tagRomanceKiss Me Cate Pt. 05

Kiss Me Cate Pt. 05


I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it.

I've had a long standing love of Irish lasses. Their eyes, complexion, smiles have always warmed my heart, and a few have broken it.

Constructive criticism as always is welcome in the comments, others will be dealt with in the usual manner.


"You know, we should spend the night in tonight."

"Oh, why is that?" I asked.

"Well between your parents for the weekend, and rushing to the airport and getting to Dublin on Monday, we're not going to have a lot of time to be, umm alone, for a while."

"I like the way you think. Not to worry on my parents behalf though, it's not as if they expect us to be in separate rooms with you bundled against impropriety." I said smiling.

"My parents won't be that bad. I'm not going to disagree with you that you staying elsewhere won't make them breathe a lot easier. Their biggest concern is where I'll be when I'm not at home."

"Even now? You're a world traveling professional business woman and college professor."

"It's a bit of a double-standard isn't it. No matter how old you are, you will always bet their little girl. If it gets to be too much I'll just stay with you and they'll have to deal with it." She reached over and took my hand from my lap and put it in hers gripping tightly. "I may decide to do that anyway."

We did end up staying home, did our best to clean out the fridge, dinner was an odd blend but neither of us cared. We treated it like a picnic. The next day was laundry and packing day, we each put together our case for Ireland and put a small bag together for my folks house since we'd be staying overnight. We went out for a pizza early in the evening.

"You're going to get me fat making me eat big meals all the time."

"I have a sure fire exercise plan to keep you burning calories."

Her eyes went wide and a grin spread across her face. "If it's the plan I think, I'm sure I'm going to like it." She set down her beer. "I've quizzed you endlessly about your family. What should I expect them to know about me?"

"What do you mean? What have I told them about you?" She nodded. I shrugged. "They know you're a brunette." I said tapping my chin thoughtfully. She raised that right eyebrow a little higher. "They know you're a professor at the university."

She leaned forward and put her head in her hands. "They probably think I'm some sort of wanton hussy preying on their innocent children."

"I told them you were formerly a French prostitute named Chloe. Oof!" I vowed to double check which shoes she was wearing next time I teased her like this. I thought rubbing my shin. I stopped laughing, and I could tell she wasn't mad at me because she still had a lop-sided grin on her face.

"They don't know you're Irish, like off the boat Irish." I said referring to her story when we met. "They don't realize that a trip to your parents is a seven hour flight from here. Based on what I hope to be positive reviews, she'll probably want to haul my dad there for a vacation next year. The truth is I told them you were a doctoral student and doing some lecture work as an adjunct professor... and that you have the most devastatingly beautiful blue eyes, and an adorable yet slightly lop-sided smile, and that you're tall enough to at least get a try out for a basketball team." Her smile widened. "We bumped into each other last summer and I spent countless hours crying myself to sleep because I didn't get your number at the time. As fate would have it," I couldn't help but smile at my choice of words, "I found you again the first day of school, and that we've been tearing up the sheets like porn stars ever since." I swung my legs out from under the table quickly and felt the breeze of a near miss at the other shin. "I mean that I told them that you and I were now living together." I smiled sweetly. She just rolled her eyes at me.

She was nervously twirling and shredding little bits of her napkin. "Relax, they really are going to love you."

"What about your brother?"

"Jimmy? If his girlfriend Pam is there he'll be a good boy. She keeps him on a tight leash. If she's not, then I'll protect you." I smiled. "What's the matter Cate?"

She sighed deeply. "I don't know. I just hope they like me."

I chuckled. "I'm going to have to beat them away from you with a stick. Dad's going to like you because I love you and he'll recognize that it's mutual pretty quickly." I said ticking off the points with my fingers. "My mother is going to be head over heels for you. You're a smart, successful, beautiful woman from a good background. What more could she want for her little boy."

"Despite being a retired French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet." She responded tartly, completing the movie quote.

"Despite that. Jimmy is going to love you because he has eyes, and you are drop-dead gorgeous. He has ears so he's going to quickly realize that you're smarter than he is, by a long shot. He unfortunately also has a mouth which isn't always connected to his brain, so he'll ruin the prior good points by being an idiot. Pam is cool, I don't know her very well. I've been away from home a few years and they have their own place. She'll probably be happy to have another girl to dish gossip and run to the ladies room with. Mom likes her so I guess that's good."

