The Artifact (Book 2, Time Series)

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Chapter Forty: The Morning After

July 2023
Morgan’s Home
Richmond City, Virginia

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

As morning approaches, Wahya wakes to the sound of Morgan’s hair dryer from the bathroom. He stretches and yawns, untangling the blankets from his limbs, then smoothing them over his torso, not necessarily ready to get up. He must admit that the comfort of Morgan’s bed beats that of the two couches he’s slept on thus far by leaps and bounds. Not that cuddling next to a certain yellow-haired woman didn’t make it just that much more comfortable.

Looking around the room, as the relatively early rays of sun stream in, he wonders about this new relationship he finds himself in today. “Who would have thought I had to come to the future to find out what love is?!”

Finally, Morgan opens the bathroom door, and he marvels at her - dressed in dark blue panties and a much less revealing bra than yesterday, but still sexy, nonetheless.

“Osiyo, handsome!” Morgan smiles at him.

His own smile broadens, finding her sexy when she speaks Cherokee, and he replies with his endearment, “Osiyo, Walela.”

She leans over the bed, giving him a deep, lingering kiss, and Wahya pulls her easily over top of him, running his hands along her smooth torso. Giggling into the kiss, Morgan doesn’t fight it. Finally, breaking away, she looks into his smiling eyes as she lays on his chest, and says something in her own beautiful language. Her positive, but serious tone tells him they’re not going to be spending the day in bed. Then, sure enough, and much to his disappointment, she rolls off him and jumps out of bed, yanking the covers off his still-naked form in an obvious effort to get him up. Sprawled across the mattress, Wahya watches her expression as she instantaneously takes in his body with her eyes, catching sight of his erect manhood, of which she had just enticed to life with her kiss and body a moment ago.

Wahya beckons to her with a devilish smile as he motions for her to return to bed with him, patting the place next to him. “Come! Surely, we have time for a just a little something!”

Putting her hand over her eyes, Morgan pretends to fend off temptation, and laughs. “Nope! Not happening!”

Uncovering her eyes, which still sparkle with tantalizing fun, she ensues upon a short monologue, no doubt about how they need to get going, and then something about Samantha. They must be meeting up with Morgan’s friend again today, he discerns. Morgan points to the bathroom, motioning for him to go clean up. Finally, caving to her prodding, he swings his legs over the edge of the bed, wondering if they’re going to the lab or somewhere else.

Morgan turns to the closet, rifling through the clothes hanging up, searching for a top to wear. As he saunters past on his way into the bathroom, Wahya decides to tease her with the temptation of going back to bed one more time. From behind, he grabs her by the hips, pulling her close against his body, his hard erection against her back. She tenses in surprise, but as he lowers his head, lightly dragging his lips along her shoulder and up to her ear, she delightfully leans ever so slightly back into him. He swears he can feel her heartbeat quicken in her neck and her temperature rise. As seductively as possible, he whispers into her ear, “You know you want to.”

He’s sure she’s ready to cave, but at the last moment she snaps herself out of his spell, lightly slapping at his hands at her waist as she twirls out of his grasp. She’s a little flustered, yet giddy at the same time, flashing him her brilliant smile. “Oh no you don’t! We have to go, Wahya! We’re late!”

She playfully pushes him away, pointing towards the bathroom, looking very flushed. Hoping to make Morgan laugh again, despite her order to go get cleaned up, he pretends to pout, moving towards the bathroom with his head hanging in defeat as he pushes one side of his hair behind his ear. But instead of laughter, the light, but shocking smack of her hand across his bare right buttock forces a small yelp of surprise to erupt from the tough brave. It wasn’t painful or even hard for that matter, but the unexpected aspect was a surprise - a very pleasant surprise indeed. Spinning around halfway, he gives Morgan an open-mouthed look of shock, then grins broadly with that mischievous twinkle still in his eye. “Walela! Shame on you!”

Morgan laughs loudly as she pulls a t-shirt over her head, giving him a mischievous grin of her own. “Now we’re even! Go get done!” Shooing him away, she goes back to the closet, and Wahya closes the bathroom door to get ready for the day, feeling happier than he’s felt in far too long.

Studying his smiling reflection in the mirror, Wahya realizes that the two of them seem to be more effortlessly communicating in their own languages, almost as though they understood one another and weren’t always speaking entirely different languages.

“Perhaps,” he thinks as he climbs into the shower, “we’re getting to know each other better than I thought. Or we are simply thinking so much alike that language isn’t even necessary.”

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

Morgan furiously digs through her closet looking for her work boots. She hadn’t needed them for field work in almost a year.

“Crap! I should’ve gotten all this done yesterday!”

Muttering under her breath as she recalls yesterday, she continues, “Okay, maybe I should’ve just set my alarm clock like I was supposed to and gotten up early!” Then, a little louder, “Dammit, I still have to pack lunch!”

She finally finds the boots behind a pile of old jeans stacked haphazardly in the back corner of the small walk-in closet. Pulling the boots on, she dashes to the kitchen, trying to remember where her hard-cased insulated lunch cooler is stashed, so they’ll have something to keep their lunches cool in the car.

“Water! We’re going to need water, food - and my field bag should still have everything in it - I hope!”

A half hour later, Wahya comes into the kitchen, with his hair pulled back, wearing the t-shirt and jeans she’d left for him to put on. As her eyes fall on him, Morgan suddenly feels less harried, taking in not only the sight, but the smell of the freshly showered man in front of her. Taking a deep breath, she says, “Osiyo!”

Wahya gives her a sexy smile in turn, and Morgan wonders momentarily if she ever explained what they were doing today. With no time for that now she says instead, “I’m going to need your help so we can get on the road.”

