“Today, I want to take you over to my office and show you off to my colleagues.”
“I don’t know what that means.” Tiani rolled over in bed and propped herself up on one elbow. They’d been awake for a little while just lying in bed talking and kissing and goofing off. Eventually they’d need to get up and make some breakfast. Before they’d gone home the previous afternoon, they’d stopped by the grocery store and picked up some very basic foods since neither Tiani nor Levi had any real cooking skills.
“My office is the place where I work,” Levi explained. Not everything translated perfectly to Yucatec. Plus, people didn’t have jobs in the tribal village like Americans did. They all just sort of helped each other. Hunting, farming, cooking, gathering wild fruits, nuts, fibrous plants, scouting for dangers, basically protecting themselves and the temple pyramid. “My colleagues are the people I work with.”
“Okay, whatever you say. I will follow you and you can—how did you say—show me off.”
“You will like my books,” Levi said. He pictured all the shelves filled with ancient and modern languages, symbology, translations, photographs of archeological sites.
“You have books?” Tiani sat up, excited. She’d been fascinated with the books they bought in Guatemala City and he wanted to purchase more books and writing materials and instruction aides. If he was going to be spending time in the village, he needed to be contributing something and teaching languages was what he was good at. “Can we leave right now?”
“Sure. I need a shower and some breakfast, but then we can leave.”
They hurried through morning preparations for the day then headed down to the garage where they had a dilemma.
“I’ve never driven this car before…” He stood beside Tiani, both staring at the candy apple red luxury SUV with its $270,000 valuation and nervously remembered the words Nicholas had said to him over and over: don’t touch my car. “Can’t be much different than any other car, right?”
“I don’t know what that means,” Tiani said in Yucatec. She’d only sat in a car a few dozen times in her life.
“Of course not,” Levi grumbled. He held open the passenger side door and helped her inside. He walked around the front. “I may need to call my brother.”
Levi realized he hadn’t called Nicholas since he and Tiani arrived at the condo. That had been the first night that he and Nicholas had slept in a different town, a different state, on opposite sides of the country. If he hadn’t had Tiani by his side, he might have spiraled into depression and anxiety.
Staying in a hotel or tent with Nicholas on the other side of a wall had been easy. Giving Tiani a grand tour of his condo was difficult. This is Nicholas’ bedroom. This is Nicholas’ home office. This is Nicholas’ computer workstation and collection of books and maps and charts. This is Nicholas’ car. We’ll drive it to Houston for him in a few days. I’ll spend the night in the same city as my twin in just a few days. Levi shook off the despair and pulled out his cellphone.
Nicholas answered on the first ring. “Miss me already, little brother?”
“Not nearly as soon as I thought I would.” Levi chuckled and slipped into the fine leather driver’s seat. “But we’ve been a little busy so there hasn’t been much time to miss you.”
“Yeah, mom told me how she walked in on you two.”
“She did not walk in on us,” Levi corrected his twin. “The front door was locked, and we had recently fallen asleep… without clothing. Plus, I may or may not have caused a complete rat’s nest in my wife’s hair after our shower.”
“Our shower?” Nicholas laughed. “Sounds like fun. May have to try that later with Becky.”
“Yeah, not all of us have a cenote tucked into our backyard,” Levi said then glanced over at Tiani, realizing that whole conversation had been in English other than the word cenote. He knew he should switch to Spanish but wanted to get driving instructions in English.
“You will when you return to your wife’s native village.”
“That’s almost incentive to pack my bags right now and order the private jet to take us home.” Levi winked at Tiani even though she likely had no idea what he was saying.
“Not until after my wedding, dude.”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Levi said. “But first, please tell me how to start the engine on your Lamborghini.”
“Dude, don’t touch my car, man.”
“Dude, when did you take up surfing?” Levi asked. “This is the only car we own, and I need to know how to drive the beast so I can bring it to you when we drive to Houston. Now tell me how to turn the dang thing on.”
“There’s a little red latch up by the cup holders.” Nicholas almost sounded like he was speaking through clenched teeth. “Open the latch and push the button that says ‘start’. This shouldn’t be that difficult.”
“Any tips for driving the thing?”
“Yeah, keep it in strada mode. It’s designed for everyday use. The ride will be so smooth you’ll feel like you’re driving a Lexus.”
“I’ve never driven a Lexus so that’s not a good comparison, but I’ll take your word for it. Wow, it’s so quiet.” Just as he commented on the sound of the engine, the Bluetooth hooked the car to his cell phone and Nicholas’ voice boomed into the cab, startling Tiani.
“Where are you taking my baby, anyway?” Nicholas asked.
“This morning, we are going to campus so I can show off my elegant wife. No one is going to believe the geek twins went away for the winter and came back married. What are the odds?”
“Apparently in our favor,” Nicholas said.
“Okay, how do you get this thing in reverse?” Levi asked, looking around for some sort of gear shift.
“There’s a lever right above the start button. Pull that back. Then the other shifting paddles are on the steering wheel.”
“Weird, but okay.” Levi pulled back the lever and eased his foot off the brake, allowing the car to slowly reverse out of the garage. “Okay, I need to focus on driving now. I’ll call if I need any more help.”
“Be careful, please,” Nicholas said.
“Eh, don’t worry about us.” Levi said, looking over his shoulder as he backed up. “This baby has three-sixty airbags. We will most likely live through a crash.”
“I meant be careful of my car.” Nicholas sounded like he was growling.
“Oh, right, I knew what you meant,” Levi teased. “I’ll be sure to park her in a nice, tight space between two college students with beaters.”
“You’d better not!”
“You’re so gullible,” Levi said. “Goodbye.”
Levi shifted into drive and barely touched the accelerator before they were already flying down the road.