"Damn Michael," she managed to say.
Alexis cleaned her fingernails for a few more seconds, then, hesitantly: "It's not Michael. Simon knows what he's doing. I've met both of Michael's wives - he's not some kind of...predator. Sarah, the first, knew what he was like. Maybe she didn't find out until after they were married...but Jessica knew what he was like early on - he's got a reputation. She married him anyway." She sighed. "He wouldn't have done anything so openly if Jessica were still alive, but everyone in the lab knew he'd be moving on to the next one now she's gone. So I warned Simon."
"What?" Jack was almost too tired to care.
"Not obviously, but they were already getting along really well and I was worried. I told him Professor Collins had been married twice - what I told you now. About the rumours. He didn't care."
Damn Michael. She'd heard about him, too, but she'd never seen him as a threat to Simon. Michael knew they were engaged, for fuck's sake. And now, when Simon had lost his family and was already vulnerable...
He'd been coping surprisingly well until now, even though they hadn't been as close, not when he was being so fucking philosophical and depressed at the same time. It was too much, even for Jack, to spend all day with him when he was being like that. Maybe it was her own fault, but she just couldn't see how to reason with him, and he'd said that was okay. Maybe Michael had a hold on him even from that first day, when the world had exploded around them and she hadn't been there.
And damn Alexis, too.
The other girl hesitated again, waiting to see if she'd finish. "I've seen Michael with his son. This isn’t the same sort of relationship."
Were they both in on it? Alexis and Professor Collins? No, because they wouldn't get anything from it. No, it must be true. But Alexis was trying to make Simon out to be the monster because she didn’t see how awful Michael really was. Jack hadn’t spent much time in the lab, but everyone knew Alexis was Michael's favourite student...
“Why are you telling me? Do you think I should’ve kept a better rein on him, is that it? You think I told Simon to snare your professor?”
“Shit, no, Jack!” Alexis stood up. “I was just trying to help. I didn’t like everyone else knowing what was going on when Simon hadn’t even said anything to you. If you ask me, it’s disgusting that he doesn’t even have the decency to talk to you about it.”
Word count: 550
Acknowledgements to Anistasya for the background story and characters :)