Chapter 6.38


If I ever thought Dr. Day was a merciless asshole before, that was nothing compared to the force he wielded as a woman on a mission. Geeze. He wouldn’t listen to me. I didn’t want to be here. Like I’d told him before, the archway wouldn’t last. That’s why it was so mysterious and most people weren’t believed when they’d reported it. Plus, I was crazy lucky that I’d found it in the first place. But even if it was still there, that genie would just get mad and maybe do something even more horrible to us. But he was determined.

He spoke perfect Selvadoradan. Not gonna lie, it was amazing to watch him talk to the locals. I honestly thought he might have been flirting with one of the ladies. (So weird seeing that in my body.)

Had no freaking clue what he was saying. I thought he was supposed to get us some hotel rooms. But one of the guys started laughing at what Dr. Day had said.

And he took a bow for some reason.

The girl gestured for us to follow.

She ushered us to some weird old guy sitting inside a rickety house boat.

Dr. Day vehemently spoke like he was pleading his case.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Everything is full. There’s a lot of schools who’ve filled all the hotels in the area. But the woman I spoke with said this guy might have something.”

The old guy arched an eyebrow and said some words. Then eyed me up and down.

Dr. Day’s face didn’t make me feel comfortable.

Turned out there was only one tiny room with a single bed.

Dr. Day smirked. “Don’t worry, Charlene. You’re very safe sleeping with me.”

I shook my head. “I told you this is a waste of time. Let’s go back home.”

Glaring at me, he spat, “We’re finding that archway and we’re demanding the genie undo the curse. End of story, Charlene.”

I sighed. “Fine. But can we at least get something to eat? Your body is like a bottomless pit. I don’t get how you stay so skinny when it’s always hungry.”

“I work out. Something YOUR body desperately needs.”

I rolled my eyes. I certainly didn’t need a lecture. Especially from him. He had no idea what my life was like, but whatever. I decided not to argue. He was paying after all.

He chose a fancy place and got us a nice table.

“Ooo,” I crooned, looking at all the delicious dishes. “We should get a wine list, too. I need something to take the edge off.”

Not looking up, he said, “Just concentrate on the food. We need all our faculties when confronting that genie.”

“Aw, c’mon, doc, just one bottle. I hear Selvadoradan red wine is amazing. We might as well live a little.”

Eyes narrowing, he hissed, “Let me make myself very clear. We’re not here to have fun. We’re here because of your out of control stupidity that has placed me in your body. And as soon as we eat, we’re finding the archway.”

Okay, this surly attitude was getting old. Fast. “I don’t get how having a few glasses of wine would hurt.”

“Last time I checked, you don’t even have a nickle to your name, Charlene. That means I’m paying so what I say goes. Deal with it.”

I was like a pressure cooker about to blow. “Why do you have to be such an asshole?”

“Why do you have to be so irresponsible? It’s like you’re a little kid on a vacation. Your whole life is a mess. You have no money, you live in a pig stye, and if I hadn’t been such a stupidly nice person, you’d be flunking my class. So get this through your thick skull. We’re not friends. We aren’t on vacation. We’re cursed. And I’M the one who will get us uncursed. So for the rest of our time here, I’d appreciate it if you did what I said for once and shut the hell up!”

His words slapped me in the face. “Is that what you think of me?”


I normally was in total control. I’d perfected the art of having order in my life so I knew what to expect. After all that had happened to me and the people I loved, I didn’t like surprises. I didn’t like change. But Charlene jolted me. Made me unbalanced. And with this horrible experience we’d found ourselves in, I wasn’t acting like myself. I couldn’t believe I was the one out of control.

After I’d blurted some hurtful things, Charlene shuddered, tears welling up in her eyes.

Shaking my head, I said, “No…I…didn’t mean…”

She swallowed. “Yes, you did. Because it’s all true.”

Then she slid her chair back and ran away from me.

God. What was I doing?

I searched everywhere for her. She didn’t return to our room and no one had seen her. But then I figured she would be where I was going to look anyway.

At the place the archway used to be.

But she was right. The archway was gone. In its place was what looked like an antique couch.

“I’m sorry,” I said, feeling like a total jerk.

She sniffed, wiping her eyes.

“You were right, Charlene. I should have listened to you. Coming here was a huge waste of time.”

I motioned for her to sit down and I dropped next to her. “Look…I’ve been going over and over in my mind about what the genie had said to us. Maybe there’s a clue in there for us to figure out. I’m convinced that’s how we’ll get back to ourselves.”

“But…he didn’t really say anything, did he?” Charlene countered. “I mean, he just said he was going to curse us first.”

“Yes, but he also said it was up to us if we receive the blessing or not.”

Charlene gasped, “Do you think we’re going to be stuck like this forever? I mean, that’s not much to go on, Dr. Day.”

“I don’t know, but if we continue to fight, I bet that won’t help.”

Charlene breathed in and said, “Yeah. I guess you’re right. For what it’s worth, Dr. Day, I’m sorry you’re stuck with my life. I am a mess.”

Standing, she turned to leave. I grabbed her hand. “Hey, where are you going?”

“You’re right. Everything I do turns into the biggest dumpster fire. I’m just going to go to the room so I don’t ruin your life even more than I already have.”

Not knowing what to say, I sputtered, “H-Hey, that sounds like a good idea. Let’s get some sleep and then go home tomorrow. We can figure out what to do next once we rest.”

Charlene nodded.


We didn’t speak that night. She looked as if she was on the verge of tears, so defeated. And honestly, I didn’t know what to say to make her feel better.

When I hit the bed, I fell right to sleep.

And although awkward as sleeping partners, it really wasn’t very strange. I was next to my body. Even though it was a little weird, it was comforting, too.

But then I heard her sniffling.

Raising my head, I asked, “Charlene. Are you crying?”

“No,” she answered then rubbed her nose. “Just got a cold.”

“I know you’re crying. What’s wrong?”

She shrugged. “What isn’t wrong? Newsflash, Dr. Day. Even though I’m a mess, at least I was a mess in my own body. Don’t take this wrong, but I hate being a guy. I don’t want to be like this forever.”

I sighed, scooting to the edge of the bed. I wasn’t going to tell her how much I hated living like a girl, too, but this was a challenge. I normally liked challenges. Puzzles. Ginny gave me that love. I wondered what she’d do if this had happened to her.

I could almost hear her now telling me not to give up. The answer was out there. Somewhere. I just had to find it. “Don’t worry, Charlene. We’ll figure it out.”

“But what if we don’t?” she asked. “What will we do?”

I shook my head. That was a question I didn’t want to answer.

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Chapter 6.37


The jungle air seemed a bit drier as it wafted through the open window.

And what was with that awful dream I’d just had? Dr. Deathday must have been getting to me. That boring high school science dig he made us do yesterday slithered its way into my psyche like a bad ear worm.

I breathed deeply, relaxing all my tired muscles. Well, they didn’t feel as wiped as yesterday. In fact, I honestly felt the best I’d had in literal years.

