~The Celtic Wizard~

Chapter 50 

A.J. opened the door in time for Jenna to barrel by him and down the hall.  Shaking his head, he waited; she would be back.

“Hey now!”  Kevin bellowed. 

Jenna dashed back to A.J. with a bashful grin on her face.  “Ooops,” she giggled.

A.J. was about to ask just what she saw when a tall man loomed in the door.  “Mr. McLean, it’s nice to meet you.  I’m Detective Williams, Jenna’s father.  I’ll be doing some security tonight for Mr. Richardson.”  The man was speaking to A.J. but in the same token, he was admonishing his daughter for her behavior.

Kevin came from the back of the house with his shirttails hanging out from his white dress shirt, his belt hung, unbuckled.  He was buttoning the cuffs as he approached his own front door.  Extending his hand to Detective Williams, Kevin looked a Jenna as her face reddened.  “You should knock young lady before you enter my bedroom.”

A hand firmly placed on her shoulder made Jenna look towards her father, he was smiling but very serious.  “I better not ever catch my daughter sneaking into any boy’s…” he stopped and looked at the men coming up behind him in the driveway and thought about the people standing there…  “Man’s bedroom.”

“God Daddy,” Jenna groaned as Kevin and A.J. laughed.

“Go on,” Kevin gave her the signal to go back and see Catherine.  They watched her run through the house once more, in heels no less.  “Keep a tight rein on that one Sir, I think she could be a handful.”

“Think?  I know she is.”  The man shook his head as he searched for the one person that he had spoken with that had been associated with the group.  Carlos came in the door and the man let out an audible acknowledgement.

“Hello Sir,” Carlos stuck his hand out for the obligatory handshake.  “You’ve met Kevin before.  This is A.J. here.  Brian, Nick, and Howie are there, there, and there.”  The detective’s eyes followed Carlos’s finger.

Detective Williams glanced from one to another.  Then his eyes settled towards the back of the house where a willowy blonde now stood.  “Hello Professor Miller,” he walked towards her.  He wanted to see the woman that his daughter had befriended.  The woman that six men seemed to be protecting as best they could. 

“It’s nice to finally meet you,” she offered her hand.

“We’ve met, remember when you and Jenna we’re breaking into this house.”  The detective could see a youthfulness to the young woman, yet maturity in the same hand.

Jenna was outright laughing as Catherine’s face glowed red.

“Just a misunderstanding Sir,” Kevin joined the party of four.

All eyes were resting on Catherine.  Nick’s mouth was hanging open as he openly stared at her.  He couldn’t figure out what she was wearing.  All the guys were gaping; Nick was the only one to actually speak his thoughts.  “You look like a hooker.”

Catherine clamped her jaw shut and locked her eyes on Kevin’s form. 

“That is what I said, but she wanted to wear it,” Jenna joined Nick in the fashion assessment.  “It’s hideous but the engagement ring is beautiful.  Very nice Kevin, very nice.”

Catherine left all of them standing, staring at the spot where she once stood.  She was embarrassed and felt cheap and crass in the dress.

Kevin was right behind her before the door closed.  His hand wrapped around the door before she could slam it shut.  “Chill, we can fix this.  I went overboard.”

Kevin instructed her to close her eyes and she did.  He turned back as he searched through the clothes he had bought her today.  There was a similar dress to the one she had on but the design was more tasteful.  It landed just above the knee and the neckline was not cut as low.

Catherine could feel it, of all times now.  What was she going to do?  There was no way to fight off this feeling.  Closing her eyes, she bit her lip and held off the tears, this was going all wrong.  The fear was making her want to vomit.

A hand on her stomach, made her relax.  Then she felt the tightness leave along with the queasiness, and the tension.  Opening her eyes, she faced Kevin.  “Did you just do what I think you did?”

“What do you think I did?”  Kevin smirked.

Catherine stood blinking at him; she didn’t want to say it. 

Kevin let out a long sigh as held up the other dress that was similar in shade, but more along the lines of sexy than trashy.  “I command all things natural,” he grinned.

