Deciphering The Scrolls
by Azurenon & Savanna Mac
Please see part one for all disclaimers.
Mel came awake slowly; a half remembered dream slipping in and out of focus. Sheíd been on a ship... waves rocking the boat rhythmically. Someone had been with her... in front of her... sheíd been touching them... touching their bare skin, to be precise, the same way she was touching...
Her eyes sprang open, as she suddenly realized that the bare flesh she had been touching was no dream! She could feel the warmth of this skin beneath her palm; the fine hairs tickling her fingertips were real; the body in front of hers was Janiceís! This sent a shock wave of enticing sensations through her insides. She swallowed audibly as her olfactory senses registered the sweet, enticing aroma of her friendís hair, which she found her face snuggled against.
Oh Lord, she thought, her body now sensitive to the full contact it had with her friendís. She could feel the back of Janiceís warm thighs, pressed against the front of her own.
Of course, this wasnít the first time sheíd awaken in this position, nor was it the first time sheíd enjoyed the warm glow this elicited. Yet, this was the very first time sheíd allowed her feelings to wander far afield from mere thoughts of close friendship to physical desire for that same friend.
She wasnít too surprised when the memory of their shared kiss, the night before, leaped into mind. Yet, she was taken aback when her hand wandered over smooth bare skin once again and her lips pressed against the soft cotton of her friendís T-shirt.
Oh Lordee, whatís come over me? she wondered. Iíve never felt like this about anyone else. Never been this physically close. Never wanted to touch anyone else like this. And oh dear Lord, I canít deny how good it feels to do just that, right now! Her skin is so soft, so smooth... the fine fuzz on her stomach, so enticing to my fingertips... Ah-h and she smells so wonderful. Such a sweet aroma... so unlike a manís. I feel as though I wanna taste her skin to see if its as sweet as her lips. And oh yes, those lips... so moist, so sweet, so soft. Her kisses so light. No pressure... no urgency. And ummm her tongue... not nearly chokiní me or floundering around like a fish out of water. Just gently coaxing, caressing and... Oh Lord, how I wanna feel that again! I donít know if this is right or wrong, I only know that I want it. I want her! she thought, as she felt her hand inching beneath the soft cotton T-shirt.
I wanna touch her all over and... have her touch me... Ah-h yes, I wanna make love with this woman. Sheís the only person Iíve ever felt this way about! The only one whose ever truly aroused me to even think this way!! Yes, right or wrong, this is the person I wanna experience the joys of making love with! Iíve found what was missing before!!! Itís this! This softness... this tenderness... this desire to be close... to touch her in the most intimate of ways... and have her touch me. I want this woman so much, itís almost like a hunger inside of me!!! To taste her lips again... feel her soft body...
Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted when Janice moved her arm and emitted a soft moan. Mel quickly moved her hand back to her friendís waist, afraid of what Janice would think about her taking advantage of her this way. Suddenly, her heart leapt up in her throat, as a warm hand covered her own; thumb and pinky gripping the sides. Oh God, what will she say? Mel wondered. Will she be angry or.... Her wandering thoughts were pushed aside once again as Janiceís hand began leading hers back beneath the T-shirt and up her torso.
Mel moaned uncontrollably when her fingertips encountered one soft, yet firm mound of flesh. She whimpered as her hand was led up onto this mound; a small firm protrusion slipping between index and middle fingers.
"Oh-h swe-et Jes-sus," she murmured against Janiceís shoulder, while her hand continued to cup and caress the smooth, round flesh beneath it; her fingers easing back and forth, stroking the still growing protrusion. She could feel the tightening of her friendís aureole, its rough, rippled texture encircling the engorged nipple.
Janice moaned softly, pressing Melís hand firmly against her breast. A rush of heat shot through Melís body like liquid fire. She sucked in air between her lips and Janiceís shirt, making a slight hissing sound, as the flames of passion swept downward. An intense explosion in her lower abdomen caused her to release a shuddering moan against her friendís shoulder; the center of her desire now throbbing like a heartbeat.
Janice turned her head and then slowly rolled over on her back. "Cumímere," she said, reaching up and placing her right hand on Melís cheek and urging her forward.
Their lips met in a passionate embrace. Melís breathing quickened and her heart rate increased, until she could hear it pounding away in her ears. Her hand moved of its own accord, from one round mound to the other. Both women moaned simultaneously as Melís fingers caressed the engorged nipple they found there. Realizing she had caused both of these reactions, generated yet another wave of passion, which flowed over her from head to toe.
Breaking away from their lipsí embrace, Mel breathlessly asked, "Wh-what... are you... doing to me?"
"Nothing you donít want... I hope," Janice murmured against her cheek. "We can stop whenever you say," she added, pushing the brunetteís hair away from her face and tucking the long strands behind her ear.
Realizing Janice was giving her complete control of their present situation, filled Mel with a sense of power sheíd heretofore, never experienced. Itís all up to me, she thought. And suddenly felt intoxicated with the emboldened thoughts and feelings careening around inside her brain. She raised up slightly and attacked Janiceís lips with a fervor that surprised even herself. Lightly squeezing Janiceís nipple between thumb and index finger, she reveled in the subsequent moans this elicited from the woman beside her. When Janiceís tongue retreated back inside her own mouth, Melís followed close behind, desiring further contact. She whimpered as Janice gently sucked on her tongue, pulling it deeper inside her mouth. The center of her desire twitched and throbbed; a series of fiery sensations meandering down her body and coming together in one giant blast, centered between her thighs.
"Oh sweet Jesus," Mel breathed, after coming up for air. "This feels so-o famil-iar," she added, as Janice began planting kisses from her cheek to her ear.
"Um-m-m, letís get these clothes off, hmm?" her friend breathed in her ear.
"Y-yes," Mel heard herself quickly agree.
She felt Janice raising up; Melís hand still clinging to her friendís breast, as if it had become attached. She sat up beside Janice, while the latter pulled off her T-shirt. A sliver of moonlight drifting in through the window, bathed Janiceís left breast - with Melís hand still upon it - in lavender light. A surge of heat swept down Melís body at this sight.
"Are you sure?" Janice asked softly, reaching up and stroking the arm attached to this hand. "I donít want you to do anything that... doesnít feel right to you."
