Short Story – The Vessel (Part 2 of 2)
Are you ready for more romance? A satisfying ending? A little magic? Read the rest of The Vessel, my free, off-the-top-of-my-head short story, written with blog followers in mind. If you’re not already following, sign up and be the first to know when new stories, freebies, and new book releases happen.
The Vessel is a two-part story. The first part can be read here.
Part Two follows. It’s about 1200 words and should take you about 6-7 minutes to read.
© Copyright 2015 Patricia Green
All rights reserved.
Gill left Lorelei at her lodgings and they agreed to meet again in an hour. She desperately needed a shower and a change of clothes, and he claimed to need one too. Lorelei thought he was exaggerating his own discomfort so that she’d feel less awkward, but so long as he showed up again, she didn’t care.
Dinner was at a trendy bistro, not far from the heart of Cairo. Either Gill had a standing reservation, or his name and money got them in the door, bypassing the line of diners awaiting a table. It was nice to have some clout. She’d never been to the place before, simply because it didn’t fit her budget or her sense of time—she didn’t like to waste it standing in line, if she could avoid it.
The vessel was stashed in her purse. She wasn’t about to leave it behind anywhere. It was unorthodox to remove it from the site, but Lorelei just couldn’t make herself leave it behind for any scavenger to steal.
They settled at the white-linen-draped table and ordered their food. Lorelei felt a bit tongue-tied, faced with the amazing Gill Quinn, and at first, she stuttered her responses to his questions. They chatted about how they’d come to love archaeology and the quest for rare objects.
“So, are you going to give the vessel to the Egyptians?” he asked with a smirk. They both knew she was. Lorelei was not the kind of person to steal something so valuable.
“Of course. And I’ll write quite a paper on it. I only wish I’d found it myself. As it is, I really don’t know what led you to that particular spot in the tomb. I thought I’d looked there already.”
He shrugged. Lorelei got a feeling of secretiveness from him, a sudden unwillingness to share information. It disturbed her.
“What do you know, that I don’t know, Gill?”
“Nothing. You probably were focused on finding something else, and overlooked the jar.”
“Maybe. But you knew exactly where to find it. How did you do it?”
“I don’t know. I kind of have a sixth sense, I guess. I picture an object—in this case, I suspected there was a matching jar to the one in the Cairo museum—and then I have a mental picture of where to find it.”
A small frown formed between his brows. “It’s not something I describe in white papers or answer interview questions about.”
Lorelei rested her back against the back of her chair. “Then why tell me?”
“You seem sincere, and, who’s going to believe you if you pass on the information?”
Who indeed? She wasn’t going to write a tell-all article about her dinner with Gill Quinn. That would be tacky and her mama had taught her better. There was little she could say in response to his question, so she finished her wine and watched him over the rim of her glass. His face had cleared of its frown and he picked up his beer and took a sip. As he put the glass down, his eyes locked on hers and he gave her a smile that said he was interested in more than dinner conversation.
The question was, was she interested in more as well? She felt her cheeks heat even as her middle got hot.
“You know you want to,” he surprised her by saying, a smile turning up his lips.
How did he know that? That rumor that he was prescient came back, but maybe she was just showing herself somehow.
“I don’t know that at all,” she lied.
He closed his eyes for a moment, and his smile got wider. When his eyes opened, they looked straight at hers. “I guess you’ll have to take my word for it.”
Butterflies skittered through her, and her core burned. Her interest was clear, and she stopped trying to deny it. “I guess I will,” she whispered.
“That a yes?”
She nodded, feeling the stain of embarrassment move over her face and neck.
“Come on. My place is in the Heliopolis district.”
Second thoughts? Where were her second thoughts? Why was she so sure this was right? But she was, so she took his hand and they went to his mansion in the affluent neighborhood. She’d never been in this part of town before, and she drank it all in, soaking up the luxury as though it was a dream she’d awaken from at any moment.
It was not a dream. It was all too real, and minutes later she lay naked in his arms. They made love rapidly, coupling breathlessly. She’d never felt such urgency before. A little while later, they did it again, far more slowly, but it was every bit as fulfilling.
“I have to back to my place,” Lorelei told him a few hours later. I need to get some sleep before I get back to the dig. There will be a huge hoopla over the find.”
She felt him nod, as a movement under where she rested her head on his chest.
“I’ll call a taxi.”
“No, I’ll take you.”
There was an awkward moment, but Lorelei tried to make it funny. “Well, I sure can’t walk. Not in those heels!”
His chest rumbled with a laugh, and she parted from him. As she dressed, he did too, but she felt his eyes on her. She wondered if this one encounter would—could—lead to more. But it was best if she made no plans. This was Gill Quinn and he could have his pick of women.
They drove to her place in silence. Lorelei was sure it was over, and that hurt. But, she also knew that what her mama had told her was true: why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free? She’d already given him any advantage she might have when she spent the night with him.
Her tiny suite was dusty and lonely when she got inside. Gill had declined her offer to come in. Saying goodbye, knowing it was final, was painful, but his smile was gentle. This situation was clear, why belabor it or go with an undignified snit?
The day, however, had not been a disaster, far from it. She had the vessel in her purse and the memory of a few hours with a wonderful man. After she dressed for bed, she wanted to take one more look at the vessel, just to reassure herself that it was all true.
She opened her purse and looked inside. The vessel lay there, shiny and beautiful, but next to it was an ancient golden comb and a pair of hand-wrought golden earrings that had clearly been part of the bounty of her dig. Astounded, she touched the objects reverently. Where had they come from? How had they gotten into her bag? They were going to make her career!
Next to them, was a folded slip of paper bearing a few letters and numbers. It said, “Call me. –G-” and his phone number.
Lorelei sat down fast. The man was magical. Her life had taken on a lustre she could never have imagined the day before. The vessel was only the beginning.
There will be more in this series of short stories, though Gill and Lorelei’s story is over. I’ll consult the next prompt and see what I can come up with. Thank you for coming by!