Frank lifted his nose into the air and sniffed. There it was, again. That sweet, all-consuming perfume. He had been noticing it around now for a few days. He was unable to determine who was wearing that captivating scent, it really could have been anybody. This was an occupational habit of working in a chemistry lab, he supposed. The draw of the fumehoods sucked in air from everywhere else. Resident scents constantly past him as he worked. This was why he knew that Philip had brought chilli in from home again, or that Derek really shouldn’t have had that lamb madras last night. Still, as far as blow-in smells were concerned, this was pretty good, he could enjoy this. He let the soft, fruity, aroma caress his senses as he continued his work.
He wondered who would wear it. It was strong, but not overpowering. You’d notice it, but it didn’t lead you gasping for breath. This was a woman who was confident, but not so much that she would go out of her way for attention. It seemed to have a natural feel to it, possibly made with natural oils, organic type crap, or a good imitation. She was used to the finer things. Expensive tastes, at least in perfume. If anything, the scent, while it was made of a number of components he could recognise, was mixed together in a way he had never experienced before. This was either rare, or possibly, made to order. Either case struck of a strong sense of individuality. Was she the same in other aspects of her life? Who could tell?
Frank shook himself out of his thoughts in order to add some more acid to his reaction. He grinned a little, why did he take that grad-course on perfumery? They hadn’t even taught the ability to analyse what people around him were wearing, but somehow he had found out a way to do that. Perfumes told you a lot about a person, at least so Frank thought. Besides, what is the point in learning a new skill if you were not going to use it?
The sharp tang of the acid quickly dissipated and the perfume returned, if anything, stronger than before. He breathed it in more and continued his deductions. Was it someone new here? Was it someone who had been here a while? No one wore anything like this before, but that was before. Was this a new perfume, for a new life, a new direction? The idea had merit.
If it was a change, was it her own doing? Could it have been a gift? Perfume was too personal, something you really couldn’t trust to someone else. But then, how often have we gotten gifts that we didn’t really want? Was this a present from aunt Myrtle she was wearing, just to keep her happy? If it was something she wanted, then that had to be someone close. Right? A boyfriend, a husband, maybe a close friend.
The possibilities were endless. The guessing could go on forever. All Frank really knew, is that he liked the perfume. All else was irrelevant to him, standing by his fumehood, waiting for the next addition.
It was nice to imagine though, who she was, what she looked like, the possibility inherent in a new meeting. It lifted his soul almost as much as the sweet perfume was. He breathed in deeply again. My, it was really getting strong now. Was he imagining that?
At that, Frank heard the door of the lab open and Declan’s voice shouting “Hey Frankie! I have someone here who is looking for you!” then more quietly “He’s in over there.”
The smell of perfume grew exponentially, it saturated his nostrils, almost over powering him. A light, voice came from behind “Excuse me, Doctor Walker. Can I have a word with you?”
So here it was, the moment of truth. Frank had all of these theories about the perfume, who she was, what was her story. He turned to look at her, to answer her question, the last thought in his mind “Time to put it to the test.”