Science and Love

Chapter 9: Night fishing

Claire had just picked up a slice with her hands and stuffed half of it in her mouth, making Yu laugh at her, when Summer realised Yu had change places.

”What are you talking about? ”

”Claire was just pointing to me the copious amount of women that apparently are interested in me in this party and I came to the conclusion that none of them are of any interest to me. So you can abort your plans to introduce any of them to me. ”

Claire almost chocked on the pizza from laughing at Summers face.

”Is that so? Ill have to turn my attention to Claire, then. ”

”Nope, Im good too. If you introduce me to another one of your students that will spend the next month stalking me though messages telling me how cute I would look if I just put a bit more effort, Ill be forced to end our friendship, darling. ”

”Okay, suit yourself. If you two are so good why don you just get together, then? ”

”That is an excellent idea! ”

Claire stood up and sat back down beside Yu. She grabbed his arm and looked at him cocking her head to the side with a huge grin on her face.

”What do you think, Master Yu? Should you just make do with me? ”

Yu mirrored her stance and her grin, put his hand around hers, the one that was holding his arm, and said.

”I think I should, what about you, Master Claire. Should you settle for me? ”

”Oh Master Yu, how could that ever be settling? ”

Claire put her head on Yus shoulder and looked at Summer.

”Is this enough, Summer? ”

Yu leaned his head against Claires and also looked at Summer.

”Are you happy now, Summer. ”

”I would be if you
e both saying all this for real… You know what? I give up. I won introduce anyone else to any of you. ”

”Brilliant! We won! ” Claire said, giving Yu a high five and then moving back to her chair.

Yu didn understand why, but he felt empty for a second when she left.

”Can I get another slice? ”

”Of course! ”

”Do you only think about eating? Marry a piece of cake, will you? ”

”Well, it would certainly be easier to separate. Instead of all the tedious process of divorcing, I would only need to eat it, no? ”

”Oh, Claire. Im sorry. I shouldn have said that… ”

”Don worry, Summer. Im alright. Yu, you
e in trouble. Summer may have given up, but apparently the ladies have not. You have about ten seconds to find a way to deflect them. ”

”What? ”

A tall and blonde woman appeared beside Yu with three other friends. She put her hand on his shoulder and he froze. Claire had to work really hard no to laugh at his panicky face.

”This table seems like fun, Summer. Won you introduce us? ”

”Oh, hi Mara. Of course, let me introduce you. This is Dr. Austin. ”

”Hello, Dr. Austin. Nice to see you again. ”

”Yes, nice… ”

Summer suppressed the grin from her lips and continued.

”This is Claire, and this is Professor Yu. ”

”Hi, Dr. Mara. We met yesterday, I think I received your group, right? How is your stay? ”

”Yes, I think you did. Shouldn you be serving everyone? Isn that what the help is for? ”

”Im sorry Dr. Mara, how rude of me. Can I get you something? ”

”Yes, I would like a piña colada with extra ice for me and my friends. And some extra chairs, too. Do you want anything, Professor Yu? ”

Before Summer could complain that Claire was not Maras server, Yu had swatted her hand away, gotten up and gone to Claires side.

”Im sorry, Miss Mara. You seem to misunderstand. Claire is a volunteer in the conference, not your personal server. Other than that, she is my friend, and right now she is having dinner with me. Now, I don know if things are the same here, but where I come from you don crash someone elses dinner and try to put their guest to work. So, if you could please apologise to my friend, I will pretend you never even came around here. ”

As he said that, Yu hugged Claire at his side. It was a comfortable hug for both of them, even though they had just met. Summer was almost bursting in laughter at Maras face and Dr. Austin was looking proudly at Yu, almost giving him a handshake there and then.

”Why should I apologise to this little student? Are you even a student? ”

”Well, I just defended my dissertation, so technically Im in that limbo between MSc and PhD. ”

”Then why are you even here? ”

”I think this question should be directed at you, Miss Mara. I don remember anyone here inviting you over. ”

”How could you say that, Professor Yu? First of all, is Dr. Mara. Im a researcher like you. How could you mistreat me for this girl that is not even a student. ”

”Miss Mara, my friend could be a high school dropout and I would still be as furious with you as Im now. You won apologise? Thats fine, just leave then. ”

”Summer, this is outrageous! ”

”I can do anything, lovey. We were all invited by Professor Yu, so I can do anything. ”

Claire looked up at Yu and, seeing he was genuinely mad, pinched his waist and said:

”Yu, its okay. theres no need to fight. Ill just go get the drinks and.. ”

”YU? How dare you call Professor Yu just by his name?! ”

”Im sorry, Professor Yu. Just let it go. ”

It was Yus turn to look at Claire and squeeze her shoulder.

”She calls me by my first name only because we
e friends and I requested that she drops the titles, and she won change that because of someone like you, Miss Mara. Now, please leave and go get your drinks yourself. If you
e capable of coming all the way to our table, Im certain you can walk to the bar. ”

Summer had to feign a cough to hide the laugh that finally escaped her lips. Dr. Austin was openly laughing at all this, pointing at Maras distorted face. Her friends finally dragged her to the bar, too ashamed to say anything else.

Yu turned Claire to face him and his face softened as he saw she, too, was laughing.

”Are you okay? You don have to contend with that kind of behaviour, you know? ”

”And destroy your romantic prospects? Never ”

Yu made a face and Claire laughed even more.

”Im okay, don worry. Im used to Mara and the likes. People tend to treat me that way because they think Im at an age where I should already be on my first PostDoc and that somehow entitles them to mistreat me. ”

”But they are wrong, you know that right? ”

There was genuine concern in Yus eyes, even a little bit of anger for what she had been through, and Claire felt grateful for that.

”I know, but I also hate confrontation and have great endurance, so I just let them walk over me for a bit and they forget about me in minutes. ”

”Claire, thats not… ”

”Lets not talk about that anymore, there is something more important to talk about. ”

”Yeah? And what is it? ”

”Its Master Yu saying Im his friend and guest for dinner. What did I do to deserve such a boon? ” said Claire, batting her lashes at Yu and laughing at his stunned face.

”Hu-hum, there are still other people at the table, you know? ”

Claire turned around to a laughing Dr. Austin and a scowling Summer. She hugged Summer and asked:

”Are you jealous, baby Summer? Did I rob you of your friend? ”

”More like he is trying to steal you from me. ”

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