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Dark Dig 14 - Evidence Mounts

by Bruce J. Spohn 5 months ago in Mystery
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Ancient Gods and Modern Drama

14 - Evidence Mounts

Evidence Mounts

The dining hall was nearly empty by the time Marcus and Carol started down the serving line. There was no lack of empty tables, but Carol noticed Ruth and Ben at a table near the exit. Ben jumped up to greet them and commented that it looked like they got a better night’s rest than he did. Ruth raised her coffee mug in a wearily toast to greet the new arrivals. Marcus joked about how it must be the extra 30 minutes that made the difference and was the reason for their tardiness.

Ruth and Ben took a long awkward moment making clandestine eye contact. At long last, Ruth took one more long drag of coffee from her mug and slammed it down on the table.

“Well, this might not be the best place to make such announcements, but Ben convinced me that I should let you both know before you get blindsided. Carol, you remember the heated discussion we had a few days ago with Todd about how women are treated in the work place?” Ruth opened.

“Yes, how could I forget? Todd really put us both in our place when he pointed out we should gather facts before we stuff everyone into a pigeon hole. What are you getting at?” Carol inquired.

“Well – I’m sure Ben can confirm the fact that my carrier has been hard and my progress slow. I think I probably owe Ben at least one apology for the stress I have put him through. More to the point, I finally decided it was time to make a decision and I asked Todd if there might be a job for a tough FBI Agent in CYNEREYE,” Ruth added with a deep sigh.

“So that party last night was about you taking a job with CYBEREYE? Ok, I understand you wanted to have time to tell Ben and not have him looking bad,” Carol surmised.

Ben was nodding concurrence as he finished his breakfast. Marcus only smiled at the revelation. He frequently checked his watch, a nervous habit of his, when he had a full day. Carol knew he was ready to get a move on and she smiled at Ruth affirming the fact they could talk more over lunch.

Marcus slapped Ruth on the shoulder and proclaimed, “Great choice! I’m sure Todd will give you more opportunity to progress than the confines of the stuffy good old’ boys club as you described the FBI of being.”

With that Carol got up, kissed Ruth on both cheeks then followed Marcus to the office. Ruth reminded them that they would meet them in time for the video conference before she turned her attention to Ben.

“Ben. I want you to know that you have been the best partner I have ever worked with. Don’t worry about your job rating I worked on it last night and had to use the thesaurus many times to find the words to best describe you. I must say I have to take my hat off to you for showing the character strength to withstand Fronia’s flirtations. But soon the case will be over and I’m sure Fronia will still be openly attracted to you. All I can say is, being a field agent for the Bureau is not conducive to a happy marriage,” Ruth admonished.

“OH, thank you so much for the report. Your announcement about moving on was a great relief to me, as I have applied and was just notified this morning that I will be assigned to the GEEKS at HQ when I’m finished here. I was concerned about how to break the news to you. I did not want you to think it was a personal rejection. I have to admit I really do enjoy working with you. Yeah, you are strict, but fare. You always go by the book and thus we have never had any case tossed out because of some technical error. I could see how unhappy you were and have heard you voice your concerns about your future. So maybe this is turning out best for everyone,” Ben concluded.

“Ben, I think we deserve a little celebration. The next cup of coffee is on me,” Ruth joked and raised her mug in a toast.

They sat laughing and joking until the coffee was drained from the mugs. A glance at her watch confirmed Ruth’s assessment that it was time to head toward the office to get in place before the video started. Along the way she knocked on Todd’s office door. He was still in the process of pulling his battle dress jacket on when he opened the door.

“Glad you knocked. I must have really been tired last night. I just got up and caught a quick shower to help wake up. I hope Marcus or someone in the office has some coffee brewing,” Todd mumbled while tending to the buttons on his shirt.

While Ruth and Ben found chairs, Todd rushed, following his nose, in the direction of the smell of freshly brewed coffee. With gallant chivalry, he came back with a tray with enough coffee for everyone seated awaiting the start of the conference. Before any attempt to start small talk, the monitor flashed and blinked to form the scowling image of Inspector Campus.

