The Prodigy

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Chapter 12

A blistering heat wave greets us on our way to work the next morning. The excessive heat makes work in the lab all the more appealing. True to expectation, there is a mountain of data to sift through. Dr. Morehouse sits with us for an hour and makes suggestions about how to organize the work. We quickly divide the tasks between us. Kevin is responsible for setting up the database and running statistics and Josh and I are responsible for reviewing the karyotypes and performing the DNA sequencing.

I immerse myself in the work. The immersion helps me to stop obsessing about both Rosewood and Josh, although I don’t actually mind thinking about Josh. For the rest of the week, we get in early in the morning and work late into the evening. If Josh doesn’t remind us, Kevin and I would miss meals.

I was a test subject in several studies at Stanford. They determined my mind is exceptionally advanced in flexibility and speed of closure, i.e. the ability to identify patterns in large amount of data. It is easy for me to get lost for hours in sifting through data.

After three days, I have an epiphany. In a subset of the subjects I study, the ones who were incarcerated for the most heinous offenses, I notice an abnormality in chromosome 19. I notice that these subjects also have minor differences on their MRI reports. Dr. Morehouse confirms that the original MRI data is available on disc and agrees to obtain a neuroradiology consultant to review the radiology data and group the findings in order for Kevin to input these additional findings into his algorithm.

Josh and I avoid showing any signs of physical affection at work but we are always together, as if we are circling each other’s orbit. Several times I see both Marcus and Jackie observing us but I shrug it off. Jacki always gives me a smile and tells me she is rooting for “true love,” as she calls it. Marcus is a different story. Midweek, Josh and I ride home together on the subway and go out for sushi. It is my first dinner date. Another milestone accomplished. I also continue exercising in preparation for our upcoming adventure. Whatever that may bring. Mom and I are forced to go running most days on the treadmill in the building’s gym after work because of the heat. We grab snippets of unfiltered conversation when we go out for coffee or ice cream. Mom just told me that there is somebody who could help with contacting the families of the detainees to obtain the necessary information, although she did not give the friend’s name to protect the individual’s identity. If Josh could give my mom the memory card with just the names of the detainees, her friend would take care of the rest.

Mom is a little reluctant to go to the beach the following weekend but agrees to go depending on the forecast. It is odd as mom is usually up for anything, in her own quiet way. In fact, when I had told her about meeting Bent, mom had become very quiet and preoccupied. Unfortunately, the weekend forecast calls for teeming rain for the next several days and we agree to postpone the weekend until the weather is more accommodating.

On the Thursday of that week, I’m engrossed in subject numbers 1275 through 1350 when Josh grabs me by the shoulders and I jump in the air.

“Sorry Analia. I have been saying your name but you were so deep in thought you couldn’t hear me. My mother and Dr. Morehouse would like to speak to you.” I look over Josh’ s shoulder and see Katharine Lucas standing there.

I stammer out. “My apologies. I have a tendency to get wrapped up in a project when there’s so much data.”

“It is an admirable trait. More often than not, our younger scientists find it hard to settle down when they first arrive. Especially in the summer. Dr. Morehouse has just been telling me you have been working long, but productive hours. He informed me of your first breakthrough.”

“Yes, we tentatively identified one of the chromosomes implicated in pedophilia. We need a few more days to run the DNA sequencing and compare it to normal controls before we can confirm that finding.”

“Both Dr. Morehouse and I are impressed. However, we don’t want you to suffer burnout. Weekends start at 4:30 on Fridays during the summer. You have to learn to pace yourself. Josh will make sure you leave by then.” Dr. Lucas says the last sentence with a coy smile. I see Josh grimace behind his mother’s back and try to ignore that. Kevin is watching all of this transfixed.

I turn a blush pink. “Thank you Dr. Lucas.”

“I will keep an eye on her.” Dr. Morehouse adds. ”We will need her to take a look at the other group’s findings by next week.”

“Thank you, Wes. These teams are turning out beautifully. If you can get your new proposal to me by tomorrow, I can look at it over this weekend.” She turns her attention back to me first without saying a word and then to Josh. “Josh, please come talk to me before you leave today.”

“Yes Dr. Lucas.” Katharine looks annoyed at the formality Josh uses in addressing her and walks towards the door with Dr. Morehouse trailing her.

Josh leans over and whispers in my ear. “We just survived the dragon lady’s first tour.” Kevin, who had been silent throughout the visit, breaks out in a huge smile.

I shake my head. “You shouldn’t egg her on. It also means we have to keep producing results. It will be interesting to see what she wants with you. How is the data inputting going, Kevin?”

“I am nearly finished. Once we run the DNA sequencing and have an idea of what we are looking for, I can run a pattern recognition program and give Analia’s eyes a rest. Analia has your pattern recognition ability ever been tested against a computer?”

Josh blurts out. “What?”

Simultaneously, I answer. “Yes. I was asked by a professor in the neuro-psych department at Stanford to do it. I could match the computer initially, but after time I naturally slowed down due to fatigue and hunger.”

Josh forgets where we are and runs a hand over my head. “You seem so real.”

“Funny.” I raise one eyebrow at him. It is not lost on me that I have to be careful at home about what I discuss and now at work I have to be careful about how I interact with Josh. At least Kevin is seemingly oblivious to the relationship between Josh and myself. Kevin looks actually quite happy to be part of our team and is becoming less stiff in his mannerisms.

Tonight I’m going out with Jackie. The air conditioning broke in Jacki’s apartment complex and she had to rescind the invitation for dinner at her place. We agree to go to a vegan restaurant with outdoor seating on the Upper West side. I make plans to call Josh when we are finished and meet him afterwards.

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