Monday, January 31, 2011

Born To Fly Wild As The Wind by Aliyah Burke

Verity Andrews sighed with contentment as she pushed to her feet and wiped her dirty hands on her khaki shorts until they were clean. The warm air from the Mediterranean Sea cooled the sweat from her body. Through her mirrored shades she scanned the coastline of Kríti, or Crete to the rest of the world. She’d come here years ago to complete her thesis in archeology, focusing on Minoan history, and had never left. It was her day off and she was out enjoying her time near Kalives. She was exploring around Kastelli Hill that lay east of the town and housed the remnants of the Castello Apicorono, a fortified settlement identified by some scholars as the location site of ancient Ippokoronion. She stared down at the long sandy beach that ran alongside most of the town. Kalives was a big tourist attraction sitting at the entrance to Souda Bay; it drew many visitors with the sea on one side and low hills on the other.


It was early Saturday morning and she caught movement off to her right and turned her head. Oh my! A lone man jogged along the path heading in her direction. The morning sun glowed off his tanned body and only enhanced her vision of the muscular naked torso. Have I said oh my? She swallowed and did her best not to stare, but tall, muscular and tanned made it very difficult. His strides were smooth and even, suggesting he did this often. As he passed her, she turned her head in time to follow his action and watched him until she could no longer see him.

Black hair, tanned skin, and an angular face were all she saw before he was gone. Well, that and one hell of an ass in those shorts. Well defined arms and legs too. Fanning herself, Verity took a few deep breaths before she headed back down to the town.

She ambled along, staring at the pathways littered with mosaics and the walls in which stones in shapes of different creatures were stuffed. Fresh baked bread and pastries lent their scents to the air and Verity inhaled them greedily. When she reached the small outdoor café she visited every time she came to this town, Verity sat down and waited for service.

Kaliméra, Verity. Wonderful to see you again.”

Looking up, Verity smiled at the older man who stood before her, a white apron wrapped around his middle. She reached for his hand and squeezed it gently after he placed a small blue ceramic mug on the wrought iron table before her. Verity knew it was coffee, served just the way she loved it; gliko. Very sweet. Since being over here she’d come to love her coffee served what many considered to be “Turkish”, where the loose grounds are in the bottom of the small cup, and the coffee is very strong.

Yassou, Apostolos. It’s wonderful to see you again.”

“You stay away for far too long, my dear. We’re not that far from Iraklio.”

She heard the subtle reprimand in his voice. “I know. I’ve just been busy.”

Apostolos looked at her and nodded in understanding. “Your usual this morning? I’m assuming you’ve been out visiting around Kastelli Hill.”

“You know me well, Apostolos. And yes, my usual. Please.” Releasing his hand, she picked up the coffee he’d set before her.

“Be right up.” He walked away calling out her order in Greek.

Swallowing some of the hot brew, Verity sighed and removed her sunglasses. The wind picked up, moving through her hair and she turned her head before tucking some strands behind her ear. Her breakfast arrived and Apostolos joined her. This often happened because she was almost always the only customer at that time, or one of a few. After breakfast, alone with a topped off cup of coffee, Verity glanced behind her and froze.

Oh damn!

Moving down the sidewalk across the narrow street was the man from earlier. The runner. He still jogged and looked just as smoking hot as he had when he’d gone past her the first time. This time, his head turned and he looked at her. Verity couldn’t explain the feelings that rocked her. Her heart pounded and her hands shook. As nonchalantly as she could, she faced forward again and finished her coffee. Setting her cup down, Verity grabbed her glasses and walked inside the café to pay.

Adio, Apostolos. I’ll stop by before I head back to Iraklio.”

He bent over her hand and kissed it. “Until next time, Verity Andrews.”

She left with a wave and a smile. Slipping her sunglasses on, Verity headed down to the beach. She had a few hours to kill before she met up with her friends. Very few people were out on the white sands and she strolled along, hands in her pockets.

Up ahead of her she could make out the figure of a person running. What are the chances? The way her body began to react she knew it had to be the same man. It wasn’t logical, she hadn’t even spoken to him, not even a simple “good morning,” and yet he was making her lightheaded. The closer he came the more parched she began to feel.

Fingers clenched in her pockets when he slowed and veered a bit closer to her. By the time he reached her he was almost walking. Jogging in slow motion. Sweet mother... The man was downright mouthwatering. She ogled him, grateful for the way her glasses hid her searching gaze. Dropping her stare to the sand, she worked her way up.

He wore tennis shoes with no socks. Powerful legs and a lean waist led up to his torso which was well—very well—defined. She made out with ease the six-pack he sported. His arms were strong and made her think things like him holding her in bed with nothing on. When she reached his face it was as if he knew she was checking him out, for there was an arrogant smirk on his lips. He flashed a grin, and straight white teeth shone out against his tanned skin. As he passed her, she saw his eyes, cornflower blue with thick curly lashes.

Verity couldn’t help it; she turned with him as he moved past her. Her own mouth curved up when he jogged backward for a bit, his masculine grin growing wider before he winked and touched his temple with two fingers in silent salute. She chuckled and waved before continuing her walk.

Oh, what a man like that could do to me. Oh, what I would like to do to him. Verity snuck one more glance over her shoulder and bit her lower lip as his tight ass vanished from view. Wow! “Uh, uh, uh. They just don’t make men like that anymore.”

Later on that morning when she met up with some friends and colleagues there lingered a faint satisfied smile on her face as that man’s image hung around in her mind.

“You have a big suspicious grin on your face, Verity. Find something this morning?” Kasey Schmidt asked.

Verity winked and nodded. “Oh boy, did I.”

“I know that sound. You found a man,” Kasey announced. “Give.” She scooted her chair closer.

“Well, I didn’t actually meet him. Just saw him jogging. Three times.”

“Three times, just today?” Kasey whistled low. “It’s fate. Third time’s the charm. He checked you out too, didn’t he?”

“A bit,” Verity admitted with another grin.

“And how did he look?” That warm feeling filled her again as she described her handsome jogger to Kasey who punched her in the shoulder after she finished and said, “Remind me to go with you on your next early outing.”

“You don’t like getting up before the sun, Kasey.”

“For eye candy like that, I can learn.”

She laughed and rolled her eyes. “The power of persuasion.”

“Hey, it’s called adaptation.”

“Is that what we’re calling it now?” Verity asked, a trace of sarcasm in her voice.

Kasey punched her in the arm again and flipped her, off causing Verity to burst out laughing.

Verity took a drink of her fruit juice and sighed with satisfaction as she was drawn back in to the conversation going on around them. It was late morning when they split to each go their own ways. Getting a bottle of water to carry with her, Verity waved her farewells and walked back up the beach, threading in and out of the numerous people who now lined the waters of Souda Bay.

Wow, I have a half a day to myself. What should I do? At her car, she climbed in and headed for the nearby village of Kalami. It wasn’t long before she had passed behind the fields of bamboo to locate a hidden beach, Kyani Akti, as it was known by the locals. Sitting on a large rock, Verity took a stick, and drew abstract designs in the damp sand as she enjoyed the beautiful weather. A while later her phone rang. She answered to discover her friend Larry inviting her to a party that evening. With the time and location set, Verity pushed to her feet and made her way back to her car. There was a need to shop for something other than shorts and a tank top to wear.