My apologies to Harrison Ford, lol!
If Nigel could use only one word to describe what he saw once outside the Atuturk International Airport walls, that word would have to be, simply, breathtaking. The air was sweet with the fragrance of fresh rainfall this early Turkish morning. It was late March, but already the sun warmed their skin from the moment they stepped outside. A country so full of history and myth, it didn’t matter what direction you faced, there was something of awe-inspiring beauty and grace to gaze upon. It was a place teeming with Holy significance and historical merit, and many, many people.
"Aaron mentioned meeting us at the hotel where he made our reservations." Sydney said as she hurriedly cut her way through the dense crowd to the curb. "He has to accompany us the rest of the way to Gizre in secret. Turkish authorities don’t welcome foreigners or journalists, even Turkish journalists, in what they consider to be an emergency hot zone."
"Secret? Hot zone? Emergency?!?" That was all Nigel heard. "You didn’t say anything about this being some sort of secret mission, S...d...Sydney!" He struggled to catch her before she got into the car but he was too slow, his progress hampered by an elderly couple with ten tons of luggage and no patience for the young English interloper that nearly knocked them over! He quickly helped them regain control of their baggage cart and backed away, apologising profusely with his tattle-tale nervous stutter. Syd threw him a sassy, side-long glance before disappearing inside the taxi and shutting the door in his face.
Relegated to the front seat Nigel climbed in and promptly turned to his beautiful travelling companion. "So, when did you actually decide this information was worth sharing with me?"
"Where to?" The driver asked with a thick ethnic drawl, interrupting them.
"The Ambassador Hotel." Sydney could tell his English probably wasn’t the best, and she smiled at him politely, unwilling to say anything more in front of him.
"Syd!" Nigel was very close to jumping over the seat and wringing her exquisite little neck. "We’re supposed to be a team here, how is that at all possible when you leave significant details out until the very last minute?"
"Nigel, calm down, please," she tried to sedate him, and motioned her cautious glare towards the driver, "we’ll discuss this after we check in all right?"
He understood immediately but it didn’t make him feel any less left out of the loop, and he turned back in his seat to fasten the safety belt. "Fine, we’ll talk about it later then."
They zig zagged through the timeless streets of Istanbul, into a lower, much older portion of the ancient city known as Old Town. There were smaller, older tenement buildings erected during the turn of the century placed in a row like dominoes that housed many local city dwellers, and an unassuming public Mosque around the corner. Passing such magnificent historical sites such as the Blue Mosque in St. Sophia, their modest hotel was nestled on a quiet back street only a mere two minutes walk away. Nigel rolled down his window and propped his elbow up, staring out into a country’s past and present all at the same time. This place was older than written history itself, and he should have been far more excited than he was about such a relic hunt. He would never have admitted it to Sydney, but when she chose not to share all the information with him from the get go, it really hurt. Nigel had thought they were a lot more to each other now than merely employee to boss. He’d been sure the fact that they had professed love for one another garnered him at least that one small courtesy all on its own.
Nigel paid the driver as Sydney hopped up onto the walk and breezed into the Ambassador’s lobby. He could see, even from behind that she was hunting for something, or rather, someone. His curiosity didn’t have to wait long to be satisfied. There he was waiting at the hotel bar in all his glory, the famous Aaron Deleany. Nigel could not believe what he was looking at. The man was definitely all American, and cut a formidable swathe, standing at least six feet two inches tall, his head crowned with a sweep of long, golden hair that reached down to his shoulders. He was ruggedly dressed in a casual beige shirt, khaki cargo pants and a pair of steel toed hiking boots. His outward appearance resembled that a bounty hunter rather than a relic hunter in Nigel’s opinion. The moment he laid his crystalline cobalt eyes on Sydney, he came to life, dragging his tanned leather jacket across the floor at his feet to greet her.
"Sydney, oh my God, it’s been years!" It only took four of his lengthy strides to close the gap between them and the bar, scooping her into his arms and completely lifting her feet from the ground in an exuberant twirl. "I am so glad you decided to come!"
"How could I turn you down Aaron?" She asked, and reluctantly pulled from his embrace. "This is Nigel Bailey, my...my associate."
"Nice to meet you Aaron." Nigel politely extended his hand to the giant before him, secretly wondering if he would ever see it again.
"Great you could be in on this too Bailey!" Aaron slapped the smaller man quite roughly on the back, damn near knocking poor Nigel off his feet, let alone leaving him with little breath left in his lungs. "We’re truly doing God’s work here."
"A-absolutely." Choking, Nigel agreed, and shot Syd an intolerant look. "You know Aaron, I really enjoyed Indiana Jones as a kid..." He uttered all but under his breath. All this bible thumping cowboy was missing were his gun harnesses, a whip and Indy’s tattered old hat! Somehow he knew Aaron wouldn’t get it, and hoped Syd wouldn’t hear it.
Go to Part Five.