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*wipes dust off*

So… this thing still exists.

The indecisive cat…

Jonathan put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. They had just finished a nice and late breakfast and had no plans for the rest of the day. Fortunately, he thought, because it had been snowing heavily all night and all morning, there didn’t seem to be an end in sight.
He liked snow, it was quiet and peaceful and made the world look completely different for a while.
He heard a meow behind him and turned around. It was Orion, their orange tabby, he sat in front of the back door leading from the kitchen to the backyard.
“You wanna go outside?”
“Alright, here you go.”, Jonathan said as he opened the door. He felt the cold air come in immediately. Orion took a few little steps forward and was standing half outside and half inside and seemed to have second thoughts about going out into the snowy world.
Orion gave him a disapproving look.
“Hey, don’t look at me like that, I’m not making it snow.”
The cat turned around again and left the kitchen.
Jonathan turned on the dishwasher and cleaned the counter tops.
He was done just as Jennifer came back into the kitchen, she had been on the phone in her office.
“Anything exciting?”, he asked her.
“Not really. It was just my publisher talking about some statistics. Pretty boring.”, looked out the window. “If it’s doesn’t stop snowing we’ll be stuck inside all weekend.”
Jonathan smiled. “Look at the bright side: you’d be stuck with me.”
“Well, I guess it could be worse.”, she replied and gave him a kiss.

Neither one of them had anything important to do on that day so that they could just be with each other. If they could just decide what to do. Maybe it was the weather but they didn’t really feel like doing anything so Jonathan suggested they’d go sit outside on the bench on the roofed front porch with a cup of hot chocolate and watch the snow fall on the street.
They cuddled and talked and giggled as if everything else was a million miles away.
Jennifer giggled again. “Hey do you remember when we got lost in Stanley Park during that snowstorm?”
“Man, that was 20 years ago. I’m glad someone found us.”
“Yeah, that weird old guy, he was a little creepy at first.”
“That storm really caught us by surprise and with the snow everything kind of looked the same, easy to get lost. Too bad we didn’t have smart phones back then.”
“But it was a fun day. I remember at some point we ran into that family of raccoons and I was so scared while you were laughing your ass off.”
Jonathan laughed. “It was so funny, I think the raccoons were scared of us, too.”
“Maybe they were lost, too.”
“I’m sure they were fine.”
“At least you stopped laughing when you fell face down into the snow. You left a nice You-shaped print.”
“Yes and then all the snow from the trees fell on both of us. We were so cold.”
“But when we got back home we found a nice way to warm up again.”
“That was the best part of the day. I’m glad my Thomas and my parents weren’t home.”
Both smiled as they remembered that day….


Jennifer put her bag in the trunk of her husband’s car. “I think we have everything.”, she told Jonathan. He was still in the kitchen giving the cats some treats before they left.
“What about road snacks?”, he asked.
“We got ginger ale, gummy bears, Doritos and M&Ms.”
“Awesome.” Apparently Jonathan was still saying goodbye to Lucina, their oldest cat. She had always been very attached to him but since he got home from the hospital after the accident she didn’t want to leave his side and often followed him around the house. It was cute but sometimes made it difficult to leave the house, especially for a few days. And Jennifer couldn’t wait to get away for the weekend. They had bought a cabin by a lake in Vermont, it was beautiful, especially now in the fall when the leaves changed colors. The 4-5 hours drive was worth it.
“Honey!”, she called.
“I’m coming.”
A few seconds later he came through the garage door, closed it behind him. “Let’s go.”
Both of them got into the car and they drove off towards a quiet and relaxing weekend.

Jennifer enjoyed the scenery while Jonathan was driving. They would probably get there around 7 pm which wasn’t too bad. Still enough time to take a nice evening walk at the lake. She was really looking forward to spending the weekend with Jonathan, just the two of them. Life had been very stressful with Jonathan’s parents moving into town and opening a new restaurant, babysitting for Thomas and Anne, there was always something. And then there was work. She knew that Jonathan had worked hard and needed a little break, too. He had gone back to work in January which was a year after the accident but she wasn’t sure if that wasn’t too early, he could have used 1 or 2 more months to recover, she thought. But he was going crazy staying at home. But either way he would be fine eventually.
They had been on the road for 2 hours and the sun was starting to set, it was a beautiful light. Both of them were tired so they didn’t talk much but it wasn’t an awkward silence.
“Are you still okay to drive?”, she asked him.
“Yeah, sure. We’re already halfway there, it’s fine.”
She gave him a loving pat on the shoulder.
“What do you want to do tonight when we get there?”, she asked him.
“I don’t know… eat?”
“I knew you’d say that.” They chuckled.
“We could sit at the lake, do some stargazing.”, he suggested.
“That sounds lovely.”

