tagLoving WivesRace among the Ruins

Race among the Ruins


Author's note: Hi folks, as usual this is only a story. None of the people in it are real. I made them all up while I was out running or washing my car. Please don't read too much into their motives and motivations because again, it's only a story. Even in real life all of us are different and react differently to situations. If I got some of the technical things wrong forgive me, I'm not a historian and once again it's only a story. A long one. Thanks so much to the incredible Mikothebaby without whom you wouldn't be reading this. And remember, it's only a story. if you don't like it there'll be another one next week and you haven't wasted a dime. If I haven't told you guys and ladies of course this before I appreciate every one of you and I read every one of your comments and respect them all good or bad. Those comments kind of tell me where I should be going, somewhat. Anyway here we go...SS06

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Aaron Anderson parked his Midnight blue 09 Anniversary Edition Mustang GT in the lot reserved for visiting professors and walked into the ballroom. He was, as usual, late. He'd been down at the docks again in one of those little dive bars throwing darts and hanging out with the locals. His wife, Stacy, who was vying to become a full professor here at Papalis University, had called to tell him that he was late.

She'd sounded really pissed, as usual, that he had missed the opening remarks at the dinner gala. "We'll cover for you, as usual," she'd said with a really pissed off tone to her voice. We, meaning her and Bob would cover for him. Bob was Dr. Robert Thompson PHD. He was also Aaron's best friend since childhood. The two men had always been together and a big part of each other's lives except for that 5 year period that Bob had spent in Grad school and Aaron had spent in the navy.

They'd also pursued many of the same goals. Archaeology being the thing they both shared a passion for. Though they both loved it, they came at it from completely different angles. Bob was a scholar; he was big on research, charts, and documents. He'd spend months in a library researching a subject to find out all there was to know about it. Then he'd try to find it.

Aaron on the other hand just liked to get out and explore. He was a diver and a climber. He'd go anywhere on earth, if he thought something interesting might be waiting to be found.

Though they were as close as brothers, their personalities were as different as their methodologies. Robert preferred his books, computers, and charts, but Aaron preferred people. Where Robert's often arrogant and condescending attitude put off a lot of people; Aaron could wander into a room full of strangers and emerge with several lifelong friends. People gravitated towards him and him towards them. This was a great trait to have, because quite often the locals would tell him things that weren't found in books or on the internet.

Many times Robert and Aaron would head to some backwater town in search of an oddity or a piece of history and run into a dead end. Robert would end up frustrated and ready to quit, until some barmaid or mechanic told Aaron the truth of the local legend and where it had really taken place.

Later, Robert would end up writing a paper on it and getting it published. As a result the two were a very successful team. While Robert might have been the more famous, he had to admit that most of what he was famous for was a result of things that Aaron had done.

Papalis University had issued a challenge to Archaeological explorers. Every time the earth settled differently in this part of the world there were discoveries of ancient Greek artifacts. The university's staff realized that there were museums all over the world that would pay handsomely for authentic Greek or Roman antiquities. Since the university was in part funded by the Greek government, getting the clearances and paperwork necessary to sell or lease the artifact wasn't an un-surmountable hurdle.

Robert had his eyes on a full professorship in the university and Aaron just wanted the chance to explore and be paid for it. They'd come here about a week ago to get the lay of the land. The gala tonight was where all of the treasure hunters who'd been invited by the museum would find out what was going on.

Robert spent the week nervously going over everything he knew about Greek history. He'd wanted to be prepared to answer questions on any subject that might be asked about.

He'd asked Aaron to study with him and had been laughingly refused by his friend. "Why would I even begin to think that I know more about Greek artifacts or Greek history than the Greeks do?" asked Aaron. Aaron spent the week getting to know people around the university and the local town. He especially spent a lot of time around the shipyards and the marina. Stacy had spent the week sunning and shopping.

Aaron walked quickly towards the banquet hall and tried to tie his tie as he walked. A beautiful young woman stopped him at the door and smiled at him. "May I?" she asked pointing at his tie. Aaron smiled back and nodded.