Who knew nightmares could have that affect? I snuggled into the extremely comfortable bed, not wanting to get up. Dr. Day said we had to wake up bright and early since we were going on a trek today.

Rising, I blinked, looking at my room. This wasn’t the tiny Simdiana Sones room I’d slept in earlier. What gives?

My eyes drifted over the high dollar computer, the expensive art work, the exquisite terracotta tile and although I wasn’t a rocket scientist, I was smart enough to figure out something was defintiely wrong in Smenmark. Did I take Dr. Day’s room at the villa instead of mine somehow?

I was about to crawl out of bed when I heard a knock and a man’s deep voice. “Hey, Liam, I’m about to make coffee. Get your ass out of bed.”

My heart squeezed. Oh my GOD! I DID take Dr. Day’s room! And if I slept in his room, where the hell was he? We must have gotten drunk last night and somehow switched rooms. He was SOOOO gonna have my hide for this, blaming me because I probably suggested shots. The Selvadoradan booze must have been pure because I didn’t even have a hangover.

The villa had totally changed, too. It did have that jungle flair, but in a more Moroccan style.

I made my way to the kitchen when I spotted, no shit, Zack, Liam’s brother, making coffee! “Zack? Is that you?” I asked, so bewildered.

He chuckled. “Who else would it be, bro?”

“I…uh…didn’t know you came on the expedition. I didn’t see you yesterday.” What the heck was wrong with my voice? It sounded like a sexy man. I must have caught a cold as well. This was just not my day.

“Dude, you just got back from the expedition last night. Are you still dreaming or something? Don’t worry. I’ll have you fixed up in no time.” He filled the coffeemaker with some delicious smelling grounds.

I was so confused. Zack, Liam’s brother, was calling me “dude” and saying we came back from the expedition? A week early? We’d only stayed there for two days. “So…where is Dr. Day?” I asked. Honestly, I didn’t want to see him, but if he took me home then I DID get drunk. Like I must have gotten so drunk, I’d forgotten the whole week.

“Liam…maybe you should go back to bed. You’re not making sense.”

“Who are you calling Liam?”

When Zack gave me a puzzled look, I glanced down at myself and recognized the beautiful tan abs, the tall legs, the perfectly manicured hands.


In a panic, I bolted back to the bedroom.

Staring at myself in the mirror, my head exploded.

That asshole genie wasn’t a dream. He turned me into Dr. Day!


My neck pulsed in shockwaves of pain. I obviously had gotten a crick from the activities of last night.

And why did my villa bed feel so hard? It was like sleeping on cement. I decided to complain to the concierge. I paid extra for my room. The bed shouldn’t give customers back and neck aches.

Rising up, I tried to stretch. My God, what was wrong with my body? I hadn’t been this sore since high school. I had a workout regimen that never faltered, whipping my body into the best shape so I didn’t get sore muscles. But maybe I’d overworked the kids yesterday and I used muscles I hadn’t in years?

Then I noticed this wasn’t my villa bed. “What the hell?”

The events of the night before flashed in my head. Charlene stealing the cart. The archway. The temple. The genie. The pain. “No fucking way.”

My heart pounded in my chest as I looked at my unmanicured toes and white legs. “No…no no no NOOOOOO!” That wasn’t a genie. It was a figment of my very creative but very despicable imagination.

Getting to my feet, I waded in debris that was flung from one end of the tiny room to the other. “Where the hell am I?” I whispered. The stench of old sour milk filled my nostrils. It came from a glass on the desk that looked like a science experiment gone bad. Disgusting.

And then I caught a glimpse of myself in the Henry Puffer mirror on the wall. I gasped.

That fucking genie had turned me into Charlene!


It didn’t take long for me to discover I was back in Oasis Springs. And on the wrong side of the tracks.

I caught a suber over to my house. Charlene had no money in her purse, of course, but thankfully, I knew my credit card number.

Blasting through the door, I yelled at my brother, “Where is she?”

“Hey, Charlie. Don’t mind you barging in here. You’re always welcome. Where’s who? You mean Myla? She’s coming over in a few hours if you want to stick around.”

Oh God. This was going to take some time to get used to. I was in Charlene’s body. Backpedaling, I said, “Sorry, I mean…where’s L-Liam?”

A smirk flashed over my brother’s face. “OoooHHHoohh…you want Liam. It’s not Dr. Day anymore then. Heh. What actually happened in the jungle? Hmmm? I’ve been dreaming about this day for years.”

I arched an eyebrow and glared. “Um no. I can assure you that will NEVER happen between us. Not even if she…I mean he…was the last person on earth. Now…where is he?”

My brother pointed to my room. Of course. Charlene probably hadn’t gotten out of bed yet. It was almost ten in the morning. Rolling my eyes, I burst through the door. I wanted to wring her neck for this. How could she be so stupid to meddle with ancient artifacts?

I stomped in front of her and glared.

She winced and said, “H-Hey…Dr. Day. Before you yell at me, can I just say…I’m sorry?”

Seething, I said, “Apology not accepted.”


Oh God. How can Dr. Deathday give me his death glare while in my body? It was the creepiest scariest thing I’d ever witnessed. I was so dead. Like in the morgue with a toe tag dead. And yeah like I obviously got the blessing here. Poor Dr. Day inherited MY life. He sooooo wasn’t going to be happy when he took a look at my bank account. “So…like…I’m sure it’ll wear off. We won’t stay like this forever…will we?”

“For your sake, you better pray it wears off, but I’m not going to stand around waiting like a moron.”

I didn’t like the sound of that. “What do you think we should do? Like I doubt that genie will give us a do over. You heard him. He didn’t like how you went about asking for a blessing.”

His hands clenched. “So are you saying this is MY fault?”

How can he exert such dominance in my body? If I wasn’t so scared for my life I’d have marveled at little old ME looking so powerful. “Umm…well, I wouldn’t quite put it that way, Dr. Day. I think we kind of are in this…t-together, actually?”

He let out air then said in a low scary voice, “Let me make this clear. This is your fault, Miss Darby. YOURS. YOU decided to leave my protection. YOU decided to run off and into that unknown archway. And YOU decided to ask for a blessing from that maniacle genie. YOUR. FAULT!”

I raised my hands, trying to quell his anger at me. “Okay, okay, Dr. Day. It’s my fault. I admit it. And I’m repenting as best I can. But I don’t know what we can do about it.”

“Get dressed,” he hissed. “We’re leaving for Selvadorada today.”


Did I say Charlene Darby was the most stubborn, headstrong woman I’d ever encountered? Now she was refusing to go back to Selvadorada. Said she wouldn’t step foot on that soil again. “Oh yes you are coming!” I grabbed her hand, trying to pull her to the closet to get dressed. Why did my body have to be so strong? Maybe I shouldn’t have been so meticulous with my workout schedule.


