A woman of petite stature and a big bosom ran across the lab covered with traffic. Her bubbly face glowed under the fluorescent lights of the chaotic scene happening around her.
"OH FOR FUC-"
A man screamed profanity. Other individuals in the room scrambled around desperately to catch the papers falling all over. One suddenly caught on fire as it fell onto a new chemical mixture. He swore before stomping out of the room to get a fire extinguisher.
The woman ran as the heels of her shoes clacked, her blouse extenuated her curves while she panted. She exited the lab on the other side, ignoring the chaos being unleashed behind her.
A paper on fire or a person causing a mini-explosion inside their underground lab of secrets wasn't uncommon.
She sighed. “Everyone’s so unreliable.”
Many days had gone by with these aspiring scientists grabbing onto fancy chemicals their boss had acquired through the black market. Yet most of them weren't officially certified to be working on scientific research.
To think that he was willing to hire me.
She reminisced of the times she had been here. What of the scientist did she knew? Her thoughts sped past her, circled around her, and overwhelmed her.
When it comes to teamwork, he can be really bad at this.
She was hired by her boss after his previous partner found her resume circling around the black market. How did it ended up in such a place? No one knew.
Alas, it wasn't too bad, for she found herself being seated in a helicopter with a bunch of suspicious people with masks before they set off to land on a deserted island.
I still can’t get over how I was dragged into the cave by his guards just to reach this underground laboratory. They’re all insane.
This was two years ago. She enjoyed her secretive role more than she thought. She figured she was chosen for it because the man's ex-partner commented on her attractiveness, but also because she had a history of rejected research proposals.
If the world wasn't going to give me a chance, I can get my opportunities here.
She held onto the small bag against her chest.
The woman eventually found the room she was looking for and cautiously opened the door.
"Dr. Arlott," she whispered, her eyes examined the room. It was lit properly with multiple recessive LED lights. A long wooden table was carefully placed in the middle of the room.
Dr. Arlott turned his chair to face the lady who beckoned his name. He lowered his glasses.
"Ah, Miranda. Nice to see you again. How was your two-week vacation?"
"It was great..." her bashfulness was obvious. "Um-"
"It's okay, you may come in," the scientist set his glasses on the table and placed his arms on its surface, his hands interlocked with his face on top of them. "Oh, and do close the door."
Miranda blinked. The cold breeze of Dr. Arlott's air conditioner soothed her skin. "Ok."
She hesitantly closed the door. Dr. Arlott gestured her to come closer to the table.
"So, what's going on? I granted you three weeks off, you didn't have to come back right now."
She stuttered as she held the mysterious bag behind her.
"Well, I remember you said that you had expected a child. So I wanted to give you a gift."
Dr. Arlott's eyes widened as he stared at the woman with a shocked expression, but then he laughed.
"Wow! I only brought up my wife's pregnancy once during the meeting, and this was a long time ago. I can't believe you remembered."
She took a deep breath and awkwardly handed over the wrapped present. Dr. Arlott's hands reached over to grab it. It was squishy.
"Huh. Am I right to assume this is a plushie?"
Miranda's face turned red. "How did you figure out the-"
"I mean, not a lot of things are squishy with this size, it's perfect for a doll," the man interrupted. He pulled out the item.
The doll's hair was bright pink, with its dress popping out so cutely, and its small white dress flaps resembled petals of a rose. It had rosy red cheeks and an adorable big smile on its face, with black buttons for eyes. The sight of a homemade gift.
"Did you make this?" Dr. Arlott asked while he examined its wholesome features.
"Yeah," Miranda lowered her head in shame, "I was window shopping for the perfect gift but I decided that I could practice my sewing skills..."
"That's a brilliant talent you have. Hopefully, my son will enjoy his little gift."
"Ah, I didn't mention the gender of our newborn baby so don't feel bad," he laughed and reassured Miranda, who had her face in her hands, "this is nothing to be embarrassed about, you should embrace your skills. Don't let the world stop you from doing what you can accomplish, my dear."
Miranda stood still, her face colored with embarrassment.
I can't believe I was so preoccupied with getting a stupid gift that I forgot to ask whether he was having a son or daughter!
Dr. Arlott's hands went to pull a drawer from his desk. He shuffled through the papers neatly stacked inside.
"Ah, here it is!" The scientist pulled out a family photo and pushed it towards her on the table. "Isn't he adorable?"
Miranda glanced at the picture. It was his beloved, a woman of great posture and confident gaze, and lips as rosy as a fresh red apple. Her long hair guided Miranda's eyes down to the infant she held, wrapped in a white blanket.
His eyes were of ocean and metal. He had a few dark blue hair strands, which was funny to see on a newborn. Miranda chuckled.
His gaze! He's so beautiful!
"Aw," she loved the wholesomeness of the photo, "what's your baby's name?"
"Noah," Miranda grinned at the picture. His cheeks looked so squishy. "I really hope Noah likes his plush! Pink can still be a wonderful man's favorite color."
"Yes, I agree," Dr. Arlott smugged and took the picture back, glancing at it one more time before putting it away. "Noah Arlott, one day I am certain he will be a fine man."
