The Artifact (Book 2, Time Series)

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Chapter Thirty-One: Surprise Visitors

July 2023
Morgan’s Home
Richmond City, Virginia

}}}-----> WAHYA <-----{{{

Wahya says his thanks to Morgan as he goes to sit on the couch she’d just made up for him to sleep. Taking off his socks and laying them at the foot of the sofa, he watches her as she begins talking once more. Standing awkwardly, unsure of herself, Morgan prattles on with what he assumes has something to do with the sleeping arrangement or maybe what they’ll be doing tomorrow. It wouldn’t have mattered even if he did know, for his focus is on the one thing he is certain about - his immense attraction to her.

“She’s kinda cute when she gets nervous like this. Her voice gets a little pitchy and she fidgets just a bit.”

Regardless of his tired state, Wahya can’t help himself, desire welling up inside him to not only act upon his own desires, but to provoke her a bit in response to her renewed nervousness. He wonders what goes on inside her mind to make her flip, then flop, back and forth in boldness, then flustered nerves. Standing again, while maintaining eye contact with her, he deftly pulls his shirt over his head, exposing his bare chest and abs, which he notes with pleasure, had seemed to fluster her quite a bit yesterday.

He can’t help but feel turned on by her sudden loss of words and moves to stand in front of her. She’s just like a jewel-colored hummingbird - a little bit flighty, yet less fearful than most birds. Boldly seeking out sweet nectar from honeysuckle blossoms, taking quick sips, before hovering nervously for a moment, then flying off. Only to repeat the cycle continuously in the pursuit of fulfilling her appetite. His heart thuds in his chest as he approaches her and looks down into her jewel-colored eyes, knowing that he’s the honeysuckle nectar this particular hummingbird seeks. He tilts her chin upwards, badly wanting to sate her hunger.

“Not tonight, Wahya... Not when she’s so tentative - she must be sure about it,” he warns himself. “She must feel more comfortable and confident with me.”

Gently breathing out the words, he tells her, “Hummingbird [Walela]... Thank you [Wado].”

Leaning down, he presses his lips to hers momentarily, before smiling down at her softly again. Then, taking her by the shoulders, he regretfully turns her to face the entryway, lightly whispering into her ear before nudging her out of the room, “Good night [Osda enoyi], Morgan.

As he returns to the couch, Morgan turns out the light as she leaves the room, and the brave swings his legs onto the couch, pulling the blanket she’d provided up and over him as he lays down. Down the hall, she closes the door to her bedroom, darkening the rest of the house completely, save for the streetlight that filters in through the window behind the couch.

Fingering the gorget hanging around his neck and sliding his fingers over the cord Morgan gave him for it, Wahya ponders the amazingly strong, yet workable fabric-like cordage, then wonders if Morgan had finally figured out that something had happened on the cliffside earlier today. She’d been so insistent about ensuring he was okay after dinner. If so, what had tipped her off? Wishing he could tell her everything, Wahya closes his beyond tired eyes and drifts to sleep.

By morning, Wahya determines that Morgan’s couch is unbearably uncomfortable. Besides going to bed with unruly thoughts of pleasuring her floating in his dreams, the couch wasn’t nearly as comfortable as James and Samantha’s had been the night before. Though theirs was softer, soft wasn’t exactly what he was looking for in comfort either, as he was accustomed to much more firm beds at home. No, it was the way his body kept sinking in between the cushions, causing strain on his back, that finally made him move the blankets and pillows to the floor around one o’clock. From then until six, he slept peacefully with the sound of the rain outside finally lulling him into the depths of deep sleep.

Once awake and dressed, Wahya goes in search of food, unsure of how long Morgan would sleep in, and not necessarily wanting to wake her just because he was hungry. Starting with the sufficiently stocked refrigerator, he finds himself stumped at first, not knowing what many of the foods are. And, if they needed to be cooked, he doesn’t know how to use the stove, oven, or microwave.

“Apples, grapes! Perfect!”

Next to the familiar fruit he finds a few smallish fuzzy, brown, ball-like objects that seem a little squishy to the touch. Having never seen anything like them before, he holds one up to the light, examining the weird item he assumes is a fruit of some sort, as Morgan seems to put like-items together in the fridge. Determining that he’ll have to ask Morgan about these later, he sniffs it, and not smelling anything terrible or great, puts it back, popping a grape in his mouth and taking a red apple instead. In the pantry, where Morgan put other food away last night, he finds more edibles that he’s not sure about.

“If I could understand the pictures and symbols on everything, it would probably all make sense. There’s just so many different things to choose from, but if you don’t know what they are...”

