Sunday, 19 April 2015

Willkommen in Bonn

We're getting close to the end of The Prelude to Attraction now, and we're sneaking up toward the beginning of The Science of Attraction. In this week's excerpt, Tom has managed to overcome all the roadblocks that stood in his path to Kate, and he's finally arrived in Bonn. Let's find out how he got there…

The Prelude to Attraction (Part 10)
Months later, I’m walking through Bonn, on my way to the Schaeffer, when I stop for a moment and take stock of the fact that I’m actually here—I actually made it. And when I look back on it, getting here was almost too easy.
Kissing Rob’s skinny ass in Colorado was the hardest part. I laid out my plans for him on the first night in the bar of the hotel we were staying at, and then we continued the discussion during our daily hikes. By that stage, I’d drawn up a near-flawless blueprint of the work I wanted to do, and so I really just had to sell it to him. More importantly, I had the fellowship in the bag by then, which meant that filling him in on my plans was mostly about stroking his ego. It was pretty clear he was likely to have very little to do with the project once it got off the ground. And that was more than fine with me.
Admittedly, he’d been a little skeptical at first—no doubt viewing my proposed research as a threat to his precious time. But once I dropped Kate’s name into the mix, he saw almost immediately how a collaboration might work in his favor.
The best part was that I found I was more than capable of tolerating his bullshit. The only exception to this rule came up when he aired one or two comments about Kate that made me want to knee him in the groin.
“Dr Ramsey is certainly one of our finest,” he said, when I first floated the idea in the bar. “And she pulls in funding like no one else I know.”
He shot me a sleazy sidelong glance that made me feel dirty by association.
“Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a rack like that,” he said, and I flexed my fist by reflex.
Somehow, despite the fact that I’d yet to actually meet her, I was under the impression that no one but me was allowed to think—much less talk about—her rack like that. Psycho, right? Yeah.
The next bombshell came during our hike on the second day. This time Simon was along for the ride, which was a good thing really, or else I might have followed through on the reflex.
“Kate’s a feisty little thing though, Tom,” he said. “I feel like I should warn you in advance that she can be a handful.”
Simon forced a smile and nodded out of politeness. I didn’t bother to do the same.
“But then, she’s pretty enough to get away with it most of the time.”
This time Simon cleared his throat and looked away, a gesture that I’d learned was one of his coping mechanisms when things got uncomfortable. I took solace in the fact that he found Rob’s snide little remarks just as inappropriate as I did, and changed the subject as quickly as I could.
In the end though, it didn’t matter how mad Rob made me. He was a means to an end—and that’s exactly how I view him to this day.
It’s been eight months since I first laid eyes on the enigmatic Kate Ramsey, and since then I’ve been through hell and back on a mission to draft, perfect and defend my PhD thesis. I’ve studied her work back to front and back again, and honed my plans for the research I want to do in the next three years.
I still think it’s a bit weird that neither Rob nor Simon has ever suggested I speak directly with her, but to be honest I’ve barely had time to breathe in the last few months, much less navigate a lust-filled Skype interview with the object of my affections. It’s better this way. In all likelihood, Rob has forwarded my research proposal to her, and she’s already in the loop, armed with ideas for expanding and improving on my plans.
I arrived in Bonn a few days ago, and I’m still feeling the jet lag like you wouldn’t believe. But I have a ten o’clock appointment that I intend to keep. Rob e-mailed a couple of hours ago to let me know he’d be too busy to meet me this morning, and that Kate would be standing in. I read the message in the middle of my hotel room, still wet from the shower. And I literally fist-pumped in the nude—something that I won’t be repeating in a hurry, especially if anyone happens to be around to act as a witness.

Jump to Part 11.

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