.”

Leaning back in her chair, she raised her wine glass.  Swirling the liquid in the glass she watched the red lines go up and down the glass.  “What are you going to ask them?”

Kevin knew she was still undecided but he wasn’t going to lie to her.  “I want a partnership Catherine, a full one, not just teacher and student.  I want it all.”  In his hand was the necklace that he had intended to give her.

“Why are you pushing me so hard for a more than professional relationship.  I’m not stupid by far.  I opened the box.  We have been doing fine as friends.”

“I want more,” as he rubbed the chunk of silver in his hand.  “Something stops you from making a commitment to me.  What is it?”

Catherine had thought about that question all day.  They had thought about the questions together.  She had written them down this morning.  Catherine’s inability to answer her own questions were bothering her.  “I’m afraid to lose what I have.”

Sitting back in the chair, Kevin’s cheeks puffed, “Catherine I can offer you more and you know it.  These material things mean nothing, they’re trappings.”

“Can you offer me my career back if it is destroyed and my name?”  Her lips seem to be pouting to at him.

“If you’re referring to what the Dean is holding over your head, I can’t.  If you don’t mind me saying so, your relationship with him is not normal.”

Catherine stood up and paced the kitchen, “I know, but he’s so sweet to me.  He took me under his wing and helped me.  I felt so out of place here.”

Kevin shook his head, the Dean was a nutcase even if Catherine didn’t see it.  “Catherine I do understand but is the real problem here that you have feelings for the Dean?”

Catherine was appalled that Kevin would even have such a notion.  She crossed her arms and glared at him.  “Really! I need to think, don’t follow me,” she huffed as she walked back to her bedroom. 

Kevin didn’t follow as he sat and poured more wine.  “You win some, you lose some buddy,” he whispered as he raised his glass to Bert.

Catherine sat on her bed with elbows resting on her knees.  Hearing a noise from the closet, she jumped.  Assuming it was just Kevin she walked directly up to it.  Pulling the knob, she opened the door.  “I just told you…”  her eyes bugged out of her head as Nick stood in her closet with his index finger over his lip.

“Ssssh, he’ll kick my ass,” he grinned at her.

The irony struck Catherine as she covered her mouth with her hand.  Removing it quickly, she giggled.  “Please Nick Carter come out of the closet.”

Nick winked at her as he stepped out, “Quiet, if he hears me in here, I’m dead meat.  D-e a-d.”

“What are you doing here?”  Catherine asked as she walked over and sat back down on the bed.

“Well now that I’m out of the closet,” he snickered.  “I’m here to talk about the anal retentive, obsessed, and by the looks of your kitchen table, hopelessly in love fool out there,” he pointed to the door.   “I call him Kevin, sometimes Train, unless he’s in a bad mood, then I call him Mister.  There are few others but they aren’t very appropriate for a lady.”

Catherine’s heart warmed at the description of the man sitting in her kitchen.  It warmed a little more knowing that Nick really did care about Kevin and wasn’t just a big goof.  “He’s pushing me really hard,” she sighed.

Nick sat next to her on the bed.  “He’s not telling you everything.  Kevin is really scared that something bad is going to happen to you.  He gets like that, he wants to take care of everyone.  It’s one of his neurotic habits but we’re used to it.”  Nick smiled knowing that Catherine would understand.

“What can happen?”  Catherine asked as she pulled her feet up on the bed, wrapping her arms around her legs.

Ignoring that question was the best that he could do, he doubted even Catherine could handle the answer to that one.   “He loves you, he needs you.  He’s fallen pretty fast and very hard.  You guys were meant to be together.  You have never been with a man and you’re what twenty-three, twenty-four years old.  Don’t you think that’s weird?”  Nick looked at her to make sure she was paying attention.

“Yes, Nick,” she sighed.

“Kevin has to be it, you’re his fire, his one desire…” Nick crooned as he placed on arm on her shoulder. 

“What happens if it doesn’t work out?”  Catherine smiled at him.

“I don’t think you can get divorced if you have eternal life… I can check it out for you.”  Nick was suppressing the laugh.  “Catherine, lighten up, you have to know.  You gave something special to that moron out there.”  Nick got up and cracked open the door. 

They could hear him softly singing an unknown tune and talking to Bert.  “He’s drinking with your cat, doesn’t that tell you something?”

“He likes my …”  Catherine blushed and stopped.

Nick gave her a huge hug, “I didn’t know you had it in you.”  Stepping back he pointed to the box,  “It’s still your decision, you can have a life or live.”

Catherine’s eyes glowed a distinct shade of blue.  “You’re as wise as the last person that told me that.”

“I think you have a choice to make,” Nick gave her a smirk.  “I’ll just go back in the closet.”

Catherine glanced as the closet door closed.  Her hands grabbed the hem of her shirt as she began to peel it off.  Stopping she walked back over to the closet door.  Opening it, she saw Nick grinning at her.  “It was worth a shot,” he laughed as he disappeared.

Catherine shook her head at the open closet door, “Boys.”

She slowly dressed, re-applied her perfume, and left the bedroom.  She walked softly to the doorway of the kitchen wearing her gift from Kevin that was in the box.  Coughing slightly she caught his attention.

Kevin’s eyes swept over her from her toenails to the roots of her hair.  “Are you sure?” he asked, as he lazily drained the bottle of wine into his glass.  Tempering his excitement in fear of another turn down.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be sure Kevin because I’m scared but I’m about as sure as I can get.”  Her voice quivered slightly as she answered him.  She tried to control it, she didn’t want him to think she was that unsure.

Slowly Kevin rose to the chair and made the short journey to her.  Clasping her face with his hands, “I can tell that you are afraid.”

A small tear clung to the outside corner of her eye.  Those big baby blues would do him in someday, he knew if for sure.  If Catherine knew what she could accomplish with him by just batting her eyelashes and turning those beautiful eyes on him, she could have anything she ever wanted.  Leaning forward, he kissed it away.  “We’ll learn together, learn to love, learn about each other, learn to live.  It’s our destiny.”

Grasping her hand, he led her back to her bedroom.  “I’m going to take you places you have never been before sweet thing.”  Softly he shut the door and then opened it again.  Bert was sitting on the floor looking at the closed and then re-opened bedroom door.  Kevin peered through the crack.  “You’re dreaming buddy.”  The door slammed shut as Bert waltzed away.






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