It was less than an hour before noon when Lucien was partly done with analyzing the new set of data for one of his research projects. Like a pianist conducting a solo performance, his slender fingers were moving rhythmically across the keyboard, forming lines after lines of words on the computer screen. His bespectacled violet eyes had never looked away from the screen, focusing solely on the running numbers and figures with rapt attention. Anyone who saw Lucien at this moment would know instinctively not to interrupt him without a good cause.
Nevertheless, his attention was momentarily interrupted.
Not by a person, but by his vibrating phone that was set on silent mode and was laid forgotten at the side of his desk.
The movement of his fingers on the keyboard gradually came to a stop as he looked away from the computer screen to glance at the lighted-up lock screen of his phone with narrowed eyes. The notification banner on the lock screen had indicated an incoming message from a “Professor John”.
The name didn’t ring a bell to him. However, since it was part of his contact list, Lucien deduced that this person must be a work acquaintance. It wasn’t until he had spent a brief moment to skim through the list of acquaintances in his mind that Lucien eventually remembered this “Professor John”.
Even so, the realization had only caused the young professor to look away from his phone and turned back to his computer screen. Lucien didn’t bother to unlock his phone to read the content of the message. Instead, he resumed his work, as though he had never been interrupted at all.
By the time Lucien had tapped the final key on the keyboard to conclude his work, the time that was shown by the wall clock in his office was already ten past twelve in the afternoon. Leaning back on his chair with eyes closed, Lucien stretched his arms and let out a deep breath.
Since the lunch time for all staff at the research center was supposed to be at twelve noon, this meant that he was supposed to be having his lunch right now. Despite that, he can’t be bothered to go to the cafeteria to grab a light lunch as he wasn’t hungry at the moment.
Glancing at his schedule for the day, he was reminded of his lecture class at Loveland University later at half past one. There was plenty of time before then. So, Lucien decided to pick up a book on the subject of his lecture, more as a means of relaxation than as preparation for the class. After taking off his glasses and placing it on his desk, Lucien stood up and went towards the only bookshelf in his office.
His finger had brushed past the spine of several books on the middle level of the shelf before eventually settling on one with the title, “On the Origin of Species”. Having pulled the book out with ease, Lucien then flipped straight to the page that he was looking for without a moment of pause, as if he knew every page of the book by heart… which actually wasn’t an exaggeration.
After all, evolution was a topic that Lucien had been keenly interested in since childhood and this book that was considered as the foundation of evolution theories was to Lucien, what a child would consider as a fairytale book or what a bible would mean to a pious worshipper. In other words, he knew the whole content of the book so well that the only reason he would choose to open it would be to allow his mind to wander while he absentmindedly skimmed through the words on the book.
Why did he choose to read a book when he didn’t intend to do so in the first place?
Well, as said before, it was one of Lucien’s ways of resting and relaxation. He felt somewhat at peace whenever he gazed upon an opened book, even when his attention wasn’t fully on the written words on the pages. Thus, Lucien was currently skimming through the words on the page as his mind had wandered to thoughts of the next agendas in his schedule after the lecture class.
The rhythmic ticking of the clock on the wall was the only sound amidst the peaceful serenity of the professor’s world… up until that very moment.
Without any sign or warning, his gaze that was hovering over the page of the book was suddenly drawn away by a glint of light at the corner of his eyes. Perplexed, his violet eyes had instinctively followed after the direction of the glinting light, towards the unobstructed glass windows of his office. A soft gasp had escaped Lucien’s lips as his violet eyes widened in surprise at the sight before him.
There, at the sparsely-populated walkway below, a petite girl with wavy, shoulder-length brown hair, who was dressed in a simple white blouse and black skirt, had stood out vividly against everything else in Lucien’s sight. She was carrying a cream-colored tote bag on her left shoulder, while holding up a pink phone that she never ceased to look at every few seconds as she walked and glanced around at her surroundings.
Lucien couldn’t believe what he had seen.
An imagination? An illusion?
Yet, there she was, wandering below like a lost kitten, looking exactly as his eyes had first perceived her, filled with different shade of colors.
How … is this possible?
For once in his life, Lucien was baffled. Despite being hailed as a young genius in the scientific field, he couldn’t think of a possible explanation for the current phenomena. The monotone sight that he had accepted as a constant and unchanging norm in his life was suddenly challenged by the appearance of this unknown girl.
Who is she?
