Turkish Encounter By Anne Azel Part 2
Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle are the property of Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement is intended.
In Thanks: My thanks to those individuals who sent messages of appreciation for Amazon Encounter, the first of this series. Your kind comments were encouraging. As the stories do interrelate, it is best to read them in the order that they are posted.
Warning: This story is alternative fiction. Please do not read on if you are under age or if such material is illegal in your end of the swamp.
Note: The places, sites and histories portrayed in this story are real and are taken from my field notes while in Turkey.
Teefo had arrived shortly after Jamie's breakfast tray. "The Warrior wishes to leave today to tour the coast on your way to Antalya," he informed her.
"Is that where my daughter is?" Jamie asked earnestly.
Teefo looked surprised, "It is where Miss Christine is currently staying. General Dedeman's home is near Antalya and it is to there that she means to drive you. This is all I know," stated Teefo openly.
Jamie nodded, "How long will it take to get there?"
"Two to three days I should think," responded Teefo, "The Warrior is anxious to show you some of the historical sites of Turkey."
Jamie gritted her teeth in frustration and forced a smile, "Then I had better pack," she stated and Teefo nodded and left.
A stiff and formal Gunnul stood by the car as Teefo lead Jamie out of the hotel. "Good morning, Jamie," she greeted politely waiting for Teefo to help the American into the car before getting in to the driver's seat.
"Good morning, Gunnul," replied Jamie equally as formally and after Gunnul had exchanged a few words with Teefo in Turkish they were off. They headed southwest along the European side of Turkey. The land was dry rolling hills dotted with small towns and irrigated farmlands.
Jamie was surprised at the amount of houses under construction but when she made her observation to Gunnul the woman laughed, relaxing for the first time that morning. "We are not having a housing boom in Turkey. There are two aspects to our unusual building patterns. Our Prophet, Mohammed, made it illegal to charge or pay interest for a loan. We can not, as good Moslems, hold a mortgage. But not many can save enough money to buy a house in these modern days. So people pay into building trust funds. The builders use the fund to build condominiums. As each floor is completed those who have paid in full for their apartment move in. Then the next story is built. People who build individual houses start with a small home and added on to it as they get the money. It is common for married children to build a second story over their parent's house to live there. Families are close in Turkey. But also there is another factor too. You pay less taxes if your house is not finished so most people leave a part of their house under construction to save money. We Turks are very practical people! "
"Is the home that you and Chrissy live in unfinished?" asked Jamie observing the handsome woman as she drove.
There was a moment's hesitation, "I am quite wealthy and own several homes. They are all finished."
"How do you make your living, Gunnul?" Jamie asked to see how the woman would respond.
"My business interests are quite diversified. But the foundation of my family's wealth has been the production of opium," stated Gunnul openly.
Jamie's mouth fell open and before she could think better of it she spluttered out, "You really sell illegal drugs! Moe said you did but I guess I couldn't believe anyone could be a druglord and...."
The car bounced to the shoulder of the road and came to a screeching stop. "Druglord!" Gunnul snapped white with rage. "How dare you call me that! I am not some jungle criminal!"
Jamie too felt her temper snap, " Look, don't get cute with me! Moe told me how you got him hooked on drugs and stole his inheritance. And you can call it whatever you want but producing opium for sale makes you a disgusting druglord that feeds off the suffering of others!" Silence filled the car for a long minute as the two women stared into each other's eyes. Then Gunnul slammed out of the car and stood by the road side visibly upset.
Jamie waited not sure what to do. On reflection, she realized that she might have just signed her own death warrant and her anger was very quickly being replaced by fear.
After a few minutes, Gunnul got back into the car. She gripped the steering wheel and looked straight ahead. " I wish to ask you a question. Please be honest with me because I intend to check your response. Are you or have you ever been a prostitute?"
"What!?" snapped Jamie, " Look, I realize that we see things pretty differently because of our cultures but I have never taken money for sex. Nor have I slept around. I work as a drug councilor at a rehab centre. That is how I met your brother. He was volunteering there supposedly one of our success stories having kicked the habit."
Gunnul's jaw tightened, "My brother told me that he had deliberately had an heir by a prostitute to shame our family," the warrior explained.
"If you have mistreated my daughter or made her feel that she wasn't worthy, I'll kill you," snarled Jamie barely keeping herself from grabbing the cold, still form beside her.
A hand shot out so quick that Jamie didn't even see it until fingers hard as iron clamped around her jaw and pulled her close to a face devoid of expression. "Don't..ever..
threaten..me," the dark-haired woman hissed and Jamie's heart pounded in her chest with fear as she felt the awesome power of the Turkish woman radiate out from her body. Gunnul fought for control and then let Jamie go returning her hands to the steering wheel. "Chrissy's background has never mattered to me. It wouldn't have mattered what problems she might have had...I love her," she confessed awkwardly.
Jamie reached out and touched Gunnul's arm. "I'm sorry. I knew that. I was just reacting. I love her too, you see," choked Jamie fighting back the tears. Gunnul nodded and put the car back into gear easing back on to the tarmac.
