1. Marshall College Field School
Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Dr. Henry Jones, Jr. looked around the table of graduate students sitting outside the mess tent of his dig in the Yucatan. A flickering kerosene lamp lit their faces as the tropical sun sank behind a nearby stand of trees.
He rubbed his hands on his pants leg and stood to let the students know he was wrapping the meeting. "So I think that's it, everyone. Dr. Wan will be officially in charge while I'm gone and Mr. Wilson will be his right hand man. I'm sure the two of them can handle any issue that arises. In the unlikely event that anything really drastic happens, we have contingency plans ready and they both know how to reach me."
The group started to break up, but a knot of students lingered with their professor and his famous colleague. Dr. Wan Li's discovery of the fabled Peacock's Eye had recently been written up in National Archaeology, and the graduate students were excited and intrigued. Several professional points were being discussed around the table when one student piped up with a 'personal question.'
"Dr Jones," cooed Barbara Crawford as she fiddled with her bleached-blonde hair "do you have any special plans for your birthday? Aren't you going to miss us?
Indy had met a female student with plans to 'get ahead on her back' before-oh, once or twice- and Barbara's antics were no surprise. But if that little piece of work thought she was getting anywhere with him, she was sadly mistaken.
He folded his arms. "As a matter of fact, Miss Crawford, I do have plans. I intend to spend my birthday in an air conditioned hotel suite, with a bucket of iced champagne and a beautiful lady. I doubt I'll be thinking about the dig much until it's time to get back."
"Isn't that a little…naughty…Dr. Jones?" Barbara almost purred. "What would the Board of Regents say if they found out?" Two other female grad students traded looks and rolled their eyes.
Indy smiled. "I don't think the Board of Regents will object," he said calmly, "since I'm lucky enough to be married to the lady."
"Mrs. Jones will be joining us for the last three weeks of the dig, isn't that right, sir?" Jack Wilson put in cheerfully
"Yes, she will," Dr. Jones answered."I'm not taking those undergraduates to Chichen Itza without reinforcements." His face lit with a tender smile, as Barbara's fell into a rather unattractive pout.
Smooth move, Jones, Jack thought. I'll have to remember how you did that. He had jumped at the chance to work as a dig supervisor for the legendary Indiana Jones- hell, any PhD candidate worth his salt would have. But Barb-O, with her slacking, complaining, and tendency to chase anything old enough to shave, hadn't made his job any easier. He wasn't sorry to see her put in her place. And judging from the smirks on his fellow students' faces, nobody else was, either.
At that moment, Jack caught Dr. Wan's eye. He was looking at Barbara speculatively, as though she reminded him of someone, or perhaps it just amused him to see her obvious play for Dr. Jones fall flat.
"If you'll excuse us, ladies and gentlemen," Dr. Wan said smoothly, "I'm looking forward to getting to know you all, but Dr. Jones and I need to get a few things squared away before he leaves That train to Mexico City won't wait and," he looked pointedly at Barbara "I know Dr. Jones is anxious to see his lovely bride."
"Damn straight," said their professor with a grin.
Jack took the hint "I'll go tell Nelson to bring the truck around for you, sir" he said. He jerked his thumb meaningfully, and the group started to actually disperse this time. Jack snorted to himself when Barbara made a beeline for one of the guys, linked her arm through his and began fluttering her eyelashes. That girl's giving 'easy' a bad name….
Back in the tent, Indy threw a few last things into his grip and closed it.
"Thanks again for filling in for me, Shorty."
Wan Li grinned at the use of his old nickname. "I'm sorry I had to miss your wedding, but maybe this will make up for it."
He gestured at the picture of the smiling couple on Indy's camp chest. "So how do you like married life so far, Dr. Jones?"
Indy shook his head. "If I had one, I'd tell you."
His self-deprecating smile didn't quite reach his eyes. "You know it's a funny thing. I've had a woman or two in my life who was a mistress but wanted to act like a wife. Now I have a wife-but she acts more like a mistress."
Wan Li looked searchingly at his friend and mentor, but all he said was "Oh? How's that?"
"Well," said Indy in a long-suffering tone, as he began to tick his points off on his fingers. "Marion won't give up her share in the restaurant, and she won't sell the house in Chicago. She pretty much comes and goes as she damn well pleases. And then when we started planning the dig, she says she can't possibly spend the whole summer with me, because if Harold Oxley is teaching field school she takes time off from her business every summer and helps him."
Li raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah, that's what I thought. Hell, what about me? What about us? Dammit, she stood up in front of a church full of people and promised to love, honor and cherish me, not The Ox."
The younger man grinned. "What, no 'obey'?"
Indy barked a laugh. "I ain't crazy. But I've needed Marion for 20 years. Now that I have her back, I don't see why it 's a federal offense that I want my baby close."
"I remember Marion as being very independent," Li said thoughtfully "but of course I was quite young when you two parted ways before. I can't say Miss Willie was pleased with your engagement, though."
"Well I can't see why she cared" Indy answered, "since she'd moved on to that Hollywood big shot by then. But what you have to understand, Shorty, is that for me there were always two kinds of women."
"Oh yeah. Marion Ravenwood- and anybody else. I think Willie knew."
Indy picked up his wedding picture and turned it in his hands.
"I got to the point," he said softly "when I tried to make my peace with thinking I'd lost that baby of mine forever. I figured I'd simply have to go on with my life. But after a while it just got easier to be alone than to be with someone who wasn't her."