Without preamble or social greeting, Campus jumped to the point, “The four idiots that broke in to your camp last night were just what you would call “TOMB ROBBERS” They heard about the discovery and thought they might be able to steal some treasures. So that was not very productive to solving the case at hand. On the other hand, Inspector Borga returned from his trip with some interesting information about the Tears of Aphrodite source.”

Impatiently Borga pushed his way into the camera field and cut Campus short. “Good morning, all. I was able to coordinate with an INTERPOL STING operation and we were successful in confiscating a truck load of drugs. At first it was thought it was just the normal opioids, but about 30% of the cargo was packed in some special foam packages. This of course attracted attention to what could be in these strange containers. Each container held 100 small brown plastic bottles with 100 tablets of Tears of Aphrodite. The ship was one we have been following for some time and this was the third trip from Iran we have tracked. Thus, confirming our suspicion of the link to the cult leader,” Inspector Borga reported.

Campus coughed loudly and injected, “That leads directly to the remainder of my retched night. After I left your camp, I was required to investigate an incident at the university. When I arrived, there was a swarm of local police and ambulances all over the place. When I checked with the local officer in charge, he escorted me to a large room. He explained that many of the living victims were already taken out to the ambiances. He said there had been more than 25 people in the room. The remaining bodies were all dead. There was no sign of external trauma, no knife wounds, gunshot wounds, or blunt force trauma. So, the coroner would have to determine cause of death. What was obvious there was the clear evidence of a very wild orgy. All the bodies were nude and there were bite marks on their bodies. The officer informed me those still alive had to be heavily sedated because they were constantly masturbating. I can’t say for sure, until the lab reports can confirm my suspicion, but this might be the first fatality related to Tears of Aphrodite and that could be used to detour others form experimenting with it,” Campus summarized.

For a long moment there was a strained silence. The tension was only broken when Ruth leaned forward and asked that copies of all medical reports be sent to her as soon as possible. Then she inquired if there was any physical evidenced recovered from the crime scene.

Ben had deep worry furrows etched into his youthful brow. He was clearly deep in thought. Ruth knew Ben well enough to know his mind was rapidly processing all the data accumulated thus far. That was one reason she liked working with him, he could see connections others overlooked or just could not figure out.

Eventually he moved closer to the monitor and requested that one complete carton captured from the ship be sent directly to the FBI Lab for an analysis and a cross comparison to any of the tablets recovered from the university.

“I see everyone has a lot of things to attend to. If there are no further topics to bring up, I suggest we adjourn and get busy with those tasks,” Marcus concluded and after a pregnant pause terminated the video.

Carol sat quietly pondering all the events that were just reported. So, the four people who triggered an alert was just a red herring, the drugs were being smuggled in by ship from Iran and now there were wild sex parties ending in death. This was way more adventure than what she expected when she agreed to participate in helping Marcus at his dig site. At the same time, she could not imagine being anywhere else. Now as Carol looked at Marcus, she could swear he had that same strange aura that she saw last night and then she became aware of her mounting level of arousal.

Carol almost jumped up and shouted YIPPIE when she heard Marcus say that he was going home and wanted to know how many would be at the table tonight so he could let Ellen know.

Carol was pleased to see that there would be a full house. Even Todd, who sneaked into the conference late and was leaning against the doorway, raised his hand. A fleeting thought flashed through Carol’s mind about whether Ruth’s new job might be more than meets the eye. She had no time to ponder such trivial thoughts she was in too much of a hurry to be alone with Marcus.

Suddenly, Carol felt Marcus put his arm around her waist and start pulling her to the exit. It seemed he was eager to get alone with her. He said not a word as they rushed the short distance to the Land Rover. Quickly he started the engine, but before the A/C could start cooling the stuffy compartment he had his lips pressed on hers. The rush of hormones overwhelmed her. She felt awash in an ocean of lust, but was able to find the strength to pull her mouth away and gasp out, “there is more room to move in the bed. See how fast you can get us there safely.”

