Author's note: Hi folks, as usual this is only a story. None of the people in it are real. I made them all up while I was out running or washing my car. Please don't read too much into their motives and motivations because again, it's only a story. Even in real life all of us are different and react differently to situations. If I got some of the technical things wrong forgive me, I'm not a historian and once again it's only a story. A long one. Thanks so much to the incredible Mikothebaby without whom you wouldn't be reading this. And remember, it's only a story. if you don't like it there'll be another one next week and you haven't wasted a dime. If I haven't told you guys and ladies of course this before I appreciate every one of you and I read every one of your comments and respect them all good or bad. Those comments kind of tell me where I should be going, somewhat. Anyway here we go ... SS06
Aaron Anderson parked his Midnight blue 09 Anniversary Edition Mustang GT in the lot reserved for visiting professors and walked into the ballroom. He was, as usual, late. He'd been down at the docks again in one of those little dive bars throwing darts and hanging out with the locals. His wife, Stacy, who was vying to become a full professor here at Papalis University, had called to tell him that he was late.
She'd sounded really pissed, as usual, that he had missed the opening remarks at the dinner gala. "We'll cover for you, as usual," she'd said with a really pissed off tone to her voice. We, meaning her and Bob would cover for him. Bob was Dr. Robert Thompson PHD. He was also Aaron's best friend since childhood. The two men had always been together and a big part of each other's lives except for that 5 year period that Bob had spent in Grad school and Aaron had spent in the navy.
They'd also pursued many of the same goals. Archaeology being the thing they both shared a passion for. Though they both loved it, they came at it from completely different angles. Bob was a scholar; he was big on research, charts, and documents. He'd spend months in a library researching a subject to find out all there was to know about it. Then he'd try to find it.
Aaron on the other hand just liked to get out and explore. He was a diver and a climber. He'd go anywhere on earth, if he thought something interesting might be waiting to be found.
Though they were as close as brothers, their personalities were as different as their methodologies. Robert preferred his books, computers, and charts, but Aaron preferred people. Where Robert's often arrogant and condescending attitude put off a lot of people; Aaron could wander into a room full of strangers and emerge with several lifelong friends. People gravitated towards him and him towards them. This was a great trait to have, because quite often the locals would tell him things that weren't found in books or on the internet.
Many times Robert and Aaron would head to some backwater town in search of an oddity or a piece of history and run into a dead end. Robert would end up frustrated and ready to quit, until some barmaid or mechanic told Aaron the truth of the local legend and where it had really taken place.
Later, Robert would end up writing a paper on it and getting it published. As a result the two were a very successful team. While Robert might have been the more famous, he had to admit that most of what he was famous for was a result of things that Aaron had done.
Papalis University had issued a challenge to Archaeological explorers. Every time the earth settled differently in this part of the world there were discoveries of ancient Greek artifacts. The university's staff realized that there were museums all over the world that would pay handsomely for authentic Greek or Roman antiquities. Since the university was in part funded by the Greek government, getting the clearances and paperwork necessary to sell or lease the artifact wasn't an un-surmountable hurdle.
Robert had his eyes on a full professorship in the university and Aaron just wanted the chance to explore and be paid for it. They'd come here about a week ago to get the lay of the land. The gala tonight was where all of the treasure hunters who'd been invited by the museum would find out what was going on.
Robert spent the week nervously going over everything he knew about Greek history. He'd wanted to be prepared to answer questions on any subject that might be asked about.
He'd asked Aaron to study with him and had been laughingly refused by his friend. "Why would I even begin to think that I know more about Greek artifacts or Greek history than the Greeks do?" asked Aaron. Aaron spent the week getting to know people around the university and the local town. He especially spent a lot of time around the shipyards and the marina. Stacy had spent the week sunning and shopping.
Aaron walked quickly towards the banquet hall and tried to tie his tie as he walked. A beautiful young woman stopped him at the door and smiled at him. "May I?" she asked pointing at his tie. Aaron smiled back and nodded.
