tagRomanceKiss Me Cate Pt. 03

Kiss Me Cate Pt. 03

byMember389©

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.


*****

The next morning before class my phone rang.

"The little shit did it. He filed a complaint, I know it." Cate said before I could even say, "good morning."

"Chad?"

"I got a call this morning asking me to stop by human resources after my last class. They didn't want to tell me why over the phone."

"Do you want me to make a call to my mother to see if she knows an available lawyer?"

"No, not yet. I'm panicky but not that panicky yet. I'm scared. I guess I'd better brush up the resume and start searching quickly."

"Well there are a lot of colleges around here." I said hoping I sounded helpful. "Take a long deep breath and let it out. Proceed as normal, I'm curious to see how Chad will act during class. I would think they'd want to have both of you there at the same time."

She seemed sufficiently bolstered for the time being.

I went to my first class, and breezed through it without paying much attention. I went to Cate's office before class to see how she was holding up and she wasn't there. I was curious but not concerned, and went to class. She was sitting at the desk in the classroom furiously typing away on her laptop, the projector off.

"Just be aware that they do follow up on leads, don't tell them about the time you stopped the biggest virus outbreak in Europe single-handedly." I whispered to her across her desk. Her eyes snapped up, and then looked quickly past me to where Chad usually sat. I looked over my shoulder to find an empty seat.

"How can I help you Dylan?" She said coolly. Her eyes were ablaze with anxiety and fear, her face pale even in the flat bluish glow of the overhead fluorescent lights.

In as normal a voice as I could muster without it sounding like a bad job of acting I asked. "I just wanted to know if you needed me today. I'm sure you'll get a lot of work in due to the long weekend."

"Thank you Dylan, but not today, I have an appointment after class. See me tomorrow though I'm sure I'll have plenty for you to go over." She had a wooden smile, and still looked frightened.

I mouthed the words. "You will be fine, call me." Then turned to my seat acknowledging that she didn't need me at the moment.

The day wore on. Chad never showed up, and I hadn't lingered after class to find out what was happening. I had checked my phone about ten times as I moved on to my last class of the day. There was still no news. I made it home around four and sat around for a few minutes stewing to find out what happened. I decided to text Cate, but with something innocuous to see if she would respond.

"Let me know if there's any code you'd like me to go over, or assignments to grade." I hit send and waited. Dinner time had come and gone and I still hadn't heard from her, and I was starting to worry that she wasn't going to contact me at all. I couldn't help myself, after two hours I was losing my mind with worry. "Cate, is there anything wrong?" I hit send on the text and hoped. Fifteen minutes went by with no response. "Cate I'm coming over."

"Please don't." She'd replied almost immediately. I pictured her sitting on the sofa staring at her phone.

"What is it? What happened?" The silence was driving me crazy. I wanted to go there so badly and hold her, and I knew she wanted it too. It was all I could do to stop myself and adhere to what I knew were her wishes. I gave up and went to bed early. Sleep didn't come easily.

The next morning dawned low and gray. We'd have snow before the day was over. I showered and got ready for class and made a decision and sat down at my computer and didn't hesitate to go through with it. I arrived at my first lecture an hour later, and didn't pay much attention as it was mostly review material. When I got to Cate's class she wasn't there. I skipped out and went down the hall to her office and it was locked. I was scared to look up, but her name plaque was still there. I went back to the classroom and took my seat.

"Mister Butler?" I heard from behind me.

"Yes?" I said turning. The department head, Professor Howe, stood in the doorway and motioned to me to come speak with him.

"Mister Butler," he began as we stepped away from the door, "I would like to ask a favor of you. Miss Murray is unable to take this class today and has asked me to inquire if you would be able to give the lecture. She has the highest esteem for your ability, as do I. She stated the material is available on the class server." I just nodded.

"What's happened to her? Is she alright?"

"She's quite alright I assure you, other than that I can't really go into it I'm afraid. Thank you for doing this for her." He patted me on the arm and turned and went towards his office.