After a few minutes Gunnul said, "I am not a druglord. Turkey is the biggest producer of opium for the medical trade and my farms produce most of that export. I do not trade in illegal drugs. Nor did I encourage or expose my brother to drug use. It is against our religion and against my personal belief. I have never taken an illegal drug," explained Gunnul. "If what you say is true then my brother has lied to both of us for his own ends."
"You don't believe me?" asked Jamie suddenly to weary of the intense emotion to take offense.
"I wish to but I must protect Chrissy. I must not let ... my feelings for you put me in a position that would result in my...our daughter being hurt," explained Gunnul quietly her head aching from tension.
" You regret kissing me yesterday?" asked Jamie staring out the windscreen afraid to look at Gunnul.
" Yes. It was not wise," answered Gunnul honestly grimly holding on to the steering wheel.
"I regret it too," stated Jamie flatly. There was no more talk after that.
Having followed the coastal road along the Sea of Marmara in silence, Gunnul finally turned into a park region of lonely bare hills. "This was once beautiful pine forests but a fire started by lightening some years ago destroyed most of the trees. This area seems doomed to tragedy. This park is the site of the heaviest trench warfare in World War 1.
This is Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli Peninsula," explained Gunnul. She pulled the car into a small parking area over looking the cove below. Jamie was glad to get out and stretch her leg. It was still causing her some discomfort after yesterday's walk. The view from the top was magnificent. It was hard to imagine the sacrifice and suffering of the Australian and New Zealand troops who had valiantly fought to try to take this hill from an equally brave force of Turks. They had come over the months of trench warfare, to respect each other and develop friendships that all too often ended in death as they were ordered to charge each other's lines. The trenches were still here. Sections of barb wire still coiled around wood supports. Wild flowers in bright yellow now grew between the strands.
A towering stature of a Turkish officer dominated the hillside. "Who is he?" asked Jamie.
"That is Attaturk. The founder of modern Turkey. He is, to my people, the liberator," explained Gunnul, "As a young officer he fought here."
After visiting Chanuk Bair, they went on to visit the Lone Pine Cemetery. The Turks still maintained the graves of the enemy they had come to respect with care and pride even after 80 years and the sight of all those graves of young men lost sent a shiver through Jamie. She turned to see Gunnul looking over the grave site with eyes filled with pain. "You've been in war, haven't you?" she asked softly.
Gunnul forced her thoughts back from the past, "Yes, once. But it was not on this scale. Come, I will show you the monument to the Turks that fell." Gunnul drove the car back down the hill and stopped at a tall monument. Here they walked again through graves each marked by a small head stone and flowers. Jamie wandered over to a life size bronze statue of an old man holding the hand of a young girl.
"Gunnul, who is he?" she asked.
"He was the last Turk alive to have fought here. He died at the age of 101. He is holding the hand of his great grandchild," explained Gunnul. "When he died a grateful government made this statue. It is closure to a heroic but tragic part of my country's history," she explained bending to place some wild flowers she had picked at the base of the statue.
Jamie looked at the face of the child and started in surprise. She turned to look at Gunnul. "That child is you isn't it? And he was your great grandfather!" Gunnul nodded and walked away to wait at the car for Jamie. Jamie reached out and touched the two hands of bronze that were clasped through generations of time forever. Gunnul's great grandfather. Chrissy's great, great grandfather. Suddenly, Jamie began to realize why Gunnul had brought her here. Getting Chrissy back had seemed so easy when she had got on the plane back home. Now she was beginning to realize just how complex the issue of custody was going to be. She looked at their three hands together and quickly pulled her own back. Turning, she joined Gunnul at the car. Once again they drove in silence.
They lunched in the near by coastal town on curried rice and chicken, eating huge, sweet oranges for desert. The conversation was polite and meaningless. Then Gunnul drove the car onto the ferry to take them across the Dardanelles Straits to Canakkale on the Asian side of Turkey. Late in the afternoon, they turned off the main road and bumped down between tall pines to a small, beautiful villa that sat on a bluff over looking the Aegean Sea. To Jamie's surprise, Teefo waited for them there. "Teefo will show you to you accommodations," stated Gunnul formally after having talked to her secretary in Turkish for some minutes. The tall woman then turned and left.
"Please, you will come this way, Ms. Dedeman. Did you have a pleasant journey?" asked Teefo leading the way to a simple but luxurious suite with french doors that opened onto a stone patio with an incredible view through the towering pines of the Aegean Sea below.
"Yes, Gunnul is a thoughtful and hospitable hostess," agreed Jamie formally and as an after thought, "Teefo, can you tell me about the war that Gunnul was in?"
Teefo smiled, all too willing to brag about the hero for who he had the honour to work. "It happened over ten years ago when General Dedeman first inherited the family estates after the death of her father."
"Mohammed did not inherit as the only son?" questioned Jamie.
Teefo shook his head, "No, he wanted only money. It was Gunnul who wanted the land. She was with four others on the very eastern borders of Turkey checking on some mining projects the family had out there when they discovered an army preparing to invade Turkey through a narrow gorge. General Dedeman took control eventhough she had no military training and was only a young woman of twenty. She caused to happen a landslide so that the pass was very narrow. Then the five of them held off the enemy for three days until the Turkish Army could arrive. By then, only two were left alive. One died several weeks later but Gunnul, although critically wounded, survived. The last man had kept a diary. And that is how the Turkish people learned about General Dedeman's leadership and bravery. We do not have women in our armed forces although every man must do national service. But the Turkish Army was so impressed by her impossible deed that they made her a general. It is a very great honour!"