His thoughts are interrupted as his eyes land on a large brown and yellow bag, rolled down at the top and held closed with a purple plastic bag clip. What catches his attention is the familiar picture of an ear of corn printed on the front of the bag. He opens the bag, and to his delight finds bright yellow triangles of what he hopes is baked corn. Pulling one of the rough chips out, he sniffs it, then takes one small nibble, smiling at the crisp, mostly familiar flavor. Taking a larger bite, he murmurs with satisfaction, “A bit salty, but good!”

Spying a can of pinto beans, he recognizes the picture on the label having grown up with similar beans and picks it up as he munches on another chip. Turning the aluminum can around, he can’t for the life of him figure out how to open it. “What kind of container is this?! Why would you make it so you couldn’t get into your food?!”

Wahya puts the can back, disappointed, and decides that he’ll just have to be satisfied with the bag of chips and fruit until Morgan comes out. He sighs, realizing just how much he doesn’t know about basic living here, and hating how helpless it makes him feel. His ego wonders how it makes him look to Morgan, Samantha, and James.

Suddenly a loud, melodic sound echoes through the house, and Wahya hears children from somewhere outside. Unsure of what the noise means, he exits the kitchen, hoping Morgan had heard it too, and would come out of her bedroom soon. The chime sounds again, and as he approaches the living room adjoining the foyer and front door, he distinctly hears children chattering again.

“Morgan has visitors!”

Just as he starts to wonder if he should go see if Morgan is awake, not wanting to open the door without her knowing, Morgan, tussled from sleep, stumbles out of her room half awake. Wahya backs out of the way, moving just inside the living room. Morgan groggily passes by without seeing him, her determined aim set on seeing who’s at the door.

Wahya, on the other hand, is now interested in not only who’s at the door, but in what Morgan is wearing - and to meet visitors, nonetheless! His interest primarily lies in the surprising amount of skin Morgan is revealing in solely an extra-large teal V-neck tee that reaches to just below her buttocks as she pads barefooted across the floor.

She rubs at her eyes, yawning with a look of frustrated confusion on her face. As she reaches up with her hands to unsuccessfully flatten her wild-looking spiky bed-hair, the bottom of her shirt raises up just enough to reveal a tiny amount of bright, orange-colored cloth.

"Her breechcloth,” Wahya whispers in his mind as he drinks in her toned bare legs and thighs.

Reaching for the doorknob, Morgan cracks open the door, peeking her face around to see who’s woken her up. A woman’s voice echoes from outside and Wahya hears at least two small children screech Morgan’s name in unison.

“Jessica?!” The bewildered and half-dressed beauty ushers in surprise.

}}}-----> * <-----{{{

}}}-----> MORGAN <-----{{{

“Aunt Morgan!” the redheaded youth on the doorstep shouts as his younger brother echoes his elated hello.

“Morgan! You’re not even up yet!” The long-haired blonde, whom the smaller child resembles more strongly, chides Morgan who stands there, very confused and surprised as she groggily takes in the trio on her front stoop.

“Jessica! What are...?” She’d only gotten a few hours of good sleep after spending the first half of the night tossing and turning due to a torrent of dreams covering the bizarre events of the last two days with Wahya - not to mention one spectacularly steamy dream involving the sexy man, a tub of ice cream, and the kitchen table.

Opening the door wider, she suddenly remembers with horror that she’d promised Jessica she would babysit Andy while her older sister took four-year-old Curtis to the Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist to have tubes put in his ears after a year of severe earaches and infections. It was just an outpatient surgery and they’d planned for this a month ago, as Jessica hadn’t wanted Curtis’ slightly older brother, Andy, to have to wait at the city hospital for half the day. With summer vacation in full swing and as a single mom, any opportunity not to have the boys in daycare or after school programs was less money Jessica had to fork out, and less stress for her.

Adding fuel to the flames, Morgan now remembers that the gorgeous man who’d dominated her dreams last night is probably in the living room right now, in plain view of where she’s standing in nothing but her night tee and panties!

“Wahya!” She utters aloud, as her eyes widen further.

“What?” Jessica replies in return, before continuing to admonish her younger sister, “Morgan, you’re not even dressed, and you never answered your phone last night or this morning. I’m guessing you didn’t get my text this morning?!”

Being familiar with Morgan’s home, Jessica pushes through the door with young Andy and Curtis in tow, “You swore you’d be able to take care of Andy while I took...”

Both Morgan and Jessica simultaneously spot Wahya standing awkwardly in the adjoining living room, watching their interchange with an apple in one hand and bag of corn tortilla chips in the other. Jessica’s eyebrows raise instantly, and she gives her younger sister a surprised, yet meaningful look.