Catherine was going to ignore what he had done.  She had felt that feeling before, when she had hurt her ankle.  First the sensation of electricity traveling about her body, then a sudden surge followed by calmness.  

Kevin handed her the dress.  Going to the dresser, he pulled the new silver chain from the box.  “Take off your amulet,” Kevin motioned for her to turn around.  His fingers went to the knot but she stopped him.

“You told me never to take it off.  Even if you asked.”  Catherine smiled in the mirror.  Her hair was elegantly done in a chignon.  Blue sapphires drops hung from her earlobes, they matched her ring of silver and her amulet.  They were in her jewelry box for years but she had never worn them.  It was a gift long ago from her parents.

“Very funny Sweet Thing,” his hands gracefully unknotted the leather string.  Slipping the amulet off, he then placed it on the chain. 

Catherine dropped her head forward as Kevin placed the necklace around her neck and hooked the clasp.  She wasn’t prepared for his heated breath and lips to be pressed against the nape of her neck.

Her eyes darted to the mirror and she felt more of the same kisses that made her close her eyes and moan.

“I hope I hear more of that later and much louder.”  Kevin kissed her cheek as she watched him in the mirror.  Promptly he walked out of the room, leaving her slightly dazed and wishing that he hadn’t left.      

The charity award dinner attracted a huge amount of press.  The red carpet had been rolled out for the celebrities and stars.  Catherine wanted to run up the carpet after being pulled from the limousine by Kevin.  Catherine squeezed his hand tightly and looked behind them to see Jenna being towed out of the limo by Nick. 

Kevin stopped and waited for them to catch up.  “I don’t want to do this, I like Howie.”  Jenna smiled at Nick but her nails were digging into his hand.

Nick turned on his boyish charm.  “Catherine liked me and look what she ended up.  The horned one or is that…  ”

Catherine shook her head at the two.  “Don’t worry Jenna, you’re much more mature than Nicky.”

“Don’t be startin’ in on that…”

“Let’s go children…”   Carlos pointed to Detective Williams who was at the door and waiting.   Flash bulbs popped and blinded them as they made their way up the red carpet.  At one point Kevin stopped and did an interview.  Catherine’s hand was resting in his as he brought her hand to his mouth and kissed her fingertips.  That was all the paparazzi needed to see was the ring on her finger.  The round of bright flashes fired again.

Finally Kevin gave them an answer, “She’s my lady, my friend, my fiancée.”  The words came out easily for him and now it was on the record.  He had only hoped that he had hit his targeted audience. 

Jenna and Catherine were ushered to their seats as the boys were shown to a dressing room.  They were the second act to perform this evening.  After the performance, they would change back into their attire, and join the girls and Detective Williams. 

Catherine was fidgeting in her seat until Jenna spoke to her, “You need to calm down.”

“I can’t, I have this terrible feeling that something is going to happen to one of them.”  Catherine searched the crowd around them for a familiar face.  She couldn’t find one as the  Boys took the stage. 

Jenna had a huge smile plastered on her face as she watched the group perform.  She had never seen a live show.  Even her dad was tapping his foot to the beat of the music.  “See Daddy, they’re nice guys.”

“Yes they’re nice….  Strange, but nice,” he smiled.  This was not the time or the place to let his guard down.  Not only was he protecting a high profile client, he was protecting his daughter as well.  It had taken a couple of days to get the entire story out of Carlos as well as Jenna.

Catherine was sure that she would be the only one that would have noticed Angie’s behavior beyond the dancers on the stage.  She looked over the crowd again looking for Kevin’s dance instructor, Ms. Robinson.  Angie was intentionally trying to trip or hurt Kevin.  She also seemed to venture a little to close to Nick at times.  Catherine was shaking her head back and forth as  Angie came very close to kicking Kevin in the leg.  The routine called for a turn and toss maneuver next.  If Angie wasn’t careful, she would be tossed right into the crowd that was viewing the stage. 

Fatima appeared off to the side of the stage.  Once Angie saw her, she performed as she had been hired to do so. 