I gave the lecture and fielded some questions and realized at some point that once again Chad wasn't in class. Once class was over I packed up quickly and nodded to a few of others in class. I didn't hesitate and headed to her office again, only to find it still locked. I went around the corner and looked for Professor Howe's office and he wasn't in his either. It was lunch time so I decided to find something to eat and try to relax and hope nothing drastic was happening to Cate. The afternoon proved no more fruitful in determining what was happening. Cate didn't respond to a text I'd sent and it was nearing four. I know she didn't want me to but I stopped by her place around five to see if she was home, all the windows were dark. I pulled up the street and turned off the ignition and waited to see if she would come home. I felt like a stalker, but the complete blackout was making me very nervous. I only waited about thirty minutes before I spotted a large sedan pull up and stop in front of the house. A few minutes went by and Cate got out of the passenger door turned and spoke to the driver and then closed the door. The car stayed while she went inside and her light came on upstairs before driving slowly past. I didn't get a look at the driver in the dark.

Was that it? Was there someone else? I couldn't believe that after the weekend we'd just had together. I waited a few more minutes and slowly moved up to the building and parked, I looked around to make sure nobody else was watching. I went up the stairs quietly and knocked on the door. I waited for a minute with no answer and knocked a little louder. I heard some rustling and the peephole went dark for a moment then the door opened. Cate ogled me openly.

"Dylan, what are you doing here?" She looked past me to make sure nobody else was around.

"What is going on Cate?" I asked desperately. "I've been going nuts all day."

She grabbed me by the jacket and hauled me in closing the door quickly behind her, just short of a slam.

"I thought we had a deal. We're on very thin ice Dylan and I don't want any more trouble."

It was my turn to stare open-mouthed. "Deal? I'm worrying all day that something has happened to you and you're worried about our deal?!"

"Very much Dylan!" She swung around and walked to the kitchen hugging herself tightly. "I can't say much because there is a gag order, that's what they called it, on the case. Let's just say they took my complaint far more seriously than I'd first realized. An investigation was launched and they'd determined that this was not Chad's first offense. Due to the gag order I can't say what else happened, but Chad is no longer a student at the university."

"What about you? What happened to you?"

"Nothing yet surprisingly, but I must be more careful from here on out."

I knew what she meant, and my being here wasn't helping matters. I couldn't wait until the semester was over and we could get past this mess. "I'm sorry. I'll go."

"Dylan!" She turned and launched herself into my arms. "It's not about us, but this is still very dangerous for me. Nothing has changed." She kissed me deeply. I felt like a drowning victim getting his first breath of air and held onto her tightly. I didn't hear the glass shatter at first, but felt her falling, pulling me with her. We hit the floor together and I felt her hand come up and cover my mouth.

"Are you alright?: She whispered in my ear.

"Yes. What was that?" We looked around and saw the window on the street side was shattered, shards of glass twinkled in the light. Cate scrambled towards the lights and turned them off. She crawled back over to me and laid next to me watching the windows.

"I'd say that our Mister Andrews got notification he's no longer allowed on campus without security so that he can clean out his things." I heard a loud thump.

"Is he shooting at us?"

"Possibly, I don't see a rock or anything on the floor, at that angle there should be a hole in the ceiling where the round hit though. There was another thump. "Does he know your car?" Cate asked.

"I'm not sure, I don't think he would have any reason to."

"Good then he may not be aware you're here."

I began to crawl towards the window and Cate grabbed at me trying to pull me back. I shook her hand free and moved towards the window and waited next to it for a few minutes. The thumps had stopped. I braved a look out of the corner of the window and didn't see anything in the darkness. The light from the streetlamp wasn't very bright in front of the house. I ducked down and moved gingerly over to the broken window, doing my best to avoid the broken glass.

"Stay down." She whispered harshly. I looked through the wreckage as best as I could and put my hand on a rock.

"I found a rock. He may not have a gun."

"He may still, and just be trying to get us to pop up so he can use it."

"I'm calling the police." I said.

"Dylan, if you do that then it will be on record that you were here."

"What do we do then, sit here like ducks waiting for him to make another move?"