Half an hour later Jennifer fell asleep, she was just too tired. And when Jonathan softly woke her up they had arrived at the cabin.
“Hey.”, he said. “We’re here.”
She looked at him and smiled. He looked tired too but he seemed to be in a good mood, his blue eyes were almost shining, it was probably the lighting but it was almost magical. Also she thought he looked really sexy in his grey Henley, very cuddly. She loved him so much.
“Is everything alright?”
“yes, it’s perfect.”
They got out of the car, carried their bags into the cabin and just collapsed on the couch. It would be a wonderful weekend…

Cloudy with a chance of asteroids….

Jonathan was nervous. Not so much because he was scared of Ralph Henry Woodfield, no, he was just an arrogant jerk that he could handle. It was more about how he could possibly react to what he wanted to talk to him about.
As he walked along the corridor towards Ralph’s office door he tried to act cool. Nobody needed to know how nervous he was. Jonathan had gotten pretty good at that over the years. Always try to look confident even if your anxiety is killing you.
He hated confrontations but he just couldn’t avoid this one. Well, he could but he didn’t want to, he could not let this fall under the table.
He reached the door and hesitated for a second, looked at the folder in his hand. Okay, it’s now or never, he thought. He knocked three times.
“Come in!”, Woodfield sounded annoyed already, how could someone have the audacity to disturb him?
Jonathan opened the door and stepped into the room. It was dark and smelled like too much coffee. It also didn’t look like anyone did a lot of work in here.
Ralph Henry looked up from his computer. “Oh, it’s you. I don’t have time for you and your nonsense, MacLean!”
“You might want to take the time, Ralph.”
“It’s Dr. Woodfield for you!”
“Yeah well, we’ll see about that.”
Jonathan dropped the folder on the desk took a seat in front of the desk.
“Hey, I didn’t ask you to sit down. If it isn’t important I’m going to call security and have you kicked out of the building! I’m very busy!”
“I bet.” He almost laughed at the empty threat.
“What is this?”, Ralph Henry asked impatiently.
“I think you know what this is.”
Angrily the older scientist opened the folder, quickly turned a couple of pages and then got slower. Jonathan could see the color leave his face.
“This… this… no… you must have faked this, it’s what you would do… to harm me.”
“We both know it’s real. You know, some of us worked very hard for our phds, we didn’t just buy them. I sure didn’t.” Jonathan explained while unconsciously playing with his wedding ring. A sign that he was still nervous. When he became aware of it he stopped.
“I just… wanted to save ti-”, Ralph started but he was interrupted.
“I don’t care why you did it. It doesn’t change the fact that you fooled everyone for decades. Did you think nobody would ever find out?”
“I was promised it would stay a secret. How did you even find this?”
“It was an accident. I was looking for something entirely different and then I just stumbled upon it. I couldn’t believe it at first but this is something that you would absolutely do so…”
“So what are you gonna do about it? Did you tell anyone?”, his voice very quiet, almost a whisper now.
“Not yet and to be honest I don’t know what to do about it.” That was the most frustrating part of it all. He really did not know what to do and he didn’t want to put this burden of knowledge on anyone else so he didn’t really talk to anyone else about it. If he told Bob then what? Ralph Henry would get fired for certain. But was that all? He would never be able to work as a physicist again and maybe he didn’t deserve to but why was it Jonathan’s responsibility to destroy the the life that Ralph Henry built? On the other hand, if he let this slide he’d be just as guilty, he felt. He wished he had never found out about this.
“Please don’t tell anyone. My life, my career, my reputation is on the line..:”
“I know. And if I was able to find this then everyone can. Maybe it would be best if you went public with it yourself.”
“I can’t do that.”, apparently the idea of admitting a mistake disgusted him.
“Well you have to do something. I can’t just ignore this.”
The expression on Ralph Henry’s face kept switching between anger, resentment, fear and desperation.
“Okay. So what do you want? Is it money? I can give you money if you forget about the whole thing.”
So we’re trying to bargain now, Jonathan thought.
“No. I don’t care about your money, I’m not corrupt, Ralph. This is low, even for you.”
“It’s Dr.-”, Woodfield stopped himself probably realizing it would make him sound like an idiot now. “What do you suggest?”
“You have the whole weekend to think about it. We’ll talk again on Monday.” Jonathan hoped that Ralph Henry would come up with a solution or maybe even that somehow the issue would disappear over the weekend. You never know, Earth could be hit by an asteroid that wipes us all out on Sunday. He stood up from the chair.
“Why do you even care? What does it matter to you?”, Ralph Henry asked. He sounded beaten.
“Because you’re a cheater and I can’t stand for that. I don’t want to be part of your cover up.”
“I see. Well, I’ll see you on Monday then.”
Jonathan left the room without saying any more. He still wasn’t sure if he was doing the right thing. Maybe he should talk to his therapist later this afternoon.
He sighed and walked back to his lab, not feeling any better than before…

