~The Celtic Wizard~

Chapter 35 

Catherine stood at the foot of the path.  To her left, a neat, well manicured white farmhouse.  Black shutters trimmed each window; the walkway lined with precious poesies that would be in full bloom had there not been a spring thaw. 

To her right sat a short squat old fashion log cabin.  This home was just as tidy as the other but its old fashion charm and homey feel made her take notice.  A plume of smoke rose from the chimney as a chill shook her body.  She took off so fast from Kevin’s house she forgot a coat.  Automatically her arms wrapped around herself, a hand around the amulet that dangled from her chest.  She had the flight syndrome going when she left Kevin with his father.  She had just told him she would marry him, she didn’t even know if she loved him. 

Still standing in the path she spoke aloud and to herself.  “I don’t know if I love him.  I’ve never been in love before.  How will I know if what I feel is right?”  Kevin had been her first, what would she compare him to? 

Catherine looked back only once at the prim and proper farmhouse as she headed for the cabin.  She had a niggling feeling in the back of her mind that the answers she sought would be found at the cabin not the house.

She started to knock when the door opened by itself.  “Hello,” she whispered.  She was somewhat afraid someone would answer.

“It’s good to see you are a fast healer.” 

Catherine heard a voice that was remotely familiar to her but not known to her.  Out of shyness, Catherine dropped her chin to her chest.  Her hand clutched her talisman nervously.

A hand showing signs of arthritis with bumpy knuckles and gnarled fingers gently raised her chin.  “You are sweet, my grandson has chosen wisely.  I hope you can equal him in all things.  He can be a difficult man and it takes a strong woman to stand up to him.  Just the same, he is tenderhearted and easily hurt.  It’s a pendulum that swings on a daily basis, much like life itself.  Do you think that you are ready to take on the task?”

With quiet indignation, Catherine said, “I’m not sure...  I don’t have enough knowledge to make a decision.  He won’t talk to me, he feels he is bound by the free will clause.  He wants me to marry him and have a family...  Yet he won’t speak to me other than that.  I need answers to my questions and time.  Time I do not have, but you know that, don’t you?”

The old woman smiled, “It’s a pleasure to meet you Professor Miller.  You’re much smarter than I thought.  Most bookworms lack commonsense.  Around here I’m known as the Old Ma Richardson, you can call me what my grandchildren do... I’m MeeMaw to you.  You are correct, we do not have much time.” 

Knotted fingers pinched Catherine’s cheek, “Oww.”  Catherine frowned at the woman.

“Toughen up young’un,” the old woman cackled as she made her way around a huge table that sat in the center of the room.

Catherine looked at the table; her fingers traced the grain of the wood.  Blindly, she followed the woman. 

“It’s old, like me,” MeeMaw watched the young blonde that held her grandson’s fascination and now his heart. 

“With age comes knowledge,” Catherine answered as she took a seat at the table.  A chair had been offered to her and she wasn’t going to refuse.  This woman was the key to everything from what she could feel inside.  A teacup was placed in front of her.  A kettle of steaming liquid was poured into it.

“Drink, we’ll talk.”  The woman pulled a chair out. 

Catherine sniffed the tea, casting a doubtful look at the woman. 

The woman smiled and drank the same brew.  “I ain’t poisoned anyone unintentionally yet.”

Catherine chuckled lightly, “You are a character.”

“I can be if I have a mind too.  So Professor, why are you here?”

“I’m looking for answers to questions, I told you that.  I think you are the one and only person who can and will help me.”  Catherine sipped from the fine porcelain. 

“Time is of the essence Catherine, you have to be strong and committed to this and Kevin.  You need to learn about your abilities, hone them to sharpness, and love a stubborn man.  Are you ready?”

“Yes,” Catherine swirled the contents of her cup.

“You need to learn to cook too, my boy is looking pretty skinny, I can see his ribs.”  MeeMaw’s chair scrapped over the floorboards.

“Kevin cooks, I don’t have too,” Catherine’s face scrunched up in the process.  She hated cooking; her mother tried to teach her for years.  She just couldn’t do it.  “Are you going to answer my questions?”

“Fire away,” MeeMaw reached for a large bowl that looked like a mixing bowl

Catherine frowned, she knew there was no way out now.  “I don’t like to cook...