"Close the curtains, once they're closed we'll push the chair against them to keep them flapping in the breeze. Where is your car?"

"Downstairs, I'm in front of the house."

"Shit."

"Okay give me a minute. Please stay down Dylan and listen for anybody on the stairs." I heard her crawling around and she went into the bedroom and crawled back a few minutes after. "We need to get out of here." She slithered to where her coat was and tugged her purse down to the floor as well. She handed me her bag, the one she had used on our weekend and motioned me to follow her. She made it to the door and listened and reached up and opened it slowly. She looked out and pushed it closed again. She got close and whispered in my ear. "Do you have electronic door locks?"

"Yes."

"When we go down the stairs, stay very low, as we get to the bottom, pop the doors and go, don't stop to look around. I'll get in the back on the same side so as to not expose myself any more than necessary. Once we're in lock them immediately and get us out of here." I was scared, but with Cate's confident attitude I felt that things were going to be okay. I nodded and she opened the door again slowly and crawled out onto the landing, and getting up into a crouch. Once I was out she put her key in the door and locked it and we made our way down the stairs quietly. We got to the downstairs door and I unlocked the doors, hearing the click. Knowing the sound could alert him to our presence and intention, I opened the door and bolted for the car. I dove in and I heard the back door slam.

"Are you in?"

"Get us out of here!" She called out from the back. I did just that driving like I'd stolen the car. "Go somewhere where we'll find a lot of people. If he's angry he won't do anything stupid with witnesses, if he's crazy there's little we can do."

I turned and drove down to a retail district and pulled into a shopping center parking lot which was somewhat busy. I pulled into a parking space beneath a light and parked. Cate came around and sat in the front seat, her hair was mussed up and she pushed a lock behind her ear.

"That was some pretty fast thinking for a school teacher." I said with a short laugh. "This happen a lot where you're from?"

"No, not at all, but when your father is an Army veteran and a policeman you learn a few things." She didn't smile, she just stared out the windshield for a few minutes. "Da was in the Army during The Troubles in Belfast. He taught us a few things."

"Do you think this is an isolated incident? I mean do you think he'll move on?"

"Dylan, can I have your confidence on something?"

"Of course."

"Truth is that he's not only done this before, but he attacked someone. It wasn't listed in the police report as rape but it was likely still the intent. It was listed as simple assault. His father is well off enough to get good lawyers it would seem. He has also had several run ins with women on campus. I'm not supposed to talk about it because of the lawyers demands and the schools desire to keep it out of the papers. They'd had their fill though, I was the third complaint in two years and they've asked him to leave." She was still looking out the windshield when I felt her hand on my leg looking for my hand. I took her hand and she nearly crushed mine in hers.

I backed out of the space, keeping an eye out for followers and drove out of the city and into the suburbs finding a restaurant still open. Kate had placed a call to her landlord leaving him a message about the broken window.

"I'm not really hungry at the moment." She said a smile finally played across her lips.

"Well since I haven't really been able to eat since yesterday I figured I'd get something." I said.

"You've had plenty of opportunity to eat since yesterday."

"I've had opportunity, but lacked willingness since you went into radio silence on me." Her eyes opened a little wider and she turned.

"I'm so sorry Dylan, I didn't want to get you involved, and then everything else happened today.." She hung her head and I noticed a tear running down her cheek.

"How quickly you forget what I said. It's not you alone or me alone, it's us." I said squeezing her hand. She looked up at me then and I leaned forward and kissed her. She reached her arms around my neck as best as she could in the cramped seat and squeezed.

"I could use a beer." She said unlocked the door and got out.

We ordered a couple beers and some appetizers to at least have something to nibble on.

"What do we do now? All of my instincts say to call the police but we don't know that it was him, and what's the worst that happens, he gets slapped with a minor charge for breaking a window."

"That and if I want to I can put a restraining order on him if that were the case, but a lot of good that would do. If someone is willing to break the law, a piece of paper telling him not to do it is hardly incentive."

"Not to worry, you're not going back there tonight."

"I'm not? Where do you suppose I'll sleep then?"