"May I see the picture?" Indy handed it over, and Li couldn't help smiling at the distinguished groom in his wedding suit and the glowing bride on his arm.
"Marion's hardly aged a day since I last saw her. And she's looking at you with such love."
But Wan 'Short Round' Li hadn't gotten his PhD by being afraid to ask questions. So he shot a penetrating look at his old friend and said "Indy, do forgive me, but with what you say about her acting distant- have you given Marion any reason to think that she needs to hedge her bets where you're concerned?"
"You mean other than me being a prize heel and walking out on her back then?"
"No. I meant something more recent. Willing blonde graduate students, for instance."
"Not a chance And if you're thinking about trying your luck with" Indy jerked a thumb toward the table outside-"that little chippie, watch out. From what my young fellas say, you'll catch yourself a dose, easy...
"Not interested, thanks. She looks like the kind of woman who'd be exhausting-but not in a good way."
Indy chuckled. "So I hear in the shower."
Wan Li handed the picture back and Indy replaced it carefully. His face softened.
"It's true, though. A man who's got steak doesn't go after hamburger. I never 'stepped out' on Marion before and I've got no plans to do it now."
"I can think of a couple of people who'd be very surprised to hear you say that."
Indy snorted. "Oh, I'm sure you could. But they weren't Marion, were they?"
"No, they sure weren't. So I hope this time together will be what you need. And tell Marion I am looking forward to seeing her again, and to meeting your son."
"I will. Wish me luck, Shorty."
Wan Li slapped him on the back "You betcha, Docta Jones."
A horn blew outside. Indy grabbed his jacket, swung up his grip, and headed for the truck.
2. University of Chicago Field School
Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
In another tent, at another dig, Marion Ravenwood Jones fastened her suitcase. She handed it to the student who was loading the camp jeep, and turned to say good bye to an old friend.
"We'll miss you, of course, my dear," said Harold Oxley gently "but I can't help but feel that your place is with Henry. I've felt quite guilty for taking you away from him for these past few weeks.
"I wouldn't have come if I didn't want to."
Ox took Marion's hand and looked at her searchingly. "My dear, I don't mean to pry, but it's unusual for so recent a bride to be willingly separated from her new husband. Is everything…all right…between you and Henry? Young Mutt would die rather than say anything, but I'm sure he wonders as well…"
Marion sighed. "Oh, Ox, I'm afraid this is as good as it's going to get. Don't get me wrong, I love Indy and I miss him dreadfully but….
"It's just that" Marion burst out, "I had no idea how much work being married to Jones was going to be! Honestly, Col on his worst day took about half the 'wifely maintenance' that Indy does on his best. I don't know whatever happened to that man who hated the thought of being tied down, but he's not around these days."
Ox cocked an eyebrow. "Oh?"
"If we're together, Indy will barely let me out of his sight. If he takes a shower he wants me to wash his back. If I'm cooking he wants to be in the same room with me. If we're sitting together he wants his arm around me. If we're walking, he wants to hold my hand. If he's reading he wants to put his head in my lap. If we're sleeping" her voice softened, "he wants to hold me."
"How very, very lonely he must have been without you," Ox said gently.
Marion looked at Ox ruefully. "You know I love him and it's wonderful, it really is, that Indy can actually admit that he needs me. But it's a little stifling for someone who's been her own boss for so long."
"Henry loves you so, Marion. Anyone could see that. And he longs to make up for lost time with you, and with his son."
"I know. And if I were still seventeen I'd think I'd died and gone to heaven. But I'm not, Ox. I'm a grown woman who's used to living her own life."
Ox sat in on a canvas chair and steepled his fingers in thought.
"We all keep forgetting that Henry has been back in our lives for, really, less than a year," he said. "He's changed, as have we all. It may be that he's mellowed with age and he'll always be more attentive and affectionate than he was as a younger man."
"But," Ox leaned forward and looked at Marion earnestly, "I don't think that's it. I think what you're really seeing is a man who has gone without intimacy and affection for most of his adult life."
Ox nodded at the wedding picture Marion kept by her cot.
"Now that he has you, Henry's found what he's been missing, and he's astonished by it-look at that face. If he trusts you enough to let you know what he needs, is that such a bad thing?"
"No," said Marion. "It's not. For someone who's never been married, Ox, you're very wise."
"I'm just an observer of human nature, my dear. But I also think that the more you pull away, the more unsettled Henry becomes and the more he, almost instinctively, tries to keep you by him. If you show him the love and affection he craves, he may be more comfortable once he's reassured."
"And," Ox smiled, "it also may be that a new addition to the family will give him something else to think of and someone else to love."
Marion looked up and opened her mouth to speak, but Oxley forestalled her.
"Now" Ox raised a warning finger "this is nothing you should confirm or deny to me. Especially before you've spoken to Henry. But we're all at close quarters on a dig, you know. Nobody here would be surprised to learn that you have been harboring, ah, 'certain suspicions'."
Marion actually blushed. "Ox…"
"If those suspicions have become a certainty, it's time, and past, for the certainty's father to be told. You and Henry have been blessed with another chance to make a life together. Don't repeat your past mistakes, Marion."
Oh, I'm trying not to, but I seem to keep making new ones. Nothing's ever simple, is it Ox?"
"Not usually, no."
Ox rose and kissed Marion' cheek.. "Vaya con Dios, my dear. And give my best to the father-to-be."