Archive for January, 2014
Seth stood up, and raised his champagne glass. “To Nolan, whose research is on the brink of saving millions of lives every single year.”
“To Nolan.” Amy, Bridget, and Suzanne said in unison, and clinked their champagne flutes with Nolan’s.
“Suzanne, you must be so proud of your husband.” Bridget said. “I can’t help but notice the admiration in your eyes. It lights up your whole face.”
Susanne nodded. “I couldn’t be prouder. And Nolan insists the three of you are equally responsible for the success of his research.”
“Not true,” Amy said. “Nolan is our fearless leader, and we are merely minions doing his bidding.”
“Look!” Seth pointed at Nolan. “His head is getting bigger by the minute. You girls better knock it off with the compliments or his enormous ego won’t fit through the door of the lab in the morning.”
“Seth!” Amy punched him on the shoulder.
The steak and lobster were mouthwatering. But Seth could hardly take his eyes off Amy the entire evening. That little black dress, those long legs even sexier in stilettos, hair flowing like silk over smooth shoulders. Her southern charm and gentle way came out more with each sip of champagne. He found her irresistible tonight.
They celebrated into the evening until Seth noticed Suzanne’s eyelids getting heavy.
Nolan reached over, and took her hand. “Ready to call it a night, love?”
Suzanne tried, unsuccessfully, to stifle a yawn. “I guess all the excitement tired me. I hope the rest of you will stay. Nolan will leave his credit card with the waiter.”
Seth pushed back from the table. “I’m stuffed and getting tired myself.”
Pulling his keys from his pocket, Seth nodded toward his car. “Is everyone okay to drive? I switched to water and coffee awhile ago; I can chauffer all of you.”
“I wouldn’t mind a ride.” Amy seemed grateful for the offer.
“I’m okay, but thanks Seth.” Bridget hugged Suzanne, and smiled at Nolan. “Thank you again for a decadent dinner.” Waving, she headed to her car. “Have a nice evening, everyone. I’ll see you all in the morning bright and early.”
Seth chuckled, and watched as Nolan took Suzanne’s hand, waved at his colleagues, and started across the street.
“Nolan!” Suzanne shouted, and Seth turned just in time to see the see an old Cadillac sedan slam into Nolan’s back with a sickening crack, sending him soaring.
Nolan felt his wife jerk his arm, but the force ripped him away from her. In an instant he was in the air. Higher, higher…
Dizzy and confused, he looked down and saw Suzanne’s eyes wide, her mouth open in a piercing scream.
Can’t breathe! Panic gripped him. Pain seared his spine. The impact knocked the air from his lungs, and everything went into slow motion. He could hear Suzanne crying out for him in the street below. The pain of a thousand tiny razors coursed fiercely through his body.
He gasped for air, arms and legs flailing. His heart raced with panic when he realized the black pavement was rushing toward him. He could see all of them; hear their shouts, and then… Nothing.
“Nolan!” Suzanne screamed.
Seth rushed to keep her from running into the street, quickly looking over his shoulder to see if Amy and Bridget were safe. He whipped around in time to see the sedan speeding away into the night; horrified that he never saw its brake lights come on.
“Oh, my God, stop!” Seth screamed after the car.
Nolan crashed to the street with the horrific sound of shattering bones.
“Call 911!” Bridget shouted. She struggled with her purse to find her cell phone.
Amy sank to her knees on the sidewalk. “Oh, please, please, somebody help us! We need an ambulance!”
Seth was in the street, at Nolan’s side in an instant.
The angle of Nolan’s body was frightening. His left leg and foot were twisted and mangled, left arm bent at his side, and right arm lay lifeless above his head. Blood saturated the pant legs of his suit and trickled onto the street, but most alarming was the growing puddle of blood oozing from the back of his head.
Suzanne crumpled beside Nolan, wailing hysterically.
Seth took off his suit jacket and draped it around her, but she ripped it off, reaching out to place it under Nolan’s head.
“No, Suz, don’t move him until the paramedics get here.” He took the jacket from her and draped it around her shoulders again, crouching over to warm her.
She trembled so violently it shook the two of them.
He shouted toward the restaurant, “Has anyone called an ambulance! We need an ambulance here now!”
