Analytical Chemistry

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My name is Mitchell and I am a chemist. I wasn’t always a chemist, and there was a time not too long ago when I was merely a chemistry student. Back in 2005 I was a junior in college and one of my fall semester courses was analytical chemistry. In my career now I often look back to this course to recall techniques and equations. I keep my analytical book at my desk at work. But there is another reason I look back at this course with fondness; a story that I hope to tell now.

I had always been an awkward boy, and my college days were no exception. I stand at about 5’3″ so girls that were only interested in tall men never bothered to even talk to me. During college I weighed in at a spectacular 115 lbs, which would made for an awesome build if I were a woman. I was a nerd in the purest sense of the word. Glasses, questionable fashion sense, pretty much no athletic coordination. But in the lab I was in my element. It was analytical lab where I truly found my innate talent.

There were eight of us in the course. The professor broke us up into 4 pairs for the lab portion. There were 5 males and 3 females in the class. Two of the girls paired up immediately, as did two of the guys. To my surprise, the 3rd girl approached me and asked me to be her lab partner. Of course I agreed.

Her name was Alicia and she was gorgeous. She was about the same height as me and pretty close to the same build. She had very short dark hair and it looked really good on her. I had always been attracted to long hair on girls, but Alicia challenged that opinion and demonstrated how hot short hair can be. She had beautiful blue eyes and made the cutest sounds and gestures when she laughed. Making her laugh became a priority.

I wasn’t one of those nerds that has trouble talking to girls, so we started chatting right away. She had transferred at the beginning of the semester from a women-only college because they didn’t offer two of the classes she needed for her degree; analytical chemistry was one of them.

She was a nerd, though maybe not quite at the same level as me. She had to be at least a little bit to have made it to Junior year of a chemistry degree. She was a mathematical genius; the same way I mastered lab techniques and reaction chemistry, she had a special gift with numbers.

When I got the chance to talk about myself, nerd that I was, I mentioned that I was a World of Warcraft player. My girlfriend, Heather, and I played together, in fact; I played shaman at the time and she played warrior. I took care not to speak of Heather, but why would this beautiful girl who picked me as her lab partner want to hear about WoW?

“My older brother used to play EQ with his friends back in the day,” Alicia said.

“Used to? What happened?” I asked

“He deleted his necromancer when he started dating a girl in college.”


I should have taken that exchange as an indication of her intentions, but I was either too slow or too naïve to put the obvious pieces together. Or maybe I couldn’t believe it was true. Heather and I had been together for so long I had forgotten what the early stages of romantic interest were like. It wasn’t like I set out to cheat on her. I wasn’t taking a 300 level chemistry class looking to pick up girls , but it seemed to be happening without my conscious effort.

The months rolled by and Alicia and I became close friends. The common analogy for two people who are romantically compatible is that they have good chemistry. Alicia and I had good chemistry in the literal sense; we were always finished with the lab before the rest of the class, and more importantly, it was always done correctly and completely. I had perfect technique and her math was flawless. Most days when we finished an hour or more early, we would walk together to the student cafe and sit down for coffee.

One day in mid November we went to the lab and it was about 40ºF in the room. The professor was standing by the fume hood arranging the materials for the experiment.

“Why is it so cold in here?” I asked him.

“They’re fixing the gas lines,” he answered. “Don’t worry though, the lines to the Bunsen burners are still ok; we can still do the experiment!”

“Fantastic,” I muttered under my breath.

“It’ll be ok, Mitchell,” said Alicia. “We’re always done in like an hour anyway.” She smiled. That smile was intoxicating, and pretty soon, I was smiling too.

My hands were shaking as I adjusted the valve on the Bunsen burner and lit it. I held my hands out to the flame like one would a campfire. Alicia did the same thing and scooted closer to me.

Before I could realize what was happening, she was pressed up against me, resting her head on my shoulder.

“We’ll be able to stay warm,” she whispered to me.

We stayed close for the duration of the experiment, and for the first time, we weren’t the first pair out of the lab. I don’t know if were were distracting each other from the experiment or if we just wanted an excuse to stay later and cuddle, but it eve gelen escort was almost 5pm by the time we got out.

