~The Celtic Wizard~
Catherine was in a panic all the way down the freeway. The aching throb in her head was only matched by her current dilemma. She somehow had to either ditch Kevin altogether so he didn’t see her place or figure something out, quickly. Her mind was making a ticking noise similar to a bomb.
Kevin sensed it and invaded her thoughts once again. Pulling into the reserved space in the parking lot, he turned off the engine. “Tell ya what, I’ll get this done and then I’ll stop by and pick up something to eat,” grinning as he said it. He had broken more rules today than he had in years.
“Excellent idea Kevin,” Catherine’s eyes grew large at the intended delay. He had saved her from having to figure something, anything out.
Jenna grabbed the headrests on the bucket seats and stuck her head between the couple. “Pizza?”
“Chinese,” Kevin and Catherine chimed at the same time. As they suddenly glanced at each other and laughed, “Great minds think alike,” he smiled.
“Whatever,” Jenna hopped out and opened Catherine’s door. “Come on Professor, let’s get you into your place.”
Kevin swung open the door, “I’ll help.”
A hand landed on his arm and he felt like sparks were shooting up to his shoulder. “We can manage,” Catherine spoke in haste.
Kevin nodded and shut the door. Waiting and watching in the parking lot until they entered the front of the building. Chuckling to himself, he listened to their conversation. Shifting the car in its set pattern and dropping his sunglasses back in place, he spoke to himself. “I like you Catherine and I love this car. I haven’t felt sparks in a long time. I wonder what this sucker does on the open road. I bet it would beat my Mom’s Jag.”
“Are you crazy?” Jenna sighed with exasperation at her teacher as they rode up in the elevator.
“Oh Jenna, I have a problem.”
“Yeah I’ll say you just blew off Kevin Richardson.”
The elevator door opened and Catherine hobbled to her door. “I have my reasons,” she heaved a sigh, as Jenna pushed the door open.
“Oh my God Professor,” Jenna surveyed the room and its contents. At least she thought the room had furniture.
“I know… What am I going to do?” Catherine was almost in hysterics realizing that the cleaning had really been altogether forgotten.
Jenna tip toed into the room, tossing the keys to what she thought was the counter and they fell to the floor. “My mother would kill me if I left a mess like this Professor.”
“I don’t live like this normally Jenna, its just that I’ve been so busy with you kids and my dissertation,” Catherine was now whining as Jena pulled the chair out from the kitchen table for Catherine to sit.
Jenna glanced into what she supposed was the Living room. All she saw were paper, pens, crumpled pieces of paper, and stacks upon stacks of books. Her eyebrows arched as she looked at Catherine, “Professor you live like a pig.”
Jenna’s hands made a wide sweeping motion. Catherine lowered her head, ashamed to admit that Jenna was right. “Not all the time…”
Jenna waited for Catherine to raise her head again. “You do understand that the neatest Backstreet Boy, who happens to have a compulsion for cleaning is coming back here.” Jenna mumbled as she picked at the mess on the table.
“I’ve heard that about him,” Catherine giggled. Beyond embarrassment now.
Jenna shook her head, “Got any trash bags?”
“Yes, why? They're over there, somewhere…”
“Cleaning Professor, cleaning, you should try it sometime.” Jenna headed for the spot where Catherine had pointed. She found the box buried under a mound of papers. “My brother use to have a lot of parties, I’m a pro at picking up a trashed house.”
“Jenna don’t call me Professor, just Catherine please.”
Jenna was plucking items off the table and dropping them into a bag. “Thanks Catherine but how about you just remember this when you do my grade.”
Catherine laughed; she had always had a fondness for Jenna. She was much more mature than the other students and much more like her. “Okay, but it won’t help.”
Steadying herself Catherine moved to stand. Jenna was next to her in a second, “What do you need?”
“I just want to get something to drink.”
“No, I’ll get it,” Jenna grabbed the handled on the fridge.
“No don’t!” Catherine yelled.
“God!” Jenna slammed the door shut. “Stuff is growing in there.”
“That is not funny Jenna,” Catherine pursed her lips together.
Jenna shook her head, “This is bad and we’re running out of time. It’s time to get serious.”
“I know so since I’m not exactly mobile. I’ll start washing dishes.”
“If you can find them,” Jenna snickered.
Forty-five minutes went by and some order had been put into the condo. After fifteen minutes of arguing with Catherine, they both decided that cheating this time was the only way. Jenna was like a whirlwind. Objects were stuffed in every available nook. Books were tossed into cupboards and under chairs, which were then discretely covered. Things were hidden in every possible place. Catherine protested loudly a few times saying she needed this or that handy. The trash had been sacked and Jenna ran it to the dumpster having made a few trips.
Jenna screamed as she went to the one bedroom It was Catherine’s bedroom. Then Catherine heard her laughing herself silly. Politely ignoring her when she returned even though her cheeks were now lightly stained pink. “So Catherine, have you ever heard of the Backstreet Boys?”
“Shut up Jenna,” Catherine’s cheeks became rosier.
“Does he know Nick is your favorite?” Jenna continued ignoring her.
