The Artifact (Book 2, Time Series)

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Chapter Six: One Sexy Wolf

July 2023
University of Richmond
Richmond City, Virginia

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

Morgan lets his name roll off her tongue, and can tell he’s pleased with her attempt, despite the fact that he purposefully shortened it for her benefit. She has to admit that now that they’re “talking,” he doesn’t seem so fearful and apprehensive. And she can’t help but smile more than she already was when he relents and also cracks an ever so small smile at her expense.

But now Morgan wants to find out more, “Where did he really come from? Aliens is a bit implausible, as cool as that would be.”

Aloud she says, “If you come with me to my office, we can try to talk some more.”

She starts down the way, motioning for him to follow her past the tables of boxes and trays full of artifacts. He hesitates, but follows her anyways, eyeing the assortment of objects on their way to her office, which also seconds as the lab and artifact washroom.

“Forgive the mess, it’s a bit cluttered in here,” she says ushering him into the room lit with natural light from the large windows, despite the downpour of rain outside. The windows catch his attention, and he walks over to them slowly, as if in a trance.

Though she knows he doesn’t understand any of what she’s saying, her nerves make her chatter, and she tries to tone it down just a bit for fear he’ll think she’s loopy. After logging into her computer, she notices that Wahya isn’t staring out the window anymore, but instead examining the glass of the window, tapping on it and running his hand along the smooth surface.

Seeing his nearly bare backside for the first time, Morgan rubs her face, trying hard not to stare at his well-shaped form - from his massive shoulders and arms, his trim waist, and sculpted back, slightly showing toned buttocks, and lean legs. “What am I doing? How does a super sexy, nearly naked man literally land on my lap in real life?! This has to be a dream! No, if it were a dream, I wouldn’t be here on my computer...”

She shakes her head, trying to clear her mind of the sultry images she just put into her own imagination, “Sooo... This is where I work. Let me just get on the Internet...”

Wahya turns to look over his shoulder and asks in his own language what she assumes means, “What is this?”

“Oh, window. Win-dow.” She repeats the word.

Wahya says the word slowly, turning the sounds over in his mind, “Win-dow.”

Morgan nods and repeats the word as she clicks on the Internet icon on her computer’s desktop. Walking over to join him at the window, she looks down into the empty courtyard which consists of several grassy sections divided by crisscrossing sidewalks. Benches line spots under trees, and being a rainy morning during Summer Semester, there’s not a soul to be seen.

Morgan can see awe and wonderment in his expression, with a tad bit of fear, though she’s willing to bet he’s trying to quell it. Then it dawns on her! Seeing his reaction to basic modern items, she whispers aloud, “Time travel! Why didn’t I think of that before!?”

She mentally face-palms herself, “God Morgan, you’re an archaeologist for goodness sake - you know, those people who study the past?! Aliens... What were you thinking?!” Her eyes light up, thinking that he’s got to be a real time traveler, though perhaps not intentional, and she tries hard to calm herself for fear of either frightening him or causing him to think she’s crazy.

“You’re definitely from the past. Now, I just need to figure out when and where!” She tells him before moving back towards her desk. “Um, why don’t you have a seat, and we’ll look at some things on the Internet and see if we can’t figure all this out?”

She points to the small office chair next to her desk, and Wahya goes over to it, examining it and rolling it back and forth, obviously unsure about what he’s supposed to do with it, and Morgan realizes that modern chairs probably don’t look anything like what he’s used to.

“Chair. Chair,” Morgan says the word, then sits in her own chair, bouncing a little for emphasis. “Chair, you sit in it,” she explains. Watching her closely, he proceeds to sit in the chair, to which Morgan nods happily. “You got this!”

Despite his muscular build, and the fact that the mere sight of his body makes hers feel all warm, at his now close proximity, Morgan notices the goosebumps forming on his arms. “You’re cold?” She questions aloud. “Oh, of course you are - there’s no A/C in your time, and we’re right under the vent! That’s why I usually wear my pullover up here.”

Grabbing the lab coat hanging off one of the other lab chairs, Morgan holds it up to Wahya. When he looks at her with confusion, she rubs her arms pretending to shiver, then puts on the lab coat. Taking it off again, she holds it up to him, at which he nods in thanks and awkwardly dons the thin, white garment before sitting down again. He’s a bit too broad to button it up, but it covers him enough to cut the chill.

Morgan moves back to the computer, glad to have him clothed just a little bit more, for his near-nakedness had been a bit distracting - however pleasant it was! With him sitting only a few inches away, she knew he’d be just that much more distracting.

Morgan takes her glasses from on top of her head, placing them on her nose so she can see the words on the screen. The Internet search page is already up on the monitor and she puts her cursor in the search bar, hesitating as she tries to figure out where to start.

Before she gets any further, she sees Wahya staring at her strangely from the corner of her eye. Looking at him, he gestures to his own eyes then at hers. “Oh, these are glasses. Glasses,” she says realizing he’s ‘talking’ about her glasses. She laughs, “They help me to see better.”

Taking them off, she exaggeratedly squints at her notepad on the desk, then puts them back on, looking at the notepad again with wider eyes, expressing that she can see her writing better. Not sure that he gets it, she hands her glasses to him, and he hesitantly holds them up to his face. Even though the prescription isn’t strong, the warpy view surprises him, and Morgan laughs as he hands them back to her, probably more confused than before.

She puts them back on, and returns her attention to the computer, but not before Wahya interrupts her again by reaching out to touch the bright screen in front of her lightly with his finger, amazement reflecting in his eyes. He looks at her and says the word he’d just learned, “Window?”