Morgan gives Wahya a few easy tasks and together they gather their supplies for today’s field work. Wahya takes the large water cooler, now full of ice water, and the lunch cooler packed with a variety of random and easy-to-eat foods out to the car, while Morgan prepares two tumblers of coffee and a couple of microwaved breakfast burritos they can eat on the way to Samantha’s. Before heading out the door, she grabs her field backpack, and just as important, the notepad that Wahya and her had been drawing in, slipping the torn out drawing of the time warp over the cliff at the Billings Farm between the pages.

Once they’ve finally settled in the car, Morgan looks at the clock on the dashboard with a smiling cringe. “We’re only fifteen minutes late. Not bad considering we got up much later than I planned.”

While Samantha isn’t necessarily hard-nosed about work schedules and wouldn’t be too upset about them being a little late, she’s still Morgan’s superior - and Morgan knows that regardless of their friendship, this is work, not just a day out for fun. While this makes her a little anxious, her inner apprehension also rides on the fact that she hasn’t done much field work after graduation, and her excavation skills were never all that perfect. Hence why she ended up choosing curatorial work for her career. At least Samantha won’t be expecting her to be an expert today as the overseer of her work.

Something else was making Morgan’s anxiety rise this morning, and as she leans towards Wahya, sharing one more sweet and lingeringly soft kiss before they hit the road, she realizes just what it is. For the first time, Morgan feels a tiny bit guilty for pursuing Wahya. Not that she regrets any of it, not in the least. But now, having slept with him - more than once - and with no intentions of stopping now, she’s nervous as hell about facing Samantha and James. She’s sure they won’t approve, and as pseudo-siblings to her, she has mixed emotions about going against what they had adamantly warned her not to do with the handsome brave.

She didn’t have to tell them anything, she reasons. But, what if Wahya suddenly flirts or kisses her in front of them?! She remembers how he’d played it off coolly around Samantha when she’d kissed him at the Billings Farm on Tuesday, so he obviously understands the idea of keeping your hands to yourself in front of others. But after last night, would he be hurt if she still wanted to hide their relationship? Or would he understand her predicament?

Before putting the small SUV in drive, Morgan turns in her seat to face the man who’s got her emotions on fire. Taking his hand in both of hers, she contemplates the best way to present the topic. She wants him to understand that she isn’t ashamed of him, but that James and Samantha are just overprotective of her and wouldn’t understand their relationship just yet. But the last thing she wants is for him to think that the couple doesn’t like him or that he’s not good enough for her - for she didn’t think they felt that way at all. It was all just so complicated!

Finally, she pulls his hand up to her, kissing the back of it gently, then giving him a large, soft smile. “Wahya, I really, really like you a lot. And I really want to see where things go between us. But, uh, you see, this has happened so fast. And Samantha and James... well, they’re like... like Jessica. Like an older sister and brother to me.”

Wahya must sense her frustration as she finds the words difficult to put together. Taking his hand back he reaches into the back seat for the notepad, silently handing it to her.

“Yeah, that might help.” Morgan gives him a small, nervous laugh before making quick work in presenting what she hopes represents her relationship with James and Samantha as a ‘little sister.’ Wahya watches her, understanding the seriousness of her composure as she continues speaking, “So, obviously, they want to protect me from getting hurt and all. Not that you would hurt me, but you know...”

She draws stick-figures of herself and Wahya standing side-by-side with their hands clasped. Pointing to the picture, she grabs his hand again and smiles, “This is okay now.”

Then she draws Samantha and James and crosses out her and Wahya’s handholding as she explains the situation in English, “But when we’re with Samantha or James, it is not okay.” She shakes her head to emphasis her meaning, then repeats his Tsalagi word, “Tla okay - No okay. They won’t understand how we feel about each other just yet. We need to give them time to be more receptive.”

To her surprise, Wahya laughs good-naturedly and puts his hand lightly on her shoulder, “Walela, is okay. Goliga.” He nods with a look of humorous sorrow on his face adding, “Tla adatawetodi.”

Morgan feels a little more secure, hearing him call her by the unusual-sounding name he seems to use on her whenever he’s being tender or teasing. He’s not upset at least. But before she can continue to query whether he understands, Wahya cups her face with both his hands, bringing her in for a very short, but delicious kiss.

“Adatawetodi,” he says the word slowly while looking into her eyes.

Touching her lips, then his own, and planting another soft peck on her, he repeats the complex word, “Adatawetodi.”

“Kiss,” Morgan breathes out, translating his word, at which he nods, pointing to the house in front of them.

“Adatawetodi okay,” he tells her, and she smiles.

“Yes, it is very okay to kiss here.”

Wahya then points to James and Samantha in her notebook, and shakes his head, “Tla adatawetodi.”

“That’s right,” Morgan replies with relief. He did understand, “No kisses around Samantha and James.”

She imagines life in his time isn’t much different, and that older siblings and parents would be concerned as well, hence Wahya’s acceptance of the situation. At that moment, Wahya plants one more delightful kiss on her lips, giving her a look that says just how much he can’t wait to return home again so that he can freely give her all the kisses (and more) he wants. Sharing his unspoken sentiments, Morgan tears out the page she’d just drawn, stuffing it into her purse, not wanting to compromise their conversation when she showed the notepad to Samantha. Throwing the notepad in the backseat again, she puts the car in reverse, with her face heating and stomach fluttering anew.

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

CHEROKEE WORDS/PHRASES TO KNOW:
I understand = Goliga
Kiss = Adatawetodi *by the time I’d get done trying to get this one out, I’d just pucker up instead! ;)
No = Tla

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