"Yes, it is," agreed Jamie worrying about how badly Gunnul had been hurt. "Has General Dedeman not married," she asked surprised that her question had a tone of jealousy about it.
"No, her betrothed died at her side in battle. She was you understand badly hurt and can not bear children," Teefo explained like an old village woman gossiping over the fence.
Suddenly, a blast of angry Turkish exploded into the room and Teefo went white. The two gossips turned to see Gunnul standing in the doorway anger radiating from her. Jamie swallowed and Teefo hurried from the room. "I'm sorry. It wasn't Teefo's fault. I asked him and he was just showing loyalty and pride in talking about your bravery and sacrifice."
Gunnul walked in and looked down at Jamie with eyes as cold as a glacier. Jamie held her ground eventhough she was shaking inside with fear. " You have a right to know about the person who is the mother of your daughter. I am reluctantly prepared to answer any questions you have. Please do not ask those who work for me," stated Gunnul through gritted teeth.
"Would you have told me what a hero you were?" challenged Jamie, "Or what it cost you personally?"
"I would have told you the facts of the event," responded Gunnul honestly.
Jamie nodded realizing that the warrior had been pushed to her limit. "This room is lovely," stated Jamie. "Do you own this house?"
"Yes," responded the dark-haired woman still fighting for control of her emotions.
Jamie limped over to a chair and sat down awkwardly, pain knifing across her face before she could hide it.
Gunnul started forward, "You are not well, Jamie?" she asked nervously.
"I am fine. My leg hurts a little that is all," answered Jamie honestly.
"I am sorry. I do not think. I have walked you too much for two days," exclaimed Gunnul, worry etched on her face.
Jamie laughed softly, finding the way Gunnul's English deteriorated when she was upset very endearing. "I am finding it hard to wait to see my daughter, Gunnul. But I understand why you are going to all this trouble and I do appreciate what you are doing to protect our daughter. I am sure you are a very busy woman."
Gunnul smiled and shrugged, "At night, I use the computer to handle my business. Also I have Teefo, who is as good a businessman as he is a gossip," explained Gunnul. "I came to ask if you would like to swim with me."
Jamie loved swimming but she looked down at the steep slope and sand beach and wasn't sure if she could maneuver easily with her crutch.
Gunnul's intelligent eyes followed Jamie's, "Do not worry. It will be easy for me to get you to the beach and the warm, salt water will help your leg," reassured the older woman.
Jamie smiled, "O.K."
Jamie quickly changed into a swimsuit and matching jacket. Throwing her towel over her shoulder she leaned on her crutch while she slipped one foot then the other into sandals. Now the scars that were usually covered by slacks or dark nylons showed clearly, running down her left leg from thigh to ankle. The reconstructed knee did not sit quite straight and her foot turned in slightly when she walked.
She met Gunnul out on the main patio and saw the look of horror and sympathy flash across Gunnul's face before she hid it behind a wall of studied politeness. "You are ready, Jamie?" Gunnul asked.
"Yes," replied Jamie and was totally taken by surprise when Gunnul swept her up into her arms and skipped down the patio stairs and then headed down the path with long, easy strides. "Ahh, I could walk Gunnul. I must be heavy."
"Your leg hurts and no you are not heavy. You are very light. I do not think that you eat enough, " observed the older woman seriously as was her way when she made an observation. Jamie liked the smell of Gunnul's warm skin. She found it spicy and exotic.
At the beach, Gunnul set Jamie down and let her remove her robe and place her towel and cane on a lounge. Then she once again picked the smaller woman up and carried her effortlessly out into the water. "You can swim, Jamie?" asked Gunnul when she was waist deep.
"Yes, I am a strong swimmer," Jamie stated and Gunnul nodded and carried the woman farther out before lowering her into the warm sea water. The water came up to Jamie's shoulders as if Gunnul knew instinctively how tall she was. Once she was sure that Jamie had her footing she released her and fell back into the water backstroking away.
Jamie let her body relax and become buoyant. From a child, she had always been a good swimmer but since her injury she had relished the opportunity to leave her awkwardness behind and move effortlessly again. Gunnul saw the delight cross the woman's face and when she was sure that Jamie could indeed take care of herself in the water, she turned over and did a steady, strong, Australian crawl out to sea.
She had gone farther than she should, trying to use up some of the nervous energy that seemed to consume her these days. Sleep just wouldn't come as she tossed each night, her mind obsessing about the small woman that was here to steal her daughter away and had managed also to steal her heart. I have to get over this attraction! I must put Chrissy first, she thought for the thousandth time that week.
Preoccupied with her thoughts she didn't react at first when Jamie yelled a warning. The jet ski roared by, its owner unaware as he headed back to the resort located around the point, that his hull had struck against a swimmer. Gunnul felt a searing pain and then was not aware of anything.
