1. Copyright: These are NOT all my characters. Someone else who blah blah you know...owns them. I don't claim them but I like to play with them. OH boy! Play...mmmm mmmm. The rest is all my Copyright © 2005 All Rights Reserved. Send comments to JLNickymaster@aol.com

2. Violence: Janice Covington gets attacked by ?? robbers at her dig site...a gun shoots her hat! VERY SEVERE HAT KILLING

3. Sexual content: no, soft kisses smooching stuff.

4. Special thanks: to my computer who only locked up 12 times. Piece of sh...! And to my beta that actually saved our IM conversation for posterity or something and helped me recover a couple of lost pages from the previously mentioned piece of shi..! Thanks super beta woman (strange habit but...I guess handy).

5. Language: No dammit!


Deepest Ocean Green Part 8

Maiden Voyage Itinerary for Queen Victoria Cruise Ship - From Orlando's nearby port of entry Cape Canaveral, we will sail to Miami, Key West Island and across the Atlantic to Cozumel. After a quick visit to the Bahamas, we will circle back to Fort Lauderdale, then make our way to return home to Cape Canaveral.

Chris woke up to the movement of the mattress she was lying on. Her green eyes opened facing the broad shoulders of her lover who was wearing a white tank top. The fantastic night full of love and loving filled her senses. She reached out and ran her hand over the cotton top at the lower back. Her touch stilled the dark haired woman causing the bed to move asDean turned to capture her hand and raise it to her lips.

"Good morning, my angel. What a wonderful morning it is." Dean's entire expression was one of love, tenderness and hope. Chris blushed and moved closer to tuck her head into the available lap. She was still in awe that she was the cause of that expression.

"God I love you!" Dean murmured as she stroked the golden curls that had gone crazy in the night. Chris felt herself lifted upward, as she was drawn from the blankets and held in Dean's lap. Strong arms wrapped around her and a clean smell of freshly showered skin had her murmuring approval in a sleepy voice. The chuckle that vibrated from Dean was followed by a hug and soft kissto her forehead. She tucked her sleepy head into that warm neck and closing her eyes wondered what time it was.

"It's only two a.m. I have to take the ship out of dock. We will be on our way shortly to Fort Lauderdale. You need to sleep. Stay here and rest. I'll see you for anearly breakfast. We should be docking by 6:30." Chris mumbled a sleepy 'nice' and once again felt Dean chuckle.

"Sleep little one. I'll see you in the morning."

Chris tried to remember what she wanted to ask Dean to do once they arrived in Fort Lauderdale. She just couldn't hold onto a clear thought, exhausted from their loving. She was barely conscious as she was easily lifted and placed back into the bed. The soft pillows had that unique Dean scent as she grasped them in her sleep and pulled them to her body. She curled up into a fetal position and was breathing deeply before Dean was out the door. Dean placed a cold can of O.J. in a cup of ice near the bed and took a flower from her living room arrangement to set it near the O.J. She blew asoft kiss toward the sleeping beauty and she left the cabin.

Six hours later, Chris made her way up to the tower room. Straightening her blazer on her shoulders and removing an invisible piece of lint, she felt a heat warm her cheeks. Come on Chris. Get a grip. She scolded herself trying to ignore the nervous fluttering in her stomach. Wiping a trembling hand down her skirt, licking suddenly dry lips, Chris opened the door. She blinked as she looked inside. The incredibly deep blue vista of Dean's eyes stared into her soul as their eyes met across the room. She drew in a shaky breath at the powerful rush, knowing that the woman across the room could touch her so deeply.

Dean left her position at the console and walked over to the beautiful site of her new lover's eyes. The unmistakable glimmer of passion showed in those verdant green orbs. Dean let her eyes slowly roam over the crisp clean lines of her uniform, down to the skirt level. She gave an arched eyebrow and a grin at the sight of beautiful golden tan legs. Dean raised her eyes back upward in time to see a blush suffuse Chris' face. The smile grew wider and Dean leaned in closer.