There was something up between my brother and Charlie. On the one hand, I was balls to the wall happy. It looked as if my bro had gotten laid over the past week. That it was Charlie Darby was such a coup, too. I mean, think of the double dates we could have. Unfortunately, Charlie was yelling at my poor brother in the privacy of his room. Being whipped was one thing I never thought would happen to my brother. And yeah, he hadn’t gotten any sex in years, but I didn’t think he’d allow someone to treat him badly in order to get it.

But then I witnessed something I never thought I’d see. Charlie was definitely a hulk of a she-woman. Thoughts of what their sex life must have been like in the jungle blew me away. “Whoa…what are you doing with my brother, Charlie? Don’t hurt yourself! He’s a heavy man.”

Reed looked surprised as well. “Please put him down, Miss. I don’t want him hurt. He might break!”

“You heard him, Dr. Day,” Liam said. “Put me down!”

“I told you you were going whether you liked it or not.”

Now this was going too far. “Geeze, Liam, if you’re going to do role playing, for God’s sake, do it behind closed doors. That’s just…creepy.”

“Out of my way, Zack,” Charlie yelled. “And open the door!”

I shrugged and obeyed her. If these two did work out, they were definitely going to have a creative sex life. Who was I to judge?

Chapter 6.36


Finally, Charlene careened to a stop in the middle of the jungle. I hopped off the cart, chasing her. We were near an old dock and I could hear the Samazon river rushing ahead.

“Stop this instance!” I shouted. Why was she running from me? This was insane!

“You stop being a pigheaded jerk!” she called behind her. “The archway is close by!”

And when she slowed down, my mouth dropped open. “My God,” was all I could sputter.

“Isn’t it amazing?” she said, dreamily.

Before I could catch my breath, she darted toward the glowing, shimmering archway.

“NO!” I yelled. “We don’t know what it’ll do!” But she wouldn’t listen.

Leaping into a quivering energy shield, her body disappeared.

“Shit!” I hollered.

And before I could stop myself, I followed her.

It was like I’d walked off the edge of a cliff, falling down with my stomach tickling, wind whipping around my body. Then suddenly the ground stopped and the sky was instantly bright. It was as if we’d traveled to the other side of the world.

And just as the legend had told, an ancient temple rose three stories ahead of us. “Don’t even think we’re going in there,” I warned. Temples were notorious for their traps. It should be excavated by a team of archaeologists with a precautionary, well thought out plan. “We’ll go back and reveal its location. That should be enough for you, Charlene.”

I searched for the archway we’d entered, but it wasn’t anywhere near here. How the hell were we ever going to get back to our villa?

She said in a huffy voice, “Well, you can stay here all you like, Dr. Day, but I’m an explorer. So yeah. Buh bye!”

Shaking my head, I followed because I couldn’t allow her to explore alone. Who knew what might happen to her? Charlene Darby was the most infuriating, headstrong woman I’d ever met.

The architecture was definitely 15th century, Selvadoradan citadel structure. Pretty basic, so maybe we were in the area. But why did the sun rise so quickly? “Hmm…” I said, scratching my chin, “we should be okay since I think we’re still in Selvadorada. Maybe we can explore a few rooms and take back an item to show.”

She shook her head. “No way. I want to see if there really is a genie living here. According to, people swear on their lives they’ve seen him. And he always gives a blessing, which, not gonna lie, I need.”

“Charlene, do you hear yourself? You get your information from How can I take you seriously as an archaeologist? Maybe you should go into palm reading instead.”

“You’re funny, Dr. Day.” She put her hand into the entrance and I heard a zap. “OUCH!” she cried.

God, she wasn’t going to listen so I had to at least get her under control. “Will you stop for a second? I’ll help you explore, but you must promise to listen to me, otherwise, you’re not going to get anywhere, understand?”

Rubbing the burn on her hand, she winced and nodded.

I sighed and marched into the adjacent room. “Okay, then. These ancient people loved to use religious puzzles. Just stand there and observe. This will be a good experience for you. That is, unless we get ourselves killed.” I flashed her a harsh glare then went straight away with my usual procedures.


Oh God. I actually FOUND the freaking archway! But why did Dr. Deathday have to look at me like I was the stupidest person on the planet?

Probably because I was the stupidest person on the planet. We were stuck. In who knew where and who knew when. didn’t say how the hell we were supposed to get back to where we started. There wasn’t an archway on this side and so we were freaking lost.

But then we had this amazing temple to explore. Problem was, it was full of puzzles and electrified shields. I hurt my hand thinking we could just pop through one like the archway. What a mistake.

Not gonna lie, even though Dr. Day was mad at me and a douchebag jerk, he was so nice to look at while he was scribbling down patterns and figuring out what to do.

I wanted to help, but everything I touched turned into a dumpster fire. Maybe I wasn’t cut out for this. I just always dove in without looking for piranha first.

“That’s it,” he said, surveying one of the bowls. “Now according to these hieroglyphics, if I take some of this sand and place it in this ceremonial basin, it should release the shield.”

My heart froze as I watched sand spill from his hand into the golden bowl. Was he right? Would this be our ticket out of here?

A cold wind whipped around us as a red fire whooshed from the pot. “Damn,” he hissed.

We were never going to get out of here! And it was all my fault.

Not looking at me, he stormed ahead to the other open room. I helplessly followed like the idiot I was.

“Just as I thought,” he said, voice echoing off the ancient stone. “We have another chance. The other room gave clues to which oblelisk in this room to choose. Now all I have to do is move the blocks into the correct pattern and it should work.”

Going straight to work, he adjusted the large blocks then pulled the jewel encrusted lever. It let out a groan and a rusty squeal.

And nothing happened. “I thought for sure…” Dr. Day said, looking above him.

Then all at once, I heard a maniacle laugh as fire shot out of the obelisk, engulfing Dr. Day! “Oh my God, are you okay?” I shouted.

Covered in soot, Dr. Day said, “No, Miss Darby, I am not fine. We are still here in this godforsaken temple and I’m all out of ideas. And if we never get out of here, I’ll tell you this. Do not ever speak to me again. Understand?”

He stalked away, muttering to himself.

But I wasn’t ready to give up. Maybe he didn’t have the pattern right. I matched together the different arrows and leaves, then turned the cubes until I felt things looked correct. Cranking back the squeaky lever, I said a dozen different prayers, hoping this would work.

But that laugh happened again and I got engulfed in a weird fire, too. It didn’t hurt, but left a stinky stench all over like a huge skunk decided he’d like to dunk us in spray for funsies.

“Are you okay, Charlene?” Dr. Day asked.

I was about to answer when I heard a loud clank.

We both looked at each other then bolted to the shielded doorway. It was opened!

Running into the room, my stomach did a flip flop! There at the back was a strange looking man sitting crosslegged.

It had to be the genie!


“Dr. Day!” Charlene shouted. “That’s him! The genie! Tell him who we are and ask for a blessing!”