“Auntie Morgan, who tat?” Curtis points a chubby finger towards Wahya who smiles at the boys, obviously interested in the youngsters.

Jessica, looking Morgan up and down decidedly, taking in her apparent state of undress, echoes Curtis’ question in her big sister tone, “Yes, Morgan. Who’s your friend?”

Morgan, extremely embarrassed, though relieved that Wahya is fully dressed - because that would have been even more awkward - tries to halfway hide behind the group in the entrance, pulling the hem of her top down a little further, to ensure her bright orange panties are sufficiently covered.

She clears her throat, nervously, “Uh... Jess, this is Wahya. He’s uh, a foreign exchange student on an internship with the Archaeology Department. He doesn’t speak English.”

She intends to introduce her sister to him in return, but Wahya is suddenly preoccupied with both boys who begin asking him questions he probably couldn’t answer even if he did understand their language. Knowing her sister has already jumped to conclusions, Morgan tries not to fidget as Jessica glances over at the large, muscular man crouched down, happily allowing her youngest son to touch his long black hair in fascination.

“Okay, so where exactly is Wa-, um, he from?” Jessica prods, stumbling on the stranger’s name.

“Wahya. It’s Wahya. He’s, um, {clearing throat} from, uh, Columbia. Yeah, Columbia - that’s right.”

“Wahya? That’s a different name,” Jessica seems interested. “Columbia, huh!? Nice!” Then in a more hushed tone she adds with realization, “Ohhh! This is the guy you had over Monday when I called, isn’t it?! I knew you had a guy over!” With a twinkle of mischief in her eye, she appraises her sister again, “And the Intern! Morgan! Who would have thought - you of all people!”

Trying to shush her sister and turning bright red at Jessica’s implications, Morgan exclaims under her breath, “Jessica!”

Advancing towards Wahya and extending her hand to the man who has disengaged himself momentarily from his new fans, Jessica smiles genuinely, obviously interested in who she believes her sister has been shacking up with. “Hola! Soy Jessica. Soy la hermana de Morgan. Y estos mis hijos, Curtis y Andy.”

Morgan cringes in response to her sister’s attempt to converse with Wahya in Spanish, as he looks to her with confusion, though nonetheless, stands and shakes Jessica’s hand in greeting.

“Crap, why’d I pick South America?! Jess speaks Spanish you idiot!” She internally beats herself upside the head. Aloud she interrupts, “Uh, he doesn’t speak Spanish either.” Continuing the lie in response to Jessica’s sudden eyebrow raise, she explains, “He’s from some isolated village of indigenous people who don’t really mix with the rest of the country much.”

Knowing she had to come up with something convincing so that Jessica wouldn’t ask too many questions she couldn’t answer, and to help her sister feel comfortable about leaving Andy with her, Morgan continues to spin her tale, “Yeah, so he was actually supposed to go to the field school with Dr. Clark in Mexico with a translator, and not here at all. But somehow things got mixed up and he arrived with no place to go and no field school. So, since he was already here, Samantha - you know, Dr. Warner - thought that I should train him on the lab. I agreed to let him stay with me since he didn’t bring a lot of money, not thinking he was going to have to pay for a hotel. And with the language barrier, you know... It’s just easier.”

Jessica gives her a lopsided smile as she nods her head in understanding, “Ah, right.” Then her smile widens, “Easier, uh-huh. Totally understandable considering...” But she doesn’t finish her sentence, and instead wiggles an eyebrow at Morgan insinuatingly.

More seriously, Jessica lowers her voice, “Are you really going to be okay taking Andy today? I mean, you feel comfortable with him around this guy?”

Morgan understands her sister’s concern, for she would be wondering the same thing in her sister's shoes. But seeing Wahya interactions with the boys already, she replies with confidence, “Yes, it’ll be just fine. I promise!”

Then, taking stock of the situation, she continues, “I’ll put the volume back up on my phone, so I’ll be able to hear if you call. And I’m not working today, so you can just come back here after Curtis’ appointment instead of driving to the university like we’d originally planned.”

Feeling uncomfortable standing around in only her t-shirt, now that things have settled somewhat, she tries to hurry things along, “You probably need to get going so you’re not late, right? Has Andy had breakfast already?”

Jessica glances at her watch, nodding as she takes in the situation with Morgan and Wahya, weighing whether she feels comfortable leaving Andy with them for a good portion of the day. Finally deciding she replies, “Yes, we do need to get going. And, yes, Andy had breakfast before we left the house, but I brought snacks for in between meals. His backpack is full of things for him to play with and do.”

