Monday, September 8, 2008

A History Mystery: Day One / Part Two

The Personal Journals of Morgan Victoria Beauchamp

Friday, October 24

Dearest Papa,

For the first time since you challenged me to keep these journals some twenty years ago, I actually have something exciting to write about. No, not another cataloging of my research – though past journals were most useful in helping me compile my academic paper, The True Pirates of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico – but rather, a personal account. How few of those have there been over the years? Nothing worthy of the grand romance story you’d always wanted for me. Until tonight.

Mid-terms are over and they followed the pattern of all other mid-term periods of my life, first as student, now as professor. After these past ten years, I’m not sure being the professor grading the mid-terms is much better than being the student taking them. Alas, the exams are done and mostly graded. Tomorrow I’ll finish and have the scores uploaded well before Monday. Feeling fairly good about this accomplishment – not to mention the publication of my paper in Archeology Today – I let Ruth and Dagmar persuade me to join them for a night of bar hopping in the French Quarter. Pretending to randomly select a bar, they led me into one of the darkest where a few more colleagues were drinking with some of the grad students. My own assistant, the roguish Mattias, was there. Oh, if I were ten years younger I’d be tempted to let him chase me around my desk a time or two. Well, that was before tonight.

In a mood to party once my initial annoyance passed, I forgave my kidnappers for stealing me from my usual plans of a quiet night with a good book and hot bath. The music was loud, the drinks just right and I let myself be carried away by both. I’m still vibrating from the effects. I feel alive in a way I’ve only felt a few times. I can scarcely catch my breath even now.

This isn’t sounding like me is it? Normally my entries are to the point and dry enough to absorb a gallon of water, but not tonight. I’m sure I’ll look back someday and see this night as pivotal. I don’t know what happened, but something is different. And it has to do with him.

Him? You may ask. Him, who? That’s just it. I don’t know.

With hindsight, I can see now that I knew the instant he entered the bar. No, he didn’t draw attention, not in the way a famous person would. There were no cameras flashing or fans racing toward him. But rather, all at once, it felt as if a breeze had entered the bar, taking down the temperature a degree or two. As hot as it was, the change was refreshing. It was also then that I gave in to Mattias and let him lead me to the dance floor. I know it’s wrong to encourage him in any way, but I wanted to dance and he had his hand out. I ignored the twitters of my colleagues and found myself in his arms. Lord is he strong, and very sexy. The boy can dance, and that smile, all golden sunshine with his overlong curls and scruffy three day whiskers. Moving to the beat felt natural, but I wasn’t dancing for Mattias. No, there was brooding presence in the shadows and it pulled my attention from Mattias despite the fact I was practically using him as a dancing pole.

At one point I turned and for a long moment, several heartbeats I’m sure, my gaze locked with the dark eyes of a dark haired man. All he needed was a pointed beard, long curly hair, a big hat with a bigger feather and a change of costume and he could have been my dream pirate. Yes, I swear, he looked as if he could be a long lost descendant of the very wicked Jean Baptiste Morgane.

I’m well aware you’d say my obsession has grown to be a little scary. If he were a live man today, I’d probably be stalking him. Pathetic, I know.

But after staring into the eyes of this man from only a few yards away, I swear on a stack of pirate romance novels, my life changed. Exactly how and what will happen from here onward, I don’t know. I just know something changed tonight.

Needless to say, dancing with Mattias, or anyone else, lost all appeal after that. By the time I’d freed myself from the spin Mattias had pulled me into, my mystery man was gone and the refreshing chill left the room. Disappointed and feeling claustrophobic again, I made my excuses and came home.

The solitude of home has not brought me peace. I’m feeling edgy and restless, just the way I do at the start of a new research project. I’ll try the bath next, and maybe a glass of wine, but what I really want is to go out and find my pirate. I just hope he isn’t a ghost tormenting me for seeking out his secrets.

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