The chalk snapped in Rosalind's hand halfway through an equation on wavefunction for the Lutece Device. She sighed and dropped the two pieces of chalk. Rosalind reached for more chalk but her hand came back empty.
"Brother? Have you taken all the chalk?" Rosalind looked around. Robert had been unusually quiet for the past thirty minutes or so. Now there was no sign of him. "Robert?"
She stepped out from the lab and into the living room. Robert was still nowhere to be seen. Rosalind crossed her arms and stopped to think. Robert had not mentioned leaving, but then again, she had paid little attention to anything but her equations for the past half hour. Perhaps he had left and she was too preoccupied to listen?
Before Rosalind could wonder any further, a pair of arms snaked around her midsection. The right hand had a bouquet of roses which were then shoved at Rosalind's face.
"Happy Valentine's Day, dear Rosalind," Robert whispered into her ear. Rosalind clasped the bouquet, pulling it from Robert's hands. She then wiggled out from his grasp to turn and face him.
"Did you take my chalk?"
Robert frowned. "I think there are more immediate things to dwell on."
Rosalind lowered her head and sniffed the roses. They were fresh. She set them down on the nearest table. "I don't mean to ignore them. I'm just rather frustrated over this missing chalk, and I fail to see why such blatant declarations of affection are important when the other knows their feelings perfectly well to begin with."
"One would make such blatant declarations because it is St. Valentine's Day," Robert said. "The patron saint of love, after all."
"Saint Valentine was also the patron saint of bees. Does that mean you are going to get me an apiary?" Rosalind quipped.
"Perhaps. I hadn't pegged as the beekeeping sort, however." Robert smirked.
Rosalind placed her hands on Robert's shoulders and leaned upward to kiss him. "Thank you for the roses, brother. They're quite lovely." She then turned and whispered into Robert's ear, "Now, what did you do with my chalk?"
Rosalind could tell by heat of the sun on her skin and the light breeze that she was outside, but nothing else. The blindfold she had on was surprisingly good at blocking out light. Robert had her right hand clasped in his, guiding her somewhere.
"Will you please tell me what's going on? At least tell me why you've blindfolded me yet I remain fully clothed."
Robert stopped dead in his tracks. "The children are present." He whispered through clenched teeth.
Before Ronald or Rosamond Lutece could even finish opening their mouths, Robert said "I'll explain at a much, much, later date." The twins stared up at their father and each raised an eyebrow.
"We might as well take your blindfold off now," Robert said. Ronald and Rosamond lost interest in their mother's previous comment and waited with baited breath while Robert undid the blindfold.
Rosalind blinked, then rubbed her at her eyes while they adjusted to the sunlight. They were outside the city, near a wooded area. Directly in front of her was a chain link fence. Behind the fence were row upon row of squat, white and grey boxes. Rosalind leaned forward a bit and was able to pick up a faint buzzing sound from up ahead.
"Rosalind, children, I present to you an apiary." Robert gestured to the fenced off area before them. "Happy Valentine's Day."
The twins ran up to Rosalind and hugged her tightly. "Happy Valentine's Day, mother!"
"Saint Valentine is the patron saint of bees, after all." Robert smirked.
Rosalind smiled while returning Ronald and Rosamond's hugs.
"Father said you taught him that a long time ago," Rosamond said.
"Yes, I think I did." She looked over at Robert, a smug grin on both of their faces.
"Alright. Is everyone ready to discover something about bees?" Robert asked. The twins nodded eagerly and ran for the fence. Robert and Rosalind followed.
Ronald stopped short, looking back at his parents. "Wait," he asked, "Won't the bees sting us?"
Robert's smile faded as if he had not considered this prospect before. "On second thought, let's make sure to keep a fair distance from the actual hives."