Focusing on the little one still babbling to Wahya, who's crouched down to his level again, the boy's mother interrupts her son, “Curt, it’s time to say goodbye to the nice man. We have to go now, okay?”

“Bye,” the little boy says to the interestingly silent brave in front of him and Wahya gives him a little wave, standing again, tucking his hair behind his ear.

“Dodadagohvi [Until we meet again].”

“Come give Aunt Morgan a hug goodbye,” Jessica prods the youth. “We’ll come back after your surgery and see her and Wahya later when we come to get Andy, okay?

Morgan kneels down, careful not to expose her backside much more than it already is, and gives her littlest nephew a tight squeeze, knowing surgery of any kind is a big deal, especially to a little one, “Have fun little buddy! But not too much without me, okay?!”

“Never, Auntie Morgan! The doctor is gonna make my ear all better, but I will be sleeping, so it won’t be fun. I wuv you!”

Morgan laughs as she kisses the fair headed boy on the forehead and sends him over to his mother. Standing again, she follows Jessica and Curtis to the door, who both wave to Wahya and Andy before exiting. Turning in the doorway, Jessica warns Andy to be good and gives Morgan a quick hug, patting her on the shoulder, a bright smile shining across her face despite the rain pouring outside. In her sister’s ear she whispers, “He’s really hot, Morgan! And he seems nice! You know you’re going to have to spill the beans later!”

“Jessica!” Morgan bats away her sister’s implications and the elder of the Warner girls picks up her son before hurrying through the rain and back to the car. Hollering over her shoulder she shouts, “We’ll be back around one o’clock! Get dressed Morgan!”

Having momentarily forgotten her lack of pants, Morgan yelps, closing the door quickly and turning back to Andy and Wahya who are already getting acquainted by telling each other their names.

“Great! I’m just going to go get ready for the day and I’ll be right back,” she calls to them as she shuffles hurriedly by, catching Wahya’s eye. Despite his attempt to act as though he’s listening to the six-year-old who prattles on in vain, telling his new friend about the drive here, Morgan completely understands his smiling eyes, expressing just how much he enjoys seeing her in her nightwear.

Smirking under her blush, Morgan speeds down the hall, then hollers back at them, “You can turn on the TV, Andy! And tell Wahya he can share the chips with you if you’re hungry.”

~~~

Finally, dressed, and ready for the day, Morgan comes into the living room to find Wahya and Andy watching an animated show on the children’s channel. Wahya’s incredulous expression is priceless, and Morgan wonders what he thinks about the very colorful talking dogs wearing people clothes.

“Hi boys, how’s it going?!”

“Aunt Morgan, can we bake cookies like last time? Please, please, please?!” Andy begs as he jumps up from the couch.

Morgan laughs, “Yeah, we can definitely do that! Later though. Are you guys hungry?”

After determining that both of them are full on chips and fruit, she sits on the couch next to Andy. Wahya continues to watch the strange, animated animals.

“You’re already getting along with Wahya, huh?”

“Yeah, he’s nice! How come he doesn’t talk like us?”

“You mean in English?”

Andy nods.

“Well, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. You see Wahya comes from... Uh, well he’s not from here, and his people and family don’t speak English. And they don’t have a lot of the things we have, like TV or phones.”

“Really?!”

Morgan nods, “Really. But I have a problem, and I was hoping you could help me out. You see, I don’t know how to speak Wahya’s language either, so it’s really difficult to communicate with him about different things. Maybe you can try showing him things, and maybe you can learn some of his language, too?”

The young boy looks seriously at his aunt, then nods his head, “I can do that Aunt Morgan. He’s your friend and he’s my friend now, too! And friends help each other.”

Morgan smiles, sure Andy is quoting one of his cartoons, but glad that he understands that Wahya isn’t dumb or weird. “Friends... I hadn’t thought about Wahya like that, but Andy’s right. I’m probably the best friend he’s got right now.”

This makes Morgan feel a little solemn inside, wondering how lonely it must be to have no one to truly talk to and who could understand you. Taking a deep breath and patting Andy on the knee, she says, “That’s right buddy, and I know you’re a great friend! Wahya doesn’t seem too excited about TV though, so go get in your backpack and think of some fun things to do with him, okay? I’m going to go get something to eat since you guys ate all the chips, and make sure I have everything we need to bake cookies!”

Grabbing the empty corn chip bag, Morgan smiles at Wahya who watches her get up, and heads to the kitchen to prepare for a baking fest later. They’re going to make the most of today if she has anything to do with it!

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