I’d had about enough of Charlene Darby’s nonsense for one day. I didn’t believe in hocus pocus, curses, blessings, vampires, witches, mermaids, and I especially didn’t believe in genies. As an archeologist, I saw first hand so many different cultures and beliefs and all were made up in the peoples’ minds. “Miss Darby, for God’s sake, let me handle this.”

Seeing the man gave me hope he could give us directions to our villa. Or maybe he knew someone who could give us a lift back.

“I’m sorry to bother you, sir, but I wonder if you could help us.”

He stood up so quickly, I didn’t see him actually do it. But there he was standing eye to eye with me. “You dare wake the great Simllama without an invitation?”

Simllama? I’d heard that name but from where? “Listen, I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to disturb you. It’s just that my…f-friend and I are lost and we need some help getting back to our villa. If you wouldn’t mind…”

He cut me off, glaring. “You ask for a blessing? This is a very strange way to do such a thing. It is like you are a child, stumbling around in a pit of vipers, without knowledge of the steps to save you. No. You are not worthy. Be gone from me.”

“Look…I can pay you if only you could at least tell us where the nearest home is or even a trail back to the village, we’d be very happy to…”

Just then, Charlene nudged her body between us and blurted, “He isn’t worthy, Great Simllama, but I am. I know who you are. All we ask is to gain a blessing from your imminence. One that will make us both happy beyond measure. And we leave the how and when to you, oh Grand One.”

A smile swirled on the edge of his mouth. Was he really going to go along with this nonsense? The guy was so strange. But if it helped us get out of here, I wasn’t going to interfere.

The man seemed to drift back from us as he lifted his hand. “Very well, insignificant ones.

“You ask for a blessing and I’ll give you that. But first, you must endure a curse and my wrath for coming here without knowledge. And if you survive, I promise, you will gain happiness. Now, it starts with…pain.”

A burning sensation ripped through my flesh and pierced the pit of my gut. “Oof,” I gasped.

“What have I done?” Charlene whispered.

Every fiber in me screamed at me to flee. “Let’s get out of here, Charlene.” But my legs wouldn’t move.

“No, you city rats, you will not leave. Not before I give you this curse. It will be up to you whether you will receive the blessing. Now, my lovely snake, Asp, will spit on you and your fate will be sealed.”

A roaring fire seared through me and I cried out. What was happening to me? I could only hear a roar in my ears as I pulled away from my body.

The man chanted unintelligible words all the while that searing pain subsided. But now, everything floated below me. It was as if my body was hovering like a helicopter above him. Now I knew I must have been dreaming. I’d wake up. I just had to hold on.

And then the burning agony started back again. First in my mouth and then along my body.

I wanted to kill that guy. Moving toward him, I slowly inched my feet, but he jerked his hand, freezing me in the spot.

And then darkness swallowed me.

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Chapter 6.35


We finally arrived at the temple and Dr. Day gave us an excavation briefing.

“Isn’t this amazing?” Susan asked me, grinning.

And yeah, the surroundings were beautiful but it wasn’t like this was a real temple. It was a tourist trap like Simsneyland. I mean, come ON! We were going to be archaeologists. How come we couldn’t dig in a real temple?

I had to admit I liked seeing this side of Dr. Day. He was so happy–almost beaming. It made him even more handsome to me. You could really tell he was at home here in the jungle.

But I just wasn’t enthused. I didn’t want to play archeaologist. I wanted to DISCOVER!

“Okay, everyone. There’s two dig spots and some discovery tables. Once you find an object, use the techniques we’ve gone over to figure out when your object was created and from what culture it is. You will be graded on this, so do your best.”

All my classmates went straight to work. I just couldn’t force myself to dig in something that had been prepared in advanced. It was like we were cheating.

“Come on, Charlie,” Susan said, rifling through the dirt. “Start digging! This is for our grade, you know.”

I sighed. God, this was sooooo annoying. Now I knew how it felt to die of boredom. It was a real thing.

“Hey, look. There’s a Charlie spot right next to me. Come on!” Susan patted the ground near her.

I shook my head and instead, decided to plead my case to Dr. Deathday. “Honestly, Dr. Day, do you see what a real lame waste of time this is? We could be discovering the secret passage of the Spiritual Transformation archway, but no. You have us digging in the dirt like a bunch of kids on a science field trip.”

Never glancing up, he said, “First of all, that passage doesn’t exist. It’s been proven. And secondly, you’ve got to walk before you can run, Miss Darby. Learn the techniques first THEN use them in a field situation.”

Ugh. He wouldn’t listen. I guessed I was doomed to do menial tasks instead of real exploration.

Dr. Day’s warning came true. We worked our asses off all day and into the night. My back ached but he said we couldn’t stop until all the artifacts were found. It was a monotonous cycle of digging, finding an item, then taking it to the table.

Eli picked out the most interesting artifact–a wooden llama sun god. Dang it. I wanted to find something cool like that. All I got were a few totem dolls and a coin.

Stretching my legs, I spied a weird glow off in the distance. My heart skipped as a twinge rippled through me. “What is that?” I whispered.

The twinkle grew bigger and bigger, hovering over the jungle. Could this be the celestial sign of enlightenment that was talking about? It happened once in fifty years but if you were lucky enough to see it, the glow would lead you directly to the archway.

I had no time to lose. Bolting to the outside, my heart beat so hard, it hurt.

But as I ran ahead, the glow seemed to sprint away from me. Damn!

And then it petered out the more I chased it. But I wasn’t going to give up. It’d showed itself! That part I knew was real. And I observed about where it had been or at least the area to search.

Meandering through the forest, the jungle took on a creepy dark tone which made the hair on my arms tighten. But I wouldn’t be disuaded by fear. Sure there were deadly things living in the dark at night. I just needed to focus on my quest.

And then I gasped as my heart lurched into my throat.

“It IS real,” I whispered.


“Okay, folks, it’s time to go back to our villa for the night.” I searched around, counting heads. I noticed one student missing. “Has anyone seen Charlene?”

Zane waved his arms. “The only thing I’ve been seeing are these freaking mosquitos!”

Walking over to her best friend, I asked, “Susan, have you seen Charlene?”

Wincing, she said, “Um…er…I thought she had to go to the bathroom really bad because I saw her run to the front but she hasn’t come back. Maybe she had to take a dump?”

I crossed my arms. She’d been blabbing about that fabled archway all day. I couldn’t understand how a smart, science minded girl like her could believe in fairytales like the Spiritual Transformation archway. It purportedly transported you to an ancient temple full of artifacts. But where was the evidence? Blurry pictures that looked faked were the only supposed “facts” the lunatics who talked about it could produce. The morons even purported there was a genie living in the depths. I mean, really? That was kid’s stuff like in the story of Simladdin. And now she’s probably gotten herself lost in the dark jungle. There were poisonous snakes and alligators out there. “Damn it,” I cursed. “I’ll go find her.”

My students insisted on accompanying me. I didn’t mind. It was best we stayed together.

Just as we were about to leave, I spied Charlene blasting toward us.