Our pizza arrived, and I asked for more napkins since I wasn't sure mine was going to survive.

"I think what's more nerve-racking is that it's the holidays so there's a lot of expectations."

I reached across the table and slowly drew the remnants of the shredded napkin from her fingers. "Eat, and relax. At least you've got it easy, my folks are mellow. You're the one with the giant cop for a father." I said exasperated. "It's noteworthy he's a dad with three daughters, so he probably keeps the gun loaded and ready every time any of you even brought up a guys name."

"He would not." She said offended. "He'd beat you to a pulp barehanded." She added with a grin. It was my turn to look wide-eyed. "Relax, you'll be fine." She added with a wink.

She was right, I just got a quick taste of what she was walking into tomorrow. A common language doesn't wipe away cultural differences.

We drove out to my parents on Friday afternoon, the plan was to stay until Sunday evening, Christmas day, come home and hit the sheets, and get to the airport early Monday. We're connecting through New York City and have a three hour layover and will get to Dublin on Tuesday early in the morning.

After haggling over the portion of Cate's wardrobe that wasn't packed I finally assured her that jeans would be fine for tonight. She fretted looking at what she hadn't packed and flipped hangers back and forth in the closet for a solid fifteen minutes. We had stopped and picked up wine on the way.

"Hi honey!" Mom called from somewhere in the house as I announced us at the doorway. I set the half case on the entry way table with a clink. Mom came out of the kitchen and stopped looking up smiling at Cate. "You weren't kidding she's tall. Hello Cate, I'm Jill." She said and opened her arms for a hug. I warned Cate that we're huggers so she wasn't surprised. She came at me right after.

"You have a lovely home Mrs. Butler."

"Jill, please." Mom looked at Cate a moment and cocked her head. "Are you from Canada Cate? Your accent sounds a bit like someone I knew from Nova Scotia."

"A little further east than that actually. I'm from Ireland, Dublin to be exact."

"Oh how delightful! I hope you don't mind me riddling you with questions this weekend. It's always been one of my dream vacations to go to Ireland."

"Not at all." Cate said with a smile and glanced at me with a knowing look.

"Where did Dad get to?"

"Oh I sent him off for last minute supplies, he's probably in a mile long line at the grocery store thinking of ways to get back at me for forgetting stuff this close to Christmas." She led us into the living room and waved to the chairs. "Have a seat please. Cate, Dylan assures me that you won't mind sharing his room. I assure you we don't mind either. If you'd like it to yourself though I can lock him in my office overnight. There's a fold out couch in there."

Cate's cheeks pinked slightly. "No I won't mind at all, though the thought of keeping him under lock and key for the night has its appeal too."

"We've been here less than ten minutes and you're already breeding conspiracies against me. Thanks Mom."

"I know you're teasing," I said to Cate, "otherwise I'd make you walk to the airport on Monday."

"Oh my gosh!" Mom slapped a hand over her mouth. "You said you were going to Cate's parents, I didn't even stop to realize until just now that means you're going to Ireland!" She started tapping her feet like an excited child. "I envy you so much Dylan."

"Told you." I said with a laugh looking at Cate.

"Jimmy and Pam should be here close to dinner. He had to finish up some work since they're closing the office for the week. I guess he's got a lot of work coming up at the beginning of the month. I hope you don't mind, we're going to be very casual tonight, the less work the better. I'm saving myself for tomorrow and Sunday. We're just doing soup and sandwiches, and such."

"That's fine Mom, you know me, I'll eat anything if it isn't moving too fast."

"I wasn't talking to you." She waved me off.

"That sounds wonderful." Cate replied to her. "We've been eating some strange meals the last few days in an effort to clean out the refrigerator before we leave."

"The strawberry and dill pickle omelettes you made were delicious."

Cate blushed furiously. "Oh my God. It was a cheese omelette and there were sliced strawberries on the side, and you're the one that started eating pickles from the jar!" She turned to Mom. "I may not be a great cook but I know better than that!"

