Science and Love

Chapter 10: An offer you can\'t refuse

”Come on, Summer, you know you
e the only one form me. ”

”Yeah, yeah, keep the sweet talking for your mom. Youll need it to tell her about the divorce. ”

”Ive already told her. ” Said Claire, sitting back down and sighing.

”What, and you didn tell me? ”

”Contrary to your firm belief, I do not tell you every single thing that happens, you know? ”

”Youve been married, young lady? ”

”Yes, Dr. Austin. Just got divorced. ”

”But you
e so young! ”

”How old do you think she is, Austin? ” asked Summer.

”I thought about 23, but if she was married, maybe 26? ”

”Dr. Austin, if I were a little bolder I would give you a kiss. Im 31. ”

”What?! Impossible! ”

”Are you really, Claire? ” asked Yu.

”See, told you people think you
e younger. ”

”Maybe your formaldehyde fumes are embalming me too? Or I just come out as childish to people. There are a lot of explanations. ”

”Just accept you look young, woman. Anyway, what did she say? ”

”Who? ”

”Your mom! You said you
e afraid of her reaction. ”

”I wasn afraid of her reaction, that part was pretty straight forward: she asked me what he had done, I said nothing, she said ah, that bad huh? and that was it. The problem is she wants me back home now that Ill live alone again. ”

”Why? ” asked Yu.

He and Dr. Austin looked so invested on the story that Summer and Claire started laughing.

”I have an autoimmune disease and, sometimes, things get difficult. Im already used to dealing with things by myself, but my parents don know that. If they knew they would suffer for what I went through and that is unnecessary. I just moved to a place close to the lab so she can be calmer with the knowledge that there will be people around to help. ”

”She doesn know you don ask for help, does she? ”

”They don need to know about that, either. ”

”And what are your plans now, young Claire? ”

”I don know, Dr. Austin. The past year was really difficult and ended up delaying my Masters. Now that its finished I would like to do a PhD. Lets see if I can pass the selection at the end of the year. ”

”Do you still think that theres any doubt in that? ”

”Of course, Summer. How could i be certain of passing a selection process? The premiss of these is that you can get rejected you know? ”

”Claire, they said your Masters looked like a PhD work. You have publications already and you
e an excellent candidate all around. How can you still doubt yourself?! ”

e not an objective evaluator of my capacity, Summer, but thanks. ”

”Have you ever thought about doing a PhD overseas, Claire? I think you would be an excellent candidate. ”

”I agree with Dr. Yu, little Claire. ”

”The world agrees with Yu, only Claire doesn . ”

”Shut it, Summer, drink your cocktail. I have thought about it, Yu, but that was years ago. Now I think my best chance would be a sandwich PhD, at best, an then maybe a PostDoc overseas. ”

”Got it. And you know what you want to work with? ”

”Ill probably continue with my Masters project, but I would like to expand on it. Maybe I could do some crystallography? ”

”Cryo-EM, Claire. ”

”Ah yes, crystallography is a thing of the past. Well, maybe a friend that works with cryo-EM could help me out, hmm? Im open for offers, you know. ”

”Ill think about it, friend. ”

”Thank you, Master Yu. ”

”The two of you are really stupid. Aren they stupid, Austin? ”

”Not stupid, but they are squandering precious time, yes. ”

”Summer, I think you drank too much already. You
e not making sense. Neither are you, Dr. Austin. ”

”Well, Ill make sense to you one day, young Claire. But you
e right in saying I drank too much. I best return to my room, good night to you all. Thank you for the good company and good laughs. ”

”Ill take him back, Im 98% sure he doesn remember how to get to his room. Dr. Austin, wait for meee! ”

Yu and Claire got up and decided to go watch the sea from the back stairs of the hotel.

”How can Summer go from drunk to almost sober so quickly? ”

”Responsibility sobers us all up, Yu. Talking about being drunk, I didn see you drink. ”

”I wanted to keep sober, especially after you pointed out all those women to me. ”

”Don tell me you
e scared of losing control? I thought you
e better than that, Yu. Tsc tsc. ”

”I was afraid of being harassed and not being able to defend myself. that happened once, and once was enough. ”

Claire was suddenly very serious.