The woman quickly tied his tie into a beautiful knot that Aaron never would have managed. At 6' 4" and 220 pounds Aaron was not noted for his subtlety, but people just seemed to love him.
As she stepped back to admire her work, the woman took in the full picture. She gave Aaron the thumbs up sign and said, "Go get em' cowboy." Aaron was speechless for a moment. There was something special about this woman. Besides her beauty she seemed to exude a sense of confidence that was beyond her years. "I'm older than you think, cowboy," she said as if she'd read his thoughts.
"Why do you call me, "Cowboy?" he asked, smiling at her.
"First because that's what I sense about you," she said laughing. "You're honest and strong, like the cowboys of old. Your car has a horse on the front of it. When I look at you, my senses say, "Cowboy." She looked at him again. "I like you Aaron, a lot. Good things will happen for you here in my isles. But there will be a bit of sadness as well. Don't look so strange, Cowboy. You're no stranger to the magic yourself." Aaron nodded he had a great deal of belief in the fact that something was looking out for him.
"Besides," she smiled as she turned to go. "Your boots just give it away, don't they?"
Aaron looked down. When he changed into the suit he'd forgotten to put on regular shoes. His black cowboy boots were so much more comfortable. He doubted that anyone would notice.
He made his way to the banquet room. There were people all around the room. Many of them he'd met already during the previous week. He spoke to and complemented many of them as he looked around. He ran into the Dean of the university, whom he'd played golf with and lost terribly to the previous morning.
"Hey Marty," Aaron said to Dean Rinehart. Aaron still thought it was funny for a German to be the Dean of a Greek university, but the world was constantly getting smaller.
"Hey Aaron," replied the Dean. "I'd say you're a bit late, but it doesn't really matter, you haven't missed anything."
"I'm still having trouble moving around from that ass-kicking you gave me yesterday on the golf course," smirked Aaron. The Dean laughed and introduced Aaron to his wife. Aaron thought that was interesting as well. The Dean's wife was a dark haired Greek beauty. She was much younger than the Dean's 50 plus years. She was also the woman who'd fixed Aaron's tie.
"Your wife and your partner are around here somewhere," said the Dean. "She's pretty, he's an insufferable ass."
"But he's a very smart insufferable ass, Dean," said Aaron. Aaron excused himself to go and look for Stacy and Bob. He circulated around the hall looking for Stacy's blond hair and svelte frame or Bob's thin body and balding head. He found neither. He went out onto one of the balconies for a breath of fresh air and found both of them, although he wished he hadn't.
"Wow, I guess he likes that a lot more than I do," said Aaron. "But, as the saying goes, "To each his own,". And from now on, you're all his. I want nothing else to do with either of you. Stacy, you should try playing with his balls while you do that. I've heard that it can get him off really quickly. That way you can save the rest for later and come back inside before anyone who works for the university finds out what a WHORE you are."
Stacy quickly stood up and moved away from Bob, who tried to zip up his pants quickly and got himself caught painfully in the zipper. "It's not what it looked like Honey," said Stacy stupidly as Bob screamed from the pain in his crotch.
"Wait," said Aaron holding up his hand. "I'm not as smart as you two are, so it takes me a little longer to figure these things out. Now to me it looked like you were sucking his dick. So go ahead and tell me what was really happening."
Stacy just looked stupid. For a very educated woman who could speak multiple languages and lecture on a variety of subjects, it was unusual for her not to have something to say.
Robert was trying not to move. He was hunched over trying to get the hair around his dick that was caught in his zipper loose. Every movement he made resulted in pain.
Aaron stepped towards him and punched him in the mouth so hard that he lost consciousness.
"Consider that a form of anesthetic, asshole," said Aaron. "That way when you get to the emergency room they can cut your little dick loose without hurting you."
Aaron turned back to his speechless wife. "Don't come back to the villa for an hour or so, please," he said to her. "That way I can get my stuff and be gone by the time you two love birds get there."