I stopped her, throwing my hands on my hips, I was so angry. “Where the hell have you been? Do you realize it’s dangerous in the jungle at night?”

Breathing hard, she said, “You’ve got to come with me, Dr. Day. I found it. The archway! It’s real!”

I folded my arms. This was unbelievable. “The archway is not real. And I’d appreciate it if you would follow the rules, Miss Darby. I’m responsible for your well being and until we leave at the end of the week, you will ask me if you can go somewhere. Understand?”

She lifted her hands. “Okay, I get it, Dr. Day. I screwed up but I saw a huge light and then I had to discover it for myself. Honest to God, I’m not joking. Come with me! It’s amazing!”

I pointed. “The only place you’re going is to the villa. Now march. And I better not hear anything more about this ridiculous archway or I’m going to send you home and you will fail my class. Is that understood?”

Her nostrils flared. “Oh my God, you’re impossible! Fine. Fail me! See if I care! But I’m going through the archway with or without you, asshole!”

Before I could stop her, she bolted toward one of our jungle carts. I chased after her, hoping I could beat her to it.

But she was too quick.

“Be careful, Dr. Day!” I heard one of my students shouting after me.

In a moment of insanity, I flung my body onto the cart, hoping to stop her, but she floored it. “Stop, Charlene!” I cried. “This is dangerous!”

“Go to hell!” she yelled back.

And so I was stuck on the top of that cart, clinging for my life and hoping she wouldn’t crash.

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Chapter 6.34


Dr. Day was going over all the stuff everyone needed to take for the expedition. And with each word, I felt stupid and totally left out.

“God, I’m so angry with him, Charlie,” Susan whispered. “He can’t ban you from the expedition. You’ve got the highest grade in the frikin class.”

I sighed. “It’s my own fault, Suz. Don’t blame him.”

“Well, I do blame him. He’s going to get the cold shoulder by me all week. I don’t want to be in the jungles without you.”

“At least you’ve got your boyfriend to hang out with,” I said with a shrug. Susan hooked up with one of our classmates, Thomas Winkerstein, a few weeks ago. I had to admit, they were the cutest together. So, really, she was just being nice. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be working on some research papers and besides, who wants to end up with spider bites and mosquito welts? Not me.”

“Maybe I’ll talk to him. Beg him or something.”

“That won’t work,” I said, shaking my head.

“Why not?”

“Because he’s an asshole, Susan, and I don’t want him to take it out on you!”

“Asshole, huh?” Dr. Day was standing right behind me!

I winced. Oh God, why do you hate me?

So here I sat yet again staring at the coldest stare on the planet. Dr. Deathday should patent it for the army. It’d be their secret weapon!

“I uh…can explain. I…wasn’t…er…” but my tongue got all tangled up in my mouth. I hated lying.

He raised his eyebrows. I could see a slight smile rise on the corner of his mouth. He ENJOYED making me squirm, the jerk!

“Okay, okay,” I confessed, “I admit it. I called you an asshole. But can you blame me? You’re leaving me out of the expedition, something I’ve been looking forward to practically my whole life! And I’ve worked my tail off trying to do my best in this class but that’s not good enough for you! So I’ll sit home while you’re gallavanting across the globe, finding cool stuff and having the time of your archaeological life.”

“Are you finished with your tirade because I don’t want any emotional baggage or hard feelings against me once you reach Selvadorada.”

I blinked. “What the hell are you talking about?”

With a cocky grin, he answered, “Pack your bags, Miss Darby. You’ve got a long plane ride in your future.”

All of the angst I had been feeling earlier melted away. “Really? Oh my GOD! Thank you, Dr. Day!”

And for the first time in the history of me taking his class, I saw Dr. Day SMILE!



Something happened to me right after I’d had that strange dream about Ginny. It was like a huge weight lifted off me. I was free. Free from the burden of my hurt and anger against the world for all the awful things that had gone wrong in my life. Dream Ginny was right. I had to let go. If I didn’t, I’d be miserable forever.

And the first thing I did was allow Charlene to go on the expedition. It was true. I was being an ass. So she messed up from time to time. She was the brightest student in my class. Charlene deserved to be there.

Once we arrived at our villa, I breathed in the muggy jungle air. I loved Selvadorada. I’d done my first real excavation there. And it brought back great memories of my own research.

“Hey, this is a cool place, Dr. D!” Reynold said.

It definitely was. I’d booked this place last year since it got so many great reviews on SipAdvisor.

Breathing in the sweet scent of plumeria drifting through the humid air, I led my students to the door. This was going to be an awesome trip. Probably the best one I’d done for my students to date. I could feel it in my gut.


Selvadorada was even more beautiful than I could ever have imagined. Huge palms, tons of flowers, and green as far as the eye could see. I felt like I’d died and gone to heaven.

Susan was flirting with her boyfriend beside me. Looked like I was going to ride solo on my quest for the secret passage of the Spiritual Transformation archway. But no matter. I wasn’t sure if Susan believed in it or not.

All the rooms had names and mine happened to be Simdiana Sones! What a sign!

Was God trying to tell me that I was definitely going to discover that archway? According to, it was usually observed around this time of the year, during a full moon and around dusk.

I was determined to find it, take pictures, and prove its existence once and for all! It wasn’t going to go the way of Simsquatch or the Sloch Sness Monster.

Dr. Day wanted to show us our campsite today. We were just going to hike around, getting to know the area. Then travel up to a temple where we’d get to use our digging techniques.

Putting on my fedora, tingles crept along my arms.

I soooo looked the part, didn’t I?

“Selvadoradan legends can’t outwit me,” I declared to the mirror. “I’m coming for ya!”

By lunchtime, we arrived at the camp. And even though we’d walked miles, I felt so fresh like I could walk ten more!

“Okay, guys,” Dr. Day said, “let’s make a fire and eat. Then I’ll go over some of our digging techniques to refresh your memories. We’ll be excavating all afternoon and into the night, so you need to eat as much as you can now because we’ll only be snacking later.”

Snacking? Who needed food when the surroundings were a feast for the eyes?

“Want me to cook you a veggie dog, babe?” Thomas asked Susan. Aww…he was so sweet!

“Now make sure you cover yourself in insect repellant. The mosquitos are vicious here.”

“Thanks for telling us that now, Dr. D,” Eli said. “My ass is covered in red welts.”

“Oh my God! Did you see that? Was that a SNAKE?” Flynn might look like a cool cat on the outside, but he was really just a timid Mama’s boy. I had no idea how he was going to make it this week.

“Yes, there are snakes here,” Dr. Day said, nodding. “And bats. But if we stick together, these wild animals won’t hurt you. Believe me, they’re more scared of you than you are of them. A good rule of thumb is ‘don’t touch’.”

“Don’t worry, Dr. D,” Reynold said. “The only thing I’m going to touch is my sandwich. I’m starving!”

After we ate, my classmates built a roaring fire, using survival techniques.

But I didn’t want to join in. I had some investigating to do.

And I couldn’t do that just by standing around.