"Yes, this... it feels right," Mel heard herself answer, in a husky voice she didnít recognize. "So ve-ry right," she whispered, leaning forward and placing a passionate kiss upon Janiceís lips.
Suddenly, she was breaking away again, a long, low moan escaping her lips as Janice fondled her right breast through the nightgown. Unaware of how sensitive these had become, she whimpered when Janiceís fingers stroked her raised nipple.
"Ple-ase, take this off," Janice pleaded against her cheek.
Mel backed away and with her friendís help, slowly removed the nightgown.
"Ah-h-h yes-s," Janice whispered, moving closer and placing her fingers slightly above Melís breast, then meandering downward. Janice kissed her cheek, her chin, then on down her neck, while Mel softly whimpered and moaned; the formerís fingers gently stroking her breast.
"Oh-h... g-god," Mel murmured, when she felt Janiceís lips moving to replace her fingers. "Ah-h-h yes-s," she hissed, feeling soft lips encircle her sensitive nipple, a warm moist tongue lightly stroking the engorged center point.
She shuddered as a series of overwhelmingly pleasurable sensations shot down her torso, and like well aimed darts, converged upon the center bulls-eye between her thighs. She suddenly found her hand on the back of Janiceís head, pressing her closer, while involuntary whimpers escaped her lips. "Oh-h my-y god, what... you do to me," she mumbled, when Janice moved from one breast to the other. "Oh-h yes-s," she uttered, watching her friend lightly suckle at her breast.
"Umm," Janice murmured. "You taste... delicious." She made her way back up Melís torso, while her hand inched downward to the elastic waistband of her friendís underwear. "I want you, Mel." Her fingers were inching beneath the waistband now. "Lay down with me," she suggested.
Sensations like hot bolts of lightning streaked down Melís body. Sheíd never imagined that these four little words could have such an effect on her. "Umm-hmm," was all she could manage to say at that moment, as she placed her trembling hand against Janiceís cheek and eased back in compliance, taking her friend with her.
Both women moaned simultaneously, as their bare torsos came together. Janice insinuated her leg between Melís thighs; her hand slipping beneath the underwear, while her lips sought out those of the woman beneath her.
Mel found her own hands on Janiceís bare back; fingers gliding over the smooth, taunt flesh and encountering a patch of fine fuzz at the indention of her lower back. She whimpered as Janiceís wandering fingers meandered into the curls at the top of her mound.
"Let me take these off, too," Janice murmured against her lips. "I want to feel... all of you next to me."
"Um-hm," Mel breathed in response.
Gently and slowly Janice removed Melís underwear, then maneuvered out of her own, leaving both beneath the covers.
Mel emitted a loud groan, followed by several whimpers, as Janice eased over, placing her naked body half on top of her own. She could feel the warm dampness of Janiceís desire, pressed against her left leg, as well as, that of her own pressed against her friendís upper thigh. Her right hand moved of its own accord, down to her friendís buttocks. "Oh-h Jan-nice, she breathed, "This fe-els so-o familiar."
"I know," came the response as Janice kissed her lightly on the neck. "Feels so-o good," she added, her lower body beginning to move in a slow rhythmic manner, while her tongue meandered its way up to Melís ear. She lightly nibbled on one earlobe, whispering, "You donít know how long Iíve wanted you like this. How much I ache to make love to you."
Mel could only moan and whimper in response, her body was so overwhelmed by the desire flowing through her.
"Is that what you want?" Janice inquired.
"Y-yes-s," Mel stammered, breathlessly. "P-Pl-lease,"
"Umm," Janice murmured, just before filling Melís ear with her tongue, while her hand continued on its journey downward. "Oh my god-d," Janice hissed, a moment later; her fingers encountering warm, wet folds.
Mel gasped, whimpered and clung to her friendís back, as the latterís index finger neared her inner sanctum.
Janice could feel her friend seemingly bracing herself, her body becoming rigid. "Do... you want me to stop?" she inquired, quite concerned over Melís reaction.
"I... no, I... I know itís... supposed to hurt," Mel whimpered. "But, I... Iím... ready. Donít stop."
Janice was a bit taken back by this response and eased her hand up to a less threatening position. "I know you were probably told that it hurts the first time, but it doesnít have to," she consoled softly.
"It... doesnít?" Mel queried.
"Uh-uh. I wouldnít want to do anything that would hurt you, Mel. I swear," she whispered in her friendís ear. "All I want to do is please you... give you pleasure. If... I do anything that hurts you I want you to let me know right then and there, okay? Cause thatís the last thing Iíd want to do."
Mel nodded, but did not relax. And Janice figured it might be best to take things at a much slower pace. Her fingers made lazy circles in the course hair of the brunetteís mound, while her lips slowly traversed the distance from ear to breast; her tongue leaving a moist trail in its wake.
Mel whimpered when her friendís warm mouth surrounded her aureole; wet tongue lightly flicking back and forth across the engorged and supersensitive nipple. Her desire throbbed in response to this manipulation, seemingly in spite of her fears. She pressed her hand against the back of Janiceís head, requesting more of the same.
Janice suckled on the erect membrane, savoring the tantalizing taste of its slight emissions, while her hand inched downward again, her fingers slowly moving through the profusion of hair above and around the moist folds. "Umph, youíre so-o w-wet," she breathed, her index finger unable to resist slipping in between these folds and stroking the slick bundle of nerves betwixt her friendís thighs.
"Ah-hum," Mel moaned, feeling the most pleasurable sensation sheíd felt in her life, to date. Janice applied a bit more pressure to her slow rhythmic strokes and soon Melís own body was moving in time to the manipulation, arching upwards as if reaching for something more.
Janice responded to these movements, her middle finger slipping gingerly into the steamy slick cavern.
"Oh sw-weet Jes-sus and all the saints!" Mel gasped; eyes tightly shut; tongue encircling her own lips.
Janice raised her head, concern evident in her voice, as she asked, "What? Am I hurting...?"
"No-o!" Mel whispered, both hands surrounding Janiceís face and pulling it towards her own. "God no, Janice... this feels... like.... hea-ven!" she murmured against her loverís lips, while her lower body arched even further upward, urging her friendís questing appendage deeper.
Gibberish issued forth from Melís mouth, as she buried her face against Janiceís neck, her lower body matching her loverís movements, stroke for ever pleasurable stroke. Gibberish soon changed to a singsong of barely intelligible ĎOh-h Jan-niceísí, when her lower body went into convulsions; her entire being shuddering from the intensity of her very first orgasm.
