Chapter One

Disclaimer: I don't own The Island.

Sylvia's hand trembled as she pushed a fork over the remains of her dinner. On the outside she was a calm young woman who wore her grandmother's diamonds and had her head slightly bowed, but on the inside she was a nervous, screaming wreck.

"More wine, Miss?"

She jumped as the black-clad waiter stood over her, cradling the bottle of expensive wine like an infant child. Sylvia shook her head and he nodded before backing off. Her grandma's earrings tapped against the side of her face for a moment before settling down and she stared at the empty chair in front of her, wondering if her dinner companion was trying to perform some sort of mental torture on her—she should have known better than to attend a 'business dinner' with him. Seconds later he came striding back, tucking a Blackberry into the pocket of his sleek black suit (undoubtedly Armani) and sliding into his chair with a panther's grace.

Dr. Merrick gave her a slight smile and Sylvia's breath caught in her throat. The entire eight years she had spent in college for her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering flashed through her head.

"Dr. Watson, I've confirmed your position with the board, and the general consensus is that you would be the best candidate to head the cloning project. Congratulations."

Her heart skipped a beat and a slow smile broke out across her face before she could stop herself. Thank God for Crest Whitestrips, Sylvia thought, as Dr. Merrick studied her features in the candlelight.

"Thank you sir," she replied calmly, "You won't regret hiring me."

In response she got a grave nod, and it was enough.

She floated in the clouds for the rest of the evening. Sylvia was hired, hired at the fastest-growing medical research center in the world, with Dr. Merrick, the visionary that her teachers had drooled over at Carnegie-Mellon. She couldn't believe that he'd picked her out of all those men working with her. Surely, she had thought upon first meeting him, he would be sexist. But he wasn't. He had hired her!

"Mother," Sylvia said breathlessly into the phone when she was curled up in her favorite chair later that night, "He hired me. Dr. Merrick actually took me to dinner and gave me the job."

"Congratulations, honey! Is he single?"

"Mother! I'm his employee now. It's not like I have a chance with him anyway!"

"Oh, do you want a chance?"

"No! He's too old," she grumbled, feeling guilty about bad-mouthing her boss, "And even though he's single it's not like he'd look at me as anything other than the Head Lab Rat."

"Just teasing you, Sylvia. Don't go after your boss; he'll maintain his professional distance."

"I know," Sylvia replied, biting her lip as she remembered the sensation of his hand at the small of her back when they were leaving the restaurant, "Someone will want to date him soon I'm sure…"


"Nothing, Mom. I just wanted to tell you that I got the job."

"Thanks for calling, Sylvia. I'm proud of you."

"Me too," she sighed, hitting the end' button on her phone.

Sylvia touched her elegant blonde bun one last time before walking to her room to let it down. One glance in the mirror revealed tired hazel eyes and skin that was paler than usual. It had been a long and exciting day, and her body was starting to catch up. At the age of 25, Sylvia didn't exactly feel like a spring chicken anymore, though she certainly wasn't as old as say…Dr. Merrick. He was 39.

"I should go shopping," Sylvia muttered as she settled down to go to bed, "For suitable work clothes."