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Chapter 6.33


I was meeting up with my best friend, Reed Savage. We were photography majors together and became fast friends our sophomore year. My life goal was to get into the modeling industry. With my family’s connections, I figured it wouldn’t be hard. At least I’d be on the right side of the camera. No fame for me. Dad had enough all on his own and both Liam and I dodged the spotlight no matter how much the press wanted to drag us in.

Reed was a beautiful man and made the best model when I needed someone in a pinch.

“Let’s get this over with,” Reed said with a salty tone.

What was with the mood? I’d ask him later. Right now, I had a project to turn in, so I snapped tons of pictures while Reed did what Reed does best.

And that’s making love to the camera.

“Can you give me ‘The Classic’? I always get A’s when you do it.”

Reed relaxed and looked all pouty.

I shot him a thumbs up. “That’s it! Did I tell you that I love you today?”

“No, darling, but I’ll take whatever sweet nothings you can give me.” We always bantered like that. He was totally gay and I was totally not but from the outside, people probably would think we were a couple.

“Scroll to the right. That’s it,” Reed said looking through the pics I took. “I think that’s the one.” He had an eye for just the right shot to use. I was damn lucky to have him help me out.

“Thanks, dude. I owe you one,” I said.

He retorted, “I’ll make you pay…in bed, darling. Can I stay over tonight?”

I shot him a look. “Only if you want to get racked. That spot is reserved for Myla.”

“Testy,” he tutted. “But seriously, Zack. I need a place to stay. If not tonight at least by tomorrow?”

Ah…the reason for the salt. As the sun set, we walked over to one of the park couches. He relayed to me his latest tussle with his on again off again boyfriend, Jonas Hoffman. Seems they got into a fight about Reed being late to a movie date and Jonas went all diva on him. So instead of cooling off and making up, Jonas found another dude and went with him. Reed found them making out in their apartment later that evening. “What a douche,” I said. “I told you to leave his ass weeks ago.”

“You’re always right. I should have but…he has a super power over me. I’m pathetic. I should be able to find an apartment this week. Just need to use one of your many rooms, if your brother doesn’t mind.”

God. My brother. He didn’t like Reed. Not because he was gay but Reed could get on your nerves. He was loud and sometimes obnoxious and he’d needle Liam on purpose always flirting and saying inappropriate shit just to get a rise out of him. “I don’t know, dude. I can’t speak for my brother.”

“I’ll be on my best behavior. I promise!”

“Still…how about you come over tomorrow morning. It’s Saturday and Liam will probably be in a good mood since he doesn’t have to deal with work. That’s your best bet.”

“I’ll be there with bells on,” Reed sang.

I smirked. “Forget the bells, dude. The less flash the better.”


Liam August Day was the most beautiful specimen I’d ever beheld. I’d had a crush on him since I first met him two years ago. But the poor boy was decidedly straight. Why were most of the men in the world wasted on women? It was criminal.

“Hello, Reed,” Liam greeted me. Oh what luck! He was happy. Or so it seemed. That smile! I could live on that alone for days!

He held out his hand and I took it, trying to quell the urge to kiss it. The guy had the most beautiful fingers. So well kept and manicured. Just like everything about him.

“Zack should be out in a minute,” he added. “I made some lunch. Do you like vegan Monte Cristo? It’s hot and there’s plenty.”

No. You’re hot, sweetheart, I wanted to say. But I had to play it cool or Liam would get mad at me.

Swinging my head back, I said, “I adore vegan sandwiches. You do spoil me, Liam. I think I’ll want to live here forever!”

“So he said yes?” Zack entered the kitchen. Goodness. Cat out of the bag and I hadn’t had the chance to ask him yet.

“What are you talking about, Zack?” Liam asked. “Yes to what?”

Zack answered, “Reed needs a place to stay. Just for the week. No longer.”

“Do say yes, Liam,” I cooed, flashing my pretty-please-with-whipped-cream-on-top eyes. “I promise to be on my best behavior. No tushie touches. No kisses in the night. And you won’t find me in your bed suddenly. Cross my heart!”

“I don’t know…” he cast his eyes downward.

“Please, Liam, I’ll be serious now. I have nowhere to go. Jonas is being a royal ass and he won’t leave.”

He flung his head up with a grin. “Of course you can stay, Reed. You really didn’t have to ask.”

What got into his oreos? Whatever it was, I’d take it! Liam rarely smiled and I knew he didn’t really like me but…maybe things had changed?

“Well…t-thank you,” I sputtered. “That’s so nice of you. Maybe just one kiss then as a downpayment?”

Ignoring my joke, Liam said, “Take the room upstairs on the left. It has the best view. And you can stay as long as you like. I’m going to be leaving for Selvadorada next week, so Zack will probably need the company.”

He patted my shoulder then strode away. Whistling!

Zack arched an eyebrow. “My God. If I hadn’t seen it I wouldn’t have believed it. Maybe your charms are working on him after all?”

I blushed. “They all melt in front of this pretty face eventually, Zacky boy. You might as well, too, then we can make it a threesome!”

“Keep dreaming, bud, keep dreaming.”

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Chapter 6.32


I was getting some research done on the new object one of my collegues discovered when Zack knocked on my office door at home. He walked up next to me and said, “Why are you being a royal dickhead to Charlie?”

Charlie? Oh, he meant Charlene. “Come on, Zack. You know I’m not supposed to talk about my students. That’s between me and her. And anyway, it’s not your problem.”

“It becomes my problem when I can’t see my girlfriend because she’s consoling her best friend since an evil professor took away her privileges to go on some expedition. An expedition that was going to help her find an old magical relic.”

“Oh please! That expedition is just for entry level students. We’re not going to find anything of significance. It’s just some old bones we placed in the sand and they use the dig techniques to find them. It’s really no big deal.”

“If it’s no big deal then let her go. I think you’ve been too hard on Charlie this whole semester. What gives? Do you like her or something?”

“Like her? Oh God, now you’re sounding like Mother. No. I don’t like her. She’s a student. A kid.” A strong pain pierced my temples. Charlene Darby was getting on my last nerve at this point. Who did she think she was talking to Myla and trying to needle me into letting her go through my brother?

He crossed his arms. “You need to figure it out. Letting her go on the expedition would make my life easier, Liam. The poor girl is beside herself crying and feeling like a total loser. And she wouldn’t belike this if you didn’t make her feel so badly about herself. This shit isn’t right.”

I shook my head. “Whatever, Zack. You don’t know what went down and how irresponsible she is. She’s a spoiled child. No. She’s not going. You can tell your girlfriend that you coming in here to pressure me didn’t work. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to bed.”

I strode out the door to my room.

Fuming, I pulled my sheets back, worrying I wouldn’t be able to sleep. Today had been a nightmare already. I just wanted to fast forward to the next day and put it behind me.

It was times like these when I missed Ginny the most. I was so fucking lonely, it stabbed through me. Was I being too hard on Charlene? Why did I care how she acted so much?