"You okay?" Janice inquired, after a few moments of nothing but heavy breathing from the woman beneath her.
"Umm... that was... ex-x-qui-site!" Mel whispered near her ear. "I never knew an-nything could feel so-o go-od! No, please..." she protested, when Janice raised up and started to move her hand. "Umm... just cumímere," she added, seeking out her loverís lips, with her own.
Janice could feel the walls of her friendís desire contracting and pulsing like a slow heartbeat. Sheíd wanted to feel this, but was afraid Mel would not want her to remain inside. Few women sheíd ever been with did. It seemed as if they felt there would be too much emotional attachment between them if they were to share this with her. At least, thatís what one had told her. So, she was extremely grateful that Mel was not of the same persuasion. For, Janice loved the feelings this elicited within her own self; knowing she had caused this to happen; knowing she had indeed pleased her lover.
"Show me how to please you," Mel suggested a bit later, rolling her friend over on her back. "I want to make you feel as good as I do now."
"And how good is that?" Janice asked, in a teasing tone, her left hand going to Melís thigh and urging it over between her own.
"Umm... Iíd rather show you," Mel responded, her hand roaming up this same arm to the bicep, then wandering over to the round, soft mound of flesh near it. "Umm... youíre so-o soft." She kissed Janiceís cheek. "And so firm," she continued, slightly squeezing her friendís erect nipple between thumb and forefinger.
"Hmm, I donít think you... nee-eed any coaching," Janice observed, as Mel left a trail of kisses down her neck and across her chest. "Oh yes," she gasped, when Melís tongue circled her nipple. "You need no help," she confirmed, arching her upper body; her friendís eager lips surrounding, then suckling at her sensitive breast.
Melís breathing grew rapid and heavy; the taste emanating from her loverís skin, acting like an aphrodisiac to her already overly aroused senses. Her stomach muscles tightened as if with hunger pains. Yet this was a different kind of ache than a mere empty stomach. This was a bit lower and more sudden in its occurrence and more urgent in its request for satisfaction.
Janice arched her back once again, while at the same time pressing downward with her hand against Melís back. Her legs moved further apart and Mel could now feel her loverís hot, wet desire, which only served to send another heated rush of liquid fire gushing throughout her system. Her right hand moved down at a rapid pace now. When her fingertips encountered the tight soft curls, a low animal-like growl issued from deep within her throat.
"Oh-h y-yes," Janice mumbled, her right hand gripping Melís back, as her friendís fingers inched lower.
Melís tingling fingertips slowly slipped between warm, wet, extremely slick folds. The ache in her stomach increased in intensity, making her gasp and leave off her previous oral ministrations. "Oh Jes-sus, Jan-nice," she murmured, when her friend arched her lower body, causing Melís finger to easily slide into the mouth of her hot, wet cavern.
"Umm, cumímere," Janice requested, leaning her face towards Melís. "Umm-hmm," she whimpered when their lips met.
Yet again, Janice withdrew her tongue into her own mouth, urging Melís to follow. Once there, Janice gently sucked on this delicate membrane, while arching her lower back even higher. Mel moaned and whimpered as both her tongue and fingers were urged deeper into their separate warm, wet sanctuaries.
"Oh-h yea-ah," Janice gasped, breaking away. Her body now moving in a slow rhythmic motion, directing and meeting Melís slightly hesitant strokes.
Mel listened to her friendís moans and gasps, as they steadily rose in intensity. From her own previous experience, she knew what her friend must be feeling. And the thought that she was giving the same pleasure she had received, aroused her even further. She wanted to be able to feel that intense pleasure again, at the same time as Janice. Wanted to share this experience so badly, she ached with desire for it. Burying her face in Janiceís neck, she greedily sucked on her loverís skin.
"Oh yes, baby," Janice murmured, and followed this with a succession of "Oh babyís" and "Oh Melís". Then suddenly she wrapped her free leg around her loverís hips, her body shuddering and convulsing, as she let loose a guttural and primal animal sound, which reverberated in Melís ears, intensifying her desire.
"Umm... I told you, you needed no help," Janice said softly, running the bottom of her foot up and down the back of Melís calf. "None whatsoever," she continued, when Mel raised up slightly to face her. "Umm... give me those." Her lips sought out those of her lover.
Janice was lying on top of Mel now, between the latterís thighs. "You seem so content," Mel noted. "And I still feel... hungry inside." Her hands roamed over her loverís behind.
"Well, it is... your first time, after all. And that can be... like a child with a new toy... you donít wanna stop playing with it." She nuzzled against Melís neck.
"Umph, I sure canít seem to stop playing with you, can I?" Mel queried, her hands continuing to roam over her loverís body.
"Iím not complaininí," Janice murmured.
Janice lay in Melís arm feeling content. She could hardly believe sheíd actually made love to the beautiful woman beside her. She prayed this wasnít just a dream, as her eyes closed and she drifted off to sleep with a smile on her face.
When her eyes opened once again, the first thing she noticed was Melís beautiful face, lying close enough to kiss. She reached up, running her finger over those luscious red lips sheíd kissed so many times the night before and still hungered for even now.
Mel moaned and her eyes fluttered open. She glanced around, her gaze quickly settling on Janiceís. A slow smile spread across her face. "Good morniní," she said, oh so softly.
"Good morniní to you," Janice murmured, raising up slightly.
Their lips met in a brief, but meaningful embrace.
Mel sighed contentedly, her eyes closing once again.
"Good grief!" Janice exclaimed, as she flinched in her loverís arms.
"Wh-what?" Mel questioned, blinking several times in order to focus; having felt Janice roll out of her embrace. "What is it?"
"Itís nearly nine oíclock!" Janice gasped, as she raised up quickly. "Iíve gotta get to work!"
"No, Janice please," Mel intoned, raising up and moving towards her friend, who she now considered her lover. She reached out and grasped Janiceís arm. "Ple-ease donít go. Not today. Stay with me," she pleaded.
Janice glanced down at the hand on her arm. Oh how much I want to stay, she thought. "Iíd love to," she responded, placing her hand over Melís and glancing back over her shoulder. "But, I know those men wonít do a descent days work, if Iím not there."
