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Despite how much progress I had been making at the lab, I still had to do the usual grunt work like writing up lab reports, conducting research for Dr Bjergsen’s experiments, and watering the plants in the greenhouse. Yep, one of my household chores is actually a part of my job spec. Not that I’m complaining because I like gardening generally but I wanted to spend more time performing experiments and inventing things than watering and weeding the plants used in them.

1647

Dr Bjergsen is an awesome mentor and I couldn’t have asked for a better one. He’s always giving me more opportunities to show off my skills in the lab which I truly appreciate.

“Sloane, I’ll need your help with the chemical analysis in the S-29 experiment.”

1648

“Sure, doctor. What do you want me to do?”

“I emailed you the reports with the hypothesis and the supporting chemical equations. I need you to use the chemical analyser to test the potency of the drug to see if it supports the research.”

“I’ll get to work on it.”

“Excellent. Munch will help you with it. He’s already in the lab.”

1649

“Oh, sure. That’s great.” Wolfgang Munch, or Wolf as he preferred to be called, was a lab tech with the mood swings of a pregnant woman. One minute he’ll be fine and the next he’ll mope around like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. I’ve heard he could be kinda mean as well. I wanted to avoid him as much as possible because I don’t like confrontation. I tried mixing the chemicals on my own hoping I could figure it out by myself without asking him for help.

1650

“…next is 1 millilitre of potassium and then…WHOA!”

The solution started to form bubbles which overflowed the conical flask. That reaction was not supposed to happen!

Ugh! I needed Wolf after all.

1651

“Hey Wolf, the chemical equation Dr Bjergsen gave me…I’m having trouble with it. It’s not reacting the way it’s supposed to.”

“Finally decided to ask for my help huh?” He smirked.

“Well…I…wanted to do it on my own.”

“You mean you didn’t want to ask me for help because you heard all those rumours.”

1654

“Um…” I stuttered awkwardly, unsure of how to respond.

“It’s okay, I know what people say about me. You have one meltdown on the job and everyone thinks they have to walk on eggshells around you. I won’t snap at you Sloane, nor will I break down in tears. I was just having a bad day that day.”

“That’s good to know. Sorry for making the wrong assumption.”

1653

“No biggie. I know where you went wrong. You were supposed to bring the temperature of the solution to 65 degrees Celsius before adding the 1 millilitre of potassium. That’s why you got the bubbles.”

“Doctor Bjergsen didn’t put that in his notes.”

“He purposefully does that so he can test you to see if you’ll pick up on his errors. You should go over the formula again and then reread his hypothesis to see if you can pick up on something else before you try the experiment again.”

1652

“Thanks for the tip Wolf.”

“No problem. I’m here if you need any more help.” He offered.

Wolf wasn’t so bad after all. I guess I shouldn’t be so quick to judge someone based on office gossip. He and I became good friends after that and because of his tip I was able to figure out the experiment a lot sooner than if I had continued doing it on my own.

1655

Since working on that experiment together Doctor Bjorn made Wolf and me unofficial lab partners and assigned the two of us with the task of developing a SimRay device. It was a project he and an old colleague began researching many years ago and FutureSim Labs recently bought the patent. This was the biggest thing that could have happened to me work-wise thus far!

On the flip side, my personal life was heading nowhere. Working such long hours a day left me with little free time for my personal projects and hobbies. It’s good that I live with my family otherwise I’d never be able to see them or spend any time with them.

I think Gabriel misses me a lot since I’ve been working at the lab. Before I started working I was always at home with him since I never went out with friends or on dates like Izzy and Jo but now that I’m not around as much he gets a little lonely during those few hours between him coming home from school and me coming home from work.

1656

“You keep being late like this young lady and we’re gonna have a problem!” he joked.

“It’s only five minutes later than the time I usually get home.”

“That’s five minutes too much! I have so much stuff to tell you, Ivy!”

“Okay, kiddo. But you’re gonna have to tell me in a bit because I have to go shower and change before Jo yells at me for not being ready in time for her party.”

1657

“Fine…” he pouted for sympathy and it worked as usual.

“Don’t make that face Gabe, come here.” I bent down to give him a big hug. “I know I’ve been busy these days but I’ll always have time for my favourite baby brother.”

“I’m your only baby brother silly!”

“True, but I could have ten of them and you’d still be my favourite!”