Morgan is momentarily confused by his association, then realizes that he probably thinks the monitor is a window looking out over the mountain scene serving as the background image for the search provider. “No. Not window,” she replies shaking her head. “Photo.”

She wonders how she’ll explain that the images aren’t really there. She decides to cross that bridge later, though the photographic imagery on the monitor gives her an idea. Morgan proceeds to type “deer” into the search bar, producing several images of the animals.

Wahya looks stunned by the still-photos of the deer, and looks at Morgan wide-eyed as she points to an image and asks, “What is this called in your language?”

She points to another picture of a deer looking up from taking a drink of water from a stream, she tells him the word in English, “Deer.”

Gesturing towards him, she nods for him tell her his word for deer. Swallowing nervously, he produces his translation, “Awi.”

“Awi?” Morgan asks, then upon confirmation that she got it right, writes down the word phonetically next to the English equivalent, then repeats it aloud a few more times just to get it in her own head.

Next, she types in the word ‘horse,’ pulling up a large image of a brown horse running in a grassy field. She reasons, “Horses came to the Americas with the Spanish in the early 1500′s, so if he knows what a horse is, then I know he’s from sometime after that.”

Wahya stares at the image blankly, as she says “horse” a few times. He repeats the word himself but shakes his head in confusion as he studies the photograph with furrowed brows.

“Great! That means you’re from before 1500! Let’s see, how about this one?”

She pulls up an image of an orange butterfly, saying the name in English as he repeats it. This time he continues easily, “Ka-ma-ma. Ka-ma-ma.”

“Ka-ma-ma. I like that one!” Morgan replies, writing it down on her notepad. She tries to think of something else to try, then decides to do an image search for ‘Animals in Virginia.’ Wahya names all of the images in the top row to include a bear, skunk, snake, bee, and beaver.

Morgan scribbles the foreign words on the notepad, then scrolls down the screen a bit further before Wahya touches her arm. It’s the first time he’s touched her purposefully since he’s been here, and she pauses.

He points to the image in the right upper corner of the monitor, “Wahya!”

She doesn’t understand, and he points to himself as he says his name, then points to the image and repeats the same name, “Wahya.” When she still doesn’t get it, he points at the image again, saying his name with more emphasis, his eyes boring into hers, willing her to understand.

“Ohhhh! Wahya, I get it! Your name means ‘Wolf!’” She says with a grin, staring at the howling wolf in the photograph, then back at him.

Wahya smiles bigger than he had since he’d arrived, and Morgan realizes just how beautiful a smile he has.

“Wolf. Wolf,” she gives him the English word, which he repeats easily, while she writes down both the English and Native versions of his name. In her moment of clarity, Morgan remembers that this was only part of his name, and reaches over to touch his wrist, wanting him to retell her the first part his name, which she’d stumbled over so badly earlier.

The feel of his skin under her fingers sends a surprising warmth through her, and she quickly removes her hand, reminding herself to breathe. His eyes meet hers at the touch and she shies away, hoping he doesn’t notice the flush she feels creeping into her cheeks.

Attempting to cover it, she taps on her notebook with her pen, then pushes on to retry saying his whole name again. Unable to read his thoughts, she stiffly tries, “At - ad...? Uh... Ad - at...?”

Wahya studies her intently, a hint of a smirk on his lips, and Morgan knows that she’s been caught flustered, causing her to go even more red.

“Adatlisvi,” he says simply, understanding her request.

Taking up her pen again, Morgan clears her throat and head by having him repeat it again slower so she can write it down. Once done she reads it back, “Adatlisvi Wahya.”

Somehow knowing it’s his name makes the saying of it aloud more intimate than any of the other words they’d translated, and a stillness begins to fill the air. To break the spell, Morgan decides to see what “Adatlisvi” means specifically. She’s sure all together his name probably translates to ‘Sexy Wolf’ or something along those lines, as if the name ‘Wolf’ wasn’t sexy enough in its own right, especially on a man that looked like him!

Just then the door to the lab suddenly swings opens and a young blonde man strides into the room all smiles.

“Emory! What are you doing here?” Morgan blurts without thinking, as she jumps from her seat, a look of wide-eyed surprise on her face. Wahya proceeds to stand as well, not sure what’s going on.

“Uh, hello to you, too!?” Emory glances from Morgan to the tall man standing next to her, then back at Morgan. “It is Monday - you know. I’m usually here on Mondays.”

Looking Wahya up and down this time, Morgan’s intern continues while raising an eyebrow, apparently taken aback at the state of apparent undress that Morgan’s masculine visitor is in, “If I’m interrupting, I can...”

“No! No, you’re not interrupting anything!” Morgan sputters. “Uh, we were just leaving, actually.”

She grabs her notepad and then starts guiding Wahya towards the door. But before they can get past, Emory extends his hand to the large Native American, “Emory Hill. I’m the intern who works with Morgan on Mondays and Thursdays. And you are?”

Wahya’s face turns speculative unsure of what the man is saying or what his hand gesture means exactly. But before he can say or do anything, Morgan grabs his arm moving him towards the door again as she says, “He doesn’t speak any English! He’s a friend from... from out of town. From out of the country! And I’m showing him around. We’ve got to run, or we’ll be late. See ya!”

Emory hollers after them, “He’s wearing my lab coat, you know!”

She drags Wahya behind her out the door, ignoring Emory’s words as they proceed down the stairs and into the main atrium of the Anthropology building.

“Whew! That was close! How did I forget he was supposed to come in today? He’s a busy-body, and I’m not sure he’s the best person to tell about you, yet.”

Wahya looks down at her, his expression stating that he’s still taking in the situation, but putting his trust in her, and she hopes he understands somehow. Looking at the notepad in her arms, she continues, “But I do know who we should talk to!”

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