“To do magick, you have to cook, so you’ll learn both.  Let’s get cracking we don’t have all day.  My boy will be down here for dinner.”

“Why do you call him ‘your boy’?”  Catherine couldn’t miss the possessiveness the old woman had concerning Kevin.

“Cuz when he was little, he was a pisser.  Nobody could handle him, not even his Mama.  That mop of black hair buzzed around this homestead and got into more trouble.  He once talked his little cousin Brian into stealing a strawberry and custard pie, right off my windowsill.  I caught them and ole’ Kevin he blamed Brian right off the bat.  Brian got a whippin’ that was meant for Kevin.  The next week, every day, I made Strawberry and Custard pie.  I served it at every meal. Kevin’s parents knew what was goin’ on but they were hopin’ that he would own up too it.”

“I don’t understand?”  Catherine was missing something.

“See guilt is an amazing thing.  Finally, he relented, he came and told me, he took the pie.  For his honesty, he received a chocolate cake for dessert.”  MeeMaw saw the confusion on the girls face.  “Honey, Kevin never would have came and told me had I not made him feel guilty.  He didn’t care that Brian got the whoppin’ that he was supposed to get, he just wanted that pie.  That is how Kevin is.  He sees what he wants and takes it; he deals with the repercussions later.  Sort of like he did with you, he wanted you, he took you.”

Catherine’s face flamed blood red at the remark.  “There aren’t many secrets in this family, are there?”

“Nope and especially not between me and my pie stealing grandson.”  The woman laughed.  “Kevy has been mine since that day.  I love that boy to death.  He was honest with me and told me that earlier in the day he had gotten in trouble with his Ma and that he wasn’t going to get dessert.  Being a kid, he wanted it, so he took it, all of it.”

Catherine had to laugh with the old woman; it was very much like the man Kevin was today.  Kevin was loving and caring but had his selfish and  possessive moments.  “Did Brian forgive him?”

“Of course he did, right after he got half of Kevin’s chocolate cake.”  MeeMaw pulled strawberries from the icebox. 

“Let me guess... Strawberry and Custard Pie?”  Catherine snickered.

“You’re a smart thing alright...”  As they began to talk to each other.  Catherine followed her every instruction to the letter as they worked together. 

“When will you teach me magick?” as they began to make even more things. 

MeeMaw didn’t answer her as she watched Catherine fall into a natural rhythm.  “You’re doing it right now, the rest Kevin will teach you.  We only have a few short days before you’re going to leave here.  I’m sure Jerald wants Anne to go with you but I don’t think that is wise, so she’ll stay behind.”

“I’m doing it now?”  Catherine looked at the chicken sitting in the pan as she turned it.  “We’re leaving?”

“Yes, you’ll be going back to California to build your life together.  Yep, it’s called kitchen magick.  It’s special and the best kind.  You’ll build on your skills. ”

“Why is that?”  Catherine began to work on the other dish they were preparing.

“Cuz’ it hits ‘em right in the gut.  If my instincts are right, then right about now....”

Catherine jumped when the cabin door flew open.  “Where the hell have you been?  I have been looking all over the place for you!  You told me you were going to see my Mom!”

“Dinner is ready grandson, your favorite...  Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and...”

“Oh!  Strawberry Custard pie,” Kevin pulled a chair out and sat.  He was waiting to be served by the women.

Catherine cast a glance at MeeMaw, “This is a joke of some kind right?”

“No, it’s for real.  I’ll leave you two to eat,” MeeMaw grinned.

“No, I want you to stay with us.  This is your house,” Catherine, jumped up and served the elder first.  Quickly, she sat back down.

Kevin was stunned.  Things worked differently in Kentucky than they did in other places.

“Catherine?”

“My IQ is higher than yours so maybe I need to explain this to you.  I will never wait on you hand and foot.  I’m a woman, not a maid, nor your servant, and not your Mother.”

MeeMaw patted Catherine’s hand, “Good girl.”

Kevin casually grabbed for a leg of chicken and received a knuckle wrap with the heavy end of butter knife.  “You know what silverware is for?”

Kevin laughed out loud and heartily.  His world was going to be fine at least he hoped so.  MeeMaw liked Catherine and was beginning to teach her the basics all ready. If they could get over the hurdles they lay before them, they would be fine.

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This is a work of fiction.
The characters and events portrayed are fictitious.
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