"Good morning, Top!" Dean said, lovingly.

"Good morning, Captain." Chris smiled, shyly.

They both turned and walked the few feet over to the ever-present coffee pot. Dean retrieved a cup for Chris and handed it to her. Chris ducked her head slightly and felt her smile widen. She just couldn't stop grinning.

"What is on your agenda today?" Dean inquired while signing off on a clipboard thatone of the officers handed her. She scrutinized the document briefly, then handed it back, turning to catch a look of indecision on Chris' slightly frowning features.

"Would you feel up to meeting my Aunt when we get into port? She lives in Fort Lauderdale and is expecting me for dinner. We made arrangements weeks ago after I had received the ships itinerary." Chris drew in a deep breath and held it. She knew she was babbling, but she was nervous with the request.

Dean frowned in thought and nodded affirmatively after a moment.

"I would be honored, Chris. She must be a wonderful and kind woman. I would truly love to meet her."

Chris swallowed the lump of emotion that had sprung up into her throat as she blinked her eyes to hold sudden tears at bay. Dean reached over and grasped her upper arm in a comforting squeeze.

"I'll meet you whenever you'd like. Just let me know." Dean stated softly and Chris nodded.

"I was planning on leaving to go ashore around 6:30pm. She only lives a few miles from shore. We can take my car from the parking garage." Dean smiled and winced slightly as another clipboard was waved in her direction. She motioned the officer over and held the board.

"I'll let you get back to business. I'll see you at 6:30pm. Maybe you'll get to see a little bit of my world." Chris gave Dean a beautiful smile, then turned to replace her empty cup and make her way toward the door of the tower room.

Dean watched the fluid movements of the petite woman and recalled exactly why that sway was present. 'Wow!' Dean mentally drooled.


The Atlantic Ocean beachside walkway was newly renovated in Fort Lauderdale. Also known as the Venice of America the wide brick walkways, lush landscaping, and a 'wave wall' with neon accent lighting followed the beach for seven long miles. The walkway provided a place for a variety of activities to occur including strolling along the beach, skating, jogging, and biking.

Tourists and residents alike can visit an array of shops, restaurants, sidewalk cafes and entertainment venues on the 7-mile promenade the city had built. Beachgoers can participate in a wide range of activities from boating, wind surfing, jet skiing and volleyball to snorkeling, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing and roller-blading. Also, the morning sunrise was a breathtaking sight over the Atlantic Ocean.

Beyond the walkways, moving into town was Fort Lauderdale's, River walk. Various shops, restaurants, boutiques, museums and the historical district buildings were among many of the businesses included down the New River route of what had been dubbed, 'Florida's most beautiful mile'.

The long term parking garage held four indoor levels of vehicles and Chris led them through the first level to the elevator. The fourth level held her covered ride. As they moved closer Chris clicked on the key set to deactivate the alarm. Dean helped remove the protective cover a huge smilefilled her face. She looked over at Chris and wiggled her eyebrows. Chris rolled her eyes. A very sleek white corvette sat waiting for its passengers. The dark leather interior was cool and spotless. The faint scent of Chris' perfume was the only smell Dean noticed as they got in and started the ride.

"This was my first present to myself when I made my First Officer ranking. My aunt told me to go buy something extremely gorgeous and terribly expensive. I think thatshe thought, I might go buy jewelry. She always just shakes her head and 'tsks' a lot when she sees this car."

Dean laughed and Chris grinned over at her companion. Dean was wearing tight jeans and a clinging blouse made of shimmering silk. Her gold bracelet on her left wrist glittered just like the gold watch on her right. The glint of gold ball earrings sparkled through the thick black hair.

Chris had chosen a nice matching set of Capri cream slacks and a pink blouse with a vee neckline. Her white tennis shoes relayed a Floridian lifestyle even in the depths of December. The weather was breezy and cool, the tourists abundant. They made their way out of the garage and turned onto a busy fairway heading toward the residential areas that were set back, further from the beach's traffic.

