Bookish astrophysicist Angela Knight occasionally hires out her services via an internet consulting site. She’s pleasantly surprised to find herself knocking on the door of attractive YouTuber Julie Jones to report for a gig.
On the surface, Julie is self-assured and apparently very friendly. But Angela soon discovers that, underneath the pleasant exterior, she’s stumbled onto a crackpot alien conspiracy theorist.
Will Julie’s outlandish theories about lost alien civilizations be enough to send Angela running for the hills, or will she take it as a chance to add some fun to her otherwise serious life?
“Have a seat, Dr. Knight.” Julie leads me to a high-back leather club chair and sits me down. She then proceeds to fiddle with the laptop that’s hooked up to the box with all the cables before looking at me with a frown.
“What?” I say.
“I’m getting a glare off your glasses. Do you mind if I take them off?”
Julie doesn’t really wait for me to answer before plucking my glasses off of my face and setting them on the side table.
“Can’t really see without them.”
“That’s okay. Just look at me.” She glances at the laptop screen and then back to me. “You have nice eyes.”
She’s back over and she’s got her fingers in my hair now. I shiver.
“Sorry, can’t have my expert’s hair sticking up all over now can we?” Again, Julie doesn’t wait for me to answer, she just continues smoothing.
I feel like a kid on school picture day with my mother fussing over me. Except I don’t mind it as much when Julie does it. And I definitely never got goosebumps when Mom had her fingers in my hair.
“I’m just going to slip your top couple of buttons.” She’s got her hands already working on my shirt before I can even open my mouth. “Most of my demographic is adolescent boys followed closely by middle-aged single or divorced men. The ratings go up exponentially whenever I have hot subject matter experts on the show.”
Wait a minute, did she just call me hot? “Um, I thought you needed an astrophysicist. That’s what the email said.”
“Oh, I do.” Julie winked. “A hot astrophysicist. You’ll do quite nicely.”
Is this woman serious?
She ran her hands over my shoulders, presumably smoothing out wrinkles in my shirt, but at this point who really knows? Maybe she was coming on to me. Nah, I told myself. She’s just a crackpot. An overly-touchy film major with a YouTube channel and a tenuous grasp on reality.
But cute. I stared at her smiling face for a few seconds more than what was probably considered polite. Definitely cute.
Julie clipped a microphone to my lapel and I swear I felt her fingertips brushing my neck. The whole maneuver made me shiver all over again. I was about to ask her if she was doing it on purpose, but before I could form the words, she stopped and moved over to the laptop.
“Tell me about Planet Nine.”