The woman quickly tied his tie into a beautiful knot that Aaron never would have managed. At 6' 4" and 220 pounds Aaron was not noted for his subtlety, but people just seemed to love him.

As she stepped back to admire her work, the woman took in the full picture. She gave Aaron the thumbs up sign and said, "Go get em' cowboy." Aaron was speechless for a moment. There was something special about this woman. Besides her beauty she seemed to exude a sense of confidence that was beyond her years. "I'm older than you think, cowboy," she said as if she'd read his thoughts.

"Why do you call me, "Cowboy?" he asked, smiling at her.

"First because that's what I sense about you," she said laughing. "You're honest and strong, like the cowboys of old. Your car has a horse on the front of it. When I look at you, my senses say, "Cowboy." She looked at him again. "I like you Aaron, a lot. Good things will happen for you here in my isles. But there will be a bit of sadness as well. Don't look so strange, Cowboy. You're no stranger to the magic yourself." Aaron nodded he had a great deal of belief in the fact that something was looking out for him.

"Besides," she smiled as she turned to go. "Your boots just give it away, don't they?"

Aaron looked down. When he changed into the suit he'd forgotten to put on regular shoes. His black cowboy boots were so much more comfortable. He doubted that anyone would notice.

He made his way to the banquet room. There were people all around the room. Many of them he'd met already during the previous week. He spoke to and complemented many of them as he looked around. He ran into the Dean of the university, whom he'd played golf with and lost terribly to the previous morning.

"Hey Marty," Aaron said to Dean Rinehart. Aaron still thought it was funny for a German to be the Dean of a Greek university, but the world was constantly getting smaller.

"Hey Aaron," replied the Dean. "I'd say you're a bit late, but it doesn't really matter, you haven't missed anything."

"I'm still having trouble moving around from that ass-kicking you gave me yesterday on the golf course," smirked Aaron. The Dean laughed and introduced Aaron to his wife. Aaron thought that was interesting as well. The Dean's wife was a dark haired Greek beauty. She was much younger than the Dean's 50 plus years. She was also the woman who'd fixed Aaron's tie.

"Your wife and your partner are around here somewhere," said the Dean. "She's pretty, he's an insufferable ass."

"But he's a very smart insufferable ass, Dean," said Aaron. Aaron excused himself to go and look for Stacy and Bob. He circulated around the hall looking for Stacy's blond hair and svelte frame or Bob's thin body and balding head. He found neither. He went out onto one of the balconies for a breath of fresh air and found both of them, although he wished he hadn't.

"Wow, I guess he likes that a lot more than I do," said Aaron. "But, as the saying goes, "To each his own,". And from now on, you're all his. I want nothing else to do with either of you. Stacy, you should try playing with his balls while you do that. I've heard that it can get him off really quickly. That way you can save the rest for later and come back inside before anyone who works for the university finds out what a WHORE you are."

Stacy quickly stood up and moved away from Bob, who tried to zip up his pants quickly and got himself caught painfully in the zipper. "It's not what it looked like Honey," said Stacy stupidly as Bob screamed from the pain in his crotch.

"Wait," said Aaron holding up his hand. "I'm not as smart as you two are, so it takes me a little longer to figure these things out. Now to me it looked like you were sucking his dick. So go ahead and tell me what was really happening."

Stacy just looked stupid. For a very educated woman who could speak multiple languages and lecture on a variety of subjects, it was unusual for her not to have something to say.

Robert was trying not to move. He was hunched over trying to get the hair around his dick that was caught in his zipper loose. Every movement he made resulted in pain.

Aaron stepped towards him and punched him in the mouth so hard that he lost consciousness.

"Consider that a form of anesthetic, asshole," said Aaron. "That way when you get to the emergency room they can cut your little dick loose without hurting you."

Aaron turned back to his speechless wife. "Don't come back to the villa for an hour or so, please," he said to her. "That way I can get my stuff and be gone by the time you two love birds get there."

"Aaron we need to talk about this," whined Stacy. "It's not my fault. He's been hitting on me for months. We should talk about this now. Putting it off won't make it any easier."