Chris drove the car smoothly and Dean stretched out her long legs in the passenger seat. The car was a delight. It gave Dean, a slight insight into a side of her First Officer that she wasn't exactly surprised to see. She knew Chris had always been a fighter and someone who would triumph over the setbacks in her life. She was glad to see that Chris had taken some time to move herself forward in the struggle of recovering from her childhood. Chris had moved beyond the being weak stage in her life of being used and surpassed what was expected of her. She could feel a sense of pride coming from Chris. Dean was grateful that her Uncle had provided a slight helping hand in the guise of Tanner Industries for Chris to use as her stepping-stone to success. The car was justification for the hard work that Chris had performed in her career. Dean was glad that she was able to enjoy it.

Dean frowned as she reflected on her life and realized that she hadn't exactly taken much time to reward herself for the success that she'd accomplished. The one satisfying creature comfort thatshe'd bought, had been her SUV and that was something life almost demanded. Her military life had provided her with a home, clothes, travel, and a means of alternate transportation any time she needed. She always seemed so busy with her career and many times she was changing directions, heading wherever the military needed her. Dean watched the passing coastline and frowned. Her gaze fell on a small boat dock with around 50 sailboats floating in the calm water. At once the tension that she'd felt while sitting in that dockside café almost 10 days ago returned. This time, she recognized it for what it was, a longing! She eyed the sailboats and recognized just how much, she wanted to cast her fate to the winds. The vision she imagined held a sailboat, the wind and her girl in her arms. She sighed happily at the thought.

A slight pressure grounded her inner vision as Chris reached over and placed her smaller hand upon Dean's thigh. Dean turned from the window and followed the hand, up an arm and over to gaze into the worried eyes of her lover.

"Are you alright?" Chris asked softly. Dean smiled warmly and covered the hand with her larger one.

"I was just..." Dean searched for an appropriate word, "...dreaming!"

Chris smiled.

"Was it a good dream, sweetheart?"

Dean nodded, raising the hand she held to kiss the fingers. Chris shivered in reaction.

"You, and I, a boat and the sunset," Dean sighed in pleasure. "I'm not sure it could get much better than that." Dean smiled at Chris. Chris squeezed the hand she held in agreement.

The silver corvette pulled up in front of a fenced in property. The privacy held within was protected and guarded by a six-foot fence disguised by layers of bushes standing eight feet tall.

The entrance was a doublewide, wrought iron security gate that kept out any unwanted visitors. Chris punched in a code at the panel and the electronic movement began to open the gate. Dean raised both eyebrows at the first sight of the inner sanctum.

The beautifully manicured lawn spread over half an acre toward a small lake, which was offset on the opposite side with an eighteen-hole golf course. A sprawling two-story house was overlooking the fields of greenery from it's place at the top of the hill.As they drove up the private driveway the addition of a swimming pool and gazebo on the backside of the house became visible. The Bay Hill residence was obviously well maintained and owned by an affluent family. Dean's curiosity of the Aunt grew by leaps and bounds.The imposing residence and acreage was not at all, what she'd expected. Chris had spoken warmly about her Aunt, but Dean didn't recall her saying anything about her aunt being well off. This grand showcase home was not what Dean had imagined Chris growing up around. It was reassuring though and gave her the comfort of knowing that Chris hadn't been hurting and stuck in a poverty stricken home. What surprised Dean, was the down-to-earth, hard working, mind-set that Chris possessed. This 'Aunt Janice', must have guided the younger Chris to become the striking woman that she was today. Dean could not wait to meet someone so exceptional.

They drove up toward the house seeing the sun falling in the distance. The evening sky showed a darkened front moving in.

Chris began to talk while Dean looked at the ever-impressive grounds. "Aunt Janice lived here with her husband for twenty-three years. I never met Uncle Bryant. He passed on before I arrived here, but she is always talking about his avid golf interests. I think thatmy Aunt inherited the Pappas Golf Course and she and her husband moved here, when they first got married. She is quite wealthy from my grandmother's side of the family. I believe my mother was well off when she met my father, but they didn't invest well. Unfortunately, my grandmother died before I was born and I never got to meet her either. But, I've been told all my life she was quite a woman. My Aunt was named after her."

