In the academic circles she moves in, the general belief is that she considers herself married to her work, and she never bothered to correct the assumption. In many ways, she might as well be; she’s worked very hard to get where she is now, and she won’t let anything or anyone distract her from her studies and her future career, which she’s slowly building up here in Cambridge.
(She won’t dwell on Guy Devlin, because the memory still hurts, even after all this time. And while she genuinely thought she might be interested at the time, she’s not entirely sure she would have followed through with an actual date, had he asked – but it’s too late now, and the echoing emptiness of his hollowed shell after Crake grabbed his essence away will haunt her to her dying day.)
One day, she shrugs, somewhat dejectedly; she will settle down with someone, perhaps one of her less boring colleagues, and they will have a nice little flat and a couple of children, because what else is a woman supposed to do, even when she’s an academic, and blessed (or cursed) with psychic powers on top of that. She thinks of the way Martine has so far managed to successfully juggle her duties as the mother of a toddler and her scientific research, and she’s momentarily overcome by a fresh rush of admiration towards the woman sitting in front of her. Martine is everything she wishes she could be – a strong, independent woman, with such a stunning figure it momentarily drives you to forget what a capable scientist she actually is.
And while Lauren has never considered herself the shallow type, one had to be blind not to notice how whenever Martine entered a room, all eyes were invariably dragged to her, and her only. It’s not that she would rather have that kind of attention for herself, she just happens to find it rather –distracting, for some reason she can’t say she entirely understands.
(She’s seen Martine kiss some random guy after one of their adventures, and she would swear she didn’t find him in the least attractive, but she still had to excuse herself to the ladies’ room, and splash cold water all over her face. And she’s never been more grateful of the fact that most people don’t share her gift for mind reading than when she finally got in Martine’s car, her friend’s eyes returning to her way more often than they ought to, considering she was the one behind the wheel.)
Whatever her colleagues believe, she’s not a prude, either; she’s a firm believer that women have the right to behave however they please, regardless of social conventions and the fragility of the male ego. Still, she can’t help but think that the low-cut dress Martine has picked for the occasion is a little too much, even for this particular nightclub; and for what feels like the hundredth time this evening, she finds her gaze straying to the other woman’s cleavage, inappropriate as that might be.
Focus, Lauren, she chides herself, quickly averting her eyes. Oh, to have Martine’s long, smooth, absolutely perfect legs – no, that’s not helping, stop.
“May I have a word?” Martine whispers at length, glancing meaningfully towards the restroom. “In private.”
“Of course,” she nods, ignoring the way her voice trembles just a little, and lets her friend lead the way.
The ladies is mercifully quiet, as well as seemingly empty for the time being. Martine takes one quick look around, and the next thing Lauren knows, she’s being ushered into one of the cubicles, with Martine locking the door behind them in one swift move.
“What is it?” Lauren ventures to ask, slightly unnerved by the other woman’s bizarre behaviour. Martine rolls her eyes, takes one step closer, and places two fingers under Lauren’s chin.
“You really don’t know?” she smirks, and Lauren swallows audibly when she realises that’s Martine’s patented seductive tone, and she’s employing it on her of all people.
“I,” she starts, only to trail off immediately. This can’t be happening, she’s not, they’re not – oh, god, she really, really wants to kiss Martine now.
“Just look at you,” Martine chuckles, looking very much like the cat that got the cream; and then her lips are on hers, and Lauren feels like she’s breathing electricity, her body coming alive under the spell of Martine’s touch.
“Oh,” she murmurs, for lack of anything better to say, and lets Martine tuck a lock of hair behind her ear.
“I believe our suspect left the nightclub half an hour ago, though I appreciate you may have been too distracted to notice. What say we take a break in the proceedings for tonight, and go back to mine for a little investigation of our own?”
Lauren sighs, but she can’t quite ignore the way her skin is buzzing at the mere suggestion. “Only if you refrain from making any more of your awful puns.”
“Sold,” Martine concedes, right before going in for another kiss.