Mel scooted up closer behind her, placing her other arm around her loverís waist. "Please Janice... whatís one more day, hmm? Stay with me," she said, placing a moist kiss on her loverís shoulder.
Janice moved her hand to the one now on her stomach. She sighed heavily, debating what she should do, because she knew what she wanted to do. Sheíd missed so much time on the dig already. It could take days, maybe even a week, before weíre even close to digging out and shoring up that tunnel, much less finding that piece of metal, she surmised.
"I... want you, Janice," Mel whispered near her ear. "Just a.... little while longer? Ple-ease," she added, placing yet another warm, wet kiss on Janiceís neck this time.
Janice knew sheíd been had now. There was no way she was leaving for work right this minute.
What Janice intended to be an extended stay, until perhaps lunch, turned into an all day affair. They got out of bed only to get something to eat and take care of the essentials, then climbed right back in again, afterwards. They even fed each other in bed, which Janice had never done before.
Mel was as giddy as a school girl at times, then at others, she was a serious, passionate and seemingly insatiable lover. Janice also found out her new lover was a very quick study; for, sheíd never had anyone take her to the heights of passion so many times.
"Thank you," Mel said, later that night, as Janice lay in her arms in the position each seemed to prefer and found more comfortable.
"For what?" Janice queried, her fingers meandering along the straight line of soft light brown fuzz down the center of Melís abdomen.
"For setting me free," Mel answered, softly.
Janice glanced up at her lover. The look in those blue depths tugged at her heart.
"I feel as though youíve set me free from a long imprisonment," Mel went on. "Opened the doors to a whole new world. And..." She paused, as she reached down and lifted her loverís chin. "And... I love you, Janice," she added, then sealed these words with a passionate kiss.
Janice was spellbound. She wanted to say she loved Mel, too, because it was most definitely true, yet she couldnít get the words past the lump in her throat. That lump of fear, choked off any response. So, instead of words, she chose actions to express her love. An action that she had heretofore not been brave enough to introduce Mel to. But, afterwards, however, she could only wonder why. For Mel seemed eager to experience anything and everything that had to do with giving or recieving pleasure.
Janice drifted off to sleep, content with the thought that sheíd found the lover of her dreams.
Mel stayed awake for a while after Janice fell asleep; her loverís head on her shoulder. For once in her life, Mel could truly say that she was happy. She felt this inside, like the warm glow from a fire. Sheíd finally found what she felt sheíd been waiting for all these many years. Yes, she was blissfully happy. Free to be exactly who she was inside. No more hiding behind those glasses and taking dainty steps in those long skirts. No, she could now dress, act and do whatever she wanted. Janice had set her body and her heart free. She was floating on cloud nine and never wanted to come down.
Mel was reluctant for Janice to go back to work, yet she knew life had to go on. Of course, that didnít mean she had to make it easy for her lover to leave, though. So, when Janice came back in the bedroom to say goodbye, Mel was sitting up in bed. Janice sat down beside her and gave her a light kiss, then quickly backed off.
"Come home for lunch?" Mel asked, though it was more of a statement.
"You gonna be... waiting... like that?" Janice questioned, her gaze falling to Melís bare chest, admiring the two dark aureoles against the lighter bronze skin.
"You want me to be?" Mel asked, easing back on her elbows.
"Umph, better not," Janice admitted, getting up from the bed now. "Or I wonít be going back to work," she added, crossing in front of the bed.
"Oh, then Iíll most certainly be waiting just like this," Mel teased, tossing her head, the long dark tresses swinging back and forth.
"Hmm, and whatís come over you?" Janice quipped, leaning against the doorframe now, admiring a view that she couldnít quite force her eyes away from.
"You," Mel responded. "Just look what youíve created, Janice Covington... a real animal."
"Uh-huh," Janice agreed. "Looks like I out-did myself, huh?" she queried, not expecting an answer, as she smiled at her lover.
"Have a good day at work now," Mel teased, rolling over on her side. "Iíll be here thinking about you, while Iím... lounging around in bed," she added, playing with a strand of hair, which had fallen over her shoulder and onto her chest. She maintained eye contact with Janice, while she circled her nipple with it.
"Oh-ho, youíre a ba-ad girl," Janice noted, squeezing the door frame beneath her hand. "Very ba-ad."
"You should know, you made me that way," Mel quipped, raising her eyebrows suggestively.
"Umph!" Janice grunted, as she shoved off from the door frame and forced herself through the doorway.
"Come home for lunch," Mel called after her. "Iíll have somethiní waitiní."
"I just bet you will," Janice retorted, grabbing her jacket.
"Iím serious, Janice," Mel intoned.
"I know you are," Janice mumbled, but called out, "Iíll be back around 12:30." She then grabbed her hat and plopped it on her head.
"Iíll be wai-ting," Mel said in a sing-song voice.
"Iím counting on it," Janice murmured, as she stepped out into the brisk, clean morning air.
The archaelogist wasnít surprised to find that the workmen had accomplished so little in her absence. The latter of which sheíd explained away as a virus. Sheíd then dove in side by side with the men to keep things moving along. She was glad the work required very little concentration, because all sheíd been able to think about all morning was Mel. The men had even caught her whistling several times and teased that her virus had been very helpful to her mood. Janice had merely smiled at this and chalked her mood up to a good dayís rest.
By twelve oíclock she was biting at the bit to leave for lunch. She was feeling so generous, she even suggested the men take an extra thirty minutes for lunch today, since she was planning on taking the rest of the day off. She needed to order some more timbers, apparently having misjudged how many it would take. And she figured she and Mel could go ahead and do the shopping theyíd discussed before. She wanted to get Mel some new clothes. Of course, this was gonna mean more time away from the dig, but Janice reasoned that there were some things more important than stressing over work. She assumed if she was meant to find something, she would, when the time was right. For now, she was just going to enjoy what was going on at this moment.
Outside the tent - she used as a semi-office and home-away-from-home, at the dig site - she had prepared her usual pan of water for washing up. Sheíd taken off her hat and was using the kerchief she wore around her neck to scrub her face, when she heard the distinct sound of an automobile motor coming up the road. Her first thought was Mel had come by in the truck to pick her up, but the engine sounded too smooth. Her second thought was bill collectors or tourists. The latter often took the wrong turn at the fork near the beach and ended up having to circle back around on this road, which ran by the dig site and the cottage, then met up with the beach road once again.
