Here it is, another long one. This comes right after the one last week.
I guess we were going to have that talk after all. Damn. I wasn’t ready for this, I didn’t know what to think after all we’d gone through. I didn’t know how I felt. I didn’t even know how to start talking about all we’d been through; which in a way is a place to start.
“I have a lot of questions I want to ask,” I began when the silence started to get uncomfortable and before she could interrupt me. “And there are probably twice as many that I should ask if I could only think of them. So let me start with one off the top of my head. Are you a were-cat?”
“No.” She shook her head as she laughed. In relief, I suspect. “I’m a shapeshifter. It’s an inherited talent, not a disease or a curse. Mum and da are both cats.”
“So. No meowing at the full moon?”
“No.” And for some reason it was her turn to blush. “But put enough Guinness in me and I’ve been known to strip naked and howl.”
“Oh really?” I grinned at the mental image her confession had raised. “I’d like to see that.”
“I’d say we could do it on the next full moon, but you might want to wait until the nights get a little warmer.” She paused for a while, being otherwise occupied with a knife and fork. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure,” I replied with a confidence I didn’t feel.
“I’ve always known I was a shifter. Did you always know you were a witch?”
“Me? A witch? I’m not.” Caitlin had shocked the ability to speak, or to even think in complete sentences right out of me.
“You’re not what?”
“A witch.” For some reason, the very thought terrified me, all out of proportion to what she’d just said. I couldn’t be a witch, I wasn’t a witch. But somehow I still had doubts, which made me ask. “Am I?”
“Uncle John and Aunt Laura both say that you are, and they’d know.” She shrugged, cutting her steak in two and giving me a piece, clearly running out of steam.
“I’m a witch?”
“Before we go any further, I should probably add that there are at least two groups in among those loosely called witches who actually deserve the name. The first are wicca, those who see it as a philosophy, or a craft, if you will.”
“And the second?”
“Also see wicca as a philosophy, and they also practice the craft. But they also perform magick.”
“And I’m guessing that since you thought I needed to know this that you think I belong in the second group?”
“Oh, I’d say that was a pretty safe bet.” She grinned as she looked around the room. “That’s some collection of plants you’ve got here. Amazingly healthy for January, wouldn’t you say?”
I looked around the room also, trying to see what she saw, and missing it completely. There were two large, lush African violets on the dresser, potted trees flanking the fireplace, and an assortment of herbs lining the mantle, all of them healthy and green. “They all look fine, what am I not seeing?”
“What you’re not seeing is how each of these plants was at death’s door when Mum gave them to Laura, who said that she wanted to try something, to see if they could be revived.”
“What did she do to get them so healthy?”
“She gave them to you.”
“Me? This can’t be anything I’ve done. I’ve only been here three days, she’s had them…”
“Five days, and they were only moved in here the day before you came. I know this because I helped her move them in. Let me ask you a question.”
She paused until I had given my agreement, which took a while with my hands full of buttered biscuit and trying not to drip honey on my new flannel sheets. The sheets had been one of my Christmas presents from Mum and Cor, sheets that just happened to match perfectly the duvet cover on the down comforter currently spread across our laps.
“How many plants do you have at home?”
“Have you ever had a really bad day, and had it all just fade away when you’re around plants—trees especially?”
“How did you know what to do when we were fighting those hounds?”
Again I stopped and stared at her, startled. “I didn’t… I don’t know… I think I need to talk to Dr. John and Laura.”
“I think we both do,” she agreed setting her fork down with a sigh. “Can I be there when you do?”
“I guess.” I shrugged, feeling completely out of my depth. “If I can be there with you.”
“You’re on,” Caitlin agreed readily. Giggling, she lay back down and wrapping her arms around her tummy, she said, “I can’t move. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten that much food at one time before.”
“I can see why Dr. John thought you needed it though,” I told her, pausing for a long stretch and a yawn. “I’m guessing that if you stay in your cat form for a long time you can’t eat enough for both the cat and the girl. Not enough calories for both metabolisms.”
“You could be right.” She looked at me, and I could see the light bulb going on. “I’d never thought about it. Of course, to be honest, this has never happened to me before. I usually don’t spend whole days in my cat form. It just never occurred to me.”
Caitlin had gotten up and placed her now empty tray on the desk, and mine on the dresser, and was now wandering around the room looking at everything. Her movements graceful and loose, like a cat when it feels safe to explore its world. Stopping to look at the books in the bookcase, she looked over at me with a grin, and I squirmed when I realized that I’d been watching her as she looked at everything: touching some things, and pulling some of the books off the shelves to read the backs before putting them back exactly where they came from.
“I’m sorry,” I mumbled into my blankets, not looking at her. “I’ll stop staring eventually. I just can’t get used to you here. I mean first you were Shadow, and that was amazing all by itself, but then she turned into you.” I looked up into her eyes, shrugging helplessly.
“Hey, I’m not complaining. I like watching you when you’re watching me. I can read every thought as it shows on your face.” The mattress shifted as she climbed back on the bed and wrapped herself around my back, brushing the hair out of my face so I could see her. “You can watch me whenever you want. What I was grinning about was your choice of books: exactly what I would have chosen for a young witch just coming into her powers.”
“Really?” I don’t know why I was so desperate not to be.
“Then I am?” It seems the only person I can lie to is me, and even then not for long. It was a losing battle. And deep down even I knew it.
“I think the past two days have pretty much proved it,” she answered the question I asked, and the fears I’d not voiced. “I think it’s totally cool. I get to watch a witch learn her craft. How awesome is that?” She sat back with her arms still around me so I could see her face and believe her.
Everything in my past told me not to trust her. But its hard to be afraid with a beautiful girl wrapped around you, holding you, and looking at you with that smile that makes you feel like you might actually be special to someone (other than say your mum and dad, or in my case Mum and Uncle Cormac).
“How much sleep do you think we got?” Caitlin asked, generously changing the subject to something I could actually face. Lying down, she did another one of those full body stretches that ended with a satisfyingly long yawn. “Why am I still so tired?”
“Cause we had a rather stressful night?” I suggested. “Why don’t we take a nap? Laura told me not to expect them for several hours, and to rest and take it easy this morning.” And cuddling back under the covers she was sound asleep before she had a chance to reply.
Watching her sleep, feeling the pull, I smiled content. I was safe, for now. I was happy. I was lying in bed with a beautiful girl I was beginning to have feelings for. For the first time in many years, I believed that things would only get better.
When I’m wrong, I am really, really wrong.
And boy was I wrong.
Construction Photos- Week 27
5 days ago