Jamie dived for the third time. Her hands groped around in the sand bottom. Just as her lungs were ready to burst her left hand touched a cold bathing suit. Desperately, she grabbed on and fought her way to the surface dragging the heavy body with her. Thank god this was salt water and buoyancy was better, she thought. She got her breath as best she could while fighting to keep them both above water and clamped her mouth over Gunnul's as she used her legs to propel them towards shore. Once she got her footing, she worked again to keep air in Gunnul's water filled lungs as she pulled the larger woman towards shore.
It became harder to help Gunnul as they got into more shallow water. Jamie needed the buoyancy of the water to help support herself without her cane. She wrapped her arms around Gunnul and fell back using her feet to push along the bottom as she partly floated. Closer to shore, she allowed the waves to carry them to the beach while she worked on Gunnul. How long had she been under water exactly? It seemed like hours but it had probably only been a few minutes. Jamie had already been swimming towards the unsuspecting Gunnul before the seacraft had hit her.
Gunnul's eyes fluttered and Jamie breathed into her mouth once again. Then the taller woman took a ragged breath and Jamie pulled her onto her side as she vomited up sea water and sand. "Teefo! Help! Teefo!" screamed Jamie holding onto the barely conscious woman trying to protect her from the wave action. Jamie was weakening fast, exhausted from the monumental effort to pull the much bigger woman to shore. Finally, she became aware of excited voices and gentle arms lifting her away from Gunnul.
Gunnul rested quietly. The doctor and the various servants had left but Jamie still sat at her side. Both the doctor and a shaky Gunnul had reassured her that the warrior was all right and that she should rest but Jamie could not bring herself to leave the older woman's side. "You look so tired," muttered a sleepy Gunnul.
"A little," admitted Jamie. "It is important that you stay awake a bit longer. You have an awful bump on your head."
Blue eyes met green blocking out the rest of the world. Slowly, Jamie leaned forward and brushed her lips against Gunnul's. When she tried to pull away Gunnul's hand came to the back of her neck and gently pulled her down again. Their mouths opened to each others demands and desire built to passion. Jamie moaned as large, strong fingers slipped under her terrytowel bath robe and pushed the material back from her shoulders as Gunnul nibbled and kissed gently at her throat. Jamie's hands tugged on Gunnel's robe and she felt the powerful woman surrender to her passion as Jamie's hand traced across her breast.
The tall woman visibly jerked when Jamie lowered her head and took Gunnul's hard, nipple into her mouth. "I ...I want to make love to you," moaned Gunnul trying hard not to loss control as her hands roamed over the bare skin of Jamie's back.
Jamie crawled up on the bed so that she now lay on Gunnul, the fresh cotton sheets the only barrier between them. "I think we are doing just that," whispered Jamie and Gunnul gave a primitive growl deep in her throat as she rolled Jamie over onto her bed and covered her with her body, their mouths hungrily seeking each other.
Foreplay lead to climax and release to exhausted sleep in each other's arms.
Gunnul woke with a pounding headache and a satisfied grin. She propped herself up on one elbow and looked down at the petite woman that nested close to her side. All my life I have loved you, little one. How do I tell you that? How can I make you understand how our grave in the secret garden affects me? You will think I am crazy. Unconsciously, she reached out a hand and ran finger tips along the silken skin of her lover. Green eyes fluttered open and sparkled with recognition. Gunnul leaned in and captured Jamie's lips. Arms wrapped around her neck and Gunnul rolled back effortlessly pulling the woman she kissed over top of her.
The long kiss broke and Jamie, now draped over Gunnul's form looked down at her with worried eyes. "Gunnul this is not right. We shouldn't have done this. We still haven't...I mean we could still...we didn't really...There's Chrissy," she ended a deep blush creeping up her face.
Gunnul's guts twisted in disappointment and fear. "I disappoint you? I did not give you pleasure? I do not have experience, Jamie but you could teach me," fretted Gunnul.
"No! No, you were wonderful. I've never...never had anyone draw so much passion and need from me. I can't believe how good it was," reassured Jamie running a finger over Gunnul's lip and then unable to stop herself leaning forward to capture those lips again.
She gave up the warrior's lips reluctantly and buried her head under the taller woman's chin. It felt so right being here. It was her daydreams come true. At last, she was in the arms of her secret protector but how did she explain that to Gunnul without sounding completely crazy! "My soul, my body wants this so much Gunnul but it is a really bad idea. What about Chrissy?"
Gunnul sighed, "I don't know. But I do know that I do not think I can give you up, Jamie," admitted Gunnul rubbing her head against Jamie's.
"Gunnul, have you ever been with anyone before? I mean are you a virgin?" Jamie asked hesitantly looking up at her warrior with worried eyes.
"The damage from my wounds, no, no I'm not but nor have I ever slept with anyone before," explained Gunnul colour rising up her neck.
Jamie stretched up and kissed the warm neck, " You were engaged to be married, are you sure you really want to be involved in a gay relationship?"
Gunnul nodded, "I am sure I want you, Jamie. My betrothal was arranged."
Jamie sat up in shock, "That's awful! How sexist and primitive!"
Gunnul smiled," No, just different. I had the right to refuse his courtship. He was picked very carefully for me. Our lives, education, backgrounds, families all suited very much. I liked him. It would have been a satisfactory marriage. Your way does not seem to produce many happy marriages."
Jamie considered, "Well it is left to random chance, and many do pick poorly. But when someone does meet their soulmate, that love is so profound that it is worth all the risks you take to get there," countered Jamie.