"Uhn huh," said Aaron. "Stacy you speak what, three of four languages? I'm sure you've learned to say "No" in at least one of them. And we have nothing to talk about. You and Robert have a lot in common; you're both educated people and smart as hell. You two have a lot more in common than you and I ever did. You'd think that with all of those brains though, one of you would have had the class to just tell me. I'd have wished you both the best and it wouldn't have had to be like this. I mean it makes sense, you two are near geniuses and I'm just a broken down ex-navy guy who likes to dive and look for shit. Maybe if you'd done it right we could have stayed friends." Aaron quickly took Stacy's arm and removed her wedding rings. She grabbed at him and tried to hug him but he pushed her away.

"No, please Honey. Don't do this, it was a mistake," Stacy cried. "Aaron, I love you. Let me explain!"

Aaron turned to leave and saw at least a third of the gathered guests watching the scene. He smiled at them and made his way through the crowd and left the banquet hall. He piloted his Mustang through the narrow streets and back to the villa they'd rented for their stay. He quickly loaded all of his clothing and personal items into the back of his car and its trunk. Then he moved his diving gear and equipment into the garage where it would be easier for him to get later without going into the house.

He drove around through the streets for a while. His phone rang over and over. Stacy called him several times that evening. He didn't take her calls or Robert's either. He did speak to a few of his new friends who wanted to comfort him after the embarrassing scene at the banquet. Robert played an especially low trick though. Apparently he'd spoken to his mother and had her call Aaron. After Aaron's own mother had died, he'd become very close to Robert's mom. Since the two of them were almost like brothers anyway, it made sense that they'd share a mom.

"Hi Ella," Aaron said into the phone. "Can I call you in a few days? I'm not really going to be a good conversationalist right now."

"I just wanted to tell you that I'm sorry that you and Bobby are arguing, but you two need to talk it over and get the job done. That's what you two always do," said Ella.

"Ella, I don't see that as being possible this time," said Aaron. "I think we're done, I don't see a way around this one."

"Okay," said Ella seriously. "Aaron you're like my own son so I'm going to try to explain this to you. It's only a car."

"Ella, what are you talking about?" asked Aaron.

"If you're this pissed at Bobby, I figured he must have scratched the Mustang. Or please don't tell me he wrecked it," said Ella.

"Ella, I caught Bob with Stacy, in public, at a banquet we went to for the university we're trying to work for."

There was silence on the phone line. Then Aaron broke it. "Ella, I'll call you in a few days."

Aaron's next call came in a few moments later. He didn't recognize the number so he figured it was safe to answer.

"How are you feeling?" said a deep feminine voice.

"Just fucking peachy," replied Aaron.

"My husband was right about your friend. He's an insufferable ass. But you're stronger than this...Bullshit. I have a feeling that you're going to be fine."

"Thanks," said Aaron. The events of the evening had beaten Aaron down. He was in the area around the docks. He'd probably been drawn here because he spent all of the past week here learning the lay of the land. He started looking for a motel or a hotel.

He found one that didn't look too bad. The most attractive thing about it was the big "Vacancy" sign that kept flashing off and on.The hotel was obviously supposed to be a Pirate themed Lodge. A big sign out front had a ship with a big vicious dog hanging from its yardarm.

The sign was supposed to read Hanging Dog Hotel in bright neon orange. Over the years the neon letters "I, N and G" had stopped glowing so now the sign appeared to read Hang Dog Hotel.

It was a big "U" shaped building with a pool and lounging area inside of the "U." It really didn't make very much sense though for a hotel built this close to the ocean to have a pool. Why would anyone want to swim in chlorinated water when they could swim in the sea instead? It would only make sense for the very old or the very young. Aaron shook his head and headed for the front desk.

A middle-aged Greek woman took his credit card and swiped it. He signed the register and she gave him a key. His room was on the second floor. His balcony over looked the pool. Even in the dark he could see that the pool was probably not in service.

The bellboy, a Greek teenager who was maybe fifteen, if that, came running up to Aaron's room. Aaron wondered why he'd bothered, since he'd already carried his own bags. The boy turned down the bed and then walked up to Aaron and stuck out his hand.