"Aaron we need to talk about this," whined Stacy. "It's not my fault. He's been hitting on me for months. We should talk about this now. Putting it off won't make it any easier."
"Uhn huh," said Aaron. "Stacy you speak what, three of four languages? I'm sure you've learned to say "No" in at least one of them. And we have nothing to talk about. You and Robert have a lot in common; you're both educated people and smart as hell. You two have a lot more in common than you and I ever did. You'd think that with all of those brains though, one of you would have had the class to just tell me. I'd have wished you both the best and it wouldn't have had to be like this. I mean it makes sense, you two are near geniuses and I'm just a broken down ex-navy guy who likes to dive and look for shit. Maybe if you'd done it right we could have stayed friends." Aaron quickly took Stacy's arm and removed her wedding rings. She grabbed at him and tried to hug him but he pushed her away.
"No, please Honey. Don't do this, it was a mistake," Stacy cried. "Aaron, I love you. Let me explain!"
Aaron turned to leave and saw at least a third of the gathered guests watching the scene. He smiled at them and made his way through the crowd and left the banquet hall. He piloted his Mustang through the narrow streets and back to the villa they'd rented for their stay. He quickly loaded all of his clothing and personal items into the back of his car and its trunk. Then he moved his diving gear and equipment into the garage where it would be easier for him to get later without going into the house.
He drove around through the streets for a while. His phone rang over and over. Stacy called him several times that evening. He didn't take her calls or Robert's either. He did speak to a few of his new friends who wanted to comfort him after the embarrassing scene at the banquet. Robert played an especially low trick though. Apparently he'd spoken to his mother and had her call Aaron. After Aaron's own mother had died, he'd become very close to Robert's mom. Since the two of them were almost like brothers anyway, it made sense that they'd share a mom.
"Hi Ella," Aaron said into the phone. "Can I call you in a few days? I'm not really going to be a good conversationalist right now."
"I just wanted to tell you that I'm sorry that you and Bobby are arguing, but you two need to talk it over and get the job done. That's what you two always do," said Ella.
"Ella, I don't see that as being possible this time," said Aaron. "I think we're done, I don't see a way around this one."
"Okay," said Ella seriously. "Aaron you're like my own son so I'm going to try to explain this to you. It's only a car."
"Ella, what are you talking about?" asked Aaron.
"If you're this pissed at Bobby, I figured he must have scratched the Mustang. Or please don't tell me he wrecked it," said Ella.
"Ella, I caught Bob with Stacy, in public, at a banquet we went to for the university we're trying to work for."
There was silence on the phone line. Then Aaron broke it. "Ella, I'll call you in a few days."
Aaron's next call came in a few moments later. He didn't recognize the number so he figured it was safe to answer.
"How are you feeling?" said a deep feminine voice.
"Just fucking peachy," replied Aaron.
"My husband was right about your friend. He's an insufferable ass. But you're stronger than this ... Bullshit. I have a feeling that you're going to be fine."
"Thanks," said Aaron. The events of the evening had beaten Aaron down. He was in the area around the docks. He'd probably been drawn here because he spent all of the past week here learning the lay of the land. He started looking for a motel or a hotel.
He found one that didn't look too bad. The most attractive thing about it was the big "Vacancy" sign that kept flashing off and on.The hotel was obviously supposed to be a Pirate themed Lodge. A big sign out front had a ship with a big vicious dog hanging from its yardarm.
The sign was supposed to read Hanging Dog Hotel in bright neon orange. Over the years the neon letters "I, N and G" had stopped glowing so now the sign appeared to read Hang Dog Hotel.
It was a big "U" shaped building with a pool and lounging area inside of the "U." It really didn't make very much sense though for a hotel built this close to the ocean to have a pool. Why would anyone want to swim in chlorinated water when they could swim in the sea instead? It would only make sense for the very old or the very young. Aaron shook his head and headed for the front desk.
