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     Adam finished the tour of the aquarium at the penguin exhibit, where they were being fed their dinner. He talked the workers into letting them in and Eric found himself in a room full of the birds. One of the workers gave him some gloves and a fish, so he could coax the penguins to him. He smile as one ate right from his hand.
     "I think they like you." Adam commented, leaning against a wall as he watched the penguins. "You seem right at home, here."
     "Well, I have always preferred birds to fish." Eric admitted, stepping back to avoid getting splashed as one decided to go for a swim.
     "And yet you intern at an aquarium." Adam raised his eyebrows. "You have quite an interesting way of doing things, Fisher."
     "It was really the doctor that brought me here." Eric looked at the assistant. "He wrote some excellent papers on ornithology before he switched interests to sea life. Studying any subject under him seemed worth it." Eric chose not to complain about the fact that it looked like he wasn't going to be able to learn much from Grey.
     "Right, I remember those papers. I think I checked them out when I was applying for the internship." Adam looked off, as though recalling the information. "He wrote those papers years ago. I'm surprised anyone still reads them." He smiled at Eric. "You must really be a nerd."
     The younger boy shrugged and looked down at the penguins. "I like birds and I want to study them, one day. I plan to get my doctorate in the subject, once I finish my undergrad stuff. This internship seemed the best place to get the experience good schools require."
     Adam nodded his understanding. "Hey, I never said there was any shame in being a nerd. You could be running this place, one day, after all. Besides, I'm kind of a nerd, too."
     Eric had a little trouble believing the social, laid-back boy could be a nerd. He seemed like the type of popular guy girls swooned over. However, the intern realized that he must be quite the scientist to assist the doctor, so much. "So are you more into marine biology?"
     Adam shrugged. "I got the internship back when the professor still interviewed his own people. I was looking for the right fit and Dr. Grey was it. He may seem odd, but he is completely devoted to science and that works for me. It wasn't particularly difficult to get a job as his assistant once my internship was up, either. Once I promised to take over all his regular, day-to-day stuff, he gave in without much fuss. He can be pretty cool, sometimes. You just have to know how to talk to him."
     Price nodded, hoping that was true. "Any idea what he's currently working on?"
     "Social patterns of sharks and the reason for them." Adam smiled, again, his perfectly-white teeth on full display. "It's a bit ironic for him to study social patterns of anything, but I think he missed that."
     Eric couldn't help but smile at the comment. It seemed wrong to laugh at his new boss, but Adam had a decent point.
      "Ah, there's a smile." Adam commented. "It's about time. I was afraid I'd hired a downer. That wouldn't be much fun, you know?"
     Eris gave the older boy a skeptical look. "I don't think fun is really an important characteristic for interns."
     "Nah, but it's preferred." Adam shrugged. "We're going to be working together. We may as well enjoy it." He stepped away from the wall and opened the door to exit. "Come on. That's enough for the tour and you should get your beauty rest. You don't want all the pretty girls around here seeing you tired. It's unattractive."
     Eric followed him out, thinking about that. His mind drifted to the girl that had assisted him earlier. "Do you know the mermaids very well?"
     "Depends on the mermaid." Adam winked. "Did you have a specific one in mind?"
     Eric shrugged, not looking at him. "There was a red head, earlier. We only talked for a minute. I just wondered if you knew her."
     Adam nodded. "When you pick a girl, you set the bar high, eh?" He grinned. "Today is Sunday, so that would be Aria. By the way, her hair is strawberry-blonde, not red. It's good to know specifics like that when seducing a woman."
     "I'm not trying to seduce her." Eric knew his ears were probably redder than her hair. "I was just curious because she seemed nice."
     "She is nice." Adam replied, agreeable. "She is also sexy, right? You haven't even seen her swimming around, I guess, but she is something. If she weren't underage, I'd probably go for it, myself."
     "Underage?" Eric looked at him. "How old is she?"
     "Seventeen, so legal." Adam told him. "I'm just not really into high school girls, you know? You should definitely go for it, if you want, though. You two would be the cutest couple in the aquarium."
     "Shut up." Eric gave an amused smile, despite his tone. "At any rate, she probably thinks I'm some lost puppy, now. When we met, I was completely lost and probably seemed pathetic."
     "Well, you can totally make that work. Most girls are into guys that aren't afraid to look pitiful." Adam gave a thumbs-up. "You're totally in, I'll bet."
     "I think you're underestimating just how pitiful I looked." Even so, Eric wondered if he was right. He felt silly for even thinking such a thing. There was no way a girl that looked like Aria would be into a nerd like him.
     "I'll put in a good word for you, if you want." Adam offered. "We have a speaking acquaintance and I usually talk to her on her breaks. She helps out Dr. Grey since she spends so much time swimming with the fish and can give some notes, which I dutifully take down for him. I swear she's made friends with half of fish. She practically speaks their language."
     "She sounds interesting." Eric paused, thinking she sounded more like a Disney princess than a real girl. Someone like that would want someone like Adam, who, with his cool grin and confident air, could pass for a prince much more easily than the clumsy and awkward Eric. "I doubt it would do much good, even if you helped out, but thanks."
     "Don't talk like that." Adam told him. "With girls, you got to be confident. It's all about the confidence."
     "I thought they liked lost puppies." Eric couldn't resist pointing out the contradictory statement.
     Adam just shrugged. "Girls are complicated. Go get your beauty sleep and we'll discuss battle strategies tomorrow."
     Eric nodded, not really sure what he had gotten himself into. Even so, he left the aquarium feeling pretty good. Somehow, Adam made it seem like anything was possible, even a date with a mermaid.

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