“Let’s go get something to eat, I’m hungry,” she suggested. I didn’t disagree, and we made our way across campus in the cold. Usually we would walk about an arms length apart and chat the whole way, but this particular evening we were silent. We were also walking a lot closer than usual. I half-expected to run into someone that knew Heather, but it never happened.

We ordered and ate but didn’t say much. We glanced at each other a few times across the table, but that was the limit to the physical flirting.

“I have to go, Mitchell,” said Alicia after some time. “Will you walk me to my car?”

“Sure,” I said. We stood and headed towards the parking lot. It was after dusk and the campus lot was pitch black. I can understand why she wanted someone to walk with her, not that I’d be any good at fighting off a determined rapist. I might buy her time to run while getting stabbed or something, though.

“Thanks,” she said when we got to her car. She sprung forward and gave me a quick peck on the lips. I was stunned, and she immediately seemed to regret it.

“I’m sorry, I…”

“No, it’s okay,” I said and reached out for her hands. I touched her fingertips and smiled.

She hesitated for a couple of seconds before adding, “See you tomorrow in lab… maybe the heat will be on by then.”

“Maybe not,” I suggested. She gave me a sly smile and a quick wave before ducking into her car, starting the engine, and disappearing from the parking lot into the cold. I sighed.

I got back to the apartment late, went inside, and locked the door. I leaned back against the door and closed my eyes, trying to process everything that had happened in the last few hours.

I heard muffled whimpers coming from the bedroom. Heather.

Her older brother had died back in 2003 and she never really recovered. I expected a normal grieving period, so I wasn’t surprised when she withdrew from classes that semester, but every time she tried to go back it was one excuse after another and now she was essentially a full-fledged dropout. She didn’t work, either, and her grandparents gave her the money to pay our rent while I was in school full time plus a lab.

She spent her days on World of Warcraft grinding out PVP rating and crying to herself about how miserable her life had become. I would try to take her out to dinner or movies and the excuses were bottomless. She didn’t want to leave because she was too tired, or her clothes weren’t washed, or she was scared someone would burglarize the apartment if she left.

Sex was an emotional roller-coaster. She’d basically lay there and let me fuck her, which might sound nice occasionally, but after two years of virtually no emotional engagement, I had found it was better to just masturbate by myself and not have to tolerate the after sex crying session.

But for whatever reason, I really did love her and it broke my heart every time she had one of her emotional episodes. I would try to help and get rejected to the point where I would lose my temper and have to leave. I stormed out of that apartment more than once while she was sobbing in the background.

This night she managed to stop crying long enough to drag herself out of bed and confront me in the doorway.

She was a mess. Her long brown hair was in tangles and her eyes were swollen and red from crying. She hadn’t gotten dressed all day and was wearing a T-shirt and pajama bottoms.

Heather was about 5’8″, a good deal taller than me, and back when she took care of herself she had the most fantastic, flowing hair one could imagine. She had a full figure and nice solid c-cup breasts. She always complained that they were too sensitive though, and never let me touch them for long.

“Where were you?” she demanded, “I was so worried.”

“I had lab,” I answered. “Analytical lab goes until 5.”

“But it’s 7,” she snapped. “You’re always home by 4:30.”

“It went until 5 today and we were hungry, so my lab partner and I went to get a bite to eat at the cafe.”

“Oh,” she responded more calmly, “well call next time!” she quickly added.

Your phone is never on, I thought to say, but resisted the urge to open this into an argument.

“Ok,” I said instead. “I will.”

She turned away from me and started towards the bedroom.

“Wait, Heather…” I approached her. I extended my arms to give her a hug.

“No, not tonight, I don’t feel good.” I lowered my arms and sighed.

“You never feel good,” I said.

“That’s not my fault!” she shrieked. “It’s not my fault I’m sick all the time!”

“Maybe if you got out of bed once in a while you’d feel better!” I started to raise my voice.

“Don’t shout at me!” she started to sob.

“Ok, whatever,” I surrendered. I sat down at my computer desk and turned the power on. She stormed off into the bedroom. I pressed my face istanbul eskort bayan into my palms and took a deep breath. Why was I here arguing with Heather when I could be with Alicia?

Heather and I didn’t speak for the rest of the night, and when I went to bed she was already passed out. I fell asleep next to her without touching her.

The next day in lab, Alicia could tell something was wrong. The heat was back on, and we returned to our normal analytical lab partner behavior. No cuddling.