I drifted off and suddenly found myself under water, gaping at a mermaid.

“Hello, babe.” The mermaid smiled at me.

It was Ginny!

Somehow I was flailing in the middle of the ocean and I could breathe. It was such a strange feeling. And exhilarating.

“I’ve got a bone to pick with you,” Ginny said. It was as if we were really in the air except the water felt cool and wet on my skin.

“Ginny!” was all I could get out. I wanted to hold her so badly.

Sweeping my arms around her, I tucked my face in her hair and neck, wanting to never let go.

“Ginny, honey, I’ve missed you so much.”

From there, we were catapulted onto a dock somehow. In the back of my mind, I knew this was a dream but it felt so real and so right, I never wanted to wake up.

Stroking Ginny’s hand, I said, “I’m so glad you’re here. Where have you been?”

“Liam, I need to say good bye. I can’t be with you anymore. Not ever. You have to let me go.”

Bewildered, sadness flooded me, then Ginny grasped my head, pulling me closer to her. She kissed me with such tenderness, I wanted to bring her home and make love to her.

Then she pulled back just as suddenly. “You’re being too hard on that girl, you know. Liam, I want you to be happy. Bring her on the expedition.”

So confused, my dream self wasn’t even a professor so I didn’t understand who she was talking about. “What, Ginny? You’re not making sense.”

But she didn’t say anything. Flopping into the water, creating a huge splash, I watched helplessly as she swam away from me.

Instantly, I woke with a start. “No, Ginny! Come back!” I whispered.

And right then, I realized it was all a dream. But inside I felt the conflict. And the message. I needed to move on. Ginny was never coming back. And maybe dream Ginny was right. Maybe I should give Charlene one more chance.

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Chapter 6.31


Okay, study food was all set. Brownies? Check.

Popcorn? Popped.

Gotta amp up the study molecules swirling in my brain. The delicious chocolatey goodness of the brownies melted in my mouth. Mmm…I needed sustinence. I had an all nighter in my future. Dr. Day’s dreaded midterm was upon me, and I was DETERMINED to make not only an A but I wanted to blow it out of the ancient black sea.

I went over different things I’d found online about the subjects we’d studied all semester. I wanted to pull out some things maybe even Dr. Day didn’t know about. I was sure I could wow him on the essay part of the test.

Next was memorizing the text. I mean, I had a photographic memory and knew this stuff backwards and forwards, but it didn’t hurt to go over everything again. I was leaving NOTHING to chance.

I really got into the Selvadoradan part of the book. My mind whirred to what it was going to be like on our expedition. I already had my research part basically done. The only thing left for me to do was find the stinking archway. I knew it had to be buried deep in the jungle. Unfortunately, it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

But I hoped differently. I came upon a study on the thermodynamics of the area and the ancient temples all had paths that led to each find. The temperatures of the soils were usually ten degrees hotter than the rest. They surmised there must have been an old hot springs underground and the ancients believed this to be a sign of great religious significance and built their structures accordingly. All I had to do was test the grounds or find a new hot springs in the area and voila!

Of course the mainstream archaeologists didn’t believe in the archway’s existence at all. They thought it was an ancient fairytale. Sort of like mermaids or witches.

As the hours ticked on, my eyes drooped until I decided just to take a little nap. Resting couldn’t hurt. I’d be back at it in no time.

Honestly, it was like five minutes passed when a bright light woke me up.

Drowsily, I moved my head, wondering how the middle of the night could be so light!

And then I realized what had happened. I’d fallen asleep ALL NIGHT!

Scrambling, I noticed the clock on the wall said 9:00 am. My class was at 8! Dang! If I hurried, I’d make it with just enough time to spare–hopefully, twenty minutes at least. But I had to get my ass in gear.


I couldn’t believe it. This was the most important test I was going to give all semester. The only thing left was the expedition and their following research report. No final.

What the fuck was she doing?

“Is it okay to start now, Dr. Day?” Zane Smith asked.

That brought me back to the class. “Yes,” I said curtly. “You may proceed.”

Charlene’s friend, Susan Sabatini looked worried.

I shook my head. And Charlene had written the most brilliant report I’d ever gotten from any student on The Temple of Queen Twosweat. The girl was a genius. So gifted. But if she wasn’t going to take the midterm, what could I do? She would fail and get kicked out.

Time ticked by as the students furiously scribbled their answers.

I kept watching the door, hoping Charlene would rush in, red faced, with tons of excuses on her lips. I would give her whatever time was left to finish the test.

I wasn’t a monster. Sure I was angry at Charlene for getting me in trouble with the dean, but after she’d left, I smoothed it over with him, saying she was very talented, that I’d hand picked her to help me with a carbon dating project.

He bought it.

But she was running out of time.

Even after every student had handed in their tests, I allowed fifteen more minutes. But she didn’t show. Her friend, Susan, was stalling. I finally walked up to her. “Times up, Miss Sabatini. I need your test booklet.”

“Um, okay, but if you must know, I’m worried about her. Charlie told me she was going to study all night and she isn’t answering her phone. Maybe something happened to her.”

I arched an eyebrow. “She probably overslept.” The girl would often fall asleep in my lectures. I attributed it to boredom since she had a handle of the material at a level well beyond all her peers. Or she stayed up too late. Probably the latter.

Susan sighed. “Yeah…maybe.”

Turning toward me, Susan said, “Would you go easy on her, doc? I’m sure she has a good reason.”

But I couldn’t answer. A part of me was as worried as Charlene’s friend.



My God. What did I ever do to make me cursed like this? It was like I couldn’t catch a break. Throwing on some sweats at lightspeed, I raced to my car but then discovered the keys were locked inside. I guessed I had a lot on my mind. So NO JOKE, I literally ran the whole way there. I didn’t have enough money to catch a Suber and my phone had died, so I couldn’t ask a friend to take me. I was so screwed.

Well, I figured Dr. Day might take pity on me. The truth would be written all over me in sweat beads and pit rings.

Thankfully, my test packet was waiting for me on my desk. Good old Dr. Day came through after all!

I wrote out the answers as fast as I could. The test was fairly easy, but the long answer part was going to take time.

“Miss Darby, where have you been?”

Dr. Day’s presence jolted me.

“You don’t look sick and you definitely aren’t dead, so what’s your excuse? And it better not be that you overslept.”

I was about to go to my hands and knees but there wasn’t room. “I…locked my keys in the car so I couldn’t get here in time. S-Sorry!”

“Why didn’t you call a suber or a taxi? One of your friends maybe. Even ride the bus! These excuses are ridiculous.”

“I know but I only have five dollars in my account right now and my phone died. I didn’t have time to charge it. I didn’t know about the bus system and I panicked. So I just busted my ass and ran all the way from my apartment to get here, but I was too slow. Come on, Dr. Day. Please let me finish the test.”

He crossed his arms, jaw clenching, thinking it over. He finally said, “You’re not going on the expedition. But I will allow you to finish the test. And then you may do two research papers instead. Punctuality is a redeeming quality. You need to grow up if you want to succeed.”