A middle-aged Greek woman took his credit card and swiped it. He signed the register and she gave him a key. His room was on the second floor. His balcony over looked the pool. Even in the dark he could see that the pool was probably not in service.
The bellboy, a Greek teenager who was maybe fifteen, if that, came running up to Aaron's room. Aaron wondered why he'd bothered, since he'd already carried his own bags. The boy turned down the bed and then walked up to Aaron and stuck out his hand.
The boy was thin and wore his uniform badly. It was wrinkled and baggy and his pants, like teenagers' all over the planet sagged until you could see more than the top of his under shorts. His hair badly needed to be cut and his face was dirty. But the boy stood in front of Aaron with his legs clamped firmly together, his back ramrod straight and held out his hand with all of the dignity of an English butler. The picture was so incongruous that Aaron gave him a five dollar bill just for having the audacity to ask for the tip. The bellboy's near panhandling was the only thing to make Aaron smile all night.
Aaron collapsed on his bed fully dressed on top of the comforter. He turned out the lights and tried to make some kind of sense of this segment of his life. He'd been blindsided. That alone was unusual. He was the kind of man who could smell a storm at sea before the weather service radar showed it as a blip on their screens. He could also tell when to drop the stocks he invested in months before they went down. But he had not seen this coming.
To be fair to himself he hadn't been looking for it either. After all who was he supposed to be able to trust most in the world? The two people he expected to have his back more than anyone else on the fucking planet were the woman who'd sworn to be faithful and love him for the rest of their lives and the man he'd grown up with and treated like a brother.
The last thing in the world he expected was for either one of them to betray him. So when it turned out to be both of them, it just sucked all of the wind out of his sails. Maybe he might have believed that Stacy might get bored with him someday and cheat on him. But he'd always expected that if she did, he'd have his buddy Bob to help him get over it.
Or if he and Bob's partnership floundered, then at least he'd have his wife to make it all feel better. But losing them both at the same time was devastating. Aaron had a lot of thinking to do. After all it had been Bob's idea to come here. Stacy had been all for the idea as well. When you thought about it though, maybe they'd already been together then. Aaron doubted that though because the two of them were working at cross purposes. Both of them wanted the only professorship that was being offered. Maybe Bob thought that if he got it, he'd make Stacy his assistant. And Aaron was sure that Stacy probably thought that she'd get the professorship and Aaron and Bob could both just do field work for the university. Well what they thought or what they wanted no longer mattered to Aaron. Fuck both of them. Maybe he should just head back home to the states. He'd look into shipping his car back home tomorrow. Then Aaron fell asleep.
Dr. Maria Clarridge awoke and looked around her dorm room. Her room-mate had already left the room, so she was alone. Then she heard the sound that had awakened her again. It was her cell phone. Who'd be calling her at this hour of the morning?
"Miss Clarridge?" asked a voice from the phone. "Or perhaps I should say Dr. Clarridge?"
"Yes," said Maria in her very precise and very crisp English accent. She adjusted her glasses on her nose as she spoke.
"I'm sorry to be so blunt, but I've been told that you've been fired from your teaching assistant post and might be interested in another position. Would you be interested in something that might be perhaps eventually a better one?"
"Who is this?" asked Maria.
"I'm sorry. I thought that you'd recognized my voice. This is Elena Rinehart."
Maria sat up sharply. Elena Rinehart was the Dean's wife. This was serious. "Yes ma'am," she said.
"Great perhaps we can discuss this over lunch?" said Elena. She gave Maria the time and the location and then hung up.
Maria smiled. For the first time in a few days, she was actually happy. She might not have to go back to England after all.
Stacy Anderson stepped out of the shower and looked at herself in the mirror. She didn't like what she saw. There were lines on her face that hadn't been there only yesterday. It was probably only nerves. Okay, nerves brought on by guilt. She was a smart woman and she never expected herself to be in this kind of position. Aaron was always, always, late for anything that even faintly hinted towards respectability. How was she to know that he'd show up even fashionably late for the gala last night? It was unlike him to be even close to timely.
