By: Tami (TGAUSS@tampabay.rr.com)
Lindsay accepted the packet of mail with a smile and closed the heavy wooden door. Walking slowly over to the love seat, she began sorting through the mail with interest.
"Mail, honey," she called upstairs.
"Be right down."
She sat heavily, letting out a breath of air as she did. She was now over eight months pregnant, and felt as if she always had been.
She laid aside the rest of the mail and selected the thick packet that bore a postmark from the British Isles.
"Oo, Connor! Thereís news from Peter and Megan!"
He came downstairs in pale grey slacks and a short-sleeved white shirt.
"Hey, great! About time. One postal card, from Newfoundland, in a month."
She shot him a coquettish look. "Well, ConnorĖ"
"All right," he laughed, "I concede. I know where this is going."
She smiled up at him. With her dark blonde hair in a high pony tail and the tendrils around her face, she looked as though she was still in her teens. "Mrs. Shultz left us a cold lunch," she told him.
"Why donít I bring it in here while we look at the package?"
She glanced through some other letters while Connor got their lunch together, then they settled down to enjoy Meganís saga.
"Sounds like theyíre having fun," Connor commented.
Lindsay nodded, and continued:
Both of them laughed at that. "She is going to be so good for him," Lindsay commented. "Heís needed someone for a very long time." There was a tiny note of sadness in her voice.
He gave her shoulder a gentle squeeze and took a sip of his lemonade. "Where did they go from there?"
"MmĖStonehenge. She says:
"Iíll bet she would, too," Connor laughed. "She could single-handedly dissolve 200 years of peace."
She flashed him a smile and went back to the papers. "She says they traveled through the small villages of middle England on their way to Wales, and said they were so beautiful. All of their accommodations were in authentic old farmhouses, now bed and breakfast inns. She thought the people were privileged to live there in such beauty."
"Have we got an expatriate on our hands?" he grinned.
She smiled without looking up, and went on:
"Sheís wonderful!" Connor chuckled. "Is there more?"
They were both laughing at the imagined sight, considering both Peter and Megan were within an inch or two of being 6 feet!
Lindsay was a little breathless with laughter, and also shifted uncomfortably. At once Connor was alert.
"Can I get you anything?"
She shook her head. "Itís just from now on out, itís going to be like thisĖbeing uncomfortable. Itís something I have to endure." There was a touch of misery in her voice. "Just be there, thatís all."
She smiled at him. "So patientĖand Iím afraid itís going to get worse."
His grey eyes glowed. "Bring it on. Iím up to the challenge." He kissed her lovingly, then his mood lightened. "Tell you what. One day you and I will go there, to the Orkneys, and Iíll carry you over my shoulder through the Maes Howe. Weíll go there onĖour first second honeymoon."
"First second?" Her eyebrows lifted.
"Yeah. Every trip will be a honeymoon. Our first second, our second second, our third secondĖ"
"Whoa! Whoa!" She laughed. "This is getting complicated!" Her mood bright again, she turned back to the letter. "Thereís more, but letís finish it later, okay? Iím a bit tired."
"Okay. Iíll clean up the lunch dishes," and he gave her a quick kiss.
She curled up on the love seat, and as she did, Sooty jumped up with her, settling in just above the baby. She cuddled him to her, and in a few minutes she was asleep.
When she awoke, she found Connor sitting in one of the big comfortable chairs, reading.
"Hi, honey," he smiled. "Did the nap help?"
She nodded, yawning as she sat up. Sooty moved to lay atop her stomach, a favorite position of his. Connor laughed.
"He does that a lot."
"I think maybe he can hear the babyís heartbeat, and he likes it."
"Itís possible. Heís still a baby himself."
She smiled down as she petted him, then reached for the letter. "Come on. Letís finish this and look at the pictures."
He moved over beside her, and she continued to read.
Connor smiled fondly. "She really loves him."
Lindsay nodded. "Almost as much as I do you."
She leaned over to kiss him. "Almost."
Next they took out the packet of pictures and spent the next hour enjoying them. Megan had written on the backs of them where they were.
"She could have these published as a tour guide to the British Isles," Connor said. "Sheís a very good photographer."
"Look at this one of the two of them in the Ring of Brodgar. Donít they look happy?"