All of my dreams of finding the archway were dashed, but it was my own damned fault. “Thank you,” I whispered. “I’ll get right to work.”

I slipped straight through and rocked out all the answers, nailing the essay. Then I gave him the test and said, “I’m really sorry. For what it’s worth, you’re a great teacher, and I’ve enjoyed your class.”

I hated that he thought I was such a goof up. Just a mess walking around aimlessly. I was so disappointed in myself. And what’s worse, I hated that he thought of me as some irresponsible kid.

But I was grateful, too. He didn’t kick me out like he could have. I just didn’t know how to get my act together. I was such a loser.


A part of me wanted Charlene to succeed. And to be honest, I was really looking forward to observing what she came up with on our expedition. But…it wasn’t a real dig. She wouldn’t be discovering anything we didn’t already plant ahead of time. But why did I have a gnawing feeling that I was making a mistake?

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Chapter 6.30


When Dr. Day turned around, I almost wet my pants. What was I doing? My mouth moved but nothing came out.

“Miss Darby? What are you doing down here? You know only upper level students are allowed in this area.”

“I-I know, but…I wanted to talk to you about missing your class.”

Dr. Day waved his hands. “Todd, if you could…”

“No prob, Liam. I’ll see you at lunch.” The guy just gave me a grin that made me uncomfortable like he knew my demise was imminent and he thought it was funny. Well, I deserved it.

Dr. Day threw me his cold stare that I’d been shot with a dozen times. God, why did he have this affect on me? Just with one glance, he could knock the wind out of me.

I swallowed down the hangover bile that was gurgling into my throat. “I-I guess you know why I didn’t show today and I want to say I’m sorry. For all those awful things I said to you and for going out of control like that. I’m like totally embarrassed.”

Dr. Day still said nothing, so I went on, “And if you could find it in your heart to forgive me, I promise, cross my heart and hope to die, stick a jack knife in my eye, I’ll never miss another class again.”

He lifted his hands. “Look, I don’t make the rules at the university. Our dean does. And he’s very strict about our masters program. Unless you have a note from a doctor, my hands are tied.”

I flailed my arms emphatically. “I WAS sick all morning. But not THAT kind of sick…heh…It’s just…going to this university is my dream. Academic probation would skewer me. I was hoping you could give me just one more chance?”

Walking toward the door, he said, “I don’t see any reason why I should. Especially since you called me Dr. Deathday as well as a hundred other profanities.”

Oh God. Why did I have to get drunk? Liquor was the worst truth serum on the planet.

“Would you in my position?” he asked.

Sadly, I shook my head no.

“Well, I’m not you. Get yourself out of the restricted area, please. I would appreciate it.” Then he strode out the door.

My eyes widened and I blinked. What the heck did that mean? Was he going to give me a pass? OMG!!!!!!

And although I should have been jumping up and down, celebrating, his words and his looks just made me feel like the worst human being on the planet.

Okay, so I was going to make amends. And it started now. I noticed a broom leaning against the wall. And this floor was disgusting. Like someone peed all over it. There was dust and spiderwebs everywhere.

So I grabbed its handle and did the best I could in cleaning up the mess. But then my mind wandered to when I’d actually became an archaeologist. This was the perfect setting–like I could see it all play out.

“There it is, Dr. Sabatini!” I’d say as I happened upon a large gateway structure. “The secret passage of the Spiritual Transformation. Legend says that once you enter, you will be yourself no longer. You will right many wrongs and clear the path to illumination.”

That was my dream. I’d always heard of this legend and there were so many archaeologists who believed in its existence since many petroglyphs in Simu Picchu showed it, but…no one was ever lucky enough to find where it was. I had a few ideas and I was determined to locate it on our expedition. Okay, like yeah, it was dangerous, but who cared? That was an archaeologist’s job.

I could picture it so clearly. People at this university would point at me and say, “There she is! The one who gave enlightenment to the world!”

That was definitely in my future. I could feel it in my marrow. Unfortunately, the stale surroundings broke apart my dream. I had to do the hard work first to receive the benefits. Better finish up and get out of here! I figured I’d tell Dr. Day I cleaned a bit for him. Maybe he’d be happy and stop pitching those frightening ice stares at me.

Whipping around to put the broom back, I stumbled and…


An ancient piece of pottery that was probably worth more than all the money I’d make in my lifetime, crumbled before me.

I wanted to scream! What was I going to do????

Repenting of my foolish ways all the way up to Dr. Day’s office, I gingerly crept in like a cockroach. God, I never wanted to step foot in there again, but here I was.

“Dr. Day?” I squeaked, mouth like the lining of an old sock.

He shook his head. “I already told you I wouldn’t file a complaint against you. What now?”

I sat down and swallowed. “Okay like I’m TOTALLY sorry. I was trying to do a good deed. HONEST!”


Who would have known that an intelligent student of mine could create crazy havoc in such a short time? The girl was so irresponsible, I had half a mind to terminate her privileges immediately.

But Ginny’s sweet face stared at me in my mind. I often wondered how she’d handle things. I wished so often I could ask her opinion. I breathed in and out, trying to calm down. I was in deep shit with this one.

“Miss Darby, will you please stop apologizing and get the hell out of my office? I’ll take care of it. Just go home and work. I better have your ten page paper on my desk early at the end of the week.”

She bobbed her head up and down with a frightened look on her face.

Then she scurried out of my office.

Wincing, I sighed. I had to assess the damage and then talk to my boss. This was just getting worse. Why did I have a heart for the girl? It would have been easier to escort her upstairs and report her rather than allowing these antics.


Thankfully, Charlene’s goof up actually helped us out. We’d discovered the bones of an ancient shaman straight out of Simu Picchu. It even held a rare stone from the pre-classic era. Priceless. My dean was so thrilled, he wanted to congratulate me for the find himself.

“Tell me, Liam, what made you think to break into the vase in the first place? I must say, that was a bold move. Did you find some hints on its structure?”

I threw on a sheepish smile. “Heh…heh…well, it was s-sort of an accident. That’s how these things usually happen, right?” I wasn’t lying, but I couldn’t tell him the truth. My ass would be on the line by allowing an unsupervised student down there.

“Well, that was quite lucky for you then. So glad for you, son. After you take your students on the expedition, I’ll give you two semesters off for research. How about that?”

Two semesters? Wow! I definitely was going to go easy on Charlene for this great mistake. “Thanks, sir,” I said, laughing with him.

“No problem! Can’t wait to see what other discoveries you’ll find!”

Just then, we heard a knock on the door and Charlene rushed in. Before I could stop her, she apologized for breaking the pot and said I had nothing to do with it.

The dean just stared at me, glaring. “A lower level student was allowed in the archaelogical archives? Liam, I can’t believe what I’m hearing.”

So, instead of this accident working out in my favor, Charlene managed to make sure I was sunk. Why was I so caring? It never got me anything but pain.

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