Shit, he hadn't come back to the villa last night at all. Where the hell was he? She'd intended to give him time to cool off and drive around in that car of his for a while. She figured then he'd show up and probably sleep in one of the other bedrooms for a while. She knew that it would probably take a while but that eventually he'd forgive her. He probably wouldn't trust her for a very long time but she'd seen couples recover from far worse.
Her own parents had in fact. Her father had cheated on her mother for years. And then later on, her mother had an affair of her own. They'd still managed to stay together until her father died of cancer.
She just needed to talk to Aaron. She hadn't even actually had an affair. She'd just been flirting with Bob for the past week because she needed to convince him to let her have the professorship. Or at least name her as a part of their team so that she could be in the running for it. Bob had picked up a new research assistant who'd been let go from her position as a teaching aide, some young English girl; one of those nerdy types who wore big glasses and baggy clothes. The blowjob had been to reward Bob for firing the girl and letting Stacy have the research assistant credit. Though to be honest her flirting had hinted that she might reward him that way anyway.
By being on the team, Stacy would be able to submit an application for the professorship. If everything went as planned, she'd be the professor and Bob and Aaron could be explorers or treasure hunters as they'd always been.
Though she and Bob both had doctorates, she had more teaching experience. Bob had more field experience though all he ever did was research and comb through records. It was actually Aaron who went and did the bulk of the actual field work. Diving, digging, and climbing were the things that he loved doing. The three of them would be a formidable team. The team just needed to be restructured so that three people all did their parts instead of two.
Stacy was only trying to break into the boys club, not break it up. In her mind they'd be perfect. Bob would do the research and figure out what they were going after. Aaron would go and get it and Stacy would teach and lecture about it later. It would have been perfect.
It really would have been, but now it was all fucked up. Not only was the team broken up, Stacy's marriage to a man who had always treated her well and respected her, whom she also happened to love, was in jeopardy. She had also destroyed a lifelong friendship between the two men. Aaron had disappeared on her. She was still shocked that he hadn't shown up. She was further shocked that Robert actually thought that something was going on between them.
Apparently he'd thought that her "thank you for firing the bimbo" blow job was the beginning of some kind of relationship. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Robert couldn't compete with her husband on any level. He wasn't as attractive. He didn't arouse her in any way and she didn't like him nearly as much. Except for on a purely intellectual level, they had nothing at all in common. He had to be delusional to even think it.
After he'd gone to the hospital, where the emergency room doctors had numbed Bob's scrotum so they could remove it from the zipper he'd constantly used the term "We" in conversation. "What are "We" going to do?" he'd asked. "How are "We" going to handle this?" Didn't he now that there wasn't a "We?" Bob had always treated her like one of his students. Until now he'd had no respect for her. The funny thing was that now, the one man who did treat her like an equal, the one man who respected her for her brain as well as her body, wanted nothing to do with her.
To make things worse, she'd had to leave the gala with her head down. The embarrassment alone of her "walk of shame," had nearly killed her. None of the people who'd seen them would have much respect for them after that. Especially damning had been the reaction from the Dean's wife. That smoldering, dark haired woman had looked at Stacy as if she could see into her soul and found her wanting.
Elena Rinehart had looked at her with almost pity in her eyes. Stacy had asked her if she knew where Aaron had gone off to. She'd posed the question just to break the awkward silence, but also to give the woman the impression that Stacy intended to find her husband and make things right with him. Stacy knew those Greek women were reported to be very family oriented, but then most women were.
Elena had looked back into Stacy's eyes and said with a smile, "Don't worry about him. He'll be just fine. I'll see to it."
Remembering the woman's tone and expression had brought chills to Stacy. Thinking back on it now, she had to find Aaron. It shouldn't be too hard to do. That car of his ought to stick out like a sore thumb. How many Mustangs could there be on a small island?
