Mutt watched Molly climb up the ladder to grab another book of letters. He leaned back in his chair and chewed on the end of his pencil. She was wearing a skirt that came just below her knees and he admired her shapely calves. The illusion was broken though, when she slipped on a rung coming down from the ladder with a dusty, large volume in her arms.
Mutt felt himself jump out of his chair as she shrieked. Grabbing onto the sides of the ladder she managed to stop herself from falling.
"Christ!" Mutt yelled. "Be careful, would ya?"
"Sorry," she said a little breathlessly. The priest who had allowed them into the archives gave Mutt a stern look. Molly also turned to him with an apologetic glance.
Isay was sleeping soundly in a chair at the end of the desk, undisturbed by the small commotion.
"This is a place of God, Dr. Jones," the priest said, folding his arms across his chest and walking over to the desk, which had been piled with decrepit, mouldy books. "You would do well to have some respect."
Mutt hated it when people mistook his last name. Before he could open his mouth to correct him, Molly interjected. "I'm sorry Father, getting him to church is about as easy as pulling teeth," she said, smiling.
The priest's expression softened. "Well, I suppose you take after your father more than I expected, Dr. Jones," he said. Mutt had to drop his father's name to get into the archives at the horrendous hour they requested. Luckily Father James was awake, apparently revising a new doctrine the Pope was about enact. And luckily, he had vast interactions with Dr. Jones Senior. Enough so that he owed him a favour.
"And you, Miss Moore?" he asked Molly. "What is your religious persuasion?"
"Irish Catholic," she answered. "But I admit I haven't been to church in a while. Work and school have made me an infidel."
Incredibly Father James smiled. "What is it exactly that you're looking for?"
Mutt gave Molly a look which said something along the lines of: don't you dare open that big mouth of yours. But she blatantly ignored it.
"We were researching some information on the Bishop's Spear," she answered pointedly, if only to spite Mutt.
The priest seemed taken aback. "How interesting," he said rather blandly.
"Is there anything you can tell us about it?" she questioned.
It took all Mutt had not to jump over the table and silence her. Instead he was forced to just sit and pray that the priest didn't have any friends in high places. Besides maybe God.
Father James sighed and adjusted his glasses, "No, I'm afraid not. I believe that artifact was lost to history a long time ago."
Molly glanced down at her shoes. He hoped she knew that the priest was most likely lying. Mutt could tell in the way he rushed his words and gaze did not waver. The priest knew something about the spear... something he was not quick to tell.
"There are many who would say otherwise," Mutt said.
The priest looked at him, his long robes swaying with the movement. "And there are some who say that artefacts are lost for good reason, Dr. Jones."
"It's Williams to you," Mutt said, standing up out of his chair.
Molly was quick to intervene. "It's been a long night, thank you for all of your help Father." She smiled, walking over toward Mutt and kicking the leg of Isay's chair on the way. He was jolted awake and looked around the room in distaste.
Taking Mutt's arm she thanked the priest once more and calmly escorted him from the room. Isay was close behind them and Mutt waited until they had left the archives room to yell.
"What the hell were you thinking? We'll never get the letters now!" he asserted in a hushed whisper.
Molly kept her eyes on the double doors leading out into Vatican City. "Keep your voice down!" she insisted.
Mutt was fuming. Isay was still annoyed, having been woken most unseemly from sleep, muttering some gruff curses in heavy Russian tongue. Molly kept her hurried pace and burst through the doors of the archives and into the warm Roman night.
"Now will you tell me!" Mutt demanded, grabbing her arm.
"Don't touch me, brute!" she yelled back, batting his hand away.
"Don't make me kiss you again!" he threatened and it was enough to cause a blush to form on her cheeks.
"I'm going to make you feel like a fool in half a minute," she warned, pressing her index finger to his chest. "You think I almost fell down that ladder by sheer clumsiness? I was taken aback by this." With that she pressed a sheet of paper in his hand.
"Luckily your little tiff with the good Father let me tear it from the book," she added.
"What is it?" he asked, unfolding the sheet.
"A copy of St. Helen's will."
"So he was hiding something," Mutt murmured as he spread the document across the desk.
The three were crowded in Mutt's hotel room, the will spread out before them on the small wooden desk. The copy had not been contained to just one double sided sheet, but it was full of religious artefacts and Molly had spotted the spear a member of the list in the archival room. She prayed that she had not misread the lines.
"No wonder so many pages were torn out of the books," Molly said thoughtfully. "I think some people went through there before us."
"No kidding," Isay added, entranced by the page.
The Sun was slowly rising, barely warming the winding Roman paths and stuccoed buildings. Molly glanced out over the horizon and noted with some disdain how hungry and tired she was. She got up and went to the window, pulling back the curtains slightly so she could view the city unobstructed. Leaning her face on the glass she welcomed its cool hardness against her throbbing forehead.