The wannabe nightmare…

It was Monday, the least popular day of the week for lots of people. Mondays were cruel but inevitable. This Monday was no different. After working on different experiments and a paper for what felt like endless hours it was still only 10 am. Jonathan sighed. This day would probably never end.
He was sitting at the table in the lounge room going through everything they had planned for the next few weeks. A lot of work was ahead of them, lab time had to be booked.
“How long do you think we’re going to need the quantum microscope?”, Glenn asked.
“I don’t know, maybe 2 weeks.”
“Okay, I’m gonna put us down for 3 weeks just to be on the safe side.”
“Great, thank you.”
Jonathan took a sip from his tea which was now almost cold. What was it about Mondays that made time move slower and tea get cold? The weekend had been so nice and relaxing. He got to spend some quality time with Jennifer and his family, had good food and a great time. But then it was over and before he knew it he had to go back to work. He loved his work but he just wasn’t ready today. Something in him wished the weekend back but he knew it wasn’t possible. He had to deal with this Monday whether he liked it or not. He just hoped there wouldn’t be any complications.
And the next few hours weren’t so bad. Everything went smoothly and he had the best chocolate cake for dessert which lifted his spirits.
Back at the lab he and Glenn went through some calculations on the white board.
“I don’t understand how you jumped from this to this.”, Glenn said pointing at the board.
“I left out some steps to save some space on the board, sorry. But they’re all in my head.”
Glenn rolled his eyes. “Of course they are.”
They were interrupted by someone yelling “MACLEAN!”
Jonathan turned his head and then he saw him, Dr. Ralph Henry Woodfield. He seemed angry. As always.
Dr. Woodfield was something else. During Jonathan’s absence after his accident he was his replacement and he was like a hurricane. He ruined some of Jonathan’s work, scared his team, someone even quit because of Woodfield’s temper and general unpleasantness. Not only that, Ralph Henry Woodfield was arrogant and could never admit mistakes, in his mind he was just never wrong and everyone else was the problem. When Jonathan returned to work after a year he had found chaos and spent weeks trying to save his work and get his team back together. But Woodfield stayed at the institute, got his own team and has been a pain in their ass ever since.
He kept storming towards Jonathan and Glenn, his head red with rage. “Why did you do this?!”
Jonathan tried to remain calm. “Ralph Henry. A good day to you, too.”
“It’s Dr. Woodfield for you! Now what is this?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Don’t play stupid. The particle accelerator.”
“What about it?”. Jonathan genuinely didn’t know what his problem was.
Dr. Woodfield threw a sheet of paper on the table. “You’re scheduled for the particle accelerator next month, for 2 weeks. But that is when I need it.”
“And? Looks like we were faster.”
“And it is booked out for the next 4 months which throws me back. And that is your fault.”
“Everyone here knows you have to book it months in advance and that’s what we did. It’s not my fault that you didn’t.”
“Are you saying this is my fault?”
“Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying.”
“How dare you? You will give me your scheduled particle accelerator time or I will become your worst nightmare!”
“Ohh, scary.”, Glenn said, “Well, you’re already our worst nightmare so what’s the difference?”
Jonathan rolled his eyes. “I’m not scared of you, Ralph. We did everything right. And now please leave my lab.”
“It’s Dr. Woodfield!” Dr. Woodfield looked like he was about to explode but he turned around and stormed out of the lab just like he entered it.
Jonathan shook his head. What did Ralph Henry know about nightmares anyway?

