“Hallo!” Mr. Butterfly’s head popped over one of my “walls”. He was so cute when he was chipper.
“Want to go get a cup of cappuccino?”
So, we made our way to the kiosk in the sunny atrium of our building. While the nice lady with the Greta Garbo ID was fixing our coffees, he asked me what was wrong. Was I that transparent I wondered? Of course, he knew me so well. So, I told him.
“I’m in love with Pete.”
“From our last trip? That’s great! Have you told him? Does he feel the same way?”
“It is not great, it is a disaster. He lives and works in the area here. It means my single, partying life is over. I am totally bummed out.”
“Well, until you tell him and he says that he feels the same way, it isn’t. I mean maybe he doesn’t, and then you would still be okay, right?”
“I have a bad feeling about this.”
“Oh.” We got our cappuccinos and sat down. I stared into my foam dejectedly as it swirled when I stirred my sugar in the raw into it. He continued. “I wonder where they will be sending us next. Do you have any ideas?”
“Not a one. But here comes Dr. Gutekunde so we may find out soon.
“Best of the morning to you both! Let me grab a coffee and I’ll join you.”
Five minutes later he was sitting with us. “How are my two favorite scientists today? Have we recovered from our last adventure?” Both of us nodded vigorously. “Good! Okay, Amazon compound update. We have been able to synthesize large quantities with our scale up process and the safety studies continue. First in man is on schedule and should occur in one month. Management is quite pleased. No progress on names that I know of. Any suggestions?” Our faces looked blank. “Hmm. Disappointing. I don’t know if there will be any bonuses this year.” He looked at us for effect. “Kidding! Ha! Got you with that one!”
“Very funny Doc”, I murmured.
“My sides are splitting.”, said Mr. Butterfly.
“I’m so glad you two appreciate my sense of humor. Okay, then the next trip. You, Mr. Butterfly will be going to
“Now, Dr. Fairview, you may have noticed that your specialty is not included in this trip. That is not an oversight. It is the general feeling at the foundation that it would be best for you to take some time off right now considering the difficulties that you encountered on the last trip. Actually, I cannot remember the last time you took vacation, so you must have time off coming to you. I know you don’t like to be left out, but don’t take it personally.”
“Um, I don’t know what to say. I don’t feel like I need time off.”
“Promise me you will think about it. Imagine a place you have always wanted to visit and then plan a trip there.”
“I promise to think about it. May I go back to my cubicle now?”
I stood and he stood. I walked away dazed. He continued standing. He then said to Mr. Butterfly “Come to my office and I will introduce you to our new Herpetologist.”
So, they walked together to Dr. Gutekunde’s office where he instructed his secretary to call the new herpetologist. They settled themselves in the office, Dr. Gutekunde sat behind the desk and Mr. Butterfly sat in a guest chair. Shortly, a very handsome and buff young man entered the office. Mr. Butterfly stood and was introduced to Dr. Donald Aubrey. Mr. Butterfly interrupted Dr. Gutekunde’s introduction and introduced himself as he usually did.
Dr. Donald Aubrey, Herpetologist
“Let’s not stand on formality. Everyone calls me Mr. Butterfly.” Then he batted his eyelashes, which he could not help but doing when he was introduced to a comely young man.
Then the two young men shook hands. Donnie's grip was warm and strong. Dr. Gutekunde continued. “Donnie is a postdoc whose dissertation was on the comparative neurotoxic profiles of snake venoms in rats and their resulting tissue pathologies.”
“Fascinating!”, purred Mr. Butterlfly who was transfixed by Dr. Aubrey and trying to determine if he could see his nipples pressing through the fabric of his pastel pink polo shirt.
“Donnie, I was updating Mr. Butterfly on the trip to Austrialia. Donnie will be an asset to the team because he can catch venomous snakes and knows the chemistry of their venoms. He will also be a real help in the lab when you return as he knows a bunch about the chemistry of anticancer agents too. I am sure the two of you will make a great team!”
Donnie smiled a big smile at Mr. Butterfly and Mr. Butterfly almost fainted from the resulting eye contact.
* * *
I was mega bummed. I didn’t need any time off. I felt fine. I needed work to distract me. Distract me from my troubles. My telephone rang.
“Hello, this is Dr. Sue Fairview.”
“Hi Susie! It’s Pete. How ya doin’?
“Hey Pete! Great to hear from you. I am okay. How are you?”
“I am fine. Just thought I’d check in on ya. Are you really okay? I think I detect a little something in your voice.”
“Well, the foundation thinks I need to take some time off.”
“That sounds like a good idea to me.”
“You have been through a lot on the last trip. I’m glad that they see it that way too. Besides, then we can be together. I miss you.”
“You do?”, I replied.
“When do you get off work today?”
“I could leave now.”
“I guess I could too.”
“Where shall we meet?”
“We could meet at my place.”, I offered.
“That sounds great! Can you give me directions?” So I did.
After getting the directions from Sue, Pete hung up the phone.
“Now, now, don’t want to freak the girl out, do we?”, said Pete.
“I don’t suppose we do.”
“How is it going looking for a place since your shapely fiancée threw you out?”
“If I don’t find a place soon, Chuck is going to give me the boot too.”
“I thought you didn’t like the fact that he smokes.”
“True, true. I just have to keep looking.”
“Now clear out, I have to go and screw my lady love.”
"What a romantic!"
* * *
Mr. Butterfly followed Dr. Aubrey’s bubble butt back to his cubicle to share data on their trip. On the way back he passed Sue’s cubby and noticed she was not there. He called to Donnie to hold up for a sec and checked with the assistant,
“Sue left for the day and said to tell you that she was meeting Pete, Mr. B.”
“Oh, good, then I don’t have to worry about her. Thanks Shar!”
Then he continued to follow Donnie’s butt down to his cubicle. He was really going to have to work on paying attention to the job this time and not his distracting coworker. To think that he would be traveling halfway around the world with this gorgeous male right next to him, and might have to keep his hands to himself. Sigh. He wasn’t sure he was capable of it. He was having trouble focusing even right now. It was time to pull himself together and stop thinking about his own sex life, or lack thereof.
Donnie said something, but Mr. Butterfly didn’t hear it and had to ask him to repeat it. How embarrassing is that? That really must stop. Get a grip Mr. Butterfly, get a grip!
Photo credit Dr. Donald Aubrey: Cesto de Gatos