"Ah!" Mutt exclaimed, tapping his finger on the piece of paper.
Molly looked over at him, his face shining with elation.
"It says here that she gave the spear to her sister, but only for the duration of her life. When St. Helen died, the spear was given back to her." Mutt looked up from the paper and regarded Molly.
She furrowed her brow, thinking. "Given to back to her on her death? What does that mean?"
"It would have been placed in her sarcophagus, right?" Mutt questioned.
Molly shrugged, coming to sit down beside him, "Well, isn't that the most obvious?"
"Does not mean isn't right," Isay interjected. Rubbing his temples, he added, "The day has been long, I will retire." The two watched the burly Russian extricate himself from the room, letting the heavy hotel door slam behind him, just to make sure they knew who was still in charge.
"He's probably right, you know," Mutt observed. "Is something the matter Moll?" he asked her, putting an arm around her.
"No," she answered, shaking her head and leaning into his embrace, "I'm just really tired, I guess."
Mutt gave her a sympathetic look, "Well go get some sleep then, kid. You've done really well today."
"How far do you think we'd get if we starting running from Isay?" she asked, closing her eyes.
She could feel the vibrations in Mutt's chest as he chuckled. "Probably five feet," he answered. "Okay, c'mon kid," he said, gathering her up in his arm and standing, "let's get you to your room." Molly was too exhausted to care. Instead she buried herself further into his shirt, which smelled of musty old books with a faint hint of cologne.
God, she's real tired, Mutt noted as he carried her. He smiled to himself, thinking of how proud he was of her and how she had not let being a captive or uprooted from her home phase her.
He smiled against her hair, noting that it smelled slightly like soap and something vaguely floral. He set her down carefully in front of her hotel room, the hall lights turned off as the Sun rose higher in the sky, shedding light on the rows of identical doors.
She looked slightly irritated, as though she were working something out in her mind, when she slid the key into the lock. "Good night," she whispered, only half turning around.
"Moll?" he whispered.
He couldn't fight the urge to kiss her any longer, so he didn't. Putting the palm of his hand lightly on her abdomen he pressed her back into the door. Her eyes grew wide, like they had the first time. Smiling he leaned in, fixing his lips lightly against hers. Mutt slid his hands from her abdomen to her hips as he brought his body flush against hers.
She was tired, he decided, as her lips moved weakly against his. I'll let her go this time, he reasoned but found it increasingly hard to pull back from the sweet taste of her soft mouth. Breathing in deeply, he lazily retreated, finishing by planting a kiss on her forehead.
"What was that all about?" she asked, maintaining the irritable tone in her voice.
"If you do as well as you did today, maybe you'll find out," he retorted.
"Good night Dr. Williams," she said decidedly, but he noted a ghost of a smile tugging at the edge of her swollen lips.
"Good morning Miss More," he said, watching her open the door and slip into the safe darkness of her room.
Mutt smiled like a fool the short walk back to his apartment. He left the door unlocked and opened the door easily, looking forward to a shower and sleep. Unbuttoning his shirt, he noticed that Molly had left her glasses on his coffee table.
"I'll give them to her tomorrow," he said aloud, his rational side speaking up (which he found it did, occasionally).
She's probably still awake he thought. She's probably still awake and then she'll have to invite me in...
He needed no further encouragement. Grabbing the glasses off of the table he nearly ran out of his room and down the red-carpeted hall. Sliding to a stop outside her door he took a moment to compose himself and then knocked on the door three times.
He was a little surprised, but knocked twice more. "Moll? It's me..."
Maybe she's asleep...
But he had knocked hard enough to wake her. There was silence on the other end of the door. No rusting, no snoring, nothing. Mutt was about to walk away, but something didn't feel right. He knocked again.
The door knob turned. Molly's flaxen head peeked out from behind the door. She squinted her eyes at him. "Mutt?"
"Yeah, you forgot your glasses," he said, holding out his hand the glasses clenched in his fist.
"Oh, thanks," she said.
Mutt stood there for a moment before asking, "Can I come in?"
"Um... no, I don't think that's a very good idea," she answered simply.
"Okay..." he said. He noticed her look down for a moment, biting her lip. She opened her mouth to say something, but then gave up.
"Is everything okay?" he enquired for the second time that day.
"Yeah!" she said, attempting a smiled, "Yeah, just hard trying to get to sleep... you know with all the noise."
Mutt nodded his head, "Yeah, I know what you mean."
"Alright well, I'll see you at dinnertime," she said quietly.
"See you," he said. But as she tried to close the door, Mutt grabbed a hold of it and swung it in as hard as he could manage. He felt a body crush on the other side of it. Molly screamed as an intruder pointed a gun at the two of them.
"Get in and close the door... Then try to convince me why I shouldn't paint the walls with your brains."
Thanks everyone for sticking with me! Now that I am off for the summer you can be expecting more updates from me.
Hope you're enjoying and feedback is always welcome!