~The Celtic Wizard~

Chapter 31  

Upon waking, Kevin felt like the life was being choked out of him.  He coughed and grabbed at whatever was cutting off his air.  The leather string that held his talisman was being pulled tighter and tighter around his windpipe, his eyes were now watering.  Grabbing frantically at whatever was holding it tight, he became angry.  Ripping at the hands that held it taut.  Coughing brutally he pulled the hands away, Catherine’s hands.

“Shit girl,” he coughed as he inhaled filling his lungs to their capacity. 

Choking slightly he turned to her, sometime during the middle of the night she had virtually snuck over to his twin bed.  She now lay half on him and half on the mattress.  She was still out like a light as he struggled with her.  Grabbing both of her hands in one of his, he yanked them down; his arm came around and wrapped her in a gentle hug, Catherine stilled and slept again. 

Kevin let go of her hands and they immediately went to his neck.  He was cautious not to wake her as he waited to see if she would attack again.  Catherine’s fingers curled around his neck.  He sighed deeply when he realized that she wasn’t going to attack him again. 

His hand gently stroked her hair, her ponytail had fallen out during the night.  Rubbing the silky strands between his fingers.  Catherine rested on him, her left leg wedged between his.  “Baby, we have to figure some things out when you wake up today.  For now I want you to rest.”  Kevin extricated his body from hers and went to the kitchen for coffee. 

Kevin brooded at the kitchen table when his Grandmother clapped her hands to get his attention.  “What?” he frowned at his cup.

“Thinking about it won’t change things, doing something about it will.  I’m going up to change her bandages.  Go clean your house up.  You two need time alone and away from everyone.”

Kevin stood up and went to pour another cup of coffee.  Waiting to settle on what he wanted to do, his grandmother was right.  He had made the decision last night that he was going to move Catherine to his home, away from the others.  Catherine by nature was strong-willed but shy, she was uncomfortable around strangers and cautious.  She would need one-on-one time with him to finish healing physically and begin healing emotionally. 

“Don’t give her anymore of your special blend,” Kevin called to her as he headed out the kitchen door.  His house by his standards was a wreck; to Catherine’s well, it would look like a cleaning service had just left.  Walking into the house he sniffed, it smelled fresh and clean.  Now he was confused, he knew the house had sat untouched for the last four months.  Walking from room to room, he expected to find dust, clutter, and dirt.  What he did find was freshly polished furniture, vacuumed rugs, and groceries in the refrigerator.

“Okay who the hell has been in my house?”  Kevin yelled, knowing full well anyone related to him would have heard him.  A chorus of female giggles followed in his head.

“Never mind…  Thank you!” he laughed.  “This must have been where they went last night when I came downstairs and they were gone.”  His aunts and sister-in-law had been hard at work.

A drawing was hanging on the refrigerator from Will.  Kevin laughed; it was Kevin as a stick figure.  “Not bad, kid.”  Kevin toured the rest of the house with the knowledge that there was nothing for him to do. 

As he went up to the master bedroom, he became slightly squeamish.  Opening the door he looked inside, it had been awhile since he had slept in that bed or even this room.  A smile broke out on his face, it was freshly re-decorated but not as if it had been done last night.  Kevin turned to face the door after walking around the room.  The room was an exact duplicate of his bedroom in Los Angles, right down to the pitcher and bowl on the washstand.

“I know you didn’t want me to interfere but I know how much time the two of you spent decorating this home when you were together.  I didn’t think it would be fair to bring another woman into this room, it wouldn’t be fair to either of them.”  Anne smiled at her son hoping that her gesture was not taken as over-stepping her bounds.  Her son had limits on his personal life, even for her.  “I did it just after you and Catherine met.  I know that you love your home in California.”

Kevin’s grin grew even bigger, “Thanks Mom, I love it, I really do.”

Anne made her way to him and gave him a hug, “I’m glad you’re not mad at me.”

“Mad!  Mad at you… To think you never let me bring girls in my room, now you’re decorating for them,” he gave her a peck on the cheek.

“She’s not a girl, she’s a woman.  After all, you’re old enough to practice safe sex.”  Annie mentioned in a by-the-way fashion as she walked out of the room.  She left her son stunned and speechless sitting on the bed.

A belly laugh rolled out of him, “Just when I think I got her pegged, she throws me a curve ball.”

“She’s good at that son,” he heard his father laugh.

Kevin went to take a shower.  After a shower and a shave, he felt somewhat better.  His body was clean but his thinking was still muddied.  Opening the closet he saw all his clothes had been jammed to one side.  Over half the closet was empty.  “Yep, that’s Mom, closet hog.”  Kevin shook his head as he pushed some things around.  Slacks, suits, Jackets, all in order by color and shade.  “And they wonder where I get it from…” as he grabbed his jeans and slid them on.

Dashing down to the kitchen, Kevin was going to make his own brew for Catherine, one that would help her with the pain, but not mess with her head to the degree that granny’s did.  The phone rang, he answered with, “’ello,” as he went about making his concoction.  

“We’re here,” Nick informed him.

“Ah, that’s a given,” Kevin ran his finger down the list, squinting slightly.

“You need glasses old man,” Nick laughed.

“I do not and stop watching me dammit!”  Kevin heard Nick laugh and A.J. cackle.  “If any of you ever watch anything beyond an ordinary task as far as Catherine goes, I’ll kill ya.  I’ll bust your ass, I’ll bust your heads together, I’ll...”

“Territorial isn’t he?”  Howie laughed.

“So what’s goin’ on?”  Kevin dropped a kettle on the stove.  Walking around the kitchen, he dropped various dried herbs into the pot.  Hops, chamomile, nettle and sage.  Dipping his finger in he tasted it, “Yuck,” he announced.  “A little sugar won’t hurt her,” as he dropped a fair portion into the mix. 