“Jenna really,” Catherine laughed, as she watched Jenna retreat to the bedroom again.
Jenna was wiping the tears from her eyes as she gently rolled up the poster and placed in the closet. “Well Nick most guys come out of the closet, you’re going in.” She began laughing at her own twisted remark. Along with Nick went an entire wardrobe of dirty clothing. Spying a cat sitting on the bed she talked to him as she moved things around the room and stuffed things under the bed. Reaching to pet the cat, it hissed and swatted at her. “Hey nice cat,” she hissed back at it and it ran under the bed.
Retrieving the dirty dishes in the room, she brought them to Catherine. Jenna set them in the sink and began drying what had been washed. “I can like them too… I’m not that old. You didn’t try to pet Bert did you, he doesn’t like people. He hides when people come over.”
“Yes I did, that is one nasty cat. How old are you Catherine?” Jenna placed the dish in the cupboard.
“Twenty-four,” Catherine answered.
“That’s it, you’re only Twenty-four?”
“That’s all, but I feel Forty most days.”
“Neat, I should hook you up with my brother, you two are the same age.”
“No Jenna, I don’t date, I don’t have time for that nonsense.”
A soft rap on the door was heard by both of them. Jenna grinned, “Maybe, maybe not.”
Kevin stood in the door, arms laden with bags. Jenna was temporarily stunned. “A little hungry?” as she moved out of his way.
“I didn’t know what every one liked so I got a little of everything. I stopped at the grocery store too.”
Jenna smirked at him while Catherine frowned. “Cool,” Jenna grabbed some of the bags that were left in the hall.
While unpacking the groceries, Catherine became jittery. She watched without speaking aloud. Trying to understand how in the world he knew her cupboards were like Old Mother Hubbard’s.
“I hope you don’t mind Catherine, but I know that you won’t be getting out for awhile. Since we were responsible for what happened…” Kevin set dinner on the table.
“You weren’t responsible…”
“Ohhh, sweet and sour shrimp,” Jenna dived into the meal.
“Help yourself,” Kevin grinned. Eyeing Catherine casually as she filled her plate. She began to relax.
“Hey Kev, is Howie at your place?”
“Why would you want to know that Jenna?” Kevin grinned as he spooned some rice in his mouth.
“No special reason,” she giggled.
“Jenna don’t pester Kevin on the where-abouts of the boys,” Catherine frowned.
“Why not she likes D,” Kevin wrinkled up his nose and had a mischievous grin on his face. “Who do you like Catherine?”
Lowering her eyes, “Nobody.”
Jenna snickered but continued to eat.
“Oh really, I would say that you are Nick fan,” Kevin wiped his mouth and held the napkin there hiding his smile.
“Well maybe,” she had grim face on and shifted in her chair uncomfortably.
“I’m available Kev if D’s not,” Jenna laughed.
Kevin put on the father face, “You’re a little young dear.”
Catherine rolled her eyes at the two of them.
Jenna looked at Kevin and his serious face. The laugh lines around his eyes gave him away. “Worth a shot, “ she laughed. “See, you need someone with class, someone a little older than me."
Kevin nodded, “I do?”
“Yep, someone with smarts, cultured, intelligent…”
Catherine cleared here throat in annoyance. It was evident that Jenna was describing the young woman sitting across from her. Jenna turned towards her and then back to Kevin ignoring her. “Some one who makes an impression but is happy not being in the glare.”
“You’re right,” Kevin said as he listened to her. “You’re pretty perceptive for your age. Where did you learn that?”
“My dad is a cop. I want to do something in criminal justice but more than a detective.”
Catherine had been pushed out of the conversation and quietly ate. It was nice to be able to sit and listen instead of having to speak all the time. Her eyes trailed down the hall to see Bert coming towards the kitchen looking for his dinner. Great, just what I need, Bert to draw blood. Hesitantly she watched the cat go to Kevin’s feet and she winced when Bert sat there. The last thing she wanted was for Bert to engage his claws and climb up Kevin like a tree.
Without thought Kevin reached down and petted the cat. Bert sat waiting for more attention. Casually he began to wind around Kevin’s leg, rubbing his head all over him. “Nice cat,” Kevin grinned.
Jenna and Catherine were stunned as Bert laid down on the floor by Kevin’s feet purring and perfectly contented.
Gulping Catherine spoke, “He has his nice moments. I’ll admit they’re rare. You must be an animal lover.”
“All animals like me,” Kevin looked down at the cat. “Don’t ya.” A satisfied meow came from the animal.
“Weird, it’s sort of like he knows you or something,” Jenna looked at the cat that had hissed at her earlier.
“Somethin’ like that,” Kevin had to stop now and he knew it. The cat had a bad side but since he was the guardian of animals on both sides, the cat respected him and became tame.
A beeping horn, broke the silence.
“That’s my dad, I hate to eat and run, but I gotta to,” Jenna placed a hand on Kevin’s shoulder. “Nice meeting you Kev, hope we can do it again.”
“We will if you don’t tell anyone,” Kevin laughed as he watched the teenager grab her backpack and fly out the door.
This page © 2001 - 2007 Bronwyn
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is a work of fiction.
Used with Permission