Dean listened as she watched the etched glass doors fill with a person's shadow. One side of the double doorway was opened and an elderly woman walked out of the house. She walked out ten feet, limping, with a cane at her side leaning on it as she moved. Standing at the edge of the wide porch, she seemed to be watching as the corvette wound it way closer to the circular drive. Chris grinned as they drove closer and she noticed the older woman shaking her head.

"She's already 'tsking'." Chris chuckled, knowing her Aunt's habits well.

Dean studied the lady as they drove up and saw the remarkable similarities between the Aunt and her niece. They both stood around the same height, their build was similar and the gray streaked hair showed obvious blonde locks throughout the aged mixture. The irrefutable evidence of Chris' family relation to this woman was confirmed as Dean noticed the bright green eyes, that were regarding the silver car intently.

Chris put the car into park and immediately got out. She ran around the car with a huge smile on her face.

"Hi, Aunt Janice! It's great to see you again! I've missed you so much!" Chris was enveloped into a strong hug and the two women held tight for a long moment.

"I've missed you, too." Aunt Janice said as she pulled back to look at her niece's features. An eyebrow arched up high as Janice detected a change in the younger woman's demeanor. A blush graced Chris' face, as she felt curiously exposed to her Aunt's penetrating gaze.

Dean stood nearby, waiting to be introduced. She smiled at Chris' flush features, the rosy cheeks that bloomed on her face were darling. That adorable reaction was one, that she thought, she would always find attractive. Caught up in watching Chris, she only became aware of Aunt Janice's looking over at her, when she heard a gasp of surprise!

Dean turned to the Aunt with concern and found amazed green eyes gazing at her in fascination. Aunt Janice was standing with a surprised and puzzled expression on her face. She acted as if she had seen Dean before. Her intense examination roamed from Dean's face to her feet and back upward.

Dean quirked an eyebrow as their eyes met once again. Was she checking me out?Dean thought.

Before that idea was confirmed, Aunt Janice realized that her eyes had strayed beyond the appropriate and she showed her blood ties with Chris when she flushed with a becoming rosy-cheeked blush of her own.

Dean laughed. Chris grinned and looked at her Aunt curiously. Aunt Janice wrinkled her nose and smiled at the two younger women.

"Sorry, my dear, you remind me of someone I used to know. It's remarkable!" Janice exclaimed, reaching out to shake hands with Dean.

"Aunt Janice, this is Dean. Captain Dean Tanner. She is..." Chris hesitated on how to describe the tall woman. Reaching back into a distant memory she found the word she was looking for. "...she is my companion." Chris stated, proudly as she held out her hand for Dean to take. Aunt Janice had clasped her two soft hands around Dean's right hand, holding her captive. Dean reached over toher left, taking Chris' outstretched hand in hers. The three women smiled.

"It is so nice to meet you, ma'am. I've heard a lot of good things about you." Dean said sincerely.

Janice's nose wrinkled up as she gave Dean a sweet smile. "Chris is obviously a little biased, but thank you for your kind words."

Chris squeezed Dean's hand.

"Lets go inside and have dinner. I'm sure you two are hungry for some of my home cooking." Janice reached down and recovered the cane she had leaned against her pants leg. Chris walked ahead and opened up the door, while Dean followed the limping woman from behind.

"I wish you'd get something less... dangerous to drive, child. That car is trouble in the making." Janice scolded her niece as they moved into the house. The foyers divider wall architecturally supported a twelve-foot high ceiling, just inside the doorway, separating the entrance from the room beyond. The two chatting women chose to head to the right of the dual entry. Walking in behind them, Dean stopped and stood in amazement at the entry decor.