“Just as long as you get your sugar,” Howie snorted.

“I’ve had about enough of you!”  Kevin yelled into the phone.  Kevin stirred his potion as Nick began to talk.

“We’re improvising here.  I tracked down Jenna; she’s with us.  The Dean has called every one of the students looking for Catherine.  ‘Dr. Freak’, is Mark Goddard and he’s training to be a doctor.  He has been to Catherine’s place four times.  He’s tight with the Dean.”

“Okay, keep going,” Kevin knew Nick had more.

A loud sigh came from his younger brother.  “They’re both into black magick.  We were right; they were training her for black.  The Dean was going to take her.  Carlos said that the Dean called Catherine’s phone over twenty times.  Did I tell you I found Jenna?”  Nick stuttered the last question out.

This was a clear signal to Kevin that Nick was nervous.  “Yes you did, but why?”

 “Did I tell you Jenna’s Dad is real cool?”  Nick winced into the phone.

“NICK!”  Kevin yelled; it was an instantaneous reaction.  Kevin figured Nick had told not only Jenna, but also her father.

“I didn’t have a choice man, Jenna went to Catherine’s with her Dad.  Jenna was really upset, her Dad started asking questions,” Nick spilled his guts.

“The point being,” Kevin shook his head; this was going downhill very quickly.

“He’s willing to help, he doesn’t believe us and asked us if we were high on crack.  Once Jenna told him that Catherine was a hereditary witch, he quieted right down, and offered to help.  I think they are believers.”

“Nick get to the damn point!” Kevin watched his brew cook.

“Jenna’s Dad did some checking, some stuff Carlos couldn’t do,” Nick heard the long punctuated sign come from the other end of the phone.  Kevin had better get the information he wanted to hear quickly.  “Dude, he sent Mark around to all the hospitals looking for Catherine.  They are checking and recording the Dean’s phone calls.  He called her parents and told them that he thinks she committed suicide.  He’s lying out his ass.  Anyway, her parents are way out of the loop; he’s been in contact with them for a long time.  He’s been feeding them bullshit for years.”

Kevin shook his head, it was indeed worse than he had thought.  Now if he went to her parents they would surely tell the Dean.

“Then he showed up at YOUR place when we were all there.  He knows you got her man.  He said he was looking for you and you were gonna die, you and her. “

“Great,” Kevin mumbled.  “Tell me you didn’t tell Carlos or Jenna’s Dad about this?”  Kevin didn’t need Carlos climbing all over his backside trying to make sure nothing would happen to him.  Jenna’s Dad might not be trustworthy enough for them.

“Nope,” Nick shook his head.  “We have it covered.  We told him we haven’t seen you in days.  We told him that you and Catherine had a huge fight because she told you she didn’t want to see you anymore.  I think he bought it. I hope It stalls him for awhile.”

Kevin now had serious doubts about leaving Nick in charge, there is no way that the Dean would buy that excuse and not come looking.  Kevin’s life was an open book thanks to the fans.

Nick could sense Kevin’s disappointment in him; he needed to explain how they reinforced this lie.  “Dude, we racked up one of your credit cards, thanks to Carlos’s friend.”

“Meaning?”  Kevin waited, as he tasted his healing herb mixture.

“Well we booked flights for you all the way back to last week up until next week.  The Dean and Mark will be flying their asses all over the country.  We even booked some in two different directions so that they have to split up.”  Nick was pretty proud of his ingenious little plan, he hoped Kevin would be happy.

“Oh God, what did that cost me?”  Kevin spun around and gripped the stove for support.

“A lot,” Nick laughed.  “A real lot, first class ain’t cheap.”  Kevin was happy, the jab about the bill was just icing on the cake.

“I owe you bro,” Kevin laughed.  If Nick said it was, ‘A real lot,’ that would be a staggering figure even for Kevin Richardson.  “Talk to you later,” Kevin hung up the phone.

While tasting his brew, Kevin looked at the bottle in his hand.  If he did use it in the potion then the free-will clause would hang him, but it would only hang him if he got caught.  Placing the bottle down, he placed both of his hands on the counter.  “Hmm,” he looked around the room as if someone was watching him.  Kevin went so far as to peek over his shoulder and then hunch over the pot.  He lifted the bottle and pulled the cork.  Holding the bottle over the pot, he was about to pour the contents into the medicinal blend.  The bottle was snatched from him before one drop could leave the lip of the bottle.

“Don’t you dare!  I will not have you screw this up again because of your stubbornness.  You will let her make her choice by free will.”

Kevin’s head dropped, fully aware and ashamed that he had almost yet again pushed someone to choose him.  “Thank you Mom,” he mumbled as he walked into the dining room.

Anne followed, “Honey, have confidence in yourself, have confidence in her.  She’s hurt both inside and out.  Give her time.”

Kevin’s head snapped up, “I don’t have time.”

“Dear, if you bring Catherine to your home, he cannot come anywhere near her.  Take assurance in that and know that your family will care for her when you are not aware.”  Annie patted his back and left him there. 

She headed upstairs to Kevin’s bedroom.  Turning back the sheets, she waited for Tim and Jerald to bring Catherine home.  Not much time passed before Tim carried her into the room followed by her attentive son who fussed over her.  She had heard them coming along with Kevin’s comments of, ‘Be careful, don’t drop her, watch her back.”

Tim shook his head and made a hasty departure.  

Anne looked to Kevin, “She’s all yours son, take care of her properly.”  Annie followed Tim’s exit.

Kevin tucked Catherine into bed, a quick kiss, and he went to the door.  He began to shut it and then paused leaving it open so he could hear her if she needed him.  “Love you Sweet Thing.”

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This is a work of fiction.
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