Sleeping ducks…

Jonathan let out a sigh of relief when the doors to the hospital closed behind them. He had hoped never to set foot in a hospital again but this time it was actually a joyous occasion.
“Twins! Can you believe it?”, Jennifer said still in disbelief. Anne had just given birth to twin girls very early in the morning. Jonathan’s twin brother Thomas was the father and all of them were there for her all night. Jonathan tried to calm his brother down because he was driving everyone crazy while Jennifer was with Anne, it was a wild night. Everyone was healthy and happy, and tired.
The early morning sun on this May day was warm, not a cloud in sight, a nice breeze was blowing in from the ocean. Jonathan wasn’t sure if he was ready to drive home yet.
“Do you want to take a little walk in the park?”, he asked Jennifer.
They headed towards Lone Oak Park right next to the hospital. It was beautiful with lots of trees and ponds. And it was very quiet in the morning except for the singing of the birds. Just what he needed.
They slowly walked through the park holding hands and enjoyed the quiet.
“So we’re aunt and uncle now, I guess that means a lot of babysitting.”, Jennifer said.
Jonathan smiled.
“You’re gonna be great at babysitting.”
“Hey, what about you? I’m not going to do that alone.”
“I have no idea what to do with babies.”
“Do you think I do?”, Jennifer chuckled.
“I guess we’ll figure it out when the time comes. And Anne and Thomas are probably going to tell us what to do.”
“Do you think we would have made good parents?”, Jennifer asked after a while.
“I’m sure you would have been a great mother. Don’t know about me, I always thought I have too many issues to be a father.”
“Come on, you’d be a wonderful father, despite everything you’ve been through. Maybe even because of that.”
“I wonder what our life would be like now if we ever had children.”, Jonathan wondered knowing they would never find out. Jennifer couldn’t have kids ever since she was in an accident as a teenager. Back then she was really struggling with that but Jonathan had been there for her, they went through this together.
“It would probably be very different. Maybe we’d have stayed in Vancouver or moved to Germany.”
“And maybe your dad wouldn’t hate me?”
“He doesn’t hate you, he just… has a very low opinion of you.”
Jonathan chuckled. “That’s so much better.”
They reached one of the ponds, the ducks were still mostly asleep. There were park benches and they decided to sit down for a while.
“You know what?”, Jonathan asked. “I love our life just as it is now. I love our house, our cats, our family, I love you. I think it’s perfect.”
Jennifer smiled. “You’re right, it’s perfect.” She gave him a kiss.
“Though I’m kinda hungry”, Jonathan added.
“Of course you are. We should get breakfast.” They stood up from the bench. “How’s your leg today?”, she asked him,
“A little stiff but it’s alright. Let’s go.”
They left the park just as they entered it, holding hands. Jonathan couldn’t wait to get something to eat. He felt like having waffles today…

The hidden blessing…

In a few months he would drive this route every day, Jonathan thought. It may be a longer drive home but it would be worth it. They would finally leave their old small apartment behind and move into the new house with much more space for them, their books and their cat.
But till they could move in they had to do some major renovations. It was a lovely location and a beautiful house but it was old and had been vacant for years. They had to take out everything from the old furniture to kitchen and the bathroom, pipes, power lines, the flooring, the old wallpapers, windows, doors. He and Jennifer hired someone to do most of the work because they really had no experience with renovating houses and they didn’t want to mess it up.
He was going to meet Jennifer there today to discuss some things, make some decisions to make this house their own.