Stacy dried herself off and started to get dressed. She put on a flower patterned blouse and cargo shorts. She also planned on wearing her favorite shoes. They had a high wedge heel that really made her calves stand out. Stacy was tall and slender. She had a figure that looked great in a bikini. Her legs were long and thin and her waist was flat. Her very light sun bleached blond hair and her blue eyes were probably her best features. Aaron had never been able to deny her anything when she pouted a little and hit him with those baby blue eyes.
Just as she started to put her shoes on, someone knocked at the door. Stacy hobbled over with one shoe on and the other one in her hand to answer it thinking that it might be Aaron.
Robert stood or hunched on the other side of the door.
"Hello sweetheart," he said. His voice sounded dry and devoid of any emotion. "I would have been here earlier but I had to wait for the pain killers to kick in. I didn't want to call because I didn't know whether your husband had come back or not. I can see that he hasn't. I can tell that because his other wife isn't parked in the driveway."
"So what do you want, Bob," asked Stacy.
"Oh don't be upset Angel. I know that this isn't the way that you wanted this to happen. To tell you the truth this isn't what I wanted either. I really want to avoid hurting Aaron. After all, he is my best friend and partner. But I guess the attraction between us was just too strong. Anyway I'm sure we'll pull all of this back together in time to get out there and find ourselves a chunk of history. After all this is business and we're all professionals. In fact, that's why I came."
"You came here to suggest that we bury the hatchet and let bygones be bygones?" asked Stacy.
"No, I came here because we have a meeting to go to over at the university to discuss the amount of support they'll give us and what they want us to do," said Robert. "If Aaron's not back the two of us will have to go alone. He's usually bored at these things anyway. My whole face has swollen up and my jaw hurts every time I speak. It's going to be an awkward meeting."
Stacy realized that she had no choice but to attend the meeting. She wanted to be considered a part of the team and not just Aaron's wife. Being at the meeting and expressing herself would get people to see her as a true partner in this. So instead of tracking down her husband like she wanted to, Stacy followed Robert to his car.
Maria was buzzing with excitement. She couldn't believe this was happening to her. She'd been expecting for Elena to offer her a position as a teaching assistant or maybe a position as a gopher on one of the expeditions. To be truthful she'd have preferred the gopher job because she had literally, no field experience to speak of. Research assistant was totally out of her reach, but head researcher was more than a dream, it was a pure fantasy. Of course she'd have to sell her future partner on the idea. And judging from what Elena had told her of his life during the past twenty four hours she wasn't sure what state he'd be in, but time was short.
Maria was sure she could handle it. She had four brothers and had helped a couple of them through some relatively rough break ups. They also had something in common. His former partner was the one who'd hired her as a research assistant just days after she'd lost her teaching assistant post and then fired her before she even started to work for him. So neither of them was very happy with Dr. Thompson.
She'd been let go by Professor Dilworth, after working for him for a semester and a half. It had been totally his fault. He'd decided to take his staff out to dinner at a nice restaurant to celebrate a local holiday. The restaurant's dress code meant that Maria couldn't wear her baggy clothing. She'd worn a formless sack dress that was nice but still loose enough to conceal her figure.
Maria had been the subject of much unwanted attention since she started sprouting breasts. Her figure gave some men the idea that she was up for grabs. Her large breasts drew far too much unwanted attention to her. Her slim waist only served to make them seem even larger than they were. She wore the baggy clothing to make people think that maybe she was just fat.
Maria also had contact lenses that she could wear, but the large unsightly glasses helped to make her less attractive and she always kept her longish curly honey colored hair tied back in a bun that was so tight and severe that it made her seem like a much older woman.
When the professor and the other men on his staff took a look at her breasts they didn't care what the rest of her looked like. The very next day the professor himself started "accidentally" rubbing against her every time he could manage it. When he finally got the nerve to simply grab one of her breasts, Maria kneed him in his sensitive area so hard that he walked funny for a week. The next day he apologized very sincerely and told her it wouldn't happen again. She actually believed him.