“What’s the matter Mitchell?” she asked me. She was avoiding getting too close. I looked over at her and caught a glimpse of her dangling silver earrings. She caught me looking and pulled on the left one a little bit.

“Oh, nothing,” I said.

“Look, if you felt weird about yesterday…”

“No, it’s not that,” I said. “I had a good time, Alicia.”

“I’m glad,” she said. I looked into her eyes to see genuine concern. I hadn’t experienced that emotion radiating from another person in years. It was almost alien to me.

“Don’t worry about me, Alicia,” I said. “I’ll figure it out eventually.”

“Okay,” said Alicia. “If you need someone to talk to let me know, Mitchell.”

She reached over and put her hand on mine. I smiled, and then she did too.

“Thank you,” I said. This girl was incredible. She was smart, had a great sense of humor, was genuinely interested in me, and didn’t seem to be carrying a bag of emotional trash around with her.

Alicia was fantastic, and I could totally imagine myself with her. But then there was Heather. As much of a wreck as she was, I did love her. But then, what would my life be if she just disappeared one day. What if one day while I’m at school she just decides to slash up her arms or drive off a bridge into the river? I’m not there to control it, and I shouldn’t have to be.

Heather and I had history. We had been together since high school, and I always had the good days to look back on. We were a team, at least we used to be. We gamed together, had the same taste in music and movies, and even had a similar political worldview. I barely knew Alicia, but there seemed to be a powerful spark there. Was I staying with Heather because of the past and not looking towards the future? I couldn’t decide.

“I’m having a party,” Alicia said abruptly. “Do you want to come?”

“A party?” I asked. I wasn’t a party person; not in the least. Alicia didn’t strike me as a party-goer either. We were chemistry majors; we had way too much work to do to be partying.

“Well, just a little Christmas get-together. Just me and my roommate and our friends. Nothing too wild,” Alicia explained. “It’s on Saturday the 10th.”

“We’ll see,” I gave a vague answer. I wasn’t sure that I could sneak this past Heather.

I got lost in my own thoughts. I shouldn’t have to justify anything to Heather. If I was my own person and had the capacity make my own choices, why was this choice so hard? Why did I have such a moral dilemma about ditching an emotional train-wreck to hang out with a girl that actually cared about my feelings and had the potential to be an intellectual equal?

That wasn’t fair. Heather was my intellectual equal, even if she didn’t remember it. She had changed, but my memories of who she used to be kept us together.

“Mitchell?” Alicia broke me out of my deluge.

“Huh?” I snapped back to reality.

“We need to add the copper sulfate now.”

“Oh yeah, “I stammered, reaching across the bench for a weigh pan. “Sorry.”

The afternoon of the 10th came and Heather and I were having the usual heated argument. I don’t know why I let myself get sucked into the fighting every time, but I was pretty sure that she was doing it just to feel alive. Arguments and anger were the closest things to pleasure she could feel anymore.

“You don’t care about me, you don’t care about me at all!” Heather shouted, “you’re just here because I let you fuck me!”

“That is fucking bullshit!” I shouted back, “If it was just about sex, I could find a lot better sex than you!”

She burst out crying.

“You just lay there like you don’t even fucking care; like you’re stoned or something,” I continued. “You say you’re putting out for me, but you’re just doing the bare minimum so I keep bringing home groceries and putting up with your bullshit! I’m working my fucking ass off at school and in the lab and this is what I come home to every night? Fuck you.”

There was a loud knock at the door.

“Leave her alone, you fuck!” shouted a voice. Typical. There’s an argument, and people immediately side with the girl. It’s never the woman’s fault, and she’s always being abused. I started to get dressed.

“Go away!” Heather shouted at the door. “Where are you going?” she asked me, in a hushed voice.

“I don’t know. Away from you!” I shouted. I started towards the door.

“No!” she shrieked, “don’t leave me! Please, please don’t leave me!” She started to reach for me and I brushed rezidans escort her away.

I stepped outside, locked the door, and was met suddenly by a larger man about my age. He was about 6′ and at least 250 lbs. He was staring me down.

“Back off,” I told him. My stature didn’t do much for intimidation, but he could sense the seriousness in my voice. “Mind your own fucking business and back off,” I repeated. I motioned my hand towards my pocket as though I was going to draw a knife. I didn’t have a knife on me, but Brawny over here didn’t know that.