Half an hour later he entered the house and greeted some of the carpenters and painters.
They had made some progress. New windows were being installed and everything looked much better than when they entered the house for the first time.
“Hey, I gotta show you something.”, Jennifer called out when she saw him. She was in the future kitchen and dining room. He followed her through the kitchen door to the deck in the back yard.
“What is it?”
“When the guys removed the pile of wooden planks and old boxes they discovered something hidden under there.”, she pointed to an old weathered hot tub. “They aren’t sure if they can fix it but wouldn’t it be amazing to have our own hot tub?” She seemed very excited by the idea.
“A hot tub? I don’t know… do we really need one?”
“Look, I know you’re not really into bathing or swimming or being shirtless.. but… this would be just for us. Just imagine sitting here after a long day, just you and me relaxing.. I think you’d love it.”
Jonathan admitted that this did indeed sound very nice and she seemed to love the idea and how could he ever say no to her? Not that she needed his permission.
“Alright, why not?”, he finally said. Jennifer was very happy and gave him a tight hug.
“You’re not going to regret it.”
And she was right. Even though ended up having to replace the old hot tub with a brand new one it turned out to be one of their favorite things about the house. After Jonathan overcame his insecurities after the first few times he started to love it. And they would spend many nice and relaxing sometimes even romantic hours in the hot tub…

Just having some fun…

The unexpected unicorn…

Jonathan took a sip from his mint milkshake as he proofread the last paragraph he had written on his laptop. It all made sense to him but would others think the same? Maybe Anne or Glenn should take a look at it and give him some feedback.
He was sitting in his favorite booth in Dean’s Diner, it was a quiet Saturday afternoon and they had the best cheesecake. He looked out the window where the harbor and the promenade was. The weather was sunny and one of the whale watching our boats just returned and docked. The people looked happy and excited so he assumed the tour was a success. Jonathan loved whales but he had never done a whale watching tour and he wondered why. Maybe it was because he had always lived by the ocean and thought he would just do it some day but he never did. Maybe it was time.
But not now, he decided. He needed to finish this paper. A few weeks ago he had discovered an odd pattern in some of their readings and after some experiments and calculations he was certain that they were looking at a particle that nobody had seen or thought of before. Glenn thought he was crazy but when Jonathan came up with a way to prove its existence and the experiment was successful he took it back. Even though he and Anne had put actual money on his failure. This discovery was a happy accident. They had called it the unicorn particle and the name kind of stuck, but he wasn’t sure he would call it that in his paper.
He was going through some calculations in his notebook when the waitress approached his table.
“Is everything alright? Can I get you anything else?”, Kirstie asked.
Jonathan looked up. He could eat something sweet. “What’s the pie today?”
“Key Lime Pie. It’s delicious.”, she said with a smile.
“Oh that sounds great. And some ginger ale, please.”
“Coming right up.” Kristie said as she took the empty milk shake glass from the table and disappeared into the kitchen.
Jonathan put the book away, closed his laptop and decided it was enough for today.
The phone in the pouch of his hoodie sweater buzzed. Jonathan hoped it wasn’t work related so he was delighted when he saw it was a message from Jennifer. She and Sarah were at a conference in Portland for the whole day.

Conference is very interesting, we’re taking a break right now. What are you up to?

Attached he found a very rare selfie of her. She usually didn’t do those but this time she did. Her brown long hair was wavy today and her blue eyes looked especially blue, she swore a white top and she gave him a thumbs up. She looked like an angel he thought. He smiled to himself as he felt the butterflies, even after 20 years….

The rest is history…

She could have sworn she had put her favorite pen on her desk but it was gone. Where could it be? Could Jonathan have taken it? No, he wouldn’t do that and why would he need to use her pen when there were dozens of other pens in the house. Maybe one of the cats dragged it away. Jennifer sat at her desk looking at the piles of papers and notes and mail. It looked a little messy but there was a certain order to it and she knew where everything was. Usually. Her pen was not on the desktop where it was supposed to be. Of course she could have used any other pen but this this one was special. Jonathan gave it to her years ago and she did not want to lose it.
If it wasn’t on the desk then maybe it was in one of the desk drawers. It couldn’t hurt to look.
She opened the first drawer but there was nothing but pencils, notepads, scissors and a stapler. The second one was full of batteries, chargers, flash drives, cat treats and a cat toy in the shape of a fish. Drawer number three contained a bad of hard candy, chewing gum, empty folders, CDs and a small calendar from 2012. Still no sign of her favorite pen but she realized she should throw out some stuff and her pen was probably not in any of the drawers. She still had one more drawer to check though. Of course it wasn’t in there but she found something else. 3 books. One was a French to English dictionary, one was a cookbook which hadn’t helped her, she thought she was a hopeless case and would never be able to cook. The third book was a worn copy of Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. She hadn’t see it in a while but it was very important to her.
Jennifer took the book out of the drawer, leaned back in her chair and looked at it.
It as old and the corners were bent a little but it brought back a very special memory.