"You have slept with many people, Jamie?" asked Gunnul innocently.
Jamie shook her head, "I always thought I was gay. I lived with a woman at university. We were happy enough but always knew that we would go our separate ways. Then, once I started working I met Moe. I... I thought I could make it work but well, what I thought I saw in him, wasn't really there. It was just an illusion."
Silence. "Is it there with me?" asked Gunnul softly.
Jamie snuggled down beside her warrior again, "Yes," she confessed.
"It is for me too," whispered Gunnul. Silence as Gunnul's hand gently brushed over the warm hairs of Jamie's sex. "I wish to do things to you, Jamie. I do not know if it is proper," confessed a confused woman trying to control her baser desires.
Jamie took the long, strong hand and placed it between her legs, gasping at the marvelous sensation that ran through her at Gunnul's touch. "Fuck me Gunnul. Take me," she begged earnestly and felt herself pinned to the bed by her lover.
Gunnul lay on her back, her lover snuggled on her shoulder fast asleep. Wow! She was having trouble dealing with the depth of emotion that had come out when the two of them had taken each other. Wow, was about as coherent as she could get at the moment.
She could smell the heavy scent of their combined sex and it excited her to the core of her being. She did not think that she could live without Jamie. She rubbed a hand soothingly over her lover's naked back. Please, let it be the same for you, Jamie. Please don't leave me!
Jamie woke to the steady heart beat of her lover. For someone who had never made love before, Gunnul was incredible. Their two souls had danced to a love song close in each others arms. Bonding on a level that transcended time and space. She looked up at her dozing warrior. I love you Gunnul. I've loved you all my life. How do I tell you that? How do I make what is happening to us work?
They spent the rest of the day on the patio and the beach. Gunnul, although she professed to be fine, still looked pale and Jamie was wore out with the roller coaster ride of emotion over the last few weeks and with the massive effort it had taken to rescue Gunnul. Jamie read a book that Gunnul had given her on the history of Turkey. It appeared that just about anything of importance over the last two million years had happened in Turkey, from the incredible Neolithic site of Catal Hoyuk to the air support during Desert Storm! Gunnul used her laptop and cellular phone to deal with the various business issues that could not be put off.
After dinner they sat together wrapped in each other's arms in a lounge chair. Gunnul took out her phone and looked at Jamie. "I am going to phone Chrissy now," she told Jamie and felt the little body beside her tense. "I phone her every night when I am away if at all possible. I will speak to her in Turkish but I will tell her that you are here and that I am bring you home to meet her," stated Gunnul. Jamie was too emotional to speak. Tears trailed slowly down her face and her heart pounded in her chest. Gunnul could feel it and pulled Jamie close and kissed her head as she used her one hand to punch her home number.
She talked rapidly to someone and then looked down at Jamie to explain, "Housekeeper. Chrissy is playing with her dog in the garden." Jamie nodded her hands balled tightly in Gunnul's shirt. Gunnul turned back to the phone a wide grin of love on her face and talked away happily in Turkish.
"Hello, my sweetone! Are you being good for Shantu?" asked Gunnul
"Yes. Today we went for a picnic over on the hill by the vineyards. I miss you!" replied Chrissy happily.
"A few more days and I will be home," explained Gunnul. "I am bringing home someone that I like very much Chrissy. I think you will like her too," explained the warrior.
"Who, mommy?" questioned the little girl.
"Your birth mother," revealed Gunnul.
There was a moment's stunned silence, "Really! She is here! She is nice!?"
"Very. She saved my life yesterday," confessed Gunnul and went on to explain the story to her daughter.
"Are you all right mommy," asked the worried child.
"I am fine. Would you like to say hello to your birth mother?" asked Gunnul tentatively.
A moment's hesitation. "What should I call her, mom?" the girl asked awkwardly.
A lump formed in Gunnul's throat and she swallowed it with difficulty, "I think you should call her mother too. She is your mother just as I am. Most children have two grandparents, you seem to have two mothers!" joked Gunnul trying to make a tense situation lighter.
Jamie could feel the tension in Gunnul's body and the strain in her face. What were they talking about? Would Chrissy want to see her now that she was really here?
"Yes, I would like to welcome her to Turkey, mommy," agreed the polite child.
"Good," responded Gunnul with approval, "You must speak in English. She does not understand Turkish," explained Gunnul.
Gunnul looked down at Jamie, "Our daughter wishes to welcome you," explained Gunnul holding the phone to Jamie's ear.
"Hello, mommy?!" came a child's clear voice.
"Hello, Chrissy? Oh Chrissy, honey, it is so wonderful to hear your voice. I...I've missed you!" sobbed Jamie.
"I am so excited to meet you. Welcome to my country, mom! Is it O.K. if I call you mom too? My mommy said it was O.K." questioned Chrissy.
Jamie looked up into Gunnul's tense face as she gave Jamie emotional privacy by looking fixedly out to sea. "Yes, we are both proud to have you as our daughter," she responded reaching up and gently stroking Gunnul's cheek. Gunnul turned and looked down at her a nervous smile hovering at her lips. This was really hard for Gunnul, she realized. "I can't wait to see you, Chrissy. I love you very much," Jamie choked. "Here, I'll give you back to your other mom, so she can tell you our plans," explained Jamie now barely holding it together.
