-Chapter Three-

Edison watched Bryce sleep for about an hour before Network 23 s Head of Research and Development finally opened his eyes and tried to sit up.

Ow Bryce complained, lying back down.

You just had surgery, Bryce, Edison explained. Try not to move around too much.

Yeah. Good idea, Bryce agreed. Thanks for sticking around.

Edison wondered if he should bring up Theora s suggestion that Bryce had a crush on him. He decided it would be better to wait until Bryce broached the subject. There was no point in embarrassing the young genius. Bryce was going through enough as it was, having just come out of surgery a little more than an hour earlier.

No problem, kid, Edison replied.

Bryce gave a small sigh that made Edison wonder if Theora might be right after all. It certainly seemed so. Or maybe Bryce simply figured that, as a department head of a major network, he had earned the right to not be referred to as kid .

I m sorry if I just offended

You didn t, Bryce smiled. I guess I am still a kid in some respects.

Certainly not in intelligence, Edison smiled.

Bryce looked intently at Edison, as if he wanted to say something, but had decided not to. This seemed to add more weight to Theora s suggestion. Edison wondered if he were keeping his feeling secret because of Network 23 s global presence.

If the network were only a local station, the perhaps Bryce would ve spoken outright. But as Network 23 aired all over the world, there were some places were a relationship between them would be controversial. And in some places it would even be illegal. Bryce would not want to make things awkward or uncomfortable for Edison.

So Bryce was biding his time, laying a simple foundation of friendship, until was old enough in all countries.

Edison wanted nothing more than to encourage Bryce s emotional blossoming. The young genius had always been very closed-hearted until the point when he d apparently started to develop his crush. But he didn t have the same feelings that Bryce did. He wondered how he would let Bryce down without discouraging further emotion, or destroying their friendship.

Another thing came to Edison s mind. What if he developed feelings for Bryce when he got older? Did he want to risk shutting himself out of Bryce s heart now if that might turn out to be the case later on?

Bryce returned to his studio the next day. He immediately resumed work on a project he had started earlier that week. He wondered if Edison suspected that he d developed some rather unusual thought patterns concerning him. He wasn t sure what these thought patterns were, or why he was so worried about them. They certainly were not unpleasant.

His dreams about Edison were not exactly unpleasant either. But they were, paradoxically, upsetting, involving weird body interfaces that Bryce felt rather confused and awkward about. He decided to try not to think about them, as they usually made him blush for reasons he could not fathom.

Turning back to the project on hand, he wondered if Edison suspected anything about Bryce s unusual thought processes about him. Deciding that Edison probably didn t, he gave an inward sigh of relief.

Why is it suddenly so important to me? he wondered, aloud.

What? Edison asked.

Uh nothing, Edison, Bryce stumbled.

There are a lot of important things in nothing, Edison replied.

Yeah. I guess so, Bryce smiled, glad of the apparent reprieve.

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