She watched out of the corner of her eye as a long black sedan - quite similiar to the one Mel arrived in at the other dig site - slowed down at the bottom of the hill. "Tourists," she mumbled, knowing no bill collector could afford such a ride.
She rolled her sleeves further up on her arm in order to wash them properly or else Mel would notice. She heard the car door slam and groaned, knowing sheíd have to give directions now. But not before she finished washing up.
"Hello there," a male voice with a southern accent called out.
"Keep going straight and youíll run right back into the beach road," Janice called out, without even looking up.
"Uh well, I appreciate you sharing that, but I just came from there," the man explained. "Iím looking for a Dr. J.D. Covington. I was told I could find him here."
Janice turned around then. No one had referred to her by J.D. in several years. Sheíd used her initials when she first started out, following in her fatherís footsteps, to garner more respect from the predominately male establishment.
"Itís her," she corrected, taking note of the rather handsome man, dressed in a well tailored navy blue suit, red tie, white shirt, and off-white hat with a red band.
"Pardon me?" the man asked, stumbling up the trail to the dig site, his city slicker shoes slipping and sliding on the rather steep, rocky terrain.
"J.D. stands for Janice Douglas," she said, without thinking about what she was revealing, because she was intently watching him, just waiting for him to bust his behind.
"Doug-las?" the man said, nearly losing his balance and quickly righting himself. "But, I thought you said... the first name was Janice?"
"Motherís maiden name," Janice grumbled, as she wrapped the wet kerchief around her neck. "So, what do want with Dr. Covington?" she asked, reaching over and grabbing her hat, which she promptly plopped on her head.
The well dressed man - probably close to her own age, judging from appearances - made it to the top of the trail with only one near miss. He then straightened his tie and dusted off one knee, before finally looking up. "I take it... you... are Dr. Covington?" he asked, his eyes taking note of the whip on one hip, pistol on the other.
Janice tied her kerchief. "Thatís right. Whoís asking?" She then began searching her breast pocket for the half smoked cigar she was saving for later.
"Charles B. Harrison the third," the man said, extending his hand.
Janice glanced down at the proffered hand and then up at him. "Never heard of ya," she grumbled, sticking her own hand in her pants pocket and producing her lighter. "What business do you have with me?" she grumbled, lighting the cigar now.
Charles B. Harrison III withdrew his hand and cleared his throat. "Yes, well... acíshally I was hoping you could... provide some in-sight as to the where-abouts of one Melinda Pappas."
"Mel?" Janiceís head came up, her gaze meeting his.
"Melinda," he corrected.
Janice shifted her cigar to the side of her mouth and clamped down on it with her teeth. "And what business do you have with her?"
Charles Harrison took off his hat, revealing a receding hairline, light brown in color. "A private matter," he answered, wiping his brow on the sleeve of his suit. "We have some... unfinished business you might say."
"What ki-ind of unfinished business?" Janice asked calmly, her right hand moving to the butt of her gun in an easy relaxed manner.
Charlesís eyes followed this movement. "If youíll just point me in the direction where I might find her, Iíll take that up with..."
"I ainít pointiní you nowhere, but to your car, Mister," Janice growled, removing her cigar from her lips with her left hand. "Unless you tell me what your business with Mel is. Ya see, sheís a friend of mine and... neither one of us like strangers much. Leasts ways not those that come this far out looking for us."
"Oh, Iím no stranger to Melinda, I assure you," Charles offered with a cocky grin, as he placed his hat on his head; his eyes never leaving Janiceís right hand. "Sheís the woman Iím going to marry."
Janiceís eyes opened wide and her mouth gaped open. "What.. did... you say?" she asked slowly.
"I said, Iím gonna marry Melinda. Weíve been going together off and on for years now, and I think itís about time we tied the knot," he said, finally lifting his gaze to Janiceís. "Now, if youíll just direct me..."
"You are Melís fianceeí?" Janice queried, her voice dangerously calm.
"Well, no... not officíally, I guess youíd say. Not yet... anyway," Charles stammered. "If youíd be so kind..."
"Mel know you were coming?"
"Well, no, acíshally, she doesnít. And... Iíd really rather keep it that way. I want to surprise her."
"Uh-huh," Janice grumbled. "Funny, but... she never mentioned you to me."
"She never mentioned in her telegrams that you were a female, Ďither," Charles retorted.
"Mel sent you telegrams?"
"Well yes, if you must know. As I said before, we are more than just acquainíances. Now...."
"Then how come you call her Melinda and not Mel?" Janice asked suspiciously.
"Because, Mel was her fatherís name," he explained, sounding a bit irritated. "Now, I think Iíve answered enough of your questions, Miss... or is it Mrs?"
"Itís doctor to you," Janice corrected.
"Yes, well, Doc-tor Coviníton, Iíd like to know Melindaís whereíbouts if you please."
Janice rubbed her hand over her face, suddenly feeling foolish. Mel had never mentioned any Charles, nor any other man for that matter. And now the rather handsome, presumably rich, Mr. Charles B. Harrison III was here to take her back to South Carolina and make her his wife. No wonder you donít talk much about your past, she thought. Just up and left, huh, Mel? What... you have a loverís spat or something? Jesus Christ, Mel! Janice shouted in her mind.
"Dr. Covington," Charles said, "I think Iíve been more than reasonable, given..."
"Yeah, yeah. Keep going straight," Janice grumbled, taking off her hat and using it to direct him. "You canít miss it. The cottage is up on the right."
"Thank you," Charles said, a bit indignantly. Then he slipped and slid back down the hill.
Not one word, Mel, why not? Janice mused. "Been going together off and on for years," heíd said. "íBout time we tied the knot." Damn, itís happening all over again. Jesus H. Christ when will I ever learn? she wondered, plopping her hat back on her head.
Obviously never, her mind chastized.
Mel was busy preparing fried egg sandwiches when there was a knock at the door. Hmph, whatís she doing, playing games? she wondered. Ah-h yeah, I bet she is. She wants to see if Iíll answer the door in the nude, she mused, quickly rinsing off her hands. "Coming," she called out. Okay, missy, Iíll play along, she thought, reaching up and undoing another button on her blouse. She wasnít wearing a bra underneath, so the open blouse revealed bare skin down to her cleavage. Letís see how long it takes her to notice that.
