Sunday, 15 March 2015

Slow on the uptake

It's Sunday! Which means it's time to get down and dirty with Tom Baker again.

For the last few weeks, we've been following Tom as he makes his way across the country toward Kate Ramsey. In the last excerpt, his mind got a little wrapped up in all the ways he might better acquaint himself with Her Loveliness. He's still somewhat gutter-bound this week, but there are neurons firing beyond the sex part of his brain (that's a thing, right?) and a plan is about to be hatched.

And remember, you can skip the foreplay and jump right into reading about Kate and Tom in The Science of Attraction.

The Prelude to Attraction (Part 6)

“So we’re using the magnetic fields to manipulate beads embedded in the cytoskeleton,” she’s saying. “And I should probably stop here and give credit where credit is due.” Her smile is warm and kind of private, like she’s about to share something with us that makes her genuinely happy.
“Tek Chang is really the brains and brawn behind all these beautiful experiments,” she says. “He’s been in my lab for all of six months, and he’s already produced some fantastic results.”
She grins down into the audience and a guy halfway along my row responds with a little salute. I want to hate him, but it’s just not in me—he looks like a really nice guy. But that doesn’t chip any of the envy away. At this point, I would give an arm to trade places with him. He can take Harvard, and Simon, and my cushy scholarship. I’ll take her.
“He’s here at the conference if you’re interested in the details,” she says, resuming her talk and flipping slides. “You can find him at the poster session and buy him a beer.”
“Hell yes,” the dude says, in an even weirder accent. Kate flicks her gaze back down to him and treats him to a cute smirk and a wink, before snapping back to business.
And oh my fucking God, do I want that wink to be for me.
Now I’m imagining I’m the guy in her lab. And this time, when she finishes her talk, she comes down off the stage and collapses in the seat next to mine. She looks at me with an elated kind of exhaustion, high on nerves and science, and sighs happily. I lean over and bring my lips close to her ear, feeling her shudder slightly against my touch.
“That was amazing,” I say. “You were amazing.”
She responds with a little hum that resonates through my body.
I pull away, reluctantly, but she moves with me, turning her head in time so that when she utters her breathy, “Thanks,” our mouths are inches apart. I fix my gaze on her lips and she feels the pull, dropping her mouth open in a perfect little gasp. Her tongue is heavy against her bottom teeth and although I’m totally fucking preoccupied with her mouth, I’m aware that her chest is heaving with every breath.
Then I do it. I lean in and take what I want, kissing her deeply and fully. Her hands are on my face in an instant and she’s moaning into each stroke of my tongue. She shifts her weight onto me and pins me down with her thighs, straddling me as my hands move around to cup her perfect ass.
And I’m right back where I started.
Seriously, my brain goes from zero to a hundred in two seconds flat where this woman is concerned.
The place breaks out into applause and I snap out of my fog of lust to join in. Kate smiles appreciatively and then busies herself with her laptop. The chairman takes to the stage again and calls for questions from the audience. And now I’m kicking myself, because if I’d only stayed with it during her talk, I might have thought of something intelligent to ask her. Something to make her train those beautiful eyes on me. Instead, I spent the time thinking of all the many ways I could get all up in her. I am such a creep.
To be honest though, I would have had to fight to even have my question heard. The auditorium is freaking full of raised hands, and the chairman is making a dick of himself by trying to choose one out of the sea. He settles predictably on Harrison Wyatt, head of the old guard, who surely has something acerbic in store for my beautiful new obsession.
“It’s a really nice story, Kate,” he says, smarmy as hell. I hate that he’s using her first name, but I can tell that his tone is just an attempt to soften her up before the blow. He’s a sneaky fucker.
“But do you really think you’re going to get anything meaningful out of this preparation?” he sneers. “It’s a world away from living cells.”
Kate blinks. Half the audience blinks. I spent the entire time she was talking with my head between her legs and even I know that this is a stupid question.
“Oh I’m sorry, Harry,” she says, and I flinch again at their familiarity. “I should have made it more clear that these are living cells. We introduce the beads while the tissue is still alive.” She flicks back to the slide in her presentation that explained the preparation, and tries to make out that she hadn’t spelled it out the first time around.
Her response is so sweet, so self-effacing, that Wyatt comes away from his blunder with little more than a red face. But the whole audience is left with no delusions about who is boss.
She can be the boss of me anytime she wants, I think.
And that’s when it hits me. Which is ridiculous, really, given that I’ve been playing out boss–student fantasies for a good ten minutes. But there you have it—sometimes I’m slow on the uptake.
Here is what I realize: I need to figure out where I’m going next year. The Schaeffer Institute is one of the most prestigious places to do biology research in Europe. And the eponymous Schaeffer is my adviser’s BFF, so scoring a job there next spring would not be impossible, especially if I manage to win this fellowship.
I feel an odd kind of calm wash over me as I settle back in my seat. I’ve just killed two birds with one stone: I now know where I want to work after I finish my PhD, and I may even have a chance in hell of getting to know the woman that I’ve just fallen head over cock in lust with.
The only problem, I think, as Kate finally sashays off the stage and into the audience, is what the fuck I’m going to do about Nate, and my mom.
But then, just before she sits down next to her student, she looks along the row and catches my eye. I see her flick her gaze briefly down my body before dragging it back up to meet mine.
It’s yours, sweetheart, I want to tell her. It’s all yours.
I don’t, of course. But I smile, and she smiles back at me, and that’s when I know for sure that I don’t give a crap about Nate’s demands. I’m going to get my ass to Germany and find out if she’s as good as my libido seems to think she is.
I’d say the odds are on a yes.

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