Gunnul took the phone and talked briefly to Chrissy in Turkish while Jamie sobbed into her side. Then she held the woman that she loved, the mother of her child, close to her and let her cry all the bottled up emotion out.
Gunnul had offered to take Jamie directly to Antalya but Jamie had agreed with Gunnul that although hard, it was good to give her time to learn about Turkey and Chrissy time to get used to the idea of seeing her birth mother. She also realized that Gunnul needed some time to deal with her own emotions. It must be, Jamie reasoned, very hard to allow someone else that close to the daughter you love.
They sat over a breakfast of pita bread, rolls, fresh fruit, yogurt and of course white cheese and olives which was a Turkish breakfast must. Jamie was making an effort to adjust to this breakfast variation. She wanted to be part of Chrissy and Gunnul's world as much as she could. "Jamie, why did you save my life?" Gunnul had asked in bed last night.
Jamie had looked up in surprise, "I couldn't stand by and let anyone die if I could help them," Jamie replied reaching up to push Gunnul's hair back, "And for you, there would never be any restriction. I would give my life for you."
Gunnul looked at Jamie in wonder, " It would have solved your problem of custody if you had not tried," pointed out Gunnul practically looking deeply into Jamie's beautiful eyes.
"Gunnul! Would you have done that if it had been me?!" she asked in shock.
Gunnul looked equally shocked, "Oh course not!" The warrior looked pensive for a few seconds playing idly with Jamie's hair, "It is hard for me to accept that anyone would be willing to sacrifice themselves for me. All my life people have wanted things from me or needed my support. I am strong and rich. It makes me feel very loved that you would risk your life for me. But do not do so again, Jamie. I..I couldn't...If anything happened to you..."
Jamie had reached up and kissed Gunnul to silence, "Hush, don't think about it. No one can predict the future. We are here together now and that is wonderful," reasoned Jamie.
Gunnul had pulled her close and they had made love way into the night.
Finishing breakfast, they walked out to the car and started again on their way. Once they were on the main road again, Gunnul took Jamie's hand in her own. Jamie smiled softly, her warrior was so strong and brave in so many ways and so child-like and fragile in others. She had noticed very quickly that Gunnul needed to have physical contact with her as much as possible as if afraid that Jamie would disappear out of her life. Not that Jamie minded at all! Her warrior couldn't get close enough to suit her.
They drove only a short way and pulled into a parking lot beside a huge wooden horse. Gunnul looked up and sneered at it, "A reproduction of Homer's Trojan Horse," explained Gunnul with disgust. "The tourist would be disappointed if it wasn't here. This is Troy," she explained.
Jamie laughed at Gunnul's obvious chagrin and with sparkling eyes insisted that Gunnul climb the stairs into the massive wooden horse and look out of the windows at the ruins of Troy. Within the cool, darkness of the body, Jamie wrapped herself around the Turkish woman and kissed her. "I find it hard to believe that Helen of Troy was as beautiful as you, " she teased and Gunnul blushed and rewarded her with a kiss.
They walked around the crumbling ruins that where actually nine separate cities built on top of each other. "The treasures that were found here were secretly sent to Germany during the colonial days. During World War 2, they were taken to Russia. For many years no one knew what had happened to the treasures of Troy but recently Russia put them on display. Germany immediately said that they had been stolen from them and they must be returned!"
Jamie laughed, appreciating the irony of the situation. "I suppose that when Germany gets them back, they will return them to Turkey, the rightful owner," Jamie observed sarcastically.
Gunnul laughed too, "As you say, when piggys fly."
Gunnul let Jamie wander around observing everything. She wondered if Jamie would react to this place as she had many years ago as a teenager coming to Troy for the first time. You are far more beautiful, Jamie than Helen ever was, she thought knowingly.
They walked together along a rocky path to stand on the foundations of the temple of Athenia. "Nearly two thousand years ago, Alexander the Great stood here and looked out over the lowlands as we do now, Jamie. He ordered that this temple be rebuilt to the glory of Greece," explained Gunnul to Jamie's back as she stood on the edge and looked over the panoramic view of the lowlands.
Suddenly, Jamie turned and looked at Gunnul in shock. "We've been here before! You helped Helen escape!" she exclaimed.
"Yes," Gunnul responded shaken with the confirmation that Jamie was aware of the same trace memories as herself.
Jamie reached up and placed her hand on her brow, "Oh boy, this is going to get some getting used to." She looked up at Gunnul, "Do you have other memories. I mean of me and other places?"
"Yes, I have known you all my life. You come to me. It is difficult to explain. We lived in an ancient Greek world, I think, but also we have lived in modern times in a jungle," revealed Gunnul.
"The Amazon," stated Jamie. "You have always come to me too. I call you my protector. This is very weird. I think we need to sit down and talk about this."
Gunnul nodded and they returned to the car hand in hand. Gunnul explaining that this would not attract comment in Turkey where girls often linked arms or held hands. Men too, she explained. And then laughed and said that traditionally however, a man and woman would not hold hands in public.
