Hey everybody! I'm sorry it's been such a long time since I've updated! School's really been bogging me down, but I finally found enough time to put the final touches on this chapter! This is where things really start to get exciting, so hopefully you all enjoy reading it as much as my friend and I enjoyed writing it!
I only had a chance to go over this once, so if there are any errors, please let me know either through a review or PM! I hate to unknowingly have a buggy story out. ^^;
And finally millions of thanks to Ravenclaw Slytherin, Myghtflower-Pack, PureAngelEyes, and aireagle92 for your reviews and to everyone who has favorited or followed this story! You guys are what keeps me going! Thank you for your support, and I hope this chapter lives up to your expectations!
Chapter 5: Inside-Out
At 7:15 the next morning, Cailin got up and began to prepare herself for the day. She showered off and blow dried her hair. She made herself and omelet and toast and watched some cartoons on TV while she ate her breakfast. At 10, she faxed over the papers to the office and picked out her outfit for the day. She chose dark jeans, a gray top with a cream lace vest, black boots and her black pea coat. At 1:00, she stepped out of her car and walked into Cucini's. She spotted Balthazar instantly. He looked very dashing in his vest and shirt. She felt her pulse quicken as she walked over to him.
Balthazar had been sitting in the restaurant for 15 minutes by the time Cailin arrived. He hadn't wanted to be late as he tended to be, so he made a point to arrive early so she didn't beat him there. It turns out she was impeccably punctual.
He stood up as she approached the table, his long-sleeved shirt and vest newly ironed. 'She looks beautiful', he thought to himself as he watched her come closer, his heart beating a little faster. He sat down only after she taken her seat. The menus were brought shortly after and he picked up his casually.
"How are you doing today?" he asked pleasantly, eying her from over the top of the menu.
"I'm quite well. I was able to get all the paperwork squared away at the office, so I'm happy that was easily taken care of. How are you?" Cailin replied, tilting her head as she looked at him in a curious manner.
"I'm doing alright," he replied as he set the menu down. Before he could say anymore, though, the waiter approached them. "Are you both ready to order?"
Balthazar quirked an eyebrow at Cailin. "Ladies first," he insisted, smiling.
Cailin smiled back at Balthazar before turning to the waiter. "Can I have the baked ziti with water please?" she asked. The waiter nodded, writing this down, and turned to Balthazar. "And for you sir?" he asked.
"The penne vodka and a glass of merlot, thank you," Balthazar said politely as the waiter took their menus.
Silence fell over the table as the two waited for their food. Balthazar wracked his mind for anything he could say to break the awkward air that had settled about them.
"Thank you again for going through such trouble to allow us to continue using your father's building," he finally said, his low voice seeping through the heavy silence.
A tinge of red colored Cailin's cheeks as a smile prickled at the corners of her lips. "It's not too much trouble. I think... I think my father would have done the same," she admitted.
Balthazar nodded thoughtfully, wincing inwardly at having unintentionally brought her father to mind. In an attempt to steer the conversation in a different direction, he asked, "So how long have you lived here?"
Cailin looked up at him. "I've lived in New York City all my life. My mother died when I was young, so I spent time with both my grandparents, and great grandparents while my dad was busy with work. I've visited London, Tokyo, and Rome, but otherwise I've pretty much been here. How about you? Have you always been here?" she asked.
Balthazar's mind whirred as he attempted to come up with an answer. "I was actually born in England," he stated, a hint of irony in his voice. Sure, he was born in England... almost 1350 years ago. "After my parents passed away, I moved here and, though I've traveled quite a bit, I've lived here ever since," he stated as closely to the truth as he could. It was close enough that she shouldn't question it too much. Hopefully she didn't ask for years, because he didn't feel like doing the math in his head.
Cailin looked at him in surprise. "You were born in London? Really? I've always loved London. It was a really great city but I wish I could remember it more. I was really young when I was last there. How about you? Do you remember much about it?" she asked.
