Before Abby could text back, the new receptionist called via the intercom, causing Abby to drop her phone, startled. Holtzmann laughed… speak of the devil, they say! She decided to do the staring thing at Abby while she mumbled about weirdos, knowing well enough that Abby didn’t get the tingles from her.

“Just a bit!,” Abby answered pressing the blue little button of the intercom and started downstairs, to check Marla’s findings, but backtracked to whisper “This is not over,” in Holtzmann’s face.

Erin was cute, yeah. But she was not interested and although that could be both a challenge and a nuisance, at this moment, when the pretty and weird receptionist was paying her so much attention, Holtzmann thought the Erin thing to be a total drag.

But this was not the time to be torn between two lovers. Clearly Marla called to say there was a case. She was very efficient and only bothered them in quiet times when she found a case online that didn’t look too fake, after she went through all the youtube comments, the emails, the message board, and the forums she could manage; and she could manage quite a bit. The ley lines had been left a little open, and they had a lot of work, but there were many prank calls either way. Prank calls that made them lose time and resources and that Kevin fell for most often than not. They did miss him and his antics, but he was better off as an actor, and they were better off with an efficient receptionist.

Still, if there was indeed a case, Holtzmann had to gear up. She felt the adrenaline rush building already. No time for tingling!

It had been over two hours since the Ghostbusters left Headquarters. Marla was taking a break from all the reading by cleaning up the half drunken cups of coffee and almost finished bagels that the girls had left behind. She usually didn’t come up here, only to bring and pick up coffee and food. She hoped the Ghostbusters were alright and that the poltergeist was real but not too dangerous. She hated sending them on a goose chase.

When she went to pick up Holtzmann’s cup, she noticed not only the coffee cup and a bagel wrapper, but a half-eaten can of pringles and a piece of a muffin too. The woman had an appetite and was maddeningly messy and odd and gorgeous and it was almost impossible for Marla not to stare at her. It didn’t help that she was always up in the lab and Marla was always down at the reception desk, making it so that any contact made her nervous as hell. And she was almost sure that her boss noticed it, and enjoyed the attention. But enjoying attention does not equal reciprocating, so she was determined to try her best to get over her crush.

Precariously holding two cups in one hand, two against her chest with her elbow, the wrappers in the other hand and the can of pringles in the other elbow, she opened the door to the stairs only to almost crash into Holtzmann, who grabbed her by the upper arms to steady her. The blonde gave her a half smile and then gently and slowly took the can of pringles from her, while looking her straight in the eye. She had a bruise on the forehead.

“Sorry, not finished with those yet,” she said with a wink, and then walked backwards to her work table, not breaking eye contact up to the moment she absolutely had to turn away. Marla couldn’t help it: she gaped after her, mouth dry and slightly open and completely oblivious to everything else, until Abby cleared her throat, startling her back to her senses.

“I – I trust everything was fine?” Marla asked Abby while blushing furiously.

“Little poltergeist, nothing urgent yet but it might have snowballed pretty soon. Good catch, Marla,” said Abby kindly.

“Thank you, will you be having lunch here?” Patty was climbing the stairs and she had bags of food.

“We brought sandwiches!” answered Patty; Erin came in after her and went straight to the old boom box, she did like to dance after a bust.

“Bon appetite!” called back Marla at them, closing the door; leaving them to the celebration, while mentally scolding herself for blushing, for staring and for generally acting like a timid virgin.

“You are right, she stares,” said Abby to Holtzmann, as soon as Marla was out of the room, while Patty and Erin were busy with a celebratory dance.

“I told you, but does she like me or does she think I’m sociologically worthy of observation?” answered Holtzmann. It wouldn’t be the first time.

“She blushed! A lot! And you were just being your normal creepy self,” Holtzmann was a little relieved that Abby’s opinion concurred with her own. Getting Marla all flushed like that could be a very playable game, and now that the poltergeist was gone, she could think about the tingling bits again.

“What? Who blushed?” asked Gilbert while making an awkward and a little endearing rowing movement with her arms, ‘dancing’ she called it.