Impatiently, Catherine waited for Kevin to come back.  Shifting her weight from one side to the other until they finally rejoined them.  “Where have you been?”

“Angie had an accident coming off the stage.  She tripped, we wanted to make sure she was okay.”  Kevin took his seat and casually rested his hand on her exposed knee. 

His hand bounced up and down on her leg.  There was more to this than what was being said.  She looked down the row of men to see A.J. and Nick snickering.  “You didn’t do anything did you?” she whispered.  “Harm none.”

“Nooo,” Nick shook his head.  “It was unfortunate that she just tripped over my foot as she tried to smash that damn high heel into it.”

“Nick!”  Catherine scolded him.

“Hey, it’s only a sprain.  Kevin fixed her just like he fixed your broken ankle.”  Nick squished his eyes shut and muttered,  “Shit… Shit….”

Kevin’s stare was frozen to the stage in front of him.  His hands now casually folded together.  Leaning forward in his seat, he turned his head to look down the row of men to see Nick.  Nick’s head was backed up in his seat so Kevin wouldn’t see him.  “I don’t need to see you to know that you are down there.  We will talk later about your big mouth.”

Nick groaned loud enough that the row in back of them heard him.

“You truly are a strange, well knit group.”  The detective smiled, his smiled waned quickly when he saw a face in the crowd. 

All of them continued to be on edge.  All they wanted was the ceremony to be over with.  Plans had been made to attend a reception afterwards.  The venue would be smaller and less public.  Right now all Kevin wanted was a good stiff drink in his hand.  

The auditorium emptied quickly as guests exited to the back of the theatre.  Success had been the theme of the night for the group.  They snuck out the back to a waiting limo and were swept to the reception.

Entering the party, they were not as successful in avoiding the press.  Kevin had called the woman his fiancée, that was news to readers, and now they were at the door asking more questions.

Kevin pulled Catherine roughly as her hand was trapped in his.  When she stopped moving, he twisted back to look at her, she was frowning at him.  “I’m sorry, I just want to get inside.”  Slowing his pace, he walked with her with a more natural stride.

Inside, all of them gave the impression that they were relaxed.  Kevin was, Catherine wasn’t.  Kevin worked the room and never let her hand go.  He introduced her to everyone as his intended bride. 

“Kevin, I need a drink.”  She pulled away but he didn’t let go.  She stopped to pry her hand loose, with little success.  Kevin was speaking to a man named David LaChapelle.  “Just a minute baby, I’ll get you something.”

Catherine focused on the floor to quell the little streak of anger that was growing in her.  Nick stepped up next to her with Jenna.  Nick tugged on Kevin’s arm and Kevin let go.  Offering her an arm, Nick escorted both women to the bar.

“Thank You,” Catherine sipped her wine.  “How did you do that?”

“Ahhh, I used to drive him nuts when he took me places when I was kid.  Now when I tug on his sleeve, he just automatically lets go.”  Nick laughed as the old memories flashed through his head.  “He lost me once at Sea World.  My Mom and Lou wanted to kill him.”

Catherine began to feel relaxed again.  This was the Nick that she liked and called a friend.  “Who is Lou?”

“You’re kidding?”  Jenna was shocked.

“No I’m not.  Who is Lou?”  Catherine stood and listened to the history of Backstreet from day one.  So engrossed in the conversation, that the group eventually included everyone but Jenna’s father and Carlos.  Finding a table, they continued the conversation.  Brian, who went in search of Kevin or Carlos, finally noticing their absence.

A silver haired man went unnoticed in the crowd of Hollywood types.  “Yes my love, you drink and enjoy, it’s your last party.  Soon your life will end.  You have defied me for the last time.  He has tainted you and taken what is mine.  Cernernnos thinks that he has won by placing a sapphire and diamond trinket on your finger.  Kevin knows how to play the game and he knows that a simple bauble is not enough to keep me away.  Drink lovers, for tonight will be your last.  You are not mine and you will not be his.”





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