Reaching for the doorknob, she placed her hand on her hip, knowing the blouse would gape open a bit. She couldnít wait to see the look on Janiceís face.
When she opened the door, however, she was the one surprised. "Chuckie B.!" she gasped. "What in the world...?"
Charles reached out and grabbed her hand, pulling her into a warm embrace. "Oh, itís so good to see ya, Melinda!" he exclaimed, lifting her off her feet.
"Chuckie, stop that... put me down," Mel said with a giggle, as her friend nuzzled against her neck.
"Um-um-um, you do smell dee-li-cious," he drawled.
"Chuckie, please," Mel said, pushing away from him with more force now. This wasnít the person she had wanted to see. Not that she didnít want to see Chuckie. Theyíd been friends for years, and she loved him like a brother. But, she didnít always like him. Especially, when he didnít have another woman on his arm. And furthermore, he had lousy timing. "What in the world are you doing here?" she asked again.
"Iím here to take you home to be my wife," he answered matter-of-factly.
"Oh Chuckie, ple-ease, be serious," Mel said, pushing back further.
"Ah-h Melinda, just lemíme look at you," Chuckie drawled, holding her out at armís length now. "Wow, babe, you sure... look diffírent," he noted, his gaze taking in the thin blouse and several buttons undone in a very revealing manner. "Going ridiní or somethiní?" he asked, referring to the pants and boots she was wearing.
"Uh, no, I... I just... I wasnít expecting company is all," Mel stammered, crossing her arms over her chest now. "And I forgot to... bring suitable clothes for... lounging around."
"Well, Iíd say that fits the bill there," he acknowledged, his gaze finally wandering back up to meet hers.
Mel hung her head, crossing her arms tighter. "Chuckie, what are you doing here?" she asked again.
"Well, I received your telegram asking to transfer more money and... a healthy sum at that, I might add..." he explained, his gaze drifting over Melís shoulder to the interior of the cottage. "Youíre not thinking of buying this place, are you?"
"Buying...? No, oh no, this is Janiceís."
"Good," he acknowledged. "Mind if I come in?"
"Oh no, sure... come on in, I... uh... well, you showing up out of the blue was such a shock that... I completely forgot my manners," she apologized, falling into the old Melís self-effacing tone and character.
Chuckie proceeded by her into the living room, taking off his hat and glancing around. "Dr. Covington lives here, hmm?" he queried. "So, where are you staying?" he asked, obviously having noticed there was only one other room beyond the hall.
"Here," she responded. "Um... matter of fact, Janice should be coming home any minute now. Youíll get to meet her."
"Already have," Chuckie said with a frown, fidgeting with the brim of his hat, as his eyes scanned the room slowly. "She told me where to find you. How come you never mentioned she was a... she?" he asked, turning and riveting Mel with his dark brown eyes.
"I donít know, I.... I never thought it mattered."
Chuckie glanced down at the hat in his hand, then behind him at the sofa. "Mind if I sit down?"
"Uh no, no, please, have a seat. Um... have you had lunch yet?" she asked, remembering what sheíd been doing before his arrival and moving towards the kitchen now. "I was just preparing some sandwiches for lunch. Fried egg, would you like one?" she asked, buttoning up her blouse along her route. She longed for her jacket, but it was in the closet in the bedroom.
"Sípecting compíny for lunch?" Chuckie inquired.
"Just Janice," she answered and turned towards him. "You never answered me about the sandwich, do you...?" She paused, noticing Chuckieís gaze transfixed by the candlelit table, with place settings for two. "...want me to make you one?" she finished.
Chuckie glanced up at her now, then back to the table. "Sure youíre not expecting company? Or do you and... Dr. Covington always eat by candlelight?"
"Well, no,.. Iím not expecting anyone else but Janice and..."
"Yes, we do eat by candlelight quite often," Janice offered, as she walked through the open doorway. "I need to watch every penny."
Chuckie cleared his throat and got to his feet like a proper gentleman, as Janice hung her hat on the coat rack.
She walked past him, never even glancing in his direction. "Staying for lunch, Charles?" she asked, over her shoulder, as she proceeded to the table.
"Uh, no... thank you, I already ate."
"How Ďbout a glass of tea?" Mel queried, back to work on her sandwiches now.
He agreed and started moving towards the table.
Janice sat down in her usual place and slid the chair on the end towards him with her foot, the legs scraping across the old wooden floor. "Have a seat," she said a bit gruffly, but offering a forced smile.
Chuckie hesitantly accepted the proffered chair, his hat still in his hand. He laid it down on the table between himself and Janice. She then reached over and snatched the hat up, moving it to the other end of the table.
"So Charles, whaddaya do for a living?" Janice asked, as Mel walked up with a plate of sandwiches.
"Iím a..." Chuckie paused, glancing up at Mel now and smiling broadly, his eyes roaming over her breasts on the way down.
Janice crossed her ankles, deliberately kicking his chair. "Oh, sorry," she apologized. "You were saying....?" she prodded.
"Uh yeah... Iím a lawyer," he answered, pushing his chair back slightly.
"Heís been our family lawyer for... several years now," Mel explained, able to feel the tension in the room between Janice and Chuckie. What the latter felt about Janice, she wasnít sure. What Janice felt about Chuckie was evident. She didnít like him. And as Janice looked up at Mel, for the first time since sheíd come in, her eyes reflected the fact that Chuckieís appearance had not made her one bit happy.
"His father was my fatherís lawyer for... as long as I can remember," Mel added, hoping to ease the tension. She sat the plate of sandwiches down on the table and smiled at Janice. The latter, however, continued to frown, her eyes finally taking in Melís attire. Janice quickly glanced back up, her expression one of puzzlement for a moment, then rapidly fading back to a frown. "Chuckie and I have known each other since we were... babes in the cradle," Mel went on. "Our fathers were close friends and so were our mothers. We grew..."
"And so are we," Chuckie interjected, reaching out, putting his hand over hers and holding onto it.
Mel smiled politely in his direction. "We... grew up together," she said, finishing her sentence, while slowly extricating her hand from his.
Janice cleared her throat. "Well, Iím sure you two have a lot of catching up to do," she said, reaching over and grabbing a sandwich from the plate. "So, Iíll leave you two alone," she added, taking a glass of tea with her, as she raised up.
"Where are you going?" Mel asked.
