Another summer, another batch of students looking for experience and college credit, a week of teaching them how to properly clear away dirt and debris before they could begin the actual work of uncovering the bones buried in the Montana desert.
Alan pushed his hat back and wiped his forehead – June, and it was already unbearably hot. Thankfully their camper had AC, but the commissary tent only had fans to cool it, and the dig didn’t have even that. -- as he watched students unloading their packs, setting up their tents, milling about as they acclimated to the heat and the set up of the camp.
Alan shivered with pleasure at the sound of that voice, felt his lips automatically begin to curl up in a smile. Without turning, he said, “What is it, Dr. Brennan?”
“There’s someone I want you to meet.”
Alan turned to greet the young man standing beside Billy.
“This is Michael Perry, our new assistant. Michael, Dr. Grant.”
After Michael stumbled through a greeting, thanking them both for the opportunity, they sent him off to finish unpacking. Tomorrow he’d start earning his pay.
“He looks so young,” Alan said. He remembered when he’d thought Billy was young, too young for an old fart like himself, but now there were scars and laugh lines that spoke of experience, if not age.
“Was I ever that young?” Billy wondered.
Alan clamped his hand onto Billy’s shoulder and squeezed, thumb brushing his collarbone -- one of the few PDAs he allowed himself. “You still seem that young.”
Billy grinned at him for a moment, then said, “Come on, I’ve got a new machine I want to show you.”
Alan grumbled about new technology as he followed Billy away from the chaos, towards the promise of peace and quiet.