”Im sorry, Yu. Im sorry that happened to you and Im sorry I joked about it. ”

”Don worry, at the time Summer saved me, so nothing really happened. I think thats why she feels obligated to find me a girlfriend. ”

”I still can believe you don have a girlfriend, Yu. ”

”And why is that? ”

”Ive already told you why, now tyou
e just fishing for compliments. ”

”Maybe a little? ” Yu said, bumping Claires shoulder and making her laugh. ”But its difficult for me to understand why you
e single, too, you know? ”

”Yeah? and why is that? ”

”Fishing for compliments, are we? ”

”Yes, with one of those big nets from fishing ships. ” Claire said with a huge grin.

e more shameless than I thought. ”

”Some features we reserve for our closest friends. ” She said as she winked.

They both laughed and then spent some time in silence, looking at the waves. The clouds parted, revealing a full moon. Yu looked to his side and saw Claire, beautiful, bathed in moonlight.

e kind, intelligent, funny and pretty nice to talk too. Theres something about you that is just yours and makes you special, but I can really explain it. You
e also quite easy on the eyes. ”

A little smile appeared on Claires lips, but her eyes were sad.

”Did you get all that in one day? There are people that have known me my whole life that will argue Im the complete opposite of everything you said. ”

”Well, not everyone has as good a judgement as me. Or vision. You know, Ive being using computers daily for over 20 years now and still don need glasses. ”

Claire laughed at that and her eyes finally smiled. Under the moonlight, her smile was even more luminous. She turned to Yu, eyes as deep as the ocean.

”I should have met you 5 years ago, you know? Would have saved a lot of money on therapy and maybe wouldn have gotten into a failed marriage… Wait, over 20 years? How old are you? ”

”This Friday Ill be 37. ”

”What?! 37??? ”

”How old did you think I was? ”

”I don know, 33. Maybe? And only because you already have a full researcher position, otherwise I would say my age. ”

”How could a 33 year old have a researcher position already? ”

”I don know, Yu. You look really young and you
e kind of a genius, I wouldn put it past you to have gotten into uni at 14. ”

”Come on, now you
e just laughing at me. ”

”Im not! And Im not the only one. Do you know why Mara was so pissed earlier? Because she thought I could be a threat to her scheme of seducing you, because she thought we probably were the same age. ”

”Were you? ”

”What, a threat?! Of course not. Ive already told, I wouldn dare covet Master Yu. ”

As she started bowing again Yu held her up, rolling his eyes.

”Be serious, Claire. ”

”Im serious. I don know why they thought that, either. Maybe it was because I was too close to you? I don know. ”

”And what would be the problem with you having interest in me? ”

Claire looked at Yus eyes again, something flashing rapidly through her eyes before disappearing again.

e fishing for compliments again, aren you. I wouldn dare because you
e way out of my league. You
e kind of a genius, which in itself would be reason enough to be interested in you. You
e also really nice, but only to those that you actually deem important to you, which clears up the worry of you just being nice to everyone all the time. You are pretty funny without realizing, which is cute. And you are quite handsome, if I may say so. And way out of my league, as previously stated. ”

”I don see why. ”

”Thats because you
e nice to me, which makes you think of me as better than I actually am. Well, I need to go, tomorrow Ill need to run around again after the kids on the poster session. Lord give me strength. ”

She got up, dusted her pants and extended her hand to help Yu up. He held it, but didn make a move to stand. He just stayed there, holding her hand. She laughed and said:

”Come on, Ill walk you to your room. ”

In front of his door, when he was about to say goodnight to her, she surprised him by giving him a tight hug.

”Thank you for today, Yu. Goodnight! ”

She kissed his cheek, broke the hug and left, without looking back.

If she had looked back, she would have seen a stunned Yu with a little stupid grin on his face.

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