It must have been 20 years ago, she was 14 and an exchange student in Vancouver.
It was late September and Thomas had invited her to a party, someone’s birthday party. She didn’t know them as she was new to the school but she thought she should surely be able to make some new friends and get to know her classmates. Thomas was one of them. He loved to entertain people and brought life into their classes, was very popular and outgoing and seemed to be friends with everyone. Jennifer thought he was cute.
The party seemed fun but Jennifer felt a little lost and just observed everyone for a while. They were in the birthday boy’s living room, music was playing, there were balloons and tables with drinks and snacks. She saw Valerie from her history class dancing with some friends and Bruce from biology talking and laughing. Katie looked like she could be Thomas’ girlfriend but she wasn’t sure.
She decided to go say hi to Thomas.
“Hey, having fun?”, he asked her.
“Yeah. I’m trying to. You seem to be quite the entertainer.”
“You think? I don’t know, I just want everyone to have fun, be happy and enjoy their time, at school or at parties.”
“You’re very good at that.”
Thomas smiled. “Thank you. I’m glad to hear that.”
Jennifer looked around one more time and noticed someone she hadn’t noticed before. There was a boy sitting on a couch reading a book in a quiet corner of the living room.
“Who is that over there? He looks just like you.”
Thomas turned his head. “Oh that’s my nerdy little twin brother Jonathan.”
“Why is he sitting there all alone?”
“He’s shy and a little complicated. Also very smart, he’s two classes above us. I think he just came because I asked him to. Just let him read his book and he’ll be happy.”
“You know what? I think I’ll go say hi. He sounds interesting.”
“Well, good luck. But don’t scare him or I’ll come after you.” Thomas said and winked.
Jennifer was a bookworm herself and had started to write some short stories and fan fiction and becoming a writer was a dream of hers, or a doctor. Maybe both.
As she walked towards him she took a closer look. He was wearing jeans and a black hoodie sweater, she was wondering what book he was reading. He was too lost in the book to notice her taking a seat next to him on the couch.
“Must be a great book.”, she said, hoping to start a conversation.
Jonathan looked up shyly, trying to avoid eye contact. “Yes, he replied and got back to his book.
“What are you reading?” Jennifer didn’t want to give up but she also didn’t want to make him even more uncomfortable so she was ready to back off if he really didn’t want to talk.
He seemed surprised that she was still there but still showed her the book cover. “It’s Good Omens by Pratchett and Gaiman.” He had a quiet voice.
“Really? That’s awesome. I’ve read that, it’s one of my favorite books.”
“No spoilers, please.”, he said with a hint of a smile. This time she caught his eyes, they were deep blue but there was something else. Something deep down seemed sad and broken.
He quickly turned his eyes back to the book in his hands. He had noticed her look.
“I’m Jennifer.”
“So you’re the exchange student my brother talked about.”
“I guess I am.”
“I’m .. uhm.. my name is Jonathan. Please don’t call me Jon”
“Okay… Jonathan. Nice to meet you.”

That’s how it all started. Jennifer was still in her desk chair holding the book, pressing it to her chest. They had spent a lot of time together after they met at the party. They talked about books and TV shows, went to book stores and libraries. He taught her things about the universe, space and time that she had never heard of, she taught him to laugh and smile and not to be afraid of being who he is. She smiled softly, still lost in memories and didn’t notice Jonathan coming into the room.
“Hey, how was your day?”, he asked her before bending over to pick up something off the ground and put it on her desk “I think you dropped something.” It was her pen. She never thought to look on the ground.
“Oh my gosh, thank you. I was looking for it everywhere. What would I do without you?”…