A ten-foot tall gilded frame mirror covered the divider wall and directly reflected Dean standing in front of the doorway. The delicate lace-fine design etched onto the inner edges of the mirror, wove a spidery design around the thick frame. Artistic visions of animals and forest leaves were stenciled on the mirrors surface. Two life-sized statues that were carved in a stone of a natural white color stood on either side of the mirror. Dean was enchanted with their unique carvings.

To the left stood Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the Hunt and the twin sister to Apollo. While he is the sun, she was the moon. Her bow and sandals in silver relief stood out against the pale stone. Her taunt body kneeling beside a tall thin Cyprus tree was arched to fire an arrow. Forest creatures of what looked like a stag and some strange winged creatures, along with the curvature of horses were painstakingly carved into her skirt folds, displayed as she knelt.

To the right of the mirror stood the other cast stone statue of Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, Weaving, and War. Her reproduction was just as impressive as the other. A fantastically hewn two-foot tall owl, with hundreds of intricately carvedfeathers, sat perched on the strong shoulder of the female figure. A unique helmet was worn on her head; the caricature of a sphinx between two griffons was shown on the banding. A multilayered full-length chiton robe fell downward to tangle with a serpent at her feet. The basic ancient Grecian garment was covered with a small carving of Medusa's head at her breast and Pandora near her womb. Athena held a one-foot tall Nike in her right hand and a spear in her left. An aegis rested against her leg, the unique goatskin shield, which had a fringe of the snakes that Athena was famous for touting.

Dean was amazed at the beautiful work. The figures seemed to be lifelike, regarding her as intently as she regarding them. She heard the voiced warnings of protection; even while the women portrayed they're elegance and power.

Chris suddenly appeared from around the divided wall and gave Dean a beautiful flash of her smile. The live version of beauty far outweighed the cold statues and she turned toward the smaller woman.

"Beautiful!" Dean expressed, as she looked at Chris. Chris looked over at the statues and nodded her agreement. Dean stepped forward and shook her head as she grabbed Chris' hands.

"No, I meant you!"

Chris looked up into those magnetic blue eyes and felt herheart clench, full of love. She lowered her gaze slightly to Dean's lips and without realizing it she leaned forward, asking for a kiss. Dean captured the soft lips of her lover with her own. A soft clearing of someone's throat had the two women break apart with a start. Dean winced internally at being caught and hesitated to meet the glare she thought would be waiting for her. Embarrassed at the circumstances she surrendered to the possibility that she might have just ruined the evening. She tensed at the thought of what the Aunt's potential reaction might be.

Dean looked behind Chris to see the twinkling green eyes of Aunt Janice looking back at the two of them. Studying the older woman Dean relaxed slightly and looked down into the flushed features of her girlfriend. Chris looked up, blushing, a wry grin on her face.

"Sorry Aunt Janice. The Goddesses are flouting their skills again." Chris sighed dramatically, rolling her eyes at the two statues. One, namely Artemis, whom was known to be a virgin, but whose cult followers were sometimes unchaste, the other, Athena, called 'Mother' was considered the wedding Goddess at times.

Chris tugged onDean's hand and they moved into the spacious living room area. Here Chris stopped and let Dean take in the full flavor of her Aunt's décor.

Dean was in awe at the huge variety of statues, urns, tapestries, candles and plants spread throughout the magnificent house. The myriad of colorful tapestries hanging down from the walls, displayed ancient battles and floral designs; the room was full of history and beauty. Anyone who looked at the fine details and intricate designs should have recognized the staggering amount of time, the immense amount of crafting required to produce such an item. Aunt Janice motioned to Dean, saying that she should continue her exploration of the room while she and Chris set the table.

She moved around the room slowly, taking in the breathtaking sights. Her mind was involved in the art and she marveled at the artifacts and history listed on the plaques near each piece. She barely heard the murmuring of the two women as they spoke together softly.

"She will see the painting, child. I guess I know what I'll be discussing tonight."