"Outside," Janice answered, unwilling to make eye contact. "Soak up some of that warm sun. Itís pretty dank and dark in that tunnel all day."
"Janice, I wish you wouldnít..."
"Oh, donít mind me," Janice interjected, pushing her chair back with her legs. "Besides Iíve got a few things I need to sort out."
"A problem with the dig?" Mel queried, her eyes following her loverís rapid progress across the room towards the door.
"Nothing major," Janice assured her, trying not to let the bitterness and hurt she felt inside creep into her voice. "I can handle it. You just... take care of your guest." She reached out and grabbed her hat. "Chuckieís come a long way," she added, as she walked through the open doorway.
"Melinda, listen," Chuckie said, getting her attention, which was obviously concentrated on Janice. "I need you to come into the city with me and sign some papers," he added, glancing down at his wrist watch now.
"Papers? What papers?" Mel asked, her eyes straying back to the doorway.
Chuckie leaned in closer. "The ones concerning the transfer of the money," he answered, his voice hardly above a whisper. He glanced around at the door. "Weíll need to get going soon," he added.
"Why are you whispering?" Mel asked. "I have no secrets from Janice."
"Well, look, Iíve got a room already booked for you in the city," he said, in a more normal tone of voice. "Itís a long drive, so youíll need to stay overnight."
"Overnight, why? Chuckie, whatís this all about?" Mel asked, a bit suspiciously.
"I knew you were going to make this difficult," he said with a heavy sigh. "Ya see thereís some papers I overlooked concerning your fatherís estate. And they need your signature like... yesterday."
"Then go getíem, Iíll signíem right now," she said, thinking she was starting to smell a rat.
"I donít haveíem with me," he said. "Theyíre in Am-pi-fo-tis, at the bank."
"Itís Amphipolis," Mel corrected. "And why are they there, Chuckie?" she asked, knowing she smelled a rodent in the vicinity now.
"Because they have to be notarized and witnessed," he explained.
"And... you couldnít do that in town, here?"
"I didnít know if they would have a notary public."
"You could have brought the papers with you, just in case," she noted.
"I left them at the bank for safe keeping, Melinda. And besides you have to go to the bank and sign for the larger amount of money you wanted this time."
"Why? I didnít have to do that before."
His face colored a bit. "Because I set it up that way to be safe. I wanted to make sure it was you drawing out the money."
"Chuckie, you set this whole thing up, didnít you?" Mel accused, arching one dark eyebrow. The old self-effacing Mel slowly taking a back seat now, as the new one realized her old friend had set her up once again, presumably to try and get her into bed, since heíd said sheíd been the only one whoíd ever turned him down.
His neck turned a mottled red. "The papers needing to be signed? No. My butt could be in a sling over that one."
"And leaviní them at the bank, so Iíd have to stay overnight?"
He shrugged, the color rising up to his face now. "Melinda, you know Iím in love with you."
"Oh Chuckie, ple-ase," Mel said, sounding exasperated. "Weíve been over this time and time again. We are friends, nothing more. And besides you are not in love with me and you never have been and you know it. You just say this every time you break up with another woman, to try and get me in bed. So, who broke your heart this time?"
"Melinda, have you ever considered that my relationships with other women donít work out..." He paused and made sure he had her attention. "...and neither have yours with other men, by the way,... because we are meant to be together?" He reached over, taking her hand in his.
"No, Chuckie," Mel said, a bit more sternly than she ever had before, as she extricated her hand. "Weíre not meant to be together. I know that now."
"How can you be so sure? Is there another man?" he asked, glancing around, as if he expected one to suddenly appear.
"No, Chuckie, thereís not another man. And even if there was, I wouldnít tell you. Not until you find yourself another girlfriend."
He laughed at Melís appraisal of his character, which she knew was right on the mark. Sheíd been caught up in his masterminded love scenes, or rather schemes, too many times in the past.
"Thatís what I love about you, Melinda," he said. "You know me so well and yet ya still love me."
"Umph," Mel grunted. "Yeah, Chuckie, I guess Iíll always love ya," she said with a sigh. "But, Iím not in love with you... letís get that straight, finally, okay?"
"Okay, okay, we got that straight," he said, glancing at his watch. "Now come on, eat up, we need to get on the road."
Mel nibbled at her sandwich, as her mind wandered off on Janice and how she was going to talk her into leaving work behind to come along.
"Earth to Melinda," Chuckie said, imitating some of those science fiction serials he used to love so well and probably still did. She glanced over at him. "Donít look so down. You know you need a night on the town after being stuck out here in the sticks for... how long... three... four weeks now. Besides, Chuckieís buying," he added enthusiastically.
"You bet you are," Mel assured him, then took another bite of her sandwich.
"Hey, donít I always show you a good time?" he asked softly. "We have fun together, right? So, come on... give old Chuckie one of those heartwarming smiles of yours. Come on now... you can do better than that..." He crossed his eyes and puckered his lips, making a "fish-face" like he used to when they were kids, which always got a smile out of her. "Oop, I see a bit of a smile right there in the corner..." He raised his hand towards her face.
She smiled finally, giving him what he wanted, yet at the same time brushing his hand away. Theyíd played these games for years. She was used to it. She just didnít like it anymore.
"Thatís my girl!" he said loudly, apparently covering the discomfort of being brushed off. But that was Chuckie. She wasnít sure he even understood the concept of the word "no". At least not when it came to women saying it. "Eat up, we gotta go," he urged.
Mel got up from the table. "Iíve lost my appetite," she stated. "But, youíre gonna pay for that tonight."
"Oh sure," he said and laughed loud and hearty, as Mel walked away. "Weíll wine and dine to the sun comes up!" he called after her. "Just like olí times!"
Outside the cottage, all Janice heard was: "Thatís my girl" and "Weíll wine and dine Ďtil the sun comes up, just like olí times". And that was far more than she wanted or needed to hear.
With the last bite of her sandwich feeling as if it were lodged in her throat, she got up from the old rusted out chair sheíd been sitting in. She took a large swallow of tea, tears stinging her eyes. She debated about taking the glass back inside, but didnít think she could handle facing Mel. So she just said, "to hell with it" and took off down the path leading to road, with the glass in her hand.
