Author's Note: Well! I'm not going to lie, the only reason I wrote this epilogue was to draw attention to the revisions I made to the story. Now, of course, as the author I would LOVE it if all of you re-read the entire story and gave me comments along the way. As a reader who also has a life, I know most of you won't have the time or desire to do that. So I thought I'd make it simpler for those of you who have other things to do! If you want to look at the biggest revisions, check out:
Ch. 8: Three Americans and a Pompous Professor
Ch. 12: Three Americans and a Booby Trap
Ch. 13: Ardeth's Warning
Ch. 15: Gretchen's Task
Ch. 18: Fool's Reciprocity
Ch. 19: Chance's Cruelty
Ch. 20: Three Americans and Some Guy Named Imhotep (probably the biggest changes)
Ch. 23: Death's Advantages (also major)
Ch. 24: Two Americans and a Yellow Car
Ch. 27: A Prince's Loot
Ch. 28: An American Coward and a Med-Jai Warrior
Ch. 29: Compassion's Grace
I will say that none of the changes, except for Ch. 20 and 23, are extremely drastic. But they do make a difference in Gretchen's character development, and her relationships with Ardeth, Rick, Beni and Jonathan.
As always, I appreciate your feedback, so if you do check out the changes, drop me a line! Love it, hate it, don't care--I like to know!
"Wake me up when we're in Cairo," Jonathan mumbled, slouching in the saddle. Gretchen snorted.
"How am I supposed to keep this thing in line if it starts to wander off?"
His shoulders rose and fell in a lazy shrug. "Oh...it'll just...follow along after O'Connell's."
She started to protest, but he interrupted her with a yawn. Breathing a sigh, Gretchen's eyes gazed up into the inky sky surrounding them. The desert night was a little warmer than usual, and the moon above her head seemed whiter than normal. Wrapping her arms around herself, she tilted her head up and let the night consume her. Her entire being was so focused on the bedazzled unknown that she didn't notice the thoughtful gaze on her face.
"You look really..."
The voice startled her, and her head whipped around to catch O'Connell's eyes in the darkness. He winced a little at her surprise, smiling apologetically.
She swallowed, shaking her head. "No, it's okay." She took a breath, trying to steady her racing heart. "What were you going to say?"
He cleared his throat and looked at his arms around Evelyn's sleeping form. "I was just going to say you look really different."
Gretchen frowned. "What's that mean?"
He shrugged. "Sorry--that sounded kind of bad. Just...with the moon and your hair kind of like that...you look really pretty." He glanced down. "You know, happy."
She smiled at him, hoping the dark would hide her flushed cheeks. "I think...I think I am happy."
O'Connell's lopsided grin brightened his face, and his arms tightened around Evelyn.
"I think I am, too."