With that thought in mind, the young professor had totally forgotten about the opened book that was being held within his hands. Instead, all of his attention was focused solely on the petite girl beyond his office windows.
The only resplendent figure in his world of gray.
That wasn’t the last he had seen of the girl, though.
To be honest, Lucien wasn’t aware that it was her who was standing outside his office’s door for the past three minutes when he had gone to pull the door aside in one swift motion.
Needless to say, the sudden motion had startled the girl, who gasped aloud as she instantly retracted her right hand that was lifted midway. As for Lucien, having not anticipated the person to be her, he was stunned by the burst of colors that had suddenly greeted his sight when he opened the door. In fact, he was so taken aback that he had failed to hide the glint of surprise in his eyes when he locked eyes with the girl. Nevertheless, he managed to regain his composure within seconds and effortlessly put on a friendly smile.
“Can I help you?”
He spoke amiably, hoping to put the girl, who was evidently nervous by his towering presence before her, at ease. It seemed to work since the girl had then straightened up and smiled back at him before stating the purpose of her visit.
“Hello, I am looking for Professor Lucien.”
What a surprising coincidence… For the girl who caught his attention earlier to be looking for him deliberately. Such coincidence might have been considered a pleasant experience by most people, but for Lucien, who don’t believe in coincidences, he can’t help but to be skeptical about it.
From a glance, the girl didn’t seem to be a new staff at the research center. Even though she could pass off as a university student by her youthful appearance, the way she carried herself was more mature and resolute. Until he could clear his doubts about her, Lucien decided to play it safe by not revealing himself just yet. By doing so, he will also be able to test and observe the girl’s character. So, feigning ignorance, he acted as though he was someone other than “Professor Lucien”.
“Lucien? What do you want with him?”
If the matter she intended to discuss was private and confidential, Lucien expected the girl to excuse herself at that moment. Instead, she had went on with introducing herself to him as a producer from a small entertainment industry and even told him that he intended to invite “Professor Lucien” to be the guest in the last episode of a show called “Miracle Finder”.
By right, shouldn’t she have spoken about such matters directly to the person she was looking for, instead of telling it to a complete stranger?
While he was puzzled by the girl’s lack of caution, there was also one thing that Lucien was uncertain about her explanations.
“I have heard of the show, but why do you want Mr. Lucien to be on your show?”
After all, there are plenty of other scientists at the research center who she could look for help on her show.
“It’s because Professor John recommended him,” the girl had responded firmly as though she had sensed his subtle rejection towards her idea.
At hearing the name “Professor John”, Lucien suddenly recalled the unread message in his phone, which he didn’t bother to read at all when he picked up his phone from the desk and placed it into the pocket of his lab coat. Nevertheless, the realization had allowed the puzzle pieces in his mind to click into place one by one and everything seemed to make more sense now. Feeling less wary of the girl, Lucien decided to carry on this façade a little longer ... for his own amusement.
“I have seen your recent shows. Your choice of themes is somewhat problematic.”
Out of the blue, he had pointed out the flaws of her show in a blunt manner, all the while keeping a close eye on the girl’s expression. As expected, she was offended by his remarks. The twitching of one of her brows and her wavering smile were clear signs of that. Even so, instead of lashing out at him, she had reined in her anger by begrudgingly thanking him for his opinion in an even tone.
The sight of her trying so hard to hide her displeasure towards his remarks was rather amusing. If he wasn’t mindful of his public image, he would have already chuckled at her silliness, which would be nothing but rude towards someone he had just met.
While Lucien thought that it was about time to come out and reveal himself as the person she was looking for, the girl had suddenly come up with the idea of calling his phone via the number given by Professor John. This had made him wondered...Why didn’t she called him before showing up at his office in the first place?
Curious to know how she would react when she found out the truth, Lucien decided to keep quiet. Coincidentally, Lucien was greeted by one of the staff that had passed by, right after the girl had tapped the call button on her phone. After he returned the greeting to the staff with a smile, he glanced at the girl to notice that she had frozen on the spot with her gaze glued towards her phone and Lucien’s phone had chosen to ring at that moment.
Hesitantly, the girl hung up the call, which caused the phone in his lab coat to fall silent at the same time. There was an awkward silence in the air as a pair of round brown eyes had nervously looked up from the edge of the phone to meet violet ones that were filled with amusement.
“Would you like to talk inside my office?”
Unbeknownst to them, that was the first ripple to their unchanging world.