Marcus’ face was distorted in a delightful image of a doting lover lusting for his sweet everything lover. Carol braced for what she was sure would be the ride of her life. In the interim her mind mulled the strangeness of the sexual encounters. Maybe a new conversation with Ellen could shed some light into the darkness of the adventure she found herself in. A wide lecherous grin erupted as she thought the conversation with Ellen would have to wait until the pent-up pressure of raw lust was vented.

Questions & Answers

With all his attention focused on the road ahead, Marcus did not notice Carol wiggling and squirming in the passenger seat. He did hear Carol call Ellen and inform her of the number of people to expect tonight and that they might not be available until dinner as she had some important business to go over with Marcus. He was sure he had set some new land speed record as the car came to a rocking halt in front of the stairway to the veranda. Carol jumped out and was nearly half way up the long flight of stairs before Marcus rounded the rear bumper. He was surprised and delighted when a gust of wind blew Carol’s jacket open revealing she already had the garment unbuttoned but she also was bra-less.

Now the race was on. Marcus vaulted the stairs two at a time and soon was right on Carol’s side. They rushed through the central hall directly to his quarters. Carol had her fatigue jacket off and was tugging at the waist band of the baggy fatigue pants letting them drop to the floor just as Marcus cupped her breasts in his powerful hands and kissed her on the back of the neck.

With a sudden jerking motion Carol twisted around and found Marcus nude to the waist. Deftly her hands work to remove his trousers. In a single maneuver she had his fatigues and underpants dropped to the floor. Agilely he stepped out of them and they both fell into the bid king sized bed.

Instantly they were both consumed in the blast of lustful passion. Wantonly they clutched at each other. Falling helplessly into the pit neither could say for sure if it was heaven or hell and neither one really cared. Writhing and squirming making every cell of their combined existence become one.

Now, both thoroughly familiar with the thoughts, desires and abilities of the other they worked in unison in perfect harmony. Explosive orgasmic delights filled their minds and bodies with un-imagined sensations. For the first time Carol no longer felt she was a mire spectator. She felt total control and she knew Marcus was aware and actively participating with equal aplomb.

Their physical, mental and spiritual energies all combined propelling them higher and higher. Melded together, forging a bond as old as time they took flight. Far beyond the summit of Mt. Olympus, they soared. Orgasmic fireworks heralded their arrival in the temple of immortals. In a timeless time, they floated. Lost in the universe that exists between TICK and TOCK. It was then all questions were answered. Their pasts, present and futures were all revealed. The truth of the image was unchallenged, but it faded before the next heartbeat could capture it. In an explosion equal to the start of all we know, Carol and Marcus were evicted from paradise.

Reluctantly, conscious thought returned. Two bodies, spent vessels, of love and lust, lay limp on sheets soaked with their body fluids. Neither was aware of the time, but both knew they should shower and get dressed for dinner.

Jason was his jovial self. The result of copious sampling of the diverse beverages to be offered over the course of what he hoped would be a cordial gathering of friends. Ellen and Fronia were busy gathering flowers for the table when Carol and Marcus ambled out to the patio. Carol floated, as if her feet had wings, over to join the two women and absentmindedly plucked a few flowers.

From deep within the big house came the clatter of people approaching. Fronia jumped at the sound in the great hallway and rushed to see if it might be Ben and Ruth.

Carol took Fronia’s departure as an opening and after a deep breath she turned to Ellen and asked, “Ellen, I need your thoughts about something that has been happening.”

Ellen put her left hand up over her eyes to shade them from the late afternoon sun. For a long moment Ellen focused on Carol’s eyes. Carol could almost feel the gaze penetrate deep into the deepest secret pit of her soul. The concerned frown on Ellen’s face slowly melted and was replaced by an all-knowing grin.

“You are concerned about the power of the feeling you and Marcus have been sharing,” Ellen breathed in a voice that seemed to come echoing from a dimension not of this world.

“Yes, Ellen, I knew you would know what is going on,” Carol whispered if a hushed reply.