Two weeks later he called all of his staff together and laid them all off. At first Maria thought that it was directed towards her, but she found out that he'd laid all of his staff off. He'd laid the men off as well as both women. That settled her down and made her think that it was just a cost cutting move.
A few weeks after the layoff, Maria found out that she was the only one who hadn't been called back to work for the professor. In fact, the others had all been rehired less than a week after they were laid off.
Then there had come the research assistant position with Dr. Thompson. Maria had just found out that Thompson had given her position to another woman whom he was reportedly sleeping with. He'd looked like the grabby type anyway.
Maria slipped into the back of the meeting room and recorded every word that was said and also took notes. Elena had told her that her new partner would probably be out of sorts for a few days and they'd need to submit their research and a location in their bid for funding and resources from the museum. They'd only have 4 days to do their research and present their bid. The Dean would fund the best four teams. There were at least twelve teams here. Some of them were known for traveling all over the world to find things.
Thompson and Anderson had a great reputation in the field. Maria wondered how exactly this would work. It was quite possible that she'd end up on their team anyway. That was one of the possible situations that Elena had suggested to her. That T and A would put their problems behind them and work together. If that happened she'd probably be Anderson's assistant and the other woman, whoever she was, would be Thompson's.
As she looked around she saw Thompson and some woman at his side but didn't see Anderson at all. Not that she knew what he looked like. Elena had only told her that he was big and handsome. Maria nodded politely at Thompson and taking her notes left as soon as the meeting ended. She needed to find her new partner and get started on their bid ASAP.
Elena had told her that he and his wife had rented a villa just off of campus. She decided to start there. She got a ride with one of her friends and turned up an hour or so after the meeting. She walked up to the door and knocked on it. She waited for a few moment s and knocked again. The villa was in great shape, not that its current occupants had anything to do with that. There were some areas that could use a bit of sprucing up, but that was to be expected. Having a home of her own was one of the things that Maria looked forward to. She wanted it all. She wanted to have a successful career and balance it out with a home and family.
The career thing was looking up, but she still had yet to meet a man that she could truly say interested her. She'd had lots of first dates but very few second dates and hardly any third dates. It wasn't like she was a virgin or anything. But she seemed to draw out the weirdos. They all started out being her non-sexual friend, mostly because when they saw her in her normal working clothes they didn't see her as attractive. But as soon as she showed any interest in them and they got to see what she was really built like, all of the non-sexual friendships and interest in her as a person disappeared.
They went from, "Hey friend, wanna play Modern Warfare," to "Hey baby can I feel those tits," in the same breath. The older men, as professor Dilworth had shown, were no different.
Finally a woman came to the door. She looked as though she recognized Maria, which was strange because Maria couldn't remember ever meeting her. Then her mind clicked. She was the woman who'd been with Dr. Thompson at the meeting.
"Can I help you?" asked the woman. She was probably nearing forty and though pretty for her age, seemed to be kind of out of sorts at the moment. She was tall and slender. She also wasn't encumbered by Maria's heavy breasts. Maria would have died to be built like that.
"If you're looking for Robert, he doesn't live here and you won't find him here. I had nothing to do with him letting you go," said the woman. She couldn't seem to look Maria in the eyes.
"Actually, I was looking for Mr. Anderson," said Maria cheerfully. "Is he here?"
"No he isn't and why would you be looking for my husband?" asked the woman. Maria had already decided that she didn't like her."
"Business," said Maria, and started to leave.
"What kind of business?" Asked Stacy who was becoming more upset with each passing second.
"Nunya," said Maria.
"What the hell does that mean? Speak English," said the woman.
"It means that my reasons are none of your business," said Maria. "Have a really nice day." Maria walked away and got back in her friend's waiting car and they sped off. She felt like a complete idiot. Elena had told her that Anderson and his wife were in the middle of some kind of tiff. Why the hell did she go to his house? She'd have to look for him in other places, but where?
