Chapter 3

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About 20 minutes later, desserts and a few embarrassed apologies were completed. Romero, Schmidt and Hugo escorted the news team back through the pair of large steel doors they had exited earlier and back into the long, wide corridor. The hallway was lined with doors down the right side. Schmidt explained that these were the guest quarters, located behind the research facility.

"I hope you'll find our guest quarters most accommodating," Schmidt explained, "Each room has a full ensuite luxury bathroom with Jacuzzi, a full size and fully stocked bar fridge, and more."

"Wicked!" Jeremy exclaimed.

"You'll find your bags in your rooms. If you should need anything at all just pick up the phone in your room. It will go directly to whoever is on duty," Schmidt concluded.

Dr. Schmidt looked proud after having boasted about the guest accommodations, hanging onto the lapels of the lab coat that he had thrown back on loosely over his beach clothes.

Marija turned to Romero, blushing, looking shy and embarrassed.

"I know I already said this and you said it was okay, but I'm so sorry about dinner. I'm so embarrassed."

All three scientists grinned at their guests and to each other. Romero responded with a wide, charming grin to the blushing Marija.

"It's okay. Happens to everyone the first time," Romero consoled.

And with that, the gathering of scientists and journalists disbanded, each going to their respective lodgings.

Moments later, Jeremy was rooting through his well-worn leather equipment bags, face contorted, mumbling in frustration.

"They must have brought my lens bag to the wrong room!" Jeremy exclaimed.

Jeremy closed the door to his room behind him as he walked into the hallway.

I'll check with Marija first! Jeremy thought to himself. I saw the way that Romero was hitting on her. Scum bag! I think it's time I told her how much I care about her!

Jeremy's hand knocked quickly on Marija's door.

"Knock! Knock!"

"Come in!" Marija's voice lilted from inside the room.

Jeremy cracked the door open slowly, just enough to peak his head inside the room.

"Hey Marija! Did you see my lens bag?" Jeremy asked.

"Yeah, I think I saw it with my bags next to the bed. Come on in," her voice called out from the luxury bathroom.

Jeremy entered, scurrying quickly, insecure in the back of his mind that Marija was just being polite and he may have been intruding on her privacy in an indiscreet moment. Nothing like ruining your chances with a chick by irritating her while she's trying to take a dump. He quickly rifled through the luggage piled next to Marija's bed and lifted out his leather lens bag.

"Found it! Thanks!" Jeremy called out.

"No prob! I'm just checking out this bathroom, it's amazing!" Marija called back.

Jeremy could hear the very friendly and happy tone of Marija's voice moving toward the open bathroom doorway, so he naturally looked up, even though he was already moving toward the door to give his co-worker her privacy back. The bright flood lighting from the bathroom shone so brightly that he could only see the silhouette of her body. His eyes bulged. His mouth opened wide in surprise. He was dumbfounded in silence and frozen in shock. Despite the fact that he couldn't make out all the details, he could tell that the form and curves of Marija stood there completely nude.

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