Gunnul drove on while they tried to bring some sort of sense and order to their jumbled impressions. It was clear that they each had been aware of the other all their lives. That they were aware of living in ancient Greece and recently in the Amazon. Gunnul finally called for an end. "We are dealing with too much here Jamie, our feelings for Chrissy, our love and the mystery of our past."
Jamie sighed, "You're right Gunnul. Lets just see how things go for a bit. I feel like I am on overload!"
Gunnul nodded, "We are meant to be together Jamie," stated Gunnul partly as a fact and partly for reinforcement. She was still having trouble believing that Jamie loved her unconditionally. In Gunnul's life there had always been conditions. Accept for Chrissy. Chrissy was the bright spot in Gunnul's life and now maybe there was Jamie.
"Yes. We are soulmates and I think always have been," agreed Jamie readily wrapping her arm around Gunnul's and leaning her head on the taller woman's arm. "It just took us some time to find each other again"
Gunnul drove on to Bergama which sits under the mountain where the ruins of ancient Pergamon lie. Gunnul dodged tour buses around the steep, winding road to the archeological site while Jamie held on to her in fear. "Damn it, Gunnul, you could have slowed down!" grumbled Jamie breathing a sigh of relief as they pulled into the parking lot at the top and got out.
Gunnul raised an eyebrow and looked at her soulmate with amusement, "But then there would be no excitement, Jamie," she explained innocently.
Jamie stopped, placing her free hand on her hip and gave Gunnul a bemused look, "You get hit by a boat and nearly drowned, your daughter's birth mother shows up to lay claim, you fall in love for the first time, and discover that your relationship is joined through space and time and you have to go looking for excitement because life is dull?!"
Gunnul smiled sheepishly and shrugged, " I think we have lived more dangerous lives," she responded.
"Yeah," agreed Jamie taking Gunnul's arm so that she would know that she wasn't really angry, " But for every life we've had somewhere along the line we end up dead. Please keep that firmly in mind. It took a long time to find you this time and I'd like this relationship to last!"
Gunnul stopped abruptly and looked down at Jamie in wonder, "Would you, Jamie?"
Jamie realized that she had made some assumptions about their relationship that perhaps were not shared. "Well, I mean...yeah...if you were comfortable with it...I mean I don't just sleep with anyone you know!"
"I have never slept with anyone. I wait for you, Jamie. It would please me very much if you were a part of my life," confessed Gunnul nervously.
Jamie looked at the rocky, dry ground, then up into Gunnul's eyes, "We've only known each other a few days. We didn't have a very high opinion of each other at the beginning. There is still the issue of Chrissy. Maybe we are moving too quickly."
Gunnul stiffened and looked like she had been hit. "Come, I will show you the site. It is very beautiful," she said swallowing hard.
"Gunnul, no. Listen to me," begged Jamie grabbing Gunnul's arm and almost being pulled off her feet. Gunnul reached out and steadied her. "Listen, I love you. I have loved you, I think, since the dawn of time. I want to be your partner for the rest of my life. But I'm trying to be realistic here. We are strangers. We come from two very different cultures...damn it Gunnul don't look like that!"
Gunnul hung her head and then looked up at Jamie with hurt, worried eyes. "I love you too Jamie. I don't want you to leave me. But I understand what you are trying to say.
I will not push you into something you are not comfortable with."
Jamie smiled gently, "You are wonderful, my warrior," she murmured.
Gunnul looked up sharply, "W..What did you call me!?"
"My warrior," stated Jamie in surprise.
Gunnul grinned happily, "I always liked it when you called me this," she stated and took Jamie's elbow to help balance her on the uneven stone ramp leading to the Greek acropolis.
White Corinthian columns, the skeletons of a long gone age, rose against a deep blue sky. Jamie was transfixed by the orderly beauty of the temple complexes. The broken sculpture, still stately in elaborate armor, amazed her with it's beauty and fine workmanship. "Oh Gunnul, it is so wonderful here," Jamie gasped taking in the miles of countryside bathed in bluish light and framed by the grace of the classic temple columns.
"Yes, it is very beautiful but I help you down here. It is more interesting underneath," replied Gunnul. A whole subterranean structure of layers of barrel vaulting lay underneath the acropolis. It had been constructed to level the steep mountainside to build the acropolis on. Jamie delighted in Gunnul's serious lecture on the structure of barrel vaults and Greek engineering feats. She couldn't help but smile. Her warrior always missed the beauty and went straight for the practical.
Gunnul saw the bemused grin, "I bore you, Jamie?" she asked in worry as they stood inside a dark barreled hall.
Jamie looked around to make sure no one was near and stood on tip toes and kissed Gunnul. "I think my pragmatic warrior, that you have not changed one bit in four thousand years and I love you for it," Gunnul blushed and pulled Jamie close for another kiss.
Back on the surface, Gunnul showed Jamie where the famous library of Pergamon was located. Jamie stared through the security bars at the stone shelving within. "I was here, Gunnul, I can feel it!" she exclaimed finding relief in being able at last to freely talk about her trace memories.
"This library was the second biggest in the ancient world. Only the famous library of Alexandria in Egypt was bigger. After Alexandria was burnt, Cleopatra asked that the books from Pergamon be sent to replace them. There is no record as to what happened to them," explained Gunnul.