Tears were streaming down her cheeks as she crossed over the rock wall, separating the road from the beach. Her mind flashed back to when sheíd helped Mel over this wall, not so long ago. Taking a few more steps, she turned back towards the cottage, her eyes so cloudy with tears, she could hardly see. She reached up and wiped them on her sleeve. She just knew that Mel was leaving and there was nothing she could do about it. Everything we shared must mean nothing to her, she thought, as she slung the glass toward the rock wall and watched it shatter into umpteen tiny pieces, which scattered across the sand. This is exactly how her heart felt. Shattered beyond repair, she thought, quickly turning and setting off down the beach at a trot. She hoped to numb the pain of her shattered heart, with the physical exertion of running away just as fast as her feet would carry her.
"Has Janice come back yet?" Mel asked, as she set her suitcase down in the living room.
"Havenít seen here," Chuckie responded, getting up and grabbing his hat. "Here... let me carry that to the car for you."
"If you see Janice, tell her I need to speak with her," Mel said, handing him the suitcase. "And Chuckie... wait in the car, okay?"
"Wait in the car? Why do you want...?"
"Just do it," Mel said. "I need to speak with her alone. I want to try and talk her into coming with us. And that may take some doing," she mused.
"Coming with us?" he gasped. "Melinda why in the world would you want that woman coming with us?"
"Sheís my partner."
"Which, by the way, is something Iíve been meaning to ask you about," he said, sitting the bag down. "Melinda, why in heavenís name are you partners with that woman?" he asked, again stressing the word Ďthatí. "Sinkiní your fatherís money into this dig of hers? You know nothing about archaelogy."
"I know nothing about stocks and bonds, either, but his money is invested in that, too," Mel retorted.
"Yes, but... stocks and bonds are a sure investment," he argued. Mel raised her eyebrow. "Well, most of the time," he corrected. "But this... youíre just throwiní good money after bad, if you ask me."
"I donít remember asking you," Mel said calmly. More calmly than she felt at the moment, because this was the first true test of the "new" Mel: speaking her mind to someone who had known the "old" Mel for a long time.
"Well, maybe you should have," he shot back indignantly, clearly not liking the fact that she was arguing with him. "Because so far, this investment of yours has shown no profit what-so-ever." He paused, for only a moment, before going on, "How in the world did you get hooked up with this broad anyway? You told me you were coming here to translate ancient manuscripts. You never said word one about investing in some hair-brain archaeological dig."
"Things change, Chuckie, " Mel responded, her anger seething just beneath the surface. "And so do people," she added, glancing towards the door now.
"Yeah, well not all change is for the better, Melinda. And investing more money in something you know nothing about is... down right crazy, if you ask me. And I think itís high time you got out and cut your losses."
"Look Chuckie," Mel said, through clenched teeth, trying to contain her anger. "Youíre my lawyer, not my father and certainly not my husband." She crossed her arms over her chest; her gaze steely. "I didnít ask you for your opinion before and Iím not askiní for it now. Nor do I want to hear anymore about it," she said, cutting off his apparent interruption by raising her index finger. "Itís my money now and this is my life. And Iím gonna live it the way I see fit," she continued, reaching down and grabbing hold of the suitcase handle. "Now if you donít approve, then fine, we can rectify that situation with just a bit more paperwork, now canít we? Iíll find my own lawyer and... Iíll tote my own bags," she concluded, headed towards the door now.
"Melinda, wait, wait... hold on.. hold on!" he shouted, quickly moving up behind her and grabbing the suitcase by the side.
"Let go, Chuckie," she growled, turning on him.
"Melinda I... Iím sorry, okay," he apologized, taking his hands off the suitcase and holding them up in the air, as if he were surrendering. "I... I can see you... youíve changed. And... I... I didnít realize how much this... investment here, obviously means to you. I... well..." He paused, lowering his hands now. "When I got your first telegram, I thought this J.D. Covington fellow was just some new beau, ya know. I thought youíd... have yourself a little fling and then... come on back home. Then when you telegramed for more money, I got... concerned. And I felt I needed to see for myself that everything was on the up and up. And... then when this came up about the papers Iíd overlooked, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to...."
"Meet the new man in my life?" Mel surmised.
"Well, yes... And then when it turned out to be a woman you were partners with, well... I got real concerned then. I mean, what does a woman know about archaeology?" He chuckled.
"Janice knows plenty," Mel retorted, seething again.
"Uh, yeah, well..." Chuckie stammered, coloring again, realizing he had put his foot in his mouth." Well, Melinda, you canít blame me for being concerned. I mean... your father put me in charge of your financial matters and...."
"No, Chuckie," Mel interrupted, staring him in the eyes, her voice low and dangerously calm. "He wanted you to look after my financial matters, so that I wouldnít have to worry my pretty little head over it. But, Iím the one in charge of it, remember?"
"Well, yes of course... I didnít mean..." Chuckie paused in his stammering, seeing Melís blue eyes shooting daggers of ice in his direction, which is something heíd never witnessed before. "Well, still... looking out for your interests, I was very concerned, especially once I had the pleasure... no, make that displeasure..." he corrected. "...of meeting your partner."
"Whatsamatta, Janice didnít fall for your charms?" Mel queried, a smile forming at the corner of her lips now, at the mention of Janiceís name. Chuckie colored again. "Donít take it personally. Trusting people is something that doesnít come easy to her."
"I should say not," he mumbled. "Of all the people for you to be partners with Melinda." He paused. "She is not one I would expect you to choose."
Mel smiled to herself. "Like I said, people change. And letís get this straight, Janice is my partner, whether you like it or not, understood?"
"Well, yes, I hear you, Melinda, but... have you checked this woman out? Do you even know if sheís a real archaeologist? Does she have a permit for this dig?"
Mel sighed heavily. "Look, Chuckie, we can discuss all this on the drive into the city. If Janice comes with us, Iím sure sheíll be happy... well, sheíll answer your questions," she corrected her own self. "Now, if you wanna be a gentleman, then take this to the car and wait there. It may take some doing to convince her to come along. Sheís very dedicated to this dig."
"To the car, Chuckie," she said sternly. "If you wanna stay my lawyer, that is."
"Okay, but Iím not footing the bill for another room," he announced, brushing past her. "Especially not for that woman. Youíll just have to share."
"Donít worry about it," Mel said, her attention now turning to beyond the doorway; her eyes searching for her lover.
Continue to Part 7
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