I hadn’t really seen much of Windenburg so far, and surviving my first day at Omniscience seemed to me to be cause for celebration. I popped into one of the local clubs for a drink before heading for the ferry.
It wasn’t long before I remembered why I don’t go to clubs alone. There are all those people dancing and laughing and having fun, and I’m usually the solitary nerd on the perimeter of it all nursing his drink until enough time has passed to justify going home. This time was no different, other than that I couldn’t help being constantly distracted from my self-pity by the gorgeous bartender.
She noticed me moping alone at the table near her bar, and struck up a conversation.She told me her name was Wanda, and I sort of sat there gaping open-mouthed at her like a fish out of water.
“Edison. Your name is Edison. That was the part where you were supposed to tell me that.”
I looked around to see if maybe one of my new co-workers had put her up to this. Very funny, having a drop-dead gorgeous woman toy with a socially awkward nerd. Someone was going to pay for this. Then I realized she was looking at the Omniscience badge I was still wearing on my chest, which had my name printed on it in big, bold letters.
I laughed, she laughed, and some of the tension melted away. Not much, mind you. This woman was so far out of my league I’m surprised I was allowed to be in the same building.
We continued talking as she worked, and things got more and more comfortable as the night went on. Wanda, it turns out, is a student at the local university, and very close to graduation. This job, she told me, has been paying her tuition until she can get her botany degree. After that is accomplished, she said, she is actually considered applying at Omniscience. I think she’d be a good fit. She’s obviously incredibly smart, as became evident when I started talking about my work and she didn’t yawn. Even better, when I described a problem we were having with a mysterious fungal rot on a few of the plants in the Omniscience greenhouse, she knew right away what the problem was, and how to fix it. Even with Sparky’s help, I hadn’t been able to figure that one out.
After what felt like a few minutes of chatting, I glanced up at a clock and realized it was after 1:00 am. I thanked Wanda for keeping me company and apologized for monopolizing her time all night, but that I had to get some sleep before work.
“You can monopolize me any time, Edison,” she laughed. And then this happened.
“That’s so you don’t forget to come back and visit me again,” she said, as I tried to remember how to breathe.
“Go home, Edison. Get some sleep.”
I did, but I don’t think my feet hit the ground the entire way home.