"I just don't get it," she said. She pointed with the pen. "This is supposed to the peak of his emotional cycle, and yet last night he was as cold and distant as he's ever been. I even remembered to take my lab-coat off when I got in, and I said thank-you for the dinner he'd cooked."
"What was it?" Tammy was sitting on a lab-stool at the bench.
"Ummm... there was meat in it..."
"Not that good then, huh?"
"Oh no, it was excellent, it just wasn't very, uh, well, interesting, I suppose."
"Probably needed a woman's touch."
Dr. Silvera didn't appear to hear her, but tapped the chart thoughtfully. "His physical cycle was down, so I suppose that would explain him going to bed early, and his mental cycle -- ah! His mental cycle was post-peak! Perhaps he simply wasn't in a place to pick up on my signals!"
"I took my lab-coat off when I came in."
"Ah. Yes, that would do it for me."
Dr. Silvera was leaning over the bench tinkering with some boxy electronic equipment when Antonio tapped on the door. He looked serious, with a hint of sadness around his eyes. In one hand was a plain white envelope.
Tammy jumped; she had had her back to the door and was watching Dr. Silvera, admiring the way her lab-coat revealed her legs when she leaned over like this.
"Oh, Tony," she said, just a trace of dismissiveness in her voice. "I don't think this is a good time really--"
"I invited him," said Dr. Silvera straightening up and shaking herself, a little like a damp Yorkshire terrier. "He's here to help me with this little experiment."
"About that," said Antonio. "I don't think I have time after all."
"Nonsense, darling, it'll take less than fifteen seconds. Sit here."
Antonio let her lead him into the room and to the lab stool. She took the envelope from him hand and put it on the bench, then picked up a metal circle with wires attached to it and set it on his head.
"What's this?" Antonio's hands twitched and started to raise to take it off again.
"A brain-wave reader." Dr. Silvera waggled her fingers behind her back, and Tammy interpreted this as 'turn the machine on.'
"This reads your brainwaves and determines what your biorhythms are. I think yours might be out of sync slightly."
"Biorhythms? Discredited New Age rubbish?" Antonio didn't sound angry, just serious and sad.
"Probably less discredited soon," said Dr. Silvera. Smoke start to rise from her husband's scalp. "Oh crap, not again! Turn it off!"
Tammy was engrossed in the letter from the plain white envelope though, and not listening. Dr. Silvera turned to race to the machine, but something inside it went pop and all the lights went out. More smoke rose, this time from the machine.
"Tony?" said Dr. Silvera, staring at the blank eyes of her husband, who was rocking very gently backwards and forwards.
"He was leaving you," said Tammy, waving the letter.
Dr. Silvera turned to her, still not hearing her. "I reset his biorhythms back to zero," she said. "Did we ever do any tests to find out what that meant?"