Connor nodded. "I wonder where they are right now?"
"Peter!" Megan was laughing. "Put me down!"
"Not till I get you over the threshold," he laughed in reply. He set her gently on her feet, then cupped her face in his hands and kissed her. "Welcome home, Mrs. Axon."
Her arms went around his neck and she kissed him back. "Welcome home, Dr. Axon."
He laughed and hugged her, then turned practical by bringing in the luggage and picking up a monthís worth of mail from the floor, going through it cursorily. "Not much here, mostly junk," he muttered. "Iíll look at it later."
He glanced up at his wife. "One more day of vacation left. Shall we start with unpacking?"
"Why donít you start while I get the laundry going?"
She got their clothes in the washer, then came to help him. They had been working an hour when she said she was going to fix dinner and asked if he was hungry.
"I sure am. I just hope thereís something worth eating. I cleaned out the fridge before the wedding. We should have bought groceries. Shall I go get some, or do you want to go out?"
"Let me check the freezer first."
A few minutes later she called from the kitchen, and he went out to find her holding a box, a bewildered look on her face.
"Did you find something for dinner?"
"What? Oh. Yes. Lindsay left something quick and easy to cook in the freezer along with a note, bless her. ButĖwhatís this?" She held out the small box. "I found it in the refrigerator. I thought you said you cleaned it out."
"I did." Puzzled, he looked inside the box and began to laugh in his unique, trilling manner. "This has Lindsayís fingerprints all over it! I was teasing her when she offered to fix breakfast, that there were stale donuts in the fridge. Pardon the pun, but dollars to donuts she did this as a joke. After a month, theyíve got to be pretty stale!" And Megan joined in his laughter.
Lindsay was lying awake. She was restless, but was trying not to move and disturb Connor. Presently, though, he spoke to her.
"Whatís the matter, honey? Canít sleep?"
"Iím sorry, darling. Did I wake you?"
"No." He rubbed his hand along her arm. "I just knew you were awake."
"Youíre right. I have a terrible backache."
"Want me to rub it?"
She sighed in relief. "Yes. Thanks. That would be heavenly."
He gently massaged the small of her back until she sighed again, this time in relaxation.
"Oh! Thank you, darling," she said, and a minute later she was asleep.
He smiled to himself in the darkness and, putting his arm over her waist, scooted closer. "Good night, darling," he whispered, kissing the back of her head. "Sleep well."
Peterís return to the O.S.I.R. was likened to that of William the Conqueror. Everyone was glad to see him, and plied him with questions and for details of the honeymoon. He was still the center of attention when Anton came out of his office and began the morningís review.
"Anton! Hi! Howís it been goiní here?" Peter was a little concerned, because Anton seemed tired and strained, although in good spirits. Was it Peterís imagination or did he seem quieter than usual?
"Good morning, Peter," he smiled. "Welcome back."
"Thanks. It was super, but itís good to be home."
He nodded, then began giving out assignments. At last only Alpha Team was left. Peter, Mia, and occasionally Ray Donahue and Dr. Claire Davison made up this, the best group. Right now, only Peter and Mia were present.
"Iíve left you till the last, Peter, because I know this is important to you. Do you remember our last trip to Egypt?"
Iíll say I do. A crystal scarab that wasnít even crystal." His voice revealed he still smarted over this one.
"Really? A crystal scarab?" exclaimed Mia. Iíve never heard of a crystal one!"
"And you never will," Peter answered her wryly. "The whole thing was a blamed hoax! Anyway, it was five years agoĖlong before your time," he added, with a touch of a smile.
"Well," Anton continued, "you know they never bothered to reopen that tomb where the original was found, due to the explosion that collapsed it. However, it seems another one has shown up at a different site, and they want us to investigate this one."
Instantly Peter was on his feet. "Are you sureĖare they sureĖthis time?"
Anton laughed. "Yes, Peter, theyíre sure. This time the government itself has taken charge of it."
"When do we leave?" Peter was so excited, he could hardly contain himself.
"Well, we have a slight problem. Natasha has developed a severe case of MťniŤreís syndrome. She canít even stand, much less fly, in her condition. So we need a substitute archaeologist. Peter, do you think Megan might take Natashaís place this time?"
"Iíll be back in five minutes!" he said, and bolted from the room.