Nothing but Trouble
by Cathy Quinn
“Bob, I need your help. It’s an emergency!”
Robert slowly straightened up from the microscope and slid his hands in his jeans pockets, pushing the long lab coat out of the way. His back was to her, but he would recognize that voice anywhere.
The blonde whirlwind was back. And she still hadn’t learned how to knock on doors. She still didn’t know what “Authorized access only” meant.
And for some reason, he noticed as he turned towards her in resignation, she was taking the trouble to lock the door carefully behind her.
There was probably a reason for that. It might not be a reason that would make sense to anyone else in the world, but it was no doubt a perfectly good reason in Linda’s world.
If he bothered to point any of those things out to her, she’d only laugh. And she’d call him Bob. And she’d probably touch him. She had this habit of linking her arm through his that was very disconcerting.
As she smiled-despite the supposed emergency-and walked towards him in that way that was more like a dance than a walk as any other person walked, he knew he wasn’t going to point anything out.
He just knew she was trouble.
He also knew that she was just as beautiful as his memory had insisted on informing him frequently over the last few weeks. It wasn’t only her classic blonde looks and her sky-blue eyes, but also her bouncy attitude and sunny disposition. Linda seemed to him so filled with life. She vibrated with energy.
It was probably no wonder that she assumed him stuffy and dull, with his calm, predictable life dedicated to research and academia, books and papers.
She looked different out of the flight attendant uniform he was accustomed to seeing. The summer dress complemented her hair and her eyes and, damnit, as good as her usual knot looked, he did have a definite weakness for long ponytails.
“My name is Robert,” he replied brusquely, more out of habit than anything else. He had all but given up hope that the woman would ever learn or use his first name. “What’s your definition of an emergency this time?”
“Can you teach the monkeys to look really in love?” She waved towards the chimp’s room, an alcove at the back of the room, separated from the lab by bars. “You know, like they can’t survive without each other?”
He folded his arms on his chest. “They’re apes, not monkeys. I repeat: what is the emergency, and how could it possibly be solved by my chimpanzees falling in love?”
“Ellen and Chris,” Linda said, as if that explained everything. “Ellen is being a total idiot, but I have a brilliant idea on how to knock some sense into her and make her realize they can’t live without each other.”
Robert turned back to his microscope and measured three drops of plasma into a test tube. He sensed a twisting road of female logic looming up ahead, and was pretty sure he wouldn’t like the scenery. “Good.”
“But I need your help.”
“Ah. Not so good.”
She hopped up on the counter next to his microscope and crossed her legs. They were bare under the yellow summer dress, the sandals nothing but bits of string that barely held together. Robert concentrated on his test tube and tried not to notice her ankles.
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