Unimpressed, he sat in the background secretly forcing himself to watch the two Americans and Briton enjoy their evening in Istanbul. Impatiently picking at his food with impossibly large and weathered hands he grumbled something indecipherable and most unkind under his hot, spicy breath. Of all the men capable of this kind of surveillance, why were they wasting his time? He was far more useful out in the field, and had always loathed these simple babysitting jobs. Alas, he couldnít very well ignore a direct order, so here he was eating at one of the finest establishments in town taking mental pictures and notes of three people he would possibly end up killing before the next twenty-four hours were up.
"So, Aaron, before youíve have one too many, maybe youíd like to embellish a little about the trip ahead of you"?" Nigel asked, and placed his elbows on the table before him as if he were a kid about to hear a favourite bed time story. This was going to be a long night indeed, he thought, watching the larger than life American put back one more raki. Fascinated, he believed without a shadow of a doubt what Syd had revealed to him about their host being a terrible drunk, and as the evening wore on, grew more convinced by the minute.
"Well, as you know weíre going to be heading into a region known as Cudi-Dagh, thatís approximately twenty five miles or so from Van Lake. It isnít Ararat, make no mistake. A lot of scholars believe that the translation Cudi-Dagh in Turkish means "highest" or "the heights" in Arabic. Thatís why many people in Eastern Turkey, including some Islamic scholars, think Al Judi refers to Mount Ararat. But Cudi-Dagh IS actually located south of Lake Van, rising to a height of seventy seven hundred feet. Many local villagers there maintain that the Ark drifted to a high point in the Cudi mountain range and that the remains of it are still well hidden on the top of Cudi-Dagh, or the highest mountain in the area."
"Which is Ararat, not Judi." Sydney countered, remembering the passage from the Bible, and the Ark rested on the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
"I believe we are talking about one in the same." Aaron was quick to point out, and put down his glass. "Believe me Iíve busted my ass for over eight years searching for the Ark, and believe me, after our last conversation regarding it, I was going to be damn sure I had something concrete before calling on you Syd."
She remembered well that conversation. It could be more accurately be described as a fist fight! They had wasted nearly a week of their time on his wild goose chase through the Turkish back county, and for what? Good God, he almost got them killed! That was part of the reason she hadnít spoken to him in so very, very long. "Well you just remember that Aaron, you called us here, not the other way around. Iíll be expecting to see something other than pottery fragments and petrified wood."
Nigel was surprised at Sydneyís sudden change of attitude towards such an old, dear friend, and chose to remain silent regarding it. She would definitely tell him later, he was sure...or was he? Lately she had an awful bad habit of leaving things out. Significant, life altering things, he pensively thought.
It was so late, and Nigel was caught someplace between reality and a dream, the gentle tapping on his door just seemed to float in and out of his consciousness, barely audible. It got louder, more persistent, and more aggravating to one so exhausted, before finally disappearing all together.
"Nigel?" It really was a soft whisper, one that only lulled him back into his trance. "Nigel, I want to talk to you. Now!"
"Oh come on..." He groaned, pulling the blankets up over his head. What ever it was Sydney wanted now could surely wait until morning! Sydney? Sydney! Jumping up from his momentary lapse of reasoning he shook his head free from the drowsiness still lingering there. "Syd, oh...Iím sorry!" Rubbing the sleep from his eyes he looked at her. A sliver of moonlight caught her face and he could see immediately the weighty expression she carried there. Slightly alarmed, he placed his hand on her forearm and drew her closer. "What is it?"
She knew she really should have mentioned it before they left the States, knowing full well what kind of fuss he would have kicked up had he known before hand. It really wasnít like her not to come right out and be open and honest, but damn...this was hard. The hardest thing she ever had to tell anyone.
"Syd, do you have something to tell me?" He quietly asked, his voice heavy with understanding and patience, and reaching over tucked her raven hair behind her ear. She was starting to scare him.
"Well in a matter of speaking, I suppose I do." She slid onto the bed in beside him and swung her legs under the sheets, playfully stroking his knee right down to his bare ankle with her foot.
He shuffled over to make room and grew quite concerned now, circled his arm around her shoulders.
"Weíve been together a long time, and you know how I feel about you." She started to say, and turned towards him, her heart was in her throat. "Nigel please, kiss me."
Kiss me? He didnít have to be asked twice. Cupping her face with his hands he pulled her closer, drinking in the sweet scent of her hair and the wanton look in her smouldering ebony eyes. "All right." He wet his lips, closed his eyes and gently grazing her cheek first, he teased a little, moving across to her neck and ear, nibbling ever so slightly. The soft moan that escaped her throat only fuelled his want, and he lastly, hungrily devoured her...
"Get dressed you two! We have to move... Now!" Aaron yelled as he threw open the door with a great crash. He had his gun in his hand and his satchel in the other, ready to run like hell.
"What?!?" Sydney jumped from the bed and damned near grabbed him around the throat. "What do you mean we have to move?"
"I mean that we have enemies Syd, and theyíre onto us! We have to leave right now!"
Go to Part Seven.