Chapter Two – Sneak Peek
Nolan’s cell phone rang just as he settled down at his computer. Before he could answer he heard Seth scramble to get out of his chair without falling. Shaking his head, he picked up the call. “Nolan Jennings. Oh yes, Ms. Davenport how are you? Good, good. Uh huh. Yes, a site visit can be arranged at your convenience. Perfect. I’ll see you in a few days. Thank you for your consideration. I will, I will. Have a nice day.”
“Yes!” Nolan pumped his fist in victory. “We’re at the top of the heap! Mona Davenport is coming to our little ol’ laboratory. She wants to do a site visit, and she’s bringing some members of her advisory board.”
All three of them burst into his office high-fiving, Amy jumped up and down, her long dark ponytail bouncing behind her.
“You’ll make history, Nolan.” Bridget’s eyes glistened with tears that hadn’t yet spilled over. “In the company of Salk and Pasteur.”
“Yes you will.” Seth nodded and smiled.
“Our team will make history,” Nolan emphasized. “It’s always our team. I couldn’t have done this without the three of you.”
Nolan beamed. His research was finally ready for prime time. Ready to test in human clinical trials, and if it worked in humans the way it worked in mice, it could save millions from a horrible disease.
Nolan buried his head in his hands in mock despair. “If we get funding I’ll have another truck load of paperwork to get permission from the FDA to test it.”
Amy patted his shoulder. “Awww, there’s always a down side, but it’s so worth it.”
A timer went off in the lab. “Back to work.” Bridget shoved on her glasses and headed toward the experiment she’d set up.
“And I need to get this morning’s data recorded in the database.” Amy turned gracefully on her heels and followed Bridget out the door.
Seth extended his hand to Nolan for their secret handshake, and nodded.
Nolan called his wife, Suzanne, to tell her the good news, took two big bites from his donut, and chugged half his coffee.
He never minded publishing and research–those were the gratifying aspects of his work. But, grant proposals also went with the territory, and even after eighteen years as an immunologist Nolan much preferred to be in his lab with his test tubes and mice.
Dr. Nolan Jennings swiped his security card in the reader, and walked briskly through his lab calling out a happy “Good Morning” on the way to his private office.
His research team was already performing their morning check on the mice, and making notes to enter into the animal trial database. Eager for an update on their findings, he quickly listened to messages, hoping for at least one response to his latest round of grant proposals.
The research had been peer reviewed, and published in the prestigious “Journal of Immunology and Science”. This was groundbreaking science, and he was absolutely confident in his findings. But, securing funding to advance this type of research was proving to be difficult. In medicine, the biggest breakthroughs were often met with the most resistance.
Is the world ready? He wondered for about the hundredth time. A quick scan of his email revealed nothing urgent, so he pulled on his lab coat and strode into the lab.
“How is everyone this morning? And how are our little ones faring?”
“Still no evidence of disease.” Bridget Mallory leaned over one of the cages, then stood up and removed her glasses, as she did about fifty times a day.
“Excellent! What about the group bred for disease?” Nolan asked.
“None of them have developed a single symptom.” Seth McCleary called out from his desk, which was nothing more than a lowered continuation of the black lab counter top with the addition of a few built in drawers and cubbyholes he’d stuffed with mail, notes, and journals. “Any word from the foundation?”
“Not yet. It takes time.” Nolan surveyed the wall of cages that housed the mice, sticking his finger through to pet a few of them.
The door buzzer sounded, and Bridget moved quickly to open it for Amy Garcia, who balanced a tray of coffee, and a box of donuts. Setting the pastries down in the designated break area, she passed out coffee, and took a read of their faces. “No word yet?” She asked in her Texas drawl.
“I’m sure we’ll hear soon.” Bridget smiled, put her glasses on, and bent over to observe the mice.
Nolan took a sip of his coffee, plopped two donuts on a paper towel, and headed back to his office. “If anyone needs me I’ll be up to my nose in another grant proposal.”
Amy called after him, “When are we going to sequence your DNA so we can clone your metabolism?”
“It’s not genetics, it’s gender,” Nolan called back.
“It’s because you don’t sleep,” Bridget teased.