"I want her to see it, Aunt Janice. She has captured my heart. I would like her to know me." Chris looked over at the tall, dark haired woman moving from place to place. The excitement in her eyes when she spoke of Dean was evident. Aunt Janice smiled warmly. She had been troubled by her niece's lack of romantic partners. Although, Dean's being a woman had been a surprise, she wasn't adverse to the relationship. By far, she had a lot of experience in understanding that type of partnership. After all, her mom was a 'companion' to Melinda Pappas for many years.

Just then, the two women heard a gasp coming from across the room. Dean had made it around the screen dividers and was out of sight. The two pairs of emerald eyes looked at each other and then both women smiled. Aunt Janice tilted her head, nodding in Dean's general direction and Chris turned to go find her.

Dean was standing under the cathedral ceiling near a giant brick fireplace with a thick mantel, when she found a painting that had her heart pounding. The almost life-sized portrait was stunning. The oil painting showed in vivid color, two women, one fair-haired and the other dark, that were riding double on a white horse. The fair-haired maiden in the portrait held a hint of familial resemblance to Chris.However, out of all the things on display in the room that had amazed Dean, the most shocking was when she looked upon her own blue eyes in the likeness of the dark haired woman.

Chris moved up to stand beside the still figure. Slipping her hand into Deans, she squeezed the tense fingers. Dean looked over at Chris, her confusion evident.

History says a tall, dark haired warrior princess, named Xena, rose from the evil of a battle conqueror to become a fighter for the greater good. During her travels she saw a fair-haired woman named Gabrielle. Gabrielle was village girl and slavers attacked her village. Xena rescued her. The two women began to travel together and eventually fell in love and became intimate 'companions'." Dean looked back at the portrait studying the figures.

Chris paused to look up at the painting too. She smiled as she took in the similarities between the portraits Xena and the living Dean. Chris chuckled and pointed to the blonde figure in the portrait. "Gabrielle wrote scroll after scroll of the two of theirs adventures. She was called a bard. I am a descendent of hers."

"My grandmother Janice was on an excavation over in Greece where she found many artifacts from the dig sites she worked on. She and her partner had most of the treasures replicated and sent the originals to museums around the world. She also found the scrolls that Gabrielle had written. Those became her obsession. My Aunt inherited the replications and the scrolls, when Grandmother Covington died."

Dean examined the two figures closely.

The Gabrielle figure wore a forest green sari, which wrapped around and flowed down, draping beautifully to cover a portion of the horses side. A tall, thin wooden staff with delicate engravings and figures carved into its thickest end was visible on the far side of the horse. Her posture was relaxed as she leaned into the taller form behind her and stared toward the painter, her emerald eyes bright and excited.

The darker figure, named Xena, sat forward, her powerful build surrounding the smaller form in front of her. Strong arms and broad shoulders were taut and flexing, showing their visible strength. One arm was wrapped around Gabrielle's side holding onto the reigns of the horse. The other hand rested possessively over Gabrielle's hip. The raven hair was shoulder length and thick, lifting slightly as if from a breeze. Her angular jaw and high cheekbones showed aristocratic features as she looked at the painter. Deep blue eyes held and captured the viewer, as they seemed to be looking into the soul. She wore strange looking ancient armor made of leather and metal, a belt strapped across one shoulder held some form of a battle sword in a sheath across her back, a circular chakram hung down from a clip at her waist.

"Come on, you two. Dinner will be getting cold if we don't eat right now. I'm sure we have a lot to talk about." Aunt Janice called from the other side of the screen. Chris squeezed Dean's hand once more and tilted her head, indicating the direction of the dining room around the corner. Dean took one last look at the portrait and followed Chris.

The dinner selection was excellent. A tender beef roast had been prepared with potatoes au gratin and some French greens that were dripping butter. Dean and Chris both mumbled ecstatically over the homemade fair. Chris seemed to be starving and ate an extra helping of all three items, plus her milk and bread roll. Dean and Aunt Janice sat sipping fresh coffee as they waited for Chris to finish.

"I'm stuffed!" The blonde finally exclaimed. "Aunt Janice, you've out done yourself once again.