They both took a seat along a low retaining wall next to a small pond with a fountain in the shape of a dolphin. Ellen patted Carol on the arm in an attempt to confer a calming atmosphere. A gentle breeze rustled the sun parched leaves and created miniature waves on the pond behind them. Everything combined to create a feeling of being somehow a part of something greater.

“I thought you might have figured it all out for yourself by now,” Ellen sighed and tightened her grip on Carol’s arm.

“What do you mean? I don’t have an earthly clue to explain what has been happening,” Carol objected.

Ellen chuckled, before she continued. “Maybe that is the problem – you are looking for earthly clues, but you have known all your life. Over the years I have formed a good working theory about the Gods. They can only experience physical sensations when they inhabit a physical body. It is my theory that some of the Gods, being bored with their existence, unite with an unborn at the moment of birth so they can once again experience the unique quality of mortal existence.”

Carol sat intently studying Ellen to see if she could glean more meaning from the depth of her gaze. “I’m not sure if I follow you completely,” Carol injected.

“Oh, but you know what I mean, the feeling that there is something that is constantly guiding you. As if you have some unknown force or being that you have no control over. Marcus always makes fun of me and my Gods. I think he does not want to admit the Gods have led him to most of his important finds rather than his intellect. But he is also haunted by these beings. These Gods are not able to exert direct physical changes. They don’t have any of the super powers that you always see in the TV programs and low budget movies,” Ellen continued.

“What? You mean you think Marcus is also a ‘host’ to some ancient god?” Carol gasped.

Ellen paused as if to reflect on what she just said, or to carefully choose the proper words for what she was about to say, Carol fidgeted nervously while Ellen kept her in suspense. Ellen slowly started nodding her head as if concurring with some voice only she could hear.

“Carol, from the moment you arrived, the Gods have been rejoicing. Marcus is indeed a host and you seem to be host to a God that has been tied to the God that inhabits Marcus. Thus, this instant connection you felt from the moment you saw Marcus. At first you felt as if you were only a spectator but over time you and the God have fused into one entity. I have seen subtle changes in Marcus that indicates he is more aware of this transformation than he will ever openly admit, but then I’m really not sure. As I told you before the Gods don’t actually ‘talk’ to me. I only get premonitions and see things I consider to be omens,” Ellen explained.

“Oh My God! What you said does make more sense than any explanation I have come up with. Just the thought of being possessed by some supernatural being is way outside the box. So, you think that Marcus and I were sort of predestined,” queried Carol.

“Again, I can’t say why or what caused you and Marcus to meet. For all I know, your meeting was the result of the cosmic comedy we call life. But even a blind person can see the power of your love. I really pity anyone that tries to separate you two. That is about all I can say. I hope it helps you understand what you are feeling. Now, we better get over to the rest of the guests before they drink all the wine,” Ellen joked.

Carol followed Ellen while her mind struggled to process the new information. Carol heard Marcus’ boisterous voice as he jested with Jason. Marcus beaming like a young Hercules slapped Jason on the shoulder and inquired about where he was hiding all the booze. At that Jason handed Marcus a tall glass of dark amber liquid. Jason then jerked around at Ellen’s approach and filled two wine glasses with her favorite wine and handed one to Carol after he saw Ellen give a nod to show the wine met her approval.

Fronia was talking to Ben, but seemed a bit more resolved to the fact Ben was trying to avoid the wrath of Ruth. Ellen was not aware of Ruth’s decision to take a job with Todd, but she could see there was suddenly much more going on between them.

Suddenly Jason slipped his powerful arms around her and whispered, “Seems like love is in the air.”

“Jason, have you been talking to the Gods? Best not to say anything. It is more fun to watch them when they think everything was their idea. I did give Carol some hints to help her understand the powers that take her and Marcus to levels of existence she could not comprehend. I did not mention that everyone present was here not by coincidence, nor did I tell her how my patron God Eros was taking command of the proceedings.” Ellen crooned in Jason’s ear. Jason’s only response was a big wet kiss on Ellen’s neck.