Mom was in stitches. "Don't worry Cate, I consider the source, and I rarely believe what he says anyway."

"Mom." I said gravely. "Please tell me you made them this year."

"Of course I did. What would Christmas Eve be without them." She said grinning. "Cate do you have any food allergies I should know about?" Cate shook her head.

"Thank you Lord." I said looking upward and clasped my hands together.

"He's talking about the pork pies. Though you wouldn't know it from the boys and their fathers names, but they're not all Irish, they've got a little French Canadian in them too. It's an old family tradition to make them for Christmas Eve. The boys can't get enough of them, but the amount of work that goes into them means I keep it a Christmas tradition." Mom said with a laugh.

"Go get your things and get settled. Cate, come into the kitchen and we'll get some refreshments started."

I did as I was bade and hauled in our bags and the box of gifts we'd brought. My bedroom had been freshly dusted and vacuumed, there looked to be new sheets on the bed. I hung up the garment bag and set the bags on the end of the bed. I peeked into the shared bath between Jimmy's room and mine and it was spotless and had a pile of fresh towels on the counter. Mom had been busy. I came down the stairs and turned towards the kitchen and stopped.

"I was clueless. I thought he meant the weather was hot." Cate was telling the story of our first meeting. I smiled and kept walking. Cate was sitting at the end of the counter on one of the stools with a wine glass in front of her. Mom was chopping vegetables and dropping them in the pot as she went.

"That's so funny and quite romantic."

"Dylan, you didn't tell me your mother was a law professor."

"Well I wouldn't call myself a professor," Mom cut in, "I teach at the community college, criminal justice courses, you know for police officers and such. Thanks to all the crime TV shows, everybody wants to be a crime scene investigator these days and it's too bad because there isn't as much work as people think there is in that field, and it's hardly as glamorous as the shows make it out to be. Everybody has a video camera in their pocket these days, half the crime is caught on video so there's really little investigating necessary. Stick to what you're in, so much of the crime going on these days is done with a computer that it's easier to rob a bank with a laptop than it is with a gun."

"That's what we're trying to guard against." I said. "Well that and making sure your soup recipe isn't hijacked from your tablet." I poured myself a glass of wine and joined them. "Need a hand?"

"Nope, I had to threaten Cate with a spoon to get her to sit down and relax."

"She did." Cate said grinning.

"Mom, you know there are laws against criminal threatening, shame on you." I laughed.

"If you'll notice, you're on the other side of the counter. You know well enough to keep clear when I'm cooking. See Cate, he is trainable, it may take some repeating but eventually it will sink in."

"Train me for what?" I said clueless.

"There's nothing I need to train him for, he's a wonderful gentleman. I guess I have you to thank for that."

"I don't know about that." Mom laughed. "I guess miracles do happen."

"Hey! Give me some credit!"

"Go help your father with the bags."

"He's not even here..." A car door slammed outside the kitchen door. Mom just gave me a look. "I still don't know how you do that." She just grinned and pointed at the door with the spoon she was stirring the pot with. Cate covered her mouth, the grin completely visible.

"Smart boy, unfortunately he doesn't realize there are a lot of other smart people in the world. We use one of those location apps on our phones, my phone vibrated when he pulled into the driveway." She said to Cate who began laughing. "Don't give away my secret, he thinks I'm some sort of psychic."

"No I missed the game this week. Something came up." I said as I closed the door behind me. Dad put his burden on the counter.

"You must be Cate! I'm Brian this rascals dad." He said walking over to where she now stood. She got a hug and buss on the cheek.

"It's nice to finally meet the man responsible for this rake's good looks and charm."

Dad busted out laughing. "That's right, he gets all his best traits from me, the bad ones he gets from his mother. Oww!" Mom pinched him in the side.

"You, keep stirring that so it doesn't burn while I put this away and harass your father about what he forgot." She said to me. A few minutes of small talk went by. "Add that garlic sweety, it should be time." She said putting more into the already full refrigerator. "Spread that little container of spices around now. Once they're blended in pour that pitcher of stock in and the beans." She was putting up a few boxes in a cupboard. "Put the lid on and turn it down to low."

"See, I'm a master chef." I said to Cate.

