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.
“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 aliensrreal.com, 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.