The boy was thin and wore his uniform badly. It was wrinkled and baggy and his pants, like teenagers' all over the planet sagged until you could see more than the top of his under shorts. His hair badly needed to be cut and his face was dirty. But the boy stood in front of Aaron with his legs clamped firmly together, his back ramrod straight and held out his hand with all of the dignity of an English butler. The picture was so incongruous that Aaron gave him a five dollar bill just for having the audacity to ask for the tip. The bellboy's near panhandling was the only thing to make Aaron smile all night.

Aaron collapsed on his bed fully dressed on top of the comforter. He turned out the lights and tried to make some kind of sense of this segment of his life. He'd been blindsided. That alone was unusual. He was the kind of man who could smell a storm at sea before the weather service radar showed it as a blip on their screens. He could also tell when to drop the stocks he invested in months before they went down. But he had not seen this coming.

To be fair to himself he hadn't been looking for it either. After all who was he supposed to be able to trust most in the world? The two people he expected to have his back more than anyone else on the fucking planet were the woman who'd sworn to be faithful and love him for the rest of their lives and the man he'd grown up with and treated like a brother.

The last thing in the world he expected was for either one of them to betray him. So when it turned out to be both of them, it just sucked all of the wind out of his sails. Maybe he might have believed that Stacy might get bored with him someday and cheat on him. But he'd always expected that if she did, he'd have his buddy Bob to help him get over it.

Or if he and Bob's partnership floundered, then at least he'd have his wife to make it all feel better. But losing them both at the same time was devastating. Aaron had a lot of thinking to do. After all it had been Bob's idea to come here. Stacy had been all for the idea as well. When you thought about it though, maybe they'd already been together then. Aaron doubted that though because the two of them were working at cross purposes. Both of them wanted the only professorship that was being offered. Maybe Bob thought that if he got it, he'd make Stacy his assistant. And Aaron was sure that Stacy probably thought that she'd get the professorship and Aaron and Bob could both just do field work for the university. Well what they thought or what they wanted no longer mattered to Aaron. Fuck both of them. Maybe he should just head back home to the states. He'd look into shipping his car back home tomorrow. Then Aaron fell asleep.

Dr. Maria Clarridge awoke and looked around her dorm room. Her room-mate had already left the room, so she was alone. Then she heard the sound that had awakened her again. It was her cell phone. Who'd be calling her at this hour of the morning?

"Miss Clarridge?" asked a voice from the phone. "Or perhaps I should say Dr. Clarridge?"

"Yes," said Maria in her very precise and very crisp English accent. She adjusted her glasses on her nose as she spoke.

"I'm sorry to be so blunt, but I've been told that you've been fired from your teaching assistant post and might be interested in another position. Would you be interested in something that might be perhaps eventually a better one?"

"Who is this?" asked Maria.

"I'm sorry. I thought that you'd recognized my voice. This is Elena Rinehart."

Maria sat up sharply. Elena Rinehart was the Dean's wife. This was serious. "Yes ma'am," she said.

"Great perhaps we can discuss this over lunch?" said Elena. She gave Maria the time and the location and then hung up.

Maria smiled. For the first time in a few days, she was actually happy. She might not have to go back to England after all.

Stacy Anderson stepped out of the shower and looked at herself in the mirror. She didn't like what she saw. There were lines on her face that hadn't been there only yesterday. It was probably only nerves. Okay, nerves brought on by guilt. She was a smart woman and she never expected herself to be in this kind of position. Aaron was always, always, late for anything that even faintly hinted towards respectability. How was she to know that he'd show up even fashionably late for the gala last night? It was unlike him to be even close to timely.

Shit, he hadn't come back to the villa last night at all. Where the hell was he? She'd intended to give him time to cool off and drive around in that car of his for a while. She figured then he'd show up and probably sleep in one of the other bedrooms for a while. She knew that it would probably take a while but that eventually he'd forgive her. He probably wouldn't trust her for a very long time but she'd seen couples recover from far worse.

Her own parents had in fact. Her father had cheated on her mother for years. And then later on, her mother had an affair of her own. They'd still managed to stay together until her father died of cancer.

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byStangStar06© 117 comments/ 155027 views/ 121 favorites

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