Everyone was relaxing, conversing and exorcising spirits from an assortment of bottles. Trays of finger food were emptied before Ellen announced the main meal was being served in the dining room. At the table Jason raised his glass in a toast, “May we enjoy this meal without any police action.”

Everyone presents shared in the toast before they savagely attacked the savory selection of assorted fish prepared in a dazzling display of culinary wizardry.

Marcus winked at his sister and quipped to the group, “See it pays to call ahead.”

“So, what’s new at the antique flee market,” Ellen joked after the laughter subsided.

A strange silence washed the room, before Todd choked to clear his throat to speak. “Well, if you are referring to last night, not much. Oh, there was a break-in, but it turns out they had nothing to do with the other attack. Then the Greek Inspector was called away to investigate an incident at the Athens University. Fortunately, the night was not a total waste. I was able to interview and hire a new executive director of operations. Stand up Ruth, I’m sure everyone here knows Ruth and some of you may be aware of her issues with her current employer. At any rate, I was able to convince her I had a better offer, but she is still working for the FBI until this case is solved. So, we better make sure we get this case closed soon,” Todd proclaimed as he applauded Ruth.

Fronia suddenly gasped out, “OH wow, I heard a report on TV earlier about the university incident. They reported there were a lot of students killed and there were some still alive but in some sort of mental break-down. Did Inspector Campus tell you anything about what happened there?”

“Yes, Inspector Campus mentioned the event today at our video conference. He thinks that new drug they are calling ‘Tears of Aphrodite’ was responsible for the deaths and the mental illness because there were a few brown plastic bottles with a few of the tablets left lying around the room. He pointed out there was ample evidence of a wild orgy. He actually laughed when he said the forensic team was going to go crazy trying to sort out all that mess. He said all the survivors were masturbating uncontrollably, so much they had to sedate them to prevent them from doing bodily harm. Ben agreed with the inspector and asked that samples of the pills recovered from the scene be compared to the tablet captured in a raid on a freighter smuggling drugs earlier that day,” Ruth answered.

“Yes, our lab determined the drug was extremely unstable and any environmental factor like temperature, humidity or even atmospheric pressure could cause the chemicals to mutate to form totally unknown substances. The fact we found evidence that the drug was being used leads me to think there is a strong possibility it caused the deaths and mental break-downs. That is why I want the samples examined by our lab to see if they can identify any new chemicals to see if they can find a way to counter-act the effects,” Ben amended Ruth’s comments.

“Oh My God!” Fronia shouted and ran from the room.

Only to return moments later with a small, brown, plastic bottle clenched in her trembling hand. She handed the bottle to Ben and sobbed, “Here you can send this off for analysis too.”

“Where did you get these?” Ben demanded.

“Remember when I wanted to go to Athens the other day? Well, I stopped by some of the student hang-outs looking to find someone who might know where I could get some of the ‘Tears of Aphrodite’ Eventually I was directed to a young woman who sold me these for $20.00 US Dollars. OH GOD Ben I was going to use them on you because you had been so cold and non-responsive to me the night before. Thank God you were all called away to respond to the attack on the camp. Today, on TV I thought I recognized the girl who sold me the polls. She was one of the survivors but on the TV report she was just passed out. There was no mention of the more dramatic effects,” Fronia choked out between sobs.

Everyone at the table was frozen. All eyes were locked on Fronia. Ellen broke the barrier and took Fronia in her arms.

“Oh dear, so that was the rest of the story that you tried to avoid telling me. Dear the Gods warned me you and Ben were on a collision course. I keep telling you all about how the Gods can’t talk to me and they have no super powers but they can act through events to achieve their goals or prevent disasters. I think in some way the Gods sent the robbers to the camp to derail your little seduction scheme,” Ellen scolded her daughter.

“Ben, I’m so sorry! I was just feeling scorned and I was sort of curious about what that drug could make you do. I remember you sort of joked about what it might be like when we went to visit Christina. Please forgive me,” Fronia begged.

Ben reached out and put his arm around Fronia and held her tighter than he might have had he not known Ruth already sent his performance report in. As he patted her on the back, he admitted he had to exercise every ounce of willpower to resist her temptation. Now that the ice was broken it seemed as if everyone was talking at once.