"Oh Gunnul, could you imagine finding them! You would have all the knowledge of the ancient world at your finger tips! It would be amazing!"
Eventually, Gunnul pulled Jamie away from the beauty of the acropolis and from the row of merchants selling local curios to the tourists. "But I need to buy gifts for all my friends to take back!" Jamie had wailed and did not see Gunnul stiffen and the worried and hurt look that crossed her face.
They drove on to Asclepion, one of the very first hospitals in the known world. Jamie looked tired and when she thought Gunnul was not looking she would rub her knee.
"We do not need to do this site, Jamie, if your leg is hurting you," stated Gunnul once they were parked. "It is a large site and as always the ground is uneven."
"Don't baby me, Gunnul," Jamie snapped unfairly.
Gunnul's face went still, a mask devoid of emotion. "Sorry," she stated quietly. "I feel guilt for what has happened to you. Knowing my family has hurt you."
"Gunnul, no," Jamie sighed taking the woman's hand. "I made the decisions in my life. This one and all the others. If those decisions brought me some pain, they also brought me you. You are always trying to protect me. I love you for that but don't take on the guilt of my fate O.K.? Your brother beat me with a baseball bat. I tried to protect myself with my leg. That is not your fault. I survived."
Gunnul had gone white with rage and Jamie could feel the anger radiating from her. "If my brother was alive. I would kill with for what he has done to you," she hissed through tight lips.
Jamie leaned forward and kissed the lips. "I wouldn't let you," she stated and smiled. Gunnul smiled too and they got out of the car and headed over to the shed that sold the entrance tickets. Jamie noted that Gunnul never paid. When she appeared, the military guards would come to attention and wave her through. This seemed to embarrass the Turk but she never mentioned it, simply smiling her thanks and whispering "Teashakequwe" which Gunnul had told her meant thank you.
"The archeological sites are always guarded by the army, Gunnul. Are you afraid of terrorist attacks?" asked Jamie.
"No," explained Gunnul, "So far Turkey has been spared the effects of the fundamentalists movement in the Middle East although their political party is developing a foothold among the poor. Turkey walks a thin line between the west and the east. Our country is partly in Europe and partly in Asia. In the west, people think that the wars in the Middle East have to do with religion and politics but that is not really the case. It has to do with water. Who has it and who doesn't and how much you are willing to sacrifice to get it. In the Middle East for the past five thousand years, it has always been about water.
Turkey is lucky. We have enough water. Our country is self sufficient in its ability to supply its people with food. So every man in Turkey must do national service. Always we must be on guard against those countries who envy us. That is a lot of soldiers. It saves the government money to use them to protect our nation's heritage instead of hiring security guards," explained Gunnul.
Jamie nodded as Gunnul helped her down the long marble street flanked on either side with Greek columns. "This is a test Jamie. Here at Asclepion, you had to be well enough to walk down this avenue unsupported or the hospital would not treat you."
"Well, that lets me out!" grinned Jamie giving Gunnul an affectionate poke so that she knew Jamie was joking. Gunnul smiled, proud of Jamie's courage and positive attitude.
She wasn't sure she could be so brave. When she had been wounded in battle, she had been a terrible patient.
They entered the main court and stood before the amphitheater that was cut into the hillside. "The doctors here treated people through their senses. They thought illness was caused by your soul being out of step with its natural rhythms. There was drama, music, a library, dance, and steam and hot mud baths to help you get back in touch with yourself."
Jamie laughed, "Boy, this place would make a fortune in my neighbourhood!"
Gunnul took Jamie down a long, dark barrel vaulted tunnel that lead to a round room with arches containing sleeping platforms. "When a patient first arrived here, the priests would make them come through this tunnel. Water ran through a drain along the edge because the sound was considered soothing and the tunnel was filled with mist to make it mystical. Once in the room, you would sleep and your dreams would be interrupted by the priests the next day so that they knew how to treat you," explained Gunnul leading the way out with Jamie gamely following in the rear making her way slowly over the uneven surface.
"Hell, I'd be dreaming of steam baths and a good scotch then," observed Jamie and Gunnul came to a sudden stop and looked down at her in concern
"You must not swear or drink, Jamie," observed Gunnul. "It is a bad example for Chrissy. We Moslems do not swear or drink. I would wish Chrissy to think the best of you."
Indignant anger roared through Jamie's being and then she choked back her angry words realizing that Gunnul was not being judgmental just protective of their daughter and wanting Jamie to be accepted.
"O.K. no swearing or drinking," she promised. "Why did you drink that first night?" asked Jamie.
"I was trying to be American and make you feel welcome. I shouldn't have. I made a fool of myself and insulted you," confessed Gunnul.
"Yeah, your true colours come out when you are drunk," teased Jamie poking the serious Gunnul in the stomach. It made Gunnul smile and they went on in a happier note, Gunnul stopped to show Jamie a broken column where for the first time the snake curled around a staff had been used to represent the medical profession. "The spring here is naturally radioactive so maybe some people were really cured," finished Gunnul holding the door for the exhausted smaller woman to get in. They drove on to the city of Izmir where Teefo waited for them at the Hilton Hotel. Gunnul wrapped Jamie in her arms as the elevator took them up to the suite that waited for them.
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