“Dr. Cathcart, could I borrow your satellite phone?” Nicholas skipped any formalities as he slid up behind Becky and kissed her neck.
“Only if you’re using the phone to call your university and tender your resignation.” Timothy laughed as he handed over the lifeline that would save them in the event of an emergency.
“Close,” Nicholas said, taking the phone and handing it to Becky. “Could you please call your father? I need to formally apologize to Mr. Benson for marrying his daughter before asking his permission.”
“Actually it’s Dr. Benson to you,” Becky said with a chuckle, taking the phone and starting to dial his number. Then she backspaced. “Wait, he would be at his office this time of day.” She resumed punching in buttons.
“Ah, what does he have his PhD in?” Nicholas asked.
Becky chuckled. “Obstetrics. He’s a real doctor. He sees patients and everything.”
“Forgive me,” Nicholas teased. “I’ll be sure to offer him the level of respect he deserves.” He winked over at Timothy.
“Good afternoon, could I speak with Dr. Benson please?” She pushed the button for speaker phone.
“I’m sorry, he’s seeing patients right now, could I take a message for him?”
“Actually, I’m calling from Guatemala on a satellite phone, so unless he’s delivering a baby, could you please tell him his daughter needs to speak with him.”
“Satellite phone?” the receptionist asked, flustered. “Guatemala?”
Dr. Benson must have been standing close because a man’s voice in the background said, “Is my daughter okay?”
He breathlessly took the phone, clunking the receiver. Nicholas could almost see him jostling around and shoving the poor receptionist out of the way.
“Rebecca? Are you okay?”
“Yes, daddy, I’m fine.” Her sweet, innocent voice while speaking to her father was such a stark contrast to the professional lady he knew. Coupled with the flirty temptress he also knew and more importantly the sensual woman who shared his bed, Nicholas wondered how many hats this girl wore. “I have someone I’d like you to meet and then we have a request. We need your help. We’re on speaker phone and I’d like you to meet Dr. Nicholas Stephenson, the elite environmental archaeologist I met at Boston University when we were both grad students. He teaches at Harvard now.”
“You called all this way to introduce me to an archaeologist?” her father asked.
“Dr. Benson, I’m honored to speak with you, sir,” Nicholas said. “You’re welcome to call me Nicholas. I’m calling to apologize for marrying your daughter before requesting your permission.”
“You”—Dr. Benson sounded like he was either going to choke, yell, or cry— “married my daughter.”
“Yes, sir.” Nicholas gulped. “I’m very sorry, sir. Although, I’m not sorry I married her. I’m only sorry I married her without your permission.”
“Daddy, we’re calling mom next and we’d like your help arranging a wedding back in the States as soon as we return.”
“If you’re already married”—he sounded like he was gritting his teeth— “why do you need to have a wedding?”
Nicholas interjected. “We want to make sure it’s legal in the United States, sir. Becky deserves to have a white dress and cake and pictures with her friends and family rather than wearing the wedding costume of a Mayan princess. Plus, without the tribal chief holding a spear to our chests.”
“What?” Dr. Benson sounded to be growing more agitated.
“Daddy, we just want to have a wedding, okay? And as soon as possible. Which is why we’re calling. I’ll have mamma set it up for about six weeks from now, which is about when we’ll return from Guatemala.”
“I know that doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but mamma can make it happen. Besides six weeks is a lot longer to plan a wedding than the one hour we had a few days ago.”
“Yes, the tribal chief insisted. He didn’t want us sleeping together unless we were married.”
“The sentiment to which we agreed wholeheartedly,” Nicholas added. “Which is why we went along with it. Best decision I ever made.” Nicholas felt his shoulders soften as he searched his wife’s eyes.
“Me too,” Becky said, meeting his gaze with a cheesy grin.
“Alright, alright, call your mother. I need to get back to seeing patients. Some of us work as real doctors you know?”
“Yes, of course, Dr. Benson. And thank you so much, sir. I look forward to meeting you.”
“Goodbye, daddy,” Becky said. “Love you!”
“Love you, too, Rebecca.” With that, the phone was disconnected, and Nicholas leaned forward to kiss his wife.
Timothy made a fake gagging noise and asked when they’d be returning to the village.
“Couple more phone calls to make first,” Nicholas said, already dialing the main number for his department chairman.
A pleasant woman’s voice came over the line. “Department of Anthropology, this is Helen, may I help you?”
“Helen, this is Nicholas Stephenson. Is Dr. Sedwick available?”
“Of course, Dr. Stephenson,” Helen said. “Just a moment.” After a couple of clicks the chairman of the department was on the line and addressed him fondly.
“Dr. Sedwick,” Nicholas said, meeting Timothy’s gaze. “I’m calling from Guatemala to offer my letter of resignation. I’m moving to Houston to be near my wife.”