Now that Fronia’s great secret was public knowledge, the atmosphere warmed and cordial conversations soon evolved into intimate chats between couples. Even Ruth and Todd were engaged in rather complex topics that had nothing to do with jobs or anything or anyone but themselves.

At some point they noticed they were the only ones at the table and Ruth said with a wink, “you better take me to bed before you become my boss.”

Todd responded by taking her hand and leading her down the ancient corridor to the room Ellen assigned to him. Neither one was spring chickens nor virgins, still it was their first time together and both had to overcome certain inhibitions. Those facts only provided spice to the smorgasbord of erotic delights they shared before day break.

Side Affects

Ruth did not want to be the last one at the breakfast table and definitely did not wish to feed any rumor mill, so she set her cell phone alarm to wake her early. Once the alarm woke her, Ruth quickly and quietly slipped out of Todd’s room. It was a short jog down the corridor to her room, where she showered and dressed in a fresh white blouse and dark blue pants and matching blazer. After a quick check in the mirror, she hurried to the breakfast area, only to find she was the only one there.

At least the servant had the table set and the coffee was fresh and hot. Ruth grabbed a cup of coffee and sat pondering key events of the case. Thinking about the bazaar twist her life took and how she ended up where she ended up last night.

Ellen and Jason glided into the breakfast area and were surprised to see they were not the first. Ruth smiled and greeted them cordially as they poured coffee. Ruth mumbled something about all the excitement prevented her from sleeping. Jason winked at Ellen with an all-knowing nod. Ellen inquired about the where-a-bouts of the others; Ruth just shook her head to signal she had no idea.

Ruth found it hard not to laugh when Fronia led Ben in to join everyone at the table, but she did give Ben a glare of askance. All she got in return was a rather sheepish grin. Last, but not least Todd along with Carol and Marcus arrived, wrapped in hushed conversation. Their laughter and good nature soon infected everyone. As they all sat around the table partaking of the bountiful breakfast the events of the night before were topics carefully avoided.

Ruth finally took charge of the conversation when she asked Ben if he had heard anything back from the Lab.

“Well, all I have so far is confirmation that the samples arrived and a few preliminary tests indicate the drugs were all produced in one facility. It appears there is an inert trace element that is the same in all the samples. They will require at least one more day to analyze all the samples to see if there has been any morphing that might explain the deaths,” Ben reported in his most professional voice.

“Oh, dear God! I keep thinking what could have happened if you all had not been called away the other night. Maybe Ellen has some real connection with the Gods,” Fronia blurted.

Todd momentarily stopped gazing at Ruth long enough to inject that he had to get back to the camp early, because he was looking for some files on the intruders.

Ruth visibly jerked at this announcement and turned to Ben. ” You need to go to Athens today and check on the autopsies on the students. So, Todd, can you give me a lift?” Ruth asked.

Fronia excitedly asked, “Ben, can I ride with you. I would love to get out of this golden cage and do some shopping. We could meet at a nice café after you are finished at the Police HQ.” She did not notice the looks exchanged by everyone around the table.

Ruth looked in Ben’s direction and could see he was more than happy to accommodate Fronia. After last night it seemed that no one had any secrets any longer. In fact, Ruth now truly regretted slipping out of bed so early, but the thought of the coming night spread a Mona Lisa smile across her face.

“Well before you all run off in different directions can you indicate if you plan on being here tonight?” Ellen asked. Everyone raised their hand in the affirmative.

Marcus glanced at Carol and said he was going to check on Christina’s parents. He had not seen her at the camp and was wondering how she was doing. He told Todd he would check in with him after lunch and thanked Todd for offering to give Ruth a ride.

Ben and Fronia rushed out first and were well out of sight, before Todd and Ruth headed for the camp. Todd and Ruth started to talk at the same time, but Todd paused to let Ruth speak.

“Todd, I hope you did not get the wrong idea when you woke up and I was gone this morning. It is – OH I guess it is all my years of training. I was afraid of what everyone would think, or worse say about me and you,” Ruth confessed.