“Apparently, our new receptionist has a little crush on Holtzmann,” said Abby.

“Really? Do you – do you like her, Jillian?” Erin made a pause. She had been acting as if the moment when Holtzmann told Dr. Gorin that they were dating had never happened. Had ignored it completely. And now she seemed awkward and interested.

“Wait, how can we know she isn’t just scared or freaked out?” interrupted Patty, celebratory dance forgotten, and voicing exactly the possibility that could as well be fun, but not as satisfactory.

“I don’t know if I like her that much that way, but I might like her,” answered Holtzmann to Erin. “And I’m pretty sure I freak her out but you haven’t seen my best work yet,” Holtzmann answered wiggling her eyebrows.

“You don’t know if you like her? What about the tingling? Tingling means you like,” said Abby.

“What tingling? There’s tingling? Where tingles?” repeated Erin, she seemed flustered.

“If you have the tingles then she doesn’t stand a chance! Freaked out or not, my girl here will make her …” Patty whistled the rest of her sentence, meaning implied.

“I don’t know about that whistling, have no idea what it means, but I do have a plan and I sort of need your observations because the last time I made a plan in this area it didn’t work and it’s now on pause. Possible cancelation,” interrupted Holtzmann.

“Are you gonna blow her up?” asked Patty. Holtzmann blinked slowly at her. It unnerved Patty.

“Is that why you ordered two sandwiches?” interjected Abby.

“I think ahead,” answered Holtzmann with a shrug and touching her tender forehead. The bruise was getting bigger.

“I thought you was just that hungry,” said Patty.

Erin had been too quiet. Suddenly, as if making a conscious choice, or at least that’s what it seemed like to Holtzmann, she got up and went to the intercom. “Marla, care to come eat with us, there’s plenty.”

“Alright, thank you, I’ll be right there” they heard.

“Holtzy and Marla sitting on a tree…” started singing Patty, stopping abruptly when Holtzmann lit up the blow torch. “Ok, ok, I’ll shut it, geez.”

When Marla arrived upstairs, Erin, Abby and Patty were already seated and digging into their sandwiches. Holtzmann was nowhere to be found. Marla went to sit but noticed that there was only the one booth left, and she felt weird about taking Holtzmann’s seat. She could swear Kevin used to eat with them, so there had to be another booth, but where? She decided to stand on the left of Holtzmann’s place.

“Oh, take that booth, Holtzmann is not eating with us,” said Patty.

“She’s not?” asked Marla, a little disappointed.

“She said ‘be right back,’ and that could either take hours or days,” answered Abby.

“Oh, ok.” Now Marla was very disappointed. She had already spent time with the three of them, and they were all awesome. She felt comfortable enough around them, but Holtzmann was another story. She was elusive, always working up here or off somewhere, and she looked so sexy when she was concentrating that Marla had never had the heart to interrupt her, least of all for small talk or chitchat.

Her bosses started talking about the case, so she went to sit down, but out of nowhere, she felt a hand on the small of her back, which then slid to rest at the side of her waist. Holtzmann rested her chin on Marla’s shoulder.

“I brought you one, that’s mine, it has my butt print.” Holtzmann was holding her. She had whispered in her ear, and was too close and was grinning and had a faint singed wood and apples smell on her and a wicked gleam in her eyes. Marla nodded, standing up and feeling flustered and utterly mute, and then sat down on the offered booth. “Attagirl,” said Holtzmann, slapping her lightly on the back, giving her a sandwich and a squeeze on her shoulder.

The others welcomed Holtzmann but didn’t seem to see anything out of the ordinary, so Marla convinced herself that Holtzmann might just be that familiar with everybody and convincing herself that NO, Holtzmann wasn’t making a move on her, even tho she spent the rest of the meal sitting too close, which made Marla hot and bothered and she just knew she was blushing all the time, and couldn’t keep up with the conversation. But again, nobody reacted in any way, not even a flinch, so surely that was just how Holtzmann was, right? Right?


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