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His Shy Virgin
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I never wanted romance. Never cared about passion.
But HE won’t let me.
Hot, muscled, eyes bluer than the sea… and a total stranger. He tells me he’s going to show me what passion is. That once I experience it, I’ll become a romantic at heart, just like him.
I should ignore him.
I should forget he exists.
I should definitely NOT invite him over to see if he’s able to put his money where his mouth is.
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I swear that this started out as a perfectly normal day. There was coffee after stumbling from my bed, bleary from a late night in the lab yesterday. There was the normal horrible commute on the subway filled with equally grumpy people as the trains start and stop through the tunnels. There was waving my ID badge at Bob, the friendly old security guard who spends his day reading paperback mystery novels when he’s not checking us in.
And then there’s now, where I’m sitting in my boss’s office and he’s telling me that he needs me to go on TV in a couple of hours.
“I don’t understand.”
“Kelly, I just explained it.”
“I know, but it’s not penetrating. Why do you need me to do this? Shouldn’t it be you? Shouldn’t it be Sharon? Shouldn’t it be anyone but the most junior scientist in the lab?”
Dr. Fayberg gives me an amused smile. “Normally, yes, but our consultant for the interview thought it would be good if you do it.”
I stare at him, mouth hanging open. “But…why?”
He looks uncomfortable for a second, and clears his throat. “It’s probably easier if I just read you the email, since I don’t want there to be any mistake about my interpretation.” He clicks a couple times on his computer and clears his throat again. He reads from the screen: “All your talking points look good, but there’s something missing. Everybody knows that taking care of the environment is good for the planet, but it’s a hard sell to make things like composting sexy. I looked at your staff, and if she’s capable, Kelly Donahue is perfect. She’s young, she’s hot, and she can give the people at NYTalks more to care about than carbon dioxide facts.”
He looks at me sheepishly. “I have no problem with you doing the interview. You’re more than capable, and you know your shit better than anyone around here. Hell, I’m more likely to forget a fact than you are, and if Miriam thinks you’re a good fit, I’m all for it.”
I’m happy that he thinks I’m good enough to do the interview, but I’m undecided. I know that if I push back, he won’t make me do it. Dr. Fayberg has never made me uncomfortable, and the fact that he’s even asking based on this email means he’s worried about the perception of the interview.
The thought of me being tapped for my sex appeal is a new one. I’ve never considered myself sexy. I’m the nerdy girl who sits in the front of the class and takes the best notes. I wear glasses, I always wished my hair had more volume, and no matter how well I eat or how much I work out, I’ll always have more curves than most people think I attractive. Sexy isn’t in the top twenty words that I’d use to describe myself.
Under normal circumstances, I think I would say no. But we need this. We’ve been under attack for months from executives and oil companies saying that our research isn’t worthwhile, that we should lose our funding. That can’t happen. Green Leaf labs is one of the only labs doing specific and targeted research into alternative energies that have no net impact on the environment. It’s not a secret that we don’t have much time left to figure this out, and it’s more important than ever. But Miriam—our PR specialist—says it’s harder for our side to seem sexy and attractive when the people on the other side are rich beyond imagination sporting custom suits and gorgeous cars. I’m sporting clearance sale finery if I’m lucky.
So if going on TV will help, even though it makes me want to vomit with anxiety, I’ll do it.
“Okay,” I say. “I can, but please tell me Miriam is going to find me some clothes because I don’t have anything that will look good on TV.”
Dr. Fayberg looks relieved. “Good, thank you. And I’ll email her right now to get the details and ask if she can set you up with something.”
I get up and go back to my desk in a daze. TV. I’m going to be on TV. And it’s not just some community access channel either. NYTalks is a huge deal. Lots of people watch, and the fact that we were invited on to talk about who we are and what we do isn’t a small thing. God, I hope I don’t fuck it up.
At least there’s one relieving thing—I’ve never seen a NYTalks interview where Pepper Perry wasn’t able to smooth over any awkwardness. She’s a good host and a good interviewer, so even if I fall flat on my fucking face there’s a chance it will still come out half-way decent.
“Kelly,” Dr. Fayberg calls, and I hear his footsteps as he comes and pokes his head around the wall of my cubicle. “Miriam says she’ll meet you at the studio in an hour and that everything will be taken care of. I’ll forward you the talking points. Most likely questions, that kind of thing.”