"Well it's no strawberry, dill pickle omelette, but I'm sure it's going to be wonderful." I caught Dad's expression out of the corner of my eye and laughed.

"Don't look at me, that was her concoction."

"Don't listen to them Cate, they'll go on like this for an hour." Mom said.

"Reminds me of a peanut butter, olive spread I made once, it was delicious with a little sauerkraut on it." Dad said.

"We'd better stop before none of us have an appetite. There's too much food in here." Mom ordered Cate to wash up, she had work for her now. Cate jumped like she was used to the bark of a drill sergeant.

"See, she knows how to move. I'm guessing you're from a large family Cate?"

"Three girls, and my mother was no different. When she said jump, she didn't expect us to even ask how high, we'd better already be in the air." She laughed.

"It's the best way to keep an unruly mob in line." Mom said handing her a couple platters with instructions on how she wanted everything laid out. Cate began building plates with meats and cheeses. Mom kept the bustle going as a buffet formed on the kitchen island. "Give that a few stirs Dylan so it doesn't stick."

The phone rang and Mom grabbed it and stepped around the doorway to cut down the noise from the kitchen. "Oh no, that's probably for the best then. We'll see you in the morning. No, no I sent your father out for everything I needed. Yes, he's fine, sitting there with a beer and a silly grin on his face." She paused. "Yes she's here, no Dylan wasn't lying that he had a girlfriend." She sighed. "Yes, he was being honest, she's smart, gorgeous, funny and as tall as a runway model. Tell Pam about her and she won't let you come. Yes, he is a lucky guy." I looked at Cate who was still laying out plates, the tell-tale rosy cheeks and the pursed lips from trying to withhold a smile, told me that she'd heard.

Mom came back around the corner and hung up the phone after signing off. "That was your brother. He's still stuck at work and the weather has turned bad over near them so they're going to come tomorrow morning. We can eat when you guys ready." Mom finished off the soup a few additions. We proceeded to make our way around the island building plates and sitting at the table. She brought the soup over and ladled out bowls for everyone. Dad opened one of the bottles of wine I'd brought along.

"This is more food than I've seen since you made me that huge breakfast last month Dylan." Cate said laughing and related the story of her being sick with the flu. "He showed up the next day like he'd robbed a butcher's shop. He'd looked up Irish breakfasts online and brought everything he saw. "I guess he thought the only way to keep me in bed was to make sure I couldn't stand up from eating so much."

"It worked too." I said grinning. "Well that and the chicken soup."

Dad had inquired into how she came to be here in the U.S. Cate and I had talked before hand and we weren't going into details about how she lost her job there and what had happened in the past few weeks at school.

"Luckily the head-hunter that got me into the job had negotiated a contracted exit and I got paid an additional three months salary for their breach of contract. I guess they've been through things like this before even though I hadn't. So that gave me a little nest egg to look around. I didn't want to go back to London at that point. I felt that I wasn't going to let it beat me and I talked to them and they helped me get my teaching certification here. I'd done some student lecturing at my university in Dublin. They helped with the American equivalents. I took a few workshops over the summer and got certified here in New York."

My folks were smart people, and if they knew that I was originally one of Cate's students, and we were now seeing one another, things had happened. They were also considerate enough not to inquire about it. They knew we'd met before school started and that it was an awkward situation we ended up in and worked out on our own. Beyond stuffed we helped clean up and Mom presented a small lemon cake she'd made earlier that day.

"Oh my that looks delicious but I'm so stuffed."

"We can wait a bit before cutting into it." Mom said. "Would you like coffee?"

We both opted to stick with the wine. We migrated to the living room with the fireplace and huge Christmas tree lit with twinkling lights. "Looks like Santa has already been here." Dad said looking at the addition of gifts under the tree.

Cate goggled at the site of a stocking hanging from the mantle with her name on it. "Where did that come from?" She asked smiling. I just shrugged. Mom smiled knowing full well it wasn't there before I went out to the car and brought our things in.

"I guess Father Christmas knew you were going to be here." I winked.

"You'll have to give him this for me then." She said giving me a kiss on the cheek.

"That's where I should have put the mistletoe." Dad said grinning.

"Join in, I highly recommend it." Cate said. Dad went to step around Mom and she grabbed him by the arm.

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