"You think you're going to sleep well tonight?"

She frowned. "No, not likely."

I began ticking off a list on my fingers. "He knows your full name, if that was him, he knows your address. He may know that you don't have a car and rely on public transportation which leaves you too vulnerable. I'll fix that."

She grinned. "You're going to buy me a car?"

"No, I'm going to become your chauffeur."

Cate rolled her eyes at me. "You don't have the time for that. I'll be fine as soon as he moves on. He's not from around here so hopefully he goes home soon."

"Don't underestimate the male capacity for stupidity."

"That's one thing I never do." She said laughing.

"Hey now!" I said sounding injured.

We nibbled away on the food when it arrived and ordered a another round.

"Well you're coming home with me tonight." I said with no room for question.

"Oh really? What kind of girl do you take me for?" She said grinning.

"A very smart one, and the kind that wouldn't make me sleep on the couch." I replied wiggling my eyebrows.

"Perish the thought."

We stopped at a shop on the way to my place, she hadn't been so thorough as to pack her toothbrush since we weren't sure if we were being shot at. When we turned into the drive for my apartment she looked around at the lighted buildings then back at me.

"You live here?" She asked. I just nodded. I pulled into my parking space and turned off the car. I looked around to see if there was anybody lurking about that I didn't recognize and didn't see anything out of the ordinary. I unlocked the door and flipped on the lights, Cate walked in ahead of me and stopped after a few steps looking around. She spun around and looked at me. "This place is wonderful!" She stepped forward and ran her hand over the back of the fairly new sofa, taking in the big screen TV and prints on the walls.

"Come on I'll show you around." I walked her through the kitchen and small dining area, down the hall to the full bath, and the master bedroom. "I use the other bedroom as sort of an office and computer lab." I pointed to it and she peeked in at the desk with several items piled on it, various cellphones, tablets, and two laptops.

She stood still, wide-eyed looking around, clutching her bag. I took it, gently prying it from her nervous fingers and set it on the bed. "We can gather more of your stuff tomorrow and your laptop."

"I won't be here that long. Only long enough to make sure he's cleared out." She said softly.

"I know, but you can't go to work in the same clothes every day."

She turned towards the bed and ran her hand down the comforter. "This place has a bit of a woman's touch." She said delicately. "Stacy?"

"Mom." I said with a smile. "She said she would have become an interior decorator if it had paid as well as law."

"Do you want to change, have a bath or shower?"

She smirked. "Subtle."

I wasn't smiling, and she realized I didn't see the humor. "Cate, I hope you don't think that's what I'm after. I just want you to feel safe. I have no qualms about spending the night on the couch." I said pointing over my shoulder. "It's comfortable, I've woken up on it more than once in the morning."

"I'm sorry, that's not what I meant." She closed her eyes and sagged slightly.

I stepped forward and held her up. "You're doing fine, better than fine considering what you've been through in the past few days. It'll just be a little longer and things will be a whole lot better." She leaned forward into my arms and I wrapped her up in mine.

"I know. It's been a shitty year so far. I'm sorry I'm taking it out on you." She tilted back and kissed me. "At least one good thing has happened. I stopped for a cuppa in the right place last July." She added with a shy grin.

"Must have been fate."

She did opt for a hot soak in the bath. "What is it that's so decadent about bathing versus showering she said loud enough for me to hear from the hall. I had taken her clothes and was doing my best to clean them up after her crawling around on her apartment floor.

"I don't know, maybe the indulgence of using so much hot water? That would have been a lot of work in the old days, gathering the wood and heating it up over a fire just to sit your butt down in it."

"Maybe a little guilt with that regard but it's worth it to feel this relaxed. Would you have a spare razor I might borrow?"

"Sure, are you decent? I'll get one for you."

She chuckled. "This is hardly the time for modesty."

I opened the bathroom door fully in time to see her long leg sticking nearly straight up, the water sliding down it's length back into the tub as she stroked it.

"Well isn't that a beautiful sight." I got an eye roll and smirk. I got a new razor out of the box and set it with a can of shaving cream on the edge of the tub.

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