"I remember it quite well," he said without hesitation. "I grew up there, so I have fond memories of it." It was true – he had grown up in a little English village and taken into Merlin's apprenticeship when he was seen to have magical ability. He hadn't really gone back the England since he left it, though, so he didn't know how it had changed. Best to change the subject. "So are you planning on continuing your father's business?" he asked. He could have hit himself for that one, but it was the first thing that had come to mind.
Cailin paused for a moment. "Honestly, I'm not sure. I mean, that's what everyone expects of me. It just happened so fast that I haven't had a chance to take a step back and figure out what I want to do yet," she replied. After a moment's silence in an attempt to steer the conversation in a different direction, she asked, "How do you and Dave know each other?"
Balthazar had to think a moment. "Well, I met him ten years ago when he walked into my antique's shop, and I guess we just connected." He thought a little more. "He may be a little slow at times, but he's a good kid."
Cailin smiled and nodded. "Yeah, he seems really nice. I'm not going to lie though, I get this vibe from him. It feels like he's out to do something great. I don't know where it came from, but I just noticed it yesterday," Cailin said, shrugging.
"I hope so," Balthazar agreed, looking over at her curiously. Did she have some kind of magical sense? No... if she did, she would have sensed his magic. She was Josselyn's descendant, though; there could be some residual magic in her DNA.
His thoughts were interrupted as the waiter brought their meals, setting their plates down in front of them. He thanked the waiter, then mumbled, "Wow, quick service."
"Yeah, they are pretty good with service here. I love coming here. Thanks for inviting me," Cailin said, smiling at Balthazar. She then picked up her fork and began eating her ziti. "Mhmm, this is so good. How's yours?" she asked after swallowing her first bite.
He smiled. "It's good," he said genuinely, slightly surprised. He hadn't really eaten here often because of his constant traveling, so the last time he had come, it had been a new restaurant just breaking into the city. He took a sip of his wine, glancing at Cailin over the rim. How had he ended up dining with this beautiful woman again? It didn't seem real.
Cailin smiled. "I'm glad. I tend to stick to my comfort food, so I honestly haven't tried much else on the menu. I'm glad you like it though. So what else do you have to do today other than have lunch with me?" Cailin asked, curious to know more about Balthazar.
Balthazar shook his head. "Nothing except going back to the lab and –" He stopped suddenly, his expression immediately becoming shocked, then serious and finally apologetic. Dave was in trouble, magical trouble. At his current level of training, he wouldn't pose much problem to a normal human, never mind a trained sorcerer. He needed help. Now.
"I am really sorry, Cailin, but I forgot I had to do something now," he said hurriedly, rifling through his pockets and setting down enough cash to cover the meal and tip. "That should cover everything. Again, I am so sorry," he repeated as he started out of the restaurant.
Cailin watched Balthazar run out. A part of her felt a bit hurt, but she understood. From the way his attitude did a 180, she would've joked that he was a Jedi and sensed "a disturbance in the force." However, now her curiosity was peaked. "Balthazar, I'll come with you," she said, grabbing her purse as she stood up. If something was seriously wrong, he might need some help in dealing with it.
Balthazar halted at her words, whipping around to face her. "Cailin..." he caught himself before he said it would be too dangerous. "It...it's a private meeting," he lied badly, fairly certain she would see through it. "Umm...with Dave," he added in a last ditch effort to save what dignity he had left.
Cailin raised an eyebrow at him. "Okay. I'll see you later then," she said, sitting herself back down.
Balthazar was relieved when she seemed to believe him, or at least trust him enough to stay out of it. "Again, really sorry," he said, then rushed out the door onto the street.
He jumped into his car and sped over to Dave's school, practically vaulting out of the car as soon as it stopped. He ran towards the magic, apparently coming from the boy's bathroom. "Wonderful," he thought sarcastically as he barreled inside.
Balthazar was not expecting to see what he did when he walked into the bathroom. Horvath had Dave's head up near a mirror and a flamboyant man with a mohawk watched them with sick glee.
"You're a horrible liar," Horvath told Dave, smiling greasily.
