Chapter 16:

Flashback of Answers (I)


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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.Bookmark here

"OH FOR FUC-"Bookmark here

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.
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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. Bookmark here

A paper on fire or a person causing a mini-explosion inside their underground lab of secrets wasn't uncommon. Bookmark here

She sighed. “Everyone’s so unreliable.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

To think that he was willing to hire me. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

When it comes to teamwork, he can be really bad at this. Bookmark here

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. 
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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. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

If the world wasn't going to give me a chance, I can get my opportunities here.Bookmark here

She held onto the small bag against her chest. Bookmark here

The woman eventually found the room she was looking for and cautiously opened the door. Bookmark here

"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.Bookmark here

Dr. Arlott turned his chair to face the lady who beckoned his name. He lowered his glasses. Bookmark here

"Ah, Miranda. Nice to see you again. How was your two-week vacation?"Bookmark here

"It was great..." her bashfulness was obvious. "Um-"Bookmark here

"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."Bookmark here

Miranda blinked. The cold breeze of Dr. Arlott's air conditioner soothed her skin. "Ok."Bookmark here

She hesitantly closed the door. Dr. Arlott gestured her to come closer to the table. Bookmark here

"So, what's going on? I granted you three weeks off, you didn't have to come back right now."Bookmark here

She stuttered as she held the mysterious bag behind her. Bookmark here

"Well, I remember you said that you had expected a child. So I wanted to give you a gift."Bookmark here

Dr. Arlott's eyes widened as he stared at the woman with a shocked expression, but then he laughed. Bookmark here

"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."Bookmark here

She took a deep breath and awkwardly handed over the wrapped present. Dr. Arlott's hands reached over to grab it. It was squishy.Bookmark here

"Huh. Am I right to assume this is a plushie?"Bookmark here

Miranda's face turned red. "How did you figure out the-"Bookmark here

"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. Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"Did you make this?" Dr. Arlott asked while he examined its wholesome features. Bookmark here

"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..."Bookmark here

"That's a brilliant talent you have. Hopefully, my son will enjoy his little gift."Bookmark here

"Wait, son?" Bookmark here

"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."Bookmark here

Miranda stood still, her face colored with embarrassment. Bookmark here

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!Bookmark here

Dr. Arlott's hands went to pull a drawer from his desk. He shuffled through the papers neatly stacked inside. Bookmark here

"Ah, here it is!" The scientist pulled out a family photo and pushed it towards her on the table. "Isn't he adorable?"Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

His gaze! He's so beautiful!Bookmark here

"Aw," she loved the wholesomeness of the photo, "what's your baby's name?"Bookmark here

"Noah."Bookmark here

"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."Bookmark here

"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."Bookmark here

"Do you want him to be involved with your business here?" Bookmark 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..."Bookmark here

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."Bookmark here

Miranda wasn't sure what to think of it. But her frustration became obvious when she huffed and placed her arms on her waist. Bookmark here

"That's not fair for your son! He needs a father, and you need to be there for your wife right now!"Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

 "Ah, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything, I-"Bookmark here

"No, you're right. Maybe I will visit them soon."Bookmark here

"Huh?"Bookmark here

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?"Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

"Wait, Dr. Arlott, are you sure? I don't know if I can really keep your lab safe."Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

"Is this your way of defying my decisions?"Bookmark here

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-"Bookmark here

"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. Bookmark here

"Is this how you're going to greet me from now on, Runo?"Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

His pair of yellow eyes made him look like a predator hunting for its prey.Bookmark here

"Tch, you're awfully bold to think you can keep me here after firing me from my old position!"Bookmark here

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?"Bookmark here

"HUH?!" Bookmark here

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!"Bookmark here

"It's Dr. Arlott."Bookmark here

"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!"Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

"Runo, get out. This is your last warning."Bookmark here

The infuriated man shot a glance at Miranda, who was shaking with nervousness. Bookmark here

"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. Bookmark here

"You're only going to regret this, Stephen, when I leave-"Bookmark here

"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. Bookmark here

"STEPHEN, YOU!" Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"Dr. Arlott," she whimpered.Bookmark here

"Don't worry about him, he's not going anywhere." Bookmark here

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."Bookmark here

"Her? But doesn't she get a little, um..." Miranda then whispered, "mischievous?"Bookmark here

"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."Bookmark here

"A week? That's all?" Bookmark here

"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."Bookmark here

Her eyes widened. "No, sir! The thought didn't cross my mind, I apologize!" Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"Ah, there goes the control system. We've had problems with our lights for a few days now."Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

"Please. Watch over Runo. He might try to do something if the guards aren't around."Bookmark here

*****Bookmark here

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