"Oh hush. You're just happy to have real food. I thought those cruises were all about the food?" Dean and Chris both nodded agreement. "I understand what Chris is talking about. A home cooked meal beats the processed en masse food selection that we have anytime. We cook for hundreds. You cooked for three. The food is just better, no matter how you slice it." Dean grinned at her obviously poorly stated pun. Chris moaned and Janice rolled her eyes.

"So are you going to tell me about them?" Dean pointed toward the screened off room.

"Ahh yes. Them. The infamous duo." Aunt Janice smiled. She tilted her head to the side; the action looking so much like that of her niece, Dean had to smile. Aunt Janice sat thinking.

"I believe the majority of the story behind those two women was discovered by my mother. Janice Covington was an archeologist. While she was quite young, she traveled with her father from site to site. A year after she finally received her Doctorate in Archeology her father died. He left her part of a scroll as her inheritance. She, of course, went on a hunt."

Aunt Janice grinned at the thought of her mother as the young, impetuous, treasure-hunting archeologist. She leaned back from the table and shook her head. Dean heard a tsking sound and glanced over at Chris. Chris was holding a napkin in front of her mouth to hide the grin.

"My mother was a diminutive blonde, with a gigantic personality full of grit, determination and charisma. She had way too much of a gung ho attitude, rough and ready brashness, along with a definite skill for finding trouble. Thank God for Mel." Aunt Janice explained quickly, seeing Dean's frown.

"Melinda Pappas, was just a student. However, her father was the Dean at the University of South Carolina and winner of a Nobel Prize in Anthropology. Highly respected and a friend of Janice's father, she decided to write him and ask about translating the scroll. Possibly he could have translated it, but he passed on not long after Mr. Covington. His daughter Melinda intercepted the mail from Janice and the rest is history. They met, gazed at each other and discovered their soul mate."

Dean frowned again and Aunt Janice shook her head at the impatient look she was being given. "Hold on, I'm getting to that." Aunt Janice sighed.

"Mother just happened to be working at a dig site when Mel tracked her down. The dig site was supposed to give further illumination directly related to the scroll left to her by her father. However, she was in a bind. Some very eager grave robbers were there to take her treasures and her scroll. Melinda arrived and with one glance at the small spitfire trying to defend herself she stepped up to the plate and intimidated the leader of the bandits with her tall, dark, anger filled southern charm. Nothing is as intimidating as an angry southern woman. Oh, my mother fell hard. She denied Melinda's graceful save and intimated that she had it all under control. Holding her hat in her hand she fingered the brand new gun shot hole as she lied to the stunning raven-haired beauty.

Well Melinda, wasn't about to let the experience with the gun slinging marauders firing at her, deter her from the reason she had arrived in the first place. She agreed to disagree on the 'who saved whom' story if Janice, would give her a chance to study the scroll. Janice practically swallowed her tongue when Melinda decided to add a little charm to the request. My mother was out of her league at times. She would have agreed to give the parchment up to Melinda if the woman had just asked, but thankfully, Melinda had principles. She wanted to further her knowledge and she respected my mother for standing up to the goons that had attacked her."

"Melinda once told me if she had to describe my mother at that moment she would have said she was "standing on the edge of a cliff bending her knees to jump. Melinda tossed a rope at the exact moment that mother needed it. And I'm certainly glad that she did."

Chris refilled the coffee cups silently listening to the same story that she'd heard many times when she was growing up. Each time she heard another little tidbit that allowed the pieces of the puzzle to align together perfectly.

"My mother hired Melinda and discovered that she was brilliant within minutes, as she fluently began to translate the scroll she was studying. Melinda discovered Dr. Covington showing her prowess a week later, when she began listening to Mel and stopped asking questions. The two women made progress on the hunt and eventually discovered another scroll. The pieces began to be discovered; one by one and they uncovered a hidden world filled with a bard's tales, adventure, historical facts and proof beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Gods did interfere in the mortal's realms. The scrolls had the power to turn myth into history and history into myth. And mom was right, the scrolls did just that."

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