"That's what I keep telling him," Balthazar quipped, blasting magic at the goth man. He then faced Horvath, who's smug smile had faltered a hint. Balthazar, for his part, fought hard to keep his own smirk. Inside, he raged in anger. He prepared a plasma bolt. "Let the boy go, Horvath. Or do you enjoy tormenting little boys," he spat in challenge.
Horvath sneered. "I should have dealt with you long before I dispatched Merlin," he snapped, letting go of the boy and pointing his staff at Balthazar. The silence in the room was deadly.
Cailin watched as Balthazar left, then quickly hopped into her own car. She followed Balthazar's car, keeping a good distance between her and him. She watched as he parked his car by NYU and sprinted up the steps. She followed suit and noticed that he ran toward the boy's bathroom. "That's a weird place to have a meeting," she commented to herself.
Cailin peered around the corner of the bathroom and saw Balthazar blast the man into the lockers in the back. But he hadn't moved at all. It was like.. like magic. Her eyes widened as she watched Horvath and Balthazar argue, especially when Horvath mentioned Merlin. But Merlin had lived 1300 years ago, these guys weren't that old, were they? She crept further into the bathroom, trying to get closer.
Dave noticed Cailin before anyone else did. "Cailin?" he asked aloud. "What are you doing here?"
Her name alone was enough to break Balthazar's tunnel vision on Horvath. "Cailin?" he muttered disbelievingly, turning towards the door to see if she really was there. It was at that moment that Horvath struck, sending a fireball straight at Balthazar.
The fire struck Balthazar squarely in the chest, knocking him off of his feet and crashing him into the wall behind him. Horvath glanced at Cailin with critical eyes before sauntering towards Balthazar's crumpled form.
"So you've got another girl now, is that it?" he spat, now standing before Balthazar, watching the girl again. "She doesn't look to be anything special. What happened to your undying love for Veronica, hmm?" Horvath sneered. "I still love her even after she rejected me!" he screamed, turning a glaring gaze back at Balthazar.
Cailin flinched when this "Veronica" was mentioned. She should have realized that there might be someone else in Balthazar's life. However, she wasn't about to let this creeper hit Balthazar while he was down. She picked up the trash can and chucked it at Horvath's head. "Leave him alone you jerk," she yelled. It probably wasn't her best idea, but it was all that she could think to do.
Horvath sent a searing glare towards Cailin, his eyes glinting maliciously as he swatted the can away easily. "She's not even magical, Balthazar! My have your standards dropped!" he taunted, pointing his staff at the woman.
Balthazar groaned, picking himself up from the rubble in time to see Horvath threaten Cailin. He quickly conjured a lightning spell, shooting it at Horvath. The other magician avoided it, but it gave Balthazar time to stand again. "Sure, you loved Veronica so much you were willing to let Morgana kill her during the siege!" he exclaimed, glaring at the Morganian. Balthazar grabbed Horvath's staff, using it to push him towards the now-enchanted bathroom mirror. Just before he shoved him in, he reveled in the fear on Horvath's face and growled, "If you ever threaten her again, I'll make sure you are never able to stand again." With that, he thrust him into the mirror. He then threw the gothic man into one of the bathroom stalls and locked the door behind him. "Dave, grab Cailin and take her to the car," he ordered, waving them out while he tried to thing of the easiest way to put everything back into order.
Dave quickly made his over to Cailin. He quickly grabbed her hands and felt her shaking. "Come on Cailin, let's get you to the car now," he told her, wrapping an arm around her shoulder as he led her out to where Balthazar's car was parked. He helped her into the backseat, buckling her in when it didn't seem she could do it herself. "I don't think anything makes sense anymore," she whispered to Dave.
"It will," Dave replied before shutting her door. He quickly climbed into the front passenger's seat, praying for Balthazar to hurry up. He was worried about Cailin since she hadn't stopped shaking yet.
Balthazar quickly cleaned up the mess they had made in the bathroom and, once the bathroom looked semi-decent again, he rushed out to the car, trying to be back at the lab before the flamboyant man woke. He rushed into the front seat, putting it into gear before he even made sure Cailin and Dave were in there.
