“Come on get up!” called Seth, bursting into Kitty’s room like a whirlwind and throwing open the curtains. “We’re going to church.”
A muffled female voice emerged from the bed, “We’re going to where?”
“I’m taking you to church. I haven’t visited my friend in awhile and I don’t want to leave you on your own here,” he explained, pulling back the bedclothes.
Kitty moaned and curled up into a tighter ball, “Just leave me would you?”
“I can be very unpleasant,” said Kitty, opening one eye a crack.
“Oh sweetheart, you haven’t seen unpleasant…”
The way he said it made Kitty leap out of bed despite the cold and beat a path to the shower. Her parting comment before slamming the door shut was, “You’re a right bastard, you know that?”
* * * *
They approached the front steps of St. Mark’s Catholic Church, Kitty carefully picking her way through the ice while Seth crunched over the packed snow without a second thought.
“Aren’t you freezing?” she asked, watching his long coat flap in the wind.
“Nope,” he answered, steadying her when she slipped on a patch of ice and almost fell backwards down the steps. Seth picked her up and carried her the rest of the way saying, “I think this will be easier.”
“I’m not helpless,” she complained, secretly enjoying not having to walk on the ice.
“Right,” he snorted, shouldering the door open. When they were safely in the vestibule he set her gently on her feet.
Kitty gazed around the church. It was built along the lines of a cathedral and was resplendent with stained glass and vaulted ceilings. She turned about several times trying to take it all in. Her companion commanded her attention for a moment as he dipped his fingers in holy water and crossed himself muttering something in Latin, “In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.”
“What did you pray when you crossed yourself?” asked Kitty, curiosity getting the better of her.
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen,” he replied, turning when he heard his name called.
“Seth! Where have you been?” asked Sister Blakely, rapidly crossing the sanctuary to give him a hug.
“I know Anita, I’m sorry. I’ve been busy.” Seth ducked his head in embarrassment.
“And after I told you to be careful the least you could do is…check…in?” The nun looked puzzled, catching sight of Kitty standing just behind the half angel. “Who’s this?”
“Oh, this is Katherine Sontag. She’s been staying with me. Katherine, this is Sister Anita Blakely,” Seth pulled the twenty year old forward.
“Ah, this would be the girl I had to buy clothes for some time ago?” said Anita, smiling at Kitty but giving a look to Seth that said he was clearly up to no good.
“Yes ma’am, that would be me. Everyone calls me Kitty even though Seth insists on calling me by my full name,” she said, rolling her eyes.
“I haven’t touched her,” protested Seth, unable to stand Anita’s accusing stare. “You should know me better than that by now.”
“Yes, I know how you are when pretty girls are involved.” The nun folded her arms and tapped her foot.
Kitty blushed to the roots of her hair when it dawned on her what they were talking about, “Um, I think I’ll just look around the sanctuary. It’s so beautiful in here.”
“Of course, my dear. I need to have a little talk with Seth anyway,” Anita replied, looking daggers at the man standing in front of her.
“You didn’t need to lay it on quite so thickly,” murmured Seth after Kitty had moved away.
“I thought I did rather a good job,” smiled the Sister. “You wanted to talk to me alone.”
“Yes, but I do have to go home with her afterwards,” he sighed, laughing softly in spite of himself.
“I don’t think she’ll avoid you entirely, Seth. She reminds me of me when I was her age. I like her.”
“You had more spunk,” he disagreed.
“She’ll surprise you,” Anita nodded sagely. “Now, what did you want to talk to me about?”
“I almost lost my temper in a public place.”
The nun put a hand over her mouth, “But you didn’t.”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Well, that’s the important thing,” she said, patting his shoulder and giving him a shaky smile.
“You don’t understand, Anita. I wanted to lose it. I haven’t had an episode since Katherine’s been in the house and I can feel it building. I’m like a time bomb…and I don’t want to hurt her.” Seth watched Kitty observing one of the Stations of the Cross.
“You won’t hurt her. You never hurt me, and you were in much less control of yourself then than you are now.” Anita shook her head.
“It’s not so much that I’ll hurt her physically. I know I probably wouldn’t but I would scare her and I’m meant to be looking after her. She’s had some contact with demons and if she were to run away, they might get her.” Seth rubbed his forehead. “I want you to promise me something.”
“Of course, Seth.” The nun gazed on him with eyes full of concern.
“If something should happen and Katherine comes to see you I need you to tell her what you know about me.” He watched his charge draw closer to them.
“Alright, I will. But Seth, keep her close. The feeling gets better when she’s around you. It doesn’t go away…but it lessens. She has a part to play in all of this,” whispered Anita, smiling at the approaching girl. “How do you like the church?”
“Very much. It’s gorgeous! It almost makes me wish I were Catholic like Seth,” laughed Kitty.
“Well, Seth isn’t exactly Catholic. Not fully anyway,” explained Sister Blakely.
“The church helped me through my growing pains so I consider myself Catholic,” he shrugged. “We’ll need to be going Anita. I promise it won’t be so long until my next visit.”
“It had better not be,” chided the nun. “And don’t be afraid to come visit me yourself, Kitty. I live in a house attached to the church. My door is always open, which Seth knows and takes full advantage of,” she said, giving him a light swat on the shoulder.
“I’d love to come and visit sometime, if your friend will ever let me out from under house arrest,” said Kitty, sticking her tongue out at Seth.
“What are you talking about? You get out of the house more than I do,” he argued, picking her up and tramping out into the cold once more.
“Look at that,” murmured Anita, shaking her head. “He’s finally learning to care.”