He moved and let me outside the main door. I never liked living in an apartment, but I didn’t have any choice at that stage in my life. The thin walls made your business everyone else’s, and people would imagine what they wanted to to fill in the gaps of what they couldn’t hear.

I got in my car and drove. I ended up in a Burger King parking lot, and went to check my wallet to see what I could afford for food. A slip of paper was stuffed between a couple of ones.

Sat Dec 10, Alicia’s

The party. I had forgotten. At that point I had no place else to go, and couldn’t even afford Burger King, so I decided to go to Alicia’s.

“Mitchell!” she chirped when I appeared at the door.

“Hey Alicia,” I said, “Am I early? Where is everyone?”

“Come in, I have to tell you something,” said Alicia and guided me inside.

“Where is your roommate?” I asked. Alicia looked over at me. She was wearing one of those ugly Christmas sweaters that looked like it was a size or two too small for her. The woolen fabric clung to her figure and highlighted her amazing perky breasts. I’m not a breast expert, but I would say that they were a B or C cup, and they were pleasantly on display. It was a nice sight compared to Heather’s sports bras that mash her tits against her ribcage and the baggy thrift-store clothes she sloppily draped over herself.

She was wearing a pair of ornate earrings that dangled almost to her shoulders. Her short hair was gelled up in a neat spiked style, and she was wearing dark pink lipstick. This was new to me as I had never seen Alicia with lipstick on before.

“Mitchell,” she said, taking a step closer to me. “There is no party.”

“Oh,” was all I could say. I froze for a second or two before the complexity of the scenario dawned on me.

It turned out that her roommate had left already to visit her parents for Christmas, and that Alicia had been planning out for weeks how to get me alone in her apartment.

“You aren’t mad, are you?” asked Alicia after a few minutes of quiet.

“No,” I said. “I just… I didn’t think that…”

“Come in, I’ll get you something to drink,” she guided me to her couch and disappeared into the kitchen. “Rum and coke okay?”

“Yeah,” I said, “That’s my favorite actually. Alicia listen, I…” I trailed off. “I think you’re great and all…. no, more than great,” I corrected myself. “I think you’re perfect. You’re smart and fun and…”

“But what?” she interjected as she returned with the drinks and handed one to me. “Is there already someone?”

I looked right at her. I stared right into her gorgeous blue eyes and lied right to her face.

“No, of course not,”

“Well then kiss me,” she said and dove towards me. I struggled to keep my drink balanced as she pressed her lips against mine. The heat from her breath bathed me with sensation. She tasted really good, and smelled even better. I had forgotten the entire palette of senses that came with a good kiss, and I was overwhelmed. My hands found her waist and supported her as she leaned over me. I kissed her back and we remained entangled for several seconds.

I felt around the side of the couch for the coffee table and set down my glass before allowing her to push me completely on my back. Our lips separated and she sat up to focus her eyes on me.

“Wow,” she said, stunned.

“I know,” I said. “That was great.

“I want you,” whispered Alicia. “I’ve wanted you since the day I first spoke to you.”

“You want a twiggy nerd?” I joked.

“I’m a nerd too, you know,” she said as she repositioned herself on top of me. “But most nerdy guys are all gross. Hygiene problems… social problems… you can carry on a conversation without sounding like an ape. It doesn’t matter if it’s about science or video games.”

“Well, we are apes,” I said. She laughed that special cute laugh that I couldn’t get enough of.

“You aren’t macho either, is what I mean,” Alicia giggled. “That’s all there are for guys… socially inept intellectuals and burly, arrogant assholes. You know the type; they don’t care at all about a girl’s feelings, just getting into bed with her.”

I paused in thought. “I really do care about a girl’s feelings,” was my response. Here I was in the heat of passion with this goddess and Heather kept popping into my mind.

“You seem preoccupied, though,” said Alicia. My attention focused on her and I realized she had taken her sweater off.

“Oh wow,” was all I could think to say. Alicia smirked and lowered herself towards me. My hands moved from her hips towards the front of her stomach and up towards her ribs. I paused short of her breasts; still contained by a lacy black bra.

“Go ahead,” she coaxed, “touch them.”

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