Things heat up, and John deals with his past.
I waved and went back to the J-Bact paper, finding consolation in ATP binding sites and antibiotic resistance.
Vasili Kurakov reappeared at my lab bench in the late afternoon. "Have you run out of another enzyme?" I asked coolly, looking up from the cloning maps I was assembling on my computer.
"No, I decided those are problems I need to bring to my undergraduate from now on, and not to you."
"You've made a wise decision."
"In figuring that he will be competent enough to make a judicious amount? I think so."
I exhaled loudly in indignation. He flashed an evil sort of grin. I was about to ask him what he wanted, when he started looking over the gel photos taped above my bench.
"How do you get handwriting this neat? Do you have a robot label everything for you?"
"I can't even tell whether that's a compliment or an insult."
"Heh-'compliment'!" he said in disdain. As I glared, he picked up a pipetman and started pumping it vigorously, while obliquely raising an eyebrow at me.
"Vasili, this question is long overdue. What the hell are you doing?"
"Do you want me to leave?"
"No. I mean-I mean, don't you have work to do? I was kinda in the middle of-"
"Come to think of it I DO have something to finish up, and I understand completely." He waltzed out.
I turned back to my cloning maps for a few minutes, and then decided I had had enough of the day. I had better get back to the car fast enough so that I'd have time to do something about it before dinner. Usually I worked on into the evening, but Wednesday night was a night set aside for not working, just arbitrarily decided upon like the noon lunchtime. Convenient, maybe, that the car had chosen a Wednesday to start jerking and spurting.
As it turned out, once I got out into the parking lot, the car wouldn't fucking even start.
"Agh!" I growled, running my hands up the sides of my face. What to do? I found myself walking back upstairs into the lab.
"You're sure this isn't too much out of your way?" I said nervously.
"Not at all. I know these streets like I know the genetic code." Vasili drove intently, both hands on the wheel.
"Well thanks again for this."
"What are your plans for the night?"
"Oh, curl up, read, nothing too special. I'm reading some stuff by Eugene O'Neill."
"I remember Long Day's Journey Into Night was really good."
"So, uh," he said, "you don't have a significant other?"
"Nope, just Eugene tonight."
He was caught off-guard by the phrasing but then understood. "I always figured you didn't, but you know, you can never be sure."
"Right. Uh-you're single too, right?"
"Free as a bird."
"I also always figured."
"Amy, you know why I know these streets so well?"
"Huh?" Something was amiss. What was that grocery store?
"I'm not driving to your place. I'm driving to mine. I knew it was a big risk but I hoped you would notice really early on and point it out, and if you didn't like it I would have driven you right where you wanted to go. But you didn't notice. You weren't even looking out the window."
"I'd kiss you but I don't want to get into a traffic accident. We'll be there in five more minutes."
As soon as he'd parked his car and shoved the key in his pocket, he grabbed my shoulders. We kissed hotly, excitedly, with almost a sigh of "At last" but also the tingling promise of what was about to transpire. Without breaking breath contact he struggled on his knees across the transmission and awkwardly onto my lap, crouching in the space in front of me, jammed in the small space allowed by the car, and I kissed and kissed him. Finally he squirmed back across the driver's seat, got out of the car, ran around and opened up the passenger's side, and we embraced languorously standing against the car roof. I couldn't get him close enough in my arms.
"Let's go inside," I whispered.
On his couch he fell astride my body full-length, almost knocking out my breath with the ecstasy of the feeling.