Elena had grown into a beautiful young woman. Her bright green eyes were the color of warm summer grass, and her long hair was every color from sandy brown to golden oak to rich coppery red depending on how the sun hit it. She had her slim glasses on, and her long wavy hair pulled up in a pony tail as she furrowed her brow intently at the book she was reading.
“G-good morning, Elena,” Johnathan stumbled, “I’ve been looking forward to working with you since Uncle Edward said you’d be here too,” He finished sheepishly.
Elena looked up, startled, “Johnathan!” She shrieked, “I didn’t know it was you I’d be working with!” She jumped up and raced towards him.
As she embraced him warmly, Johnathan realized that Elena was more shapely than he’d recalled. The color rose in his face. As he reluctantly let go of the embrace, Johnathan noticed that Elena had not released him yet. Her hair smelled of coconut.
As she backed away, Elena studied him. “Well you certainly grew, Johnny,” she smiled warmly, “Especially in the shoulders, and arms…” She trailed off. “Anyway! While it’s wonderful to see you, our catching up will have to wait until lunch. We’ve got work to do!” She bounced back to the desk. “It says here it’s a fruit bat today. Let’s get in there and get to it.” She gathered her notes and started toward the door.
Johnathan followed after her. “You’re really interested in this work?” he asked, “I never thought this would be of interest to you.”
“You know, when Edward mentioned it, I thought it might be good experience, and look good on a resume,” she mused, “But after I began to look at some of the preliminary notes, I found that I was actually curious to see the outcome of the work”
“Well then we have something in common,” Johnathan smiled.
Elena stopped short, and turned around quickly. “Yes. We do,” she was nearly touching him. “But now, to work!” She bounced across the hall.
Johnathan looked around at the many chemicals in the conservatory, “I’m not entirely sure what’s the best way to start this,” he said, studying the names on the bottles.
“There are some notes here indicating that this has had success with mammalian specimens before,” Elena said, pointing to the first bottle. “Why don’t you start there?”
“Let’s get to it then,” Johnathan began to work.
The work continued mostly in silence, except for the occasional chatter about what to do next. At 10, a gentleman entered through the back door carrying a cage with a small bat in it. The bat was flying around weakly, trying to escape.
Johnathan opened the door on the side of the Jar and the man stepped inside. He knelt down and fiddled with the cage, then stood up and retreated quickly. The bat lay on the floor of the Jar. Johnathan closed and latched the door. The bat began to stir. Johnathan activated the chemical vapor unit. Nothing changed.
“I think we just have to wait now,” Elena said, after a minute, “Shouldn’t take all day since the bat is so small.”
“How will we know?” Johnathan asked.
“I think we just watch it’s respiration,” Elena said.
The pair sat there for a few minutes, watching the bat move around.
“So should I not talk to you while you’re observing?” Johnathan wondered, “I was just curious, because I really would like to do this work for Uncle well. I don’t want to cause any problems.”
“We can talk,” Elena replied, watching the bat, “I only really need to make specific notes if something out of the ordinary happens during this time. If I miss it while carrying on a conversation then it likely isn’t noteworthy.” She smiled coyly and met his eye, “So long as I don’t get distracted.”
“I was just- I didn’t want to-” He sputtered, “I just meant I didn’t know what your notes needed to encompass. I wouldn’t want to make your work more difficult.”
“Relax Johnny, I was only teasing you!” She laughed.
Elena and Johnathan chatted and caught up on what they had missed of each other’s lives over the past four years. Shortly before lunch, the bat stopped moving on the floor of the Jar.
“Is it…” Johnathan approached the Jar.
“It looks like it,” Elena said, “Shut off the chemicals and let it clear out a few minutes, then you’ll have to confirm with the stethoscope.
Johnathan checked the bat a few minutes later. “I think it’s finished.”
“Well, then our work is done today,” Elena said, “Just let me go file these notes and we’ll go eat lunch. Then we have the afternoon off.”
At lunch, Elena and Johnathan began to get more comfortable with one another. They spent the afternoon wandering around the grounds talking. They talked about the last four years, they talked about the future, and they talked about all the time that they used to spend together. By the time they were headed back to the house for dinner, it was as if they had never spent any time apart. Dinner was a different story.
“How did the first day go?” Edward asked brusquely, “Any problems?”
“Everything went just fine Uncle,” Johnathan answered.
“And how do the two of you work together? Edward asked, the glimmer creeping back into his eyes.
Both Elena and Johnathan blushed. “Things are fine Uncle,” Johnathan said.
“I think it’s going to be a good summer,” Elena said, staring at her plate. Johnathan’s butterflies reappeared.
“Excellent,” Edward leered, “Most excellent.” They finished the meal in silence.