Maria called Elena and asked her where she might find Mr. Anderson. Elena thought about it for a second and told Maria that the island was a very small place. There weren't too many places he could hide and he was probably hiding. You start checking hotels and look for his car. He drives one of those loud sporty cars, the American one with the horse on the front. Elena told her that she'd also check on it and call her back.
Elena Rinehart was a strange woman, thought Maria. Though she didn't appear to be much older than Maria; her mannerisms often suggested a much older woman. Maria absent mindedly fingered the necklace that Elena had given her at their first meeting. Even stranger was the fact that the woman had made Maria promise not to ever take it off for as long as she was in the region.
"It will protect you," said Elena. It smacked of old world beliefs and witchcraft to Maria. How backwards could a University Dean's wife be? Oh well, Maria liked Elena and she'd given her word, so she wore the necklace. It was pretty anyway.
Nearly four hours later Elena called her back. "It took a while to find him, even for me. Apparently the people here love that man already. He's definitely hurting over what happened at the gala." Elena told Maria what had happened and told her to keep it to herself. "He has a room at the Hanging Dog Hotel down near the harbor," said Elena. "You need to find him fast if you want to get on the team. From what I hear, Thompson will be ready with the team's bid in only a few days. If you're not signed on by then, you may still go out with them but it'll only be as a crew member, which won't get you any kind of credit. And I want you to have that."
Maria borrowed the friend's car and headed for the harbor. Once there she walked around and asked directions to the Hanging Dog. It took a while for her to get over the fact that everyone she met wanted to ask about her accent. Then it took even longer to realize that no one actually called it the Hanging Dog. All of the locals called it the Hang Dog. She couldn't figure that one out but it didn't really matter. She went to the hotel. It was smaller than she expected and kind of seedy.
It was about 8 p.m. when she got there and just starting to get dark. The sun going down and the moon rising over the sea was really wonderful to look at. If Maria had time, she'd love to just take her shoes off and stroll along the beach. Of course, unlike in her dreams, she'd be doing it alone. But shit a beautiful ocean front stroll was a beautiful ocean front stroll. Whether she was with someone or not, it would still be a very special thing to remember someday.
Maria sat at the bar and fended off some of the local gigolos who all thought that they'd sweep her off her feet, out of her panties and into the poor house in one evening.
"Oh my God, your accent is so wonderful, beautiful lady," said one truly inspired lothario.
"Look Romeo, get the fuck away from me," snapped Maria smiling. "If you don't just turn around and leave, I'll scream "Rape" at the top of my God damned lungs." She said all of this in a voice that only he could hear while smiling the whole time.
"So sorry," he said just loud enough for the people in the immediate vicinity to hear. "I did not realize that you were a lesbian."
After that exchange, Maria was pretty much left alone. However, several women did come over to sit near her, but none of them made a move.
Maria had begun to think that Elena had led her on a wild goose chase. After all what would a famous explorer be doing in a place like this? Everywhere she looked, there were the gigolos and a few whores plying their trade on the few tourists who'd ventured this far off from the typical tourist haunts. Most of the people here were only here to drink and relax. There had been a few musicians who played a song or two during the evening. Some played Gypsy type music while others had gone for the traditional Greek genre. Nearly all were met with a smattering of applause and a lot of disinterest.
Just when Maria was about to leave, it happened. She'd drunk more than her usual amount of beer and had decided that she was going back to the dorm to pee. A big man came down the back staircase. He was well over six feet tall and though he was smiling, his eyes conveyed a sense of sadness deeper than anything Maria had ever seen. If it could be said about a man, he was beautiful. He had dirty blond hair and eyes as deep a shade of blue as the ocean outside.
He staggered into the bar area as if he was a little bit drunk. He was met by a round of catcalls. The funny thing about it was that though he seemed to be loved and accepted by all of the locals, he didn't look like one of them. He didn't appear to be Greek. He looked like an American.