Todd burst out in a belly-busting laugh and almost lost control of the car. “You must not watch many James Bond Movies. Don’t you know ‘us spy guys always get the girls. By the way if you have not noticed you and I were the last to join the erotic games. To answer your question, I was a bit surprised to wake up to an empty bed, but I thought that it might be about keeping up the image,” Todd continued still laughing at the situation. With that major stumbling block removed they settled into a joyous, animated conversation that continued all the way to the camp.

As soon as Todd entered the security building the lead tech jumped up and handed him a thick file, explaining the file was a print out of the information regarding the four intruders. Ruth came closer and asked if she could help him go over the data. Todd nodded his agreement and led her to his office and pulled up a chair so she could join him at his desk.

They carefully scrutinized every page of the police report and the interrogations. Finally, Todd looked up and smiled at Ruth who was still diligently reviewing the reports. Impulsively Todd snatched the report from Ruth’s hand and proclaimed, “It’s time for coffee.”

Ruth eagerly followed Todd to a small break room furnished with a coffee machine, a small refrigerator and a table with two chairs. She was delighted to see it was one of the more elaborate machines that prepared a variety of specialty coffees. Ruth smiled to herself noting Todd liked his coffee the same way she did, big mug hot and black.

Todd sat next to her and she felt a wave of strange sensations sweep over her. Attempting to hide, Ruth sipped from the big cafeteria mug and coyly peered over the steaming brew at Todd. Deep in her subconscious a hurricane of thoughts raged. All the years of her striving to perfect her professional image were wasted. Now her prim and proper image was torn and tattered. With a deep sigh, Ruth put her mug down and looked Todd directly in the eye.

“Todd, I can’t even start to say how confused I feel this morning. Unlike what you might see on TV programs or movies, the FBI frowns upon any type of fraternization with anyone connected with an investigation. I assure you that last night had absolutely nothing to do with you offering me a job. Oh, and one more thing, I slipped out of your room early not because I was ashamed, because I did not want to cast any shadows on your respectability,” Ruth confessed.

“Ruth, you really have nothing to fret about. I’m a grown man and acknowledge the fact that humans have real emotions. Oh, and for the record – it takes two to tango. So, nothing happened that I was not a willing participant too. But I do think what happened will have a very serious impact on the job offer,” Todd replied.

At these words, Ruth sat like a stone stature from Marcus’ dig. She could only stare at the dark brew in her mug fighting to find words, “I understand. It is never good to mix work with pleasure. I’m sure with my background I will find a job. Maybe not as interesting as the one you offered, but at least where I can stay home and not gallivant all over the globe,” she sighed.

“Yes, I was really hoping you would take the job and after a few months of hard work you would have proven to be worthy of a promotion to full partner. But last night changed all that,” he paused for effect before he continued, “Yes Ruth last night I realized that – well that there is no need to wait. I want you as full partner – You do realize that requires some legal work, papers have to be submitted and then the ceremony has to be planned.”

“A Full equal partnership Ceremony? I can understand paperwork, but now you have me totally confused,” stammered Ruth looking like a deer caught in the headlights.

“Yes, wedding ceremonies take some time and lots of planning, or so I’m told,” Todd blurted out between spasms of laughter.

“OH MY GOD! Was that really a proposal?” Ruth gasped.

“Only if you accept. Should you reject it, it really never happened,” he whispered in her ear.

“YES – YES – YES! That must be the strangest proposal I have ever heard, as if I get a lot. This was as unexpected as what drove me to join you last night. I have to confess all day today in your office I was getting strange sensations. You know Todd, I’m starting to think Ellen knows what is causing all of this,” Ruth gushed as she accepted his proposal.

“I have been thinking along the same lines. Ellen always seems to know more than she lets on. So, there is no need to attempt to keep this secret. I do apologize for not having a suitable ring to make the proposal more visible. BUT NO REASON NOT TO ANNOUNCE IT TONIGHT,” Todd concurred.

Mystery

About the author

Bruce J. Spohn

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