1658

1659

By the time I was finished getting dressed up for Johanna’s birthday party she was just about ready to blow out the candles on her cake. I was grateful for that because I was actually pretty tired and wanted to get to bed as early as possible.

The party was in full swing by the time I came downstairs. Some of Jo’s friends were already hanging out by the hot tub while the rest of the guests lounged on the patio. Aunt Leni was able to get time off from her job to come to town for the occasion and it was the first time Johanna got to meet her.

1660

Aside from Jo’s friends from school who left early because they had curfew it was more or less a family affair. I couldn’t remember the last time I had so many relatives under one roof.

1661

Jo’s on and off boyfriend, Terrance, also attended the party. He graduated around the same time as Izzy and I did but didn’t return home from his boarding school until a few days ago. Jo was so excited about him coming back because now they could properly resume their relationship seeing as how he back in town.

1662

Unfortunately for her, I think Terrance wanted to take things a lot slower than she had in mind. No one else noticed but I saw the way he backed away from her when she tried to kiss him. He mumbled some dumb excuse about not wanting to make out in front of our Dad but I could tell that wasn’t the real reason.

1663

Then he said something to her that made her face drop. I was too far away to hear but he had a nonchalant look on his face while she looked devastated so that could only mean one thing. He was breaking up with her!

1664

How could he do that to her? And on her birthday no less! To think, I actually liked the guy and then for him to do something like that?

When he walked back to rest of the party I went up to console her. “Hey, you ok?”

1665

“No.”

“You want me to ask him to leave?” I suggested.

“No, I don’t want him to think I’m not chill about his dumb decision.”

“He broke up with you?”

“Not exactly. He wants to have an open relationship because he doesn’t want to have a commitment to anyone right now. I’m sure he didn’t want to kiss me because he’s afraid someone will take a pic and it’ll end up on Simbook!”

1666

“I’m sorry Jo. You deserve better.”

“You’re right, I do deserve better! I’m not an option, I’m the ONLY choice! Once I work my magic he’ll realise it and come crawling back to me.”

Okay so I realised where her thoughts were heading and I didn’t like it. Jo has always been a bit vain but I never pegged her for someone who would play games like this. “I don’t think you should even bother. He’s so not worth it. For him to even ask you to be non-exclusive after dating for so long is just disrespectful.”

1667

“You don’t understand how relationships work Ivy because you’ve never been in one. It’s all about give and take so for now I’ll give him his freedom but once he sees there’s no one else that can hold a candle to me then I’ll take what I want.”

“You really love Terrance so much to put yourself through that?”

“It’s not about love. Yes, I love him. But at the end of the day, I chose Terrance because he’s handsome and he has a lot of potential. His family is the third richest family in Oasis Springs. He can provide me with the lifestyle I want to enjoy. I’m not the one who got the legacy, that’s you. Eventually, I’ll have to move out and I don’t want to go live in some raggedy two bedroom starter house and get a job as a low-level clerk or assistant or something. If I’m going to be a socialite then I need a rich husband and Terrance can provide me with that. We can have an amazing life and future together. He just doesn’t see it now but I’ll work on that.”

1668

Has someone ever explained something so ridiculous that it made your head spin? Yep. That’s what happened to me once she explained her logic. Jo always tells me I’m clueless when it comes to boys and relationships but it seemed to me like she’s the clueless one. Since she never takes me seriously I knew there was no point in trying to argue with her. “Well sweetie… good luck I guess…”

Is it bad that I was slightly relieved when she told me about her relationship drama? I don’t want her to be unhappy but I also didn’t like that Johanna had all of her dating firsts before I did. Maybe this is the universe’s way of helping me catch up?

1669

I know, I know. I’m terrible!

And I felt even worse when I saw this happening.

1670

Dad proposed to Addie… in front of everyone…during Johanna’s birthday party. And everyone cheered excitedly when she said yes. While I stood in the corner feeling bummed because once again I was feeling left out. When will it be my turn to find love? I don’t even have any prospects and no one I know is interested in me in that way either. There’s always Cyrus…

No, no, Cyrus is my friend and he doesn’t even think of me in that way!

I am happy for my Dad though. Addie makes him so happy and they’re so in love with each other and with his days numbered it’s good that he’s not wasting any time. I just need to buck up and get over myself.

1671

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