"Are you both alright?" he asked urgently, glancing into his rear view mirror as he sped out of the parking lot.
Dave looked over at his master. "I'm fine. I'm not sure Cailin is. She hasn't stopped shaking yet," he replied, glancing over his shoulder at the brunette. Dave turned back to look at Balthazar. "What exactly are we going to tell her?" he asked as Balthazar sped through the city toward the lab.
Balthazar sighed. There had been a reason he hadn't wanted her following him, but in his haste and trust, he hadn't even check to see that she had tailed him, a mistake he wouldn't make again. "We'll tell her what we have to. Now that Horvath has seen her, she's been dragged into this just as much as we are," he replied solemnly, glancing back at her through the rear view mirror. She was, in fact, shaking.
Cailin was trying to calm herself down. She was so confused. How had Balthazar and that other man done all of those things? It couldn't have been magic, could it? It was a trick, CGI, something else, anything else, but deep down she knew it hadn't been a trick. Her life had just been altered irreversibly and she wondered what she had gotten herself into.
The car ride was mostly a blur to Cailin. She knew Dave and Balthazar were talking about her, but she couldn't focus on the conversation. She only became aware of her surroundings again as Balthazar lifted her out of the car. She blushed and clung tightly to the lapels of his jacket. After heading down the many corridors, she felt Balthazar placing her gently into a chair. She watched his expression, which betrayed his worry. Cailin watched as Dave ran off to go grab some tea, and a few minutes later, Balthazar placed a warm cup into her hands. "Are you okay?" she heard him he ask soothingly.
Cailin sipped the tea absently, staring tiredly in front of her. "I'm honestly not sure. I'm just really confused right now. In the span of a half hour everything I've known has changed... You can do magic. That seems to be the root of this all right now. And that you can maybe travel through time since that guy brought up Merlin. I'm just not really sure about much any more," she replied honestly, glancing up at him hesitantly.
Balthazar stared into her eyes again, her very familiar eyes. He smiled comfortingly. "Well, you're almost right. We're going to let you rest for a while. When you feel better, I'll tell you whatever you want to know," he told her, putting a hand on her shoulder. "Do you need anything else right now?"
Cailin felt a slight blush rise to her cheeks when Balthazar placed his hand on her shoulder. She paused for a moment, before shaking her head. "I.. I think I'm okay for now. Thank you though. For everything. Do you want me to leave the room so you two can talk?" she asked, gesturing between Balthazar and Dave.
Balthazar shook his head. "You stay here and get better. If we need to talk, we'll talk elsewhere." He squeezed her shoulder gently for comfort, then walked over towards Dave.
Dave watched the exchange with interest, and when Balthazar walked over towards him, a small, knowing smile was over his face. "What," Balthazar half-growled, walking past Dave to the far end of the building.
"You definitely like her," Dave said smugly as he followed. Balthazar rolled his eyes and sighed. He had been right: he wouldn't hear the end of this for a while.
Cailin slowly lifted the cup to her lips, sipping the warm beverage. Normally, she wasn't a tea person, but the drink brought her some comfort now. She wondered what Dave and Balthazar were talking about. She felt bad that she hadn't trusted what Balthazar had said, but she had been really worried about them. Cailin felt exhaustion wash over her. The events of the day had been very crazy. She let out a sigh and waited for the two men to come back.
Balthazar and Dave talked over the events of the day: When the attack had happened, what had occurred immediately before the attack, if Dave recognized the other man that attacked him and other things of that sort. Then the topic turned to Cailin.
"So how much are out going to tell her?" Dave asked hesitantly. Was he planning on telling her about the fact he had been born 1350 years ago? And what about Veronica?
Balthazar struggled with those same questions. He would have to tell her the truth, which also meant telling her the truth about Josselyn and him... and admitting his own feelings towards her ancestor. He didn't know if he could do that to her, but what other choice did he have? He glanced over at the now-slumbering woman before walking briskly towards the stairs. He was going to need a whole lot of time with his thoughts before he would be ready to confess everything to the woman he'd grown to care so much for.