"Do you want him to be involved with your business here?"
Miranda's question only gave Dr. Arlott the reason to furrow his eyebrows and frown. "No. My research is mine, and if he wants to pursue something else, he can. If anything..."
The man paused and took a deep breath. "I don't want my family to be involved. There's a reason why I haven't seen them since a year ago. The media might target them, and I'd prefer Noah live his own life."
Miranda wasn't sure what to think of it. But her frustration became obvious when she huffed and placed her arms on her waist.
"That's not fair for your son! He needs a father, and you need to be there for your wife right now!"
Her sudden burst of anger shocked the man. The two exchanged looks until Miranda got flustered enough to cover her face from speaking up to her boss.
"Ah, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything, I-"
"No, you're right. Maybe I will visit them soon."
The scientist's voice deepened, a matured glance set upon Miranda's innocent stare. "If I leave, I want you to take care of this place. Can I trust you?"
Miranda blinked rapidly, what was he talking about? A young woman such as herself can't simply control the number of insane individuals crashing the lab and setting things on fire.
"Wait, Dr. Arlott, are you sure? I don't know if I can really keep your lab safe."
He stood up and walked around the table. Placing one hand on Miranda's chin, he lifted it up gracefully, forcing her to make eye contact.
"Is this your way of defying my decisions?"
Her eyes could see the looming twilight in the man's eyes. His blue eyes are quite the show, and anyone would definitely be in a trance. "I-"
"Ugh, get with the program already, dweeb!" said an irritated voice outside, before a powerful kick forced Dr. Arlott's door open. Dr. Arlott sighed frustratingly and placed his glasses back on.
"Is this how you're going to greet me from now on, Runo?"
Runo, the young man with sleek, white hair, grunted as the one-piece earring on his right ear dangled. The LED lights captured its golden frame of the compass and his glossy black leather jacket.
His pair of yellow eyes made him look like a predator hunting for its prey.
"Tch, you're awfully bold to think you can keep me here after firing me from my old position!"
The scientist raised his chin, glaring down at the young man. "I didn't fire you, I just gave the position to Miranda. Unlike you, she knows how to conduct her tasks properly. How can you expect me to take you seriously when you come into my office with impudent manners?"
Runo slammed his hand to the door that was gradually trying to close, forcing it open and banging it hard against the wall. "Stephen, you took me in as your pupil! I have worked for you for six years since I was just seventeen! You said I was a prodigy, was that all a LIE!"
"It's Dr. Arlott."
"Dr. To Hell With You! This isn't fair! You use people! I dropped passions for this, and you're tossing my opportunities away for some lowly woman that I found when you said you wanted more REGULAR workers!"
Miranda was looking down the whole time, her body slowly moved to the side of the room to make herself look smaller. The rage in Runo's eyes worried her, for she believed he can easily harm her if he decided to.
"Runo, get out. This is your last warning."
The infuriated man shot a glance at Miranda, who was shaking with nervousness.
"Dweeb, a fool. You can't even see that this man's a fraud." Runo turned his gaze back at the scientist, who was still glaring down at him.
"You're only going to regret this, Stephen, when I leave-"
"And just where do you think you'll go?" The scientist adjusted his glasses. Light reflected them, revealing several guards standing behind Runo outside the door. Runo's eyes darted and tried to attack, but the men overpowered him.
One of the guards immediately grabbed onto Runo's skinny arms as the others tried to dodge his aggressive kicks. The tallest guard shoved a handkerchief to Runo's face, knocking him unconscious.
Miranda watched anxiously as the muscular man flopped Runo over his shoulder like a rag. They all vanished out the door as quickly as they came in. Dr. Arlott only stood in front of his desk silently, his gaze never once left the entrance of the doorway.
"Dr. Arlott," she whimpered.
"Don't worry about him, he's not going anywhere."
The scientist sighed. His hands frolicked with the seams of his side pockets, before turning to look at Miranda. "I will take my leave this Friday. In the meantime, please watch the facility, you can ask Marinette for assistance."
"Her? But doesn't she get a little, um..." Miranda then whispered, "mischievous?"
"She is, and she gets on my nerves sometimes," Dr. Arlott walked back to his seat and sat down, "but one can't say she isn't a hard worker. I sincerely hope that she and you will get along just for a week."
"A week? That's all?"
"Oh Miranda dear," Dr. Arlott leaned forward and smirked, "I said I trust you, but don't tell me you actually thought I was going to leave for a while."
Her eyes widened. "No, sir! The thought didn't cross my mind, I apologize!"
Miranda immediately bowed, feeling ashamed that she didn't connect the dots. The whirring sounds from the ceiling fan and a quick flicker of the LED lights caught the scientist's attention before he could say anything.
"Ah, there goes the control system. We've had problems with our lights for a few days now."
The man got up and adjusted his suit. He winked at Miranda and guided her out the door. Before the lady assistant and scientist parted ways in the hallway, Dr. Arlott turned his head at Miranda.
"Please. Watch over Runo. He might try to do something if the guards aren't around."