Sunday, 22 March 2015

Hatching a plan

Time for another Tom Baker update. Last week, he figured out (somewhat belatedly) that following Kate Ramsey back to Germany might be a way of solving his problems. Now he's back in Boston, trying to figure out how to make all the pieces fall into place. The first step is getting his adviser Simon on board.

Read the whole story from the beginning here, or skip forward to find out what happens when his plans become a reality in The Science of Attraction.

The Prelude to Attraction (Part 7)

I walk into Simon’s office as soon as I get to the lab on Monday morning. I could easily waste time with pleasantries, but I don’t bother, for two reasons: first, I know he doesn’t need them, and second, I’m busting out of my skin to move this plan forward.
I’ve spent the last three days learning everything there is to know about Kate Ramsey, and if anything, I’m more sold on the idea than I was before. I’ve read every last one of her scientific papers and decided that the woman is almost smarter than she is beautiful. Which is, as we know, a fairly tall order.
“I know where I want to work next year,” I say, and Simon straightens his bowed posture to hear me out.
“Oh yeah?” he says. “Where?”
“The Schaeffer in Bonn,” I say. “Kate Ramsey spoke at the conference last week and she blew me away.” It’s the understatement of the year, but he doesn’t need to know that.
“Kate’s good,” he says, rolling the idea around in his mind. “That might be a good fit.”
And this is why I love Simon. This is how I know not to bother with the small talk preamble.
Any normal, red-blooded male would see straight through my ruse, and call me on wanting to work with the world’s hottest lady biologist. But for all Simon’s brilliance—the PhD in theoretical physics, the quick transition into award-winning biology research—he’s a little socially challenged.
It’s nothing major. He can hold a conversation, and he’s married with a couple of kids, so he obviously gets women to some degree. But his brain seems incapable of following the natural trajectory that starts out with a solitary thought about Kate Ramsey and ends somewhere in the gutter.
This is my litmus test, really, because Simon’s inability to pick up on all the untoward reasons I might want to work with Kate is precisely how I’m going to make sure that my dick is not leading me into career suicide. I’ve worked far too hard to throw it all away on a bad decision fueled by desire. I decided that much at the conference, just as soon as I’d moved out of Dr Ramsey’s tractor beam.
But my weekend reading has shifted the goal posts again. Because Kate really is good. And the work I’m writing up in my PhD thesis lends itself so naturally to the sort of research she does. Seeing the way Simon is putting all the pieces together in his head only confirms the feeling in my gut: this is meant to be.
“Yes, I think that could work,” he says finally. “And a couple of years in Europe can only mean good things for your CV.”
My CV and my sex drive, says a voice in my head. But I play it cool, and nod once in agreement.
“But I think you should aim to work with Rob Schaeffer rather than Kate,” he says. “They collaborate closely, so I’m sure he’ll pair the two of you together anyway. But having Rob’s name on your papers will be a kind of insurance policy.”
I find myself frowning at this, mostly because Rob’s a dick, and I don’t want anything to do with him. He visits our lab once or twice a year and lavishes a little of his genius on all of us. The effect is nauseating.
But Simon reads my response as confusion.
“Kate is very young,” he says, by way of explanation.
“She is?” I say, perking up. I can’t believe that my mammoth Ramsey readathon didn’t involve any actual internet stalking.
“Yes,” he says. “The youngest hire to date in Bonn. I don’t think she’s even hit thirty.”
And I’m almost embarrassed to say that I feel my cock twitch in response. Why, I’m not exactly sure. Maybe it’s because I’m realizing she’s just two or three years older than me, which might better my chances of getting her naked. Or maybe I’m just supremely turned on by her precocious success. Whatever the reason, I need to get out of my adviser’s office before he realizes I have a hard-on for my future boss.
Simon is clueless, but he’s not that clueless.
“OK, so I’ll write to Rob,” I say, backing up toward the door.
“Do that,” he says. “And remind him about our trip to Colorado. You two can chat while we hike.”

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