“Erin, my lovely asset to modern physics, will you come give me a hand, please?”
They were currently at the firehouse, each of them minding their own business in regard of researching the paranormal. Since saving the world months ago and receiving the go-ahead from the mayor, the Ghostbusters had the opportunity to do their thing almost without limitations. Abby and Erin had taken to translating the existence of ghosts in the language of physics, Patty was mapping peculiar murders that have occurred in New York in the past years so that the team knew what they were dealing with when they got a call from a particular address. And Holtzmann was busy as ever designing and constructing new devices. They were however not only for busting ghosts, but also for detecting different types of ghosts, constricting the energy of the paranormal beings... She also installed some improvements on the hearse, their coffee machine and unbeknownst to them, to Erin's computer, which was otherwise about to fall apart from all the radiation around it.
Upon hearing the engineer's calling for her from upstairs, Erin looked up from her screen.
"What is it, Holtz?"
"You see, Erin my darling, you are very good at equations, correct?" Holtzmann was grinning at her from the top of the stairs, only her head visible from Erin's point of view
"What...?" Erin was momentarily distracted by the mischief in her eyes, forgetting for a while what she had said and beginning to wonder what she was up to instead "Uh- Yes! Equations! Yes, I guess I'm decent at-"
"Lovely!" the blonde clapped her hands, now stepping forward so that Erin could see her “Well I do have some I need to solve for this new machine thingy and, you see, instead of wasting half a day on them, I figured you could solve them for like five minutes with your brilliant mind and then I'm gonna of course return you the favour in any way you want, both literally and figuratively." She spoke very quickly without taking a breath and finished her speech with a wink.
"Oh, it's fine, we're friends, you don't have to do anything" she smiled at Holtzmann, who was now leaning casually against the wall.
"Whatever you wish, Dr Genius. Where would I be without your incredible talent?" she said, followed by another wink.
"Oh, I'm not-" Erin started, blushing, but upon seeing Abby's stern look and hearing her pointed warning "Erin...", she shut up and said instead- "Thanks, Holtz."
"No problemo" came from the lab on the second floor.
While walking up the stairs, Erin mentally slapped herself. She was never good at taking compliments, mostly due to her stern upbringing and almost blind drive for academical success. However, one would think she should have already learned how to respond to compliments, since she has received about a thousand of them in the few months while working with Holtzmann. Another thing coming frequently from Holtzmann's mouth and coincidentally another thing Erin was never good at handling was flirting. Constant, shameless flirting. To begin with, not many people had flirted with Erin, apart from that nerdy guy in college, who was apparently devoted to coming up with the world's worst and most out of place science puns. But Holtzmann's flirting was on a completely different level- it was actually witty and made Erin feel wanted and special which is why she didn't want it to cease. All that attention always left her flustered and she honestly had no idea what she was supposed to do in a situation like that- would it be appropriate for her to (try to) flirt back? After all they were friends first, then colleagues. On that note, Erin wasn't entirely sure if the flirting was entirely friendly or if there was another intention behind it... Which is something she didn't dare think of, so she pushed it in the back of her mind and usually simply blushed, smiled and thanked Holtzmann.
When she reached the lab, the blonde was dancing absent-mindedly to her usual 80's playlist. Upon seeing Erin standing awkwardly at the door, she moonwalked to her and flashed her with her signature grin.
"In case you're wondering whether that in my pocket is a whiteboard marker or I'm glad to see you, it's both." That elicited a laugh from the older woman and Holtzmann wriggled her eyebrows suggestively.
"So, captain, what are those equations you need my help with?" Erin tried (miserably) to impersonate a pirate, by covering one eye with her hand, and did the two-hand salute the other woman liked so much. The end result resembled a goofy penguin in tweed.
"Aye aye fair maiden, they’re on the whiteboard and if ye need anythin', be it mathematics-wise or a snack or something, do not hesitate to let yer captain know" Holtzmann said with a thick accent, swaying on the fire pole as if it were a pole on a ship. She tossed her colleague the marker and as Erin looked at the equations written on the board, Holtzmann said loudly "I ship it very much, young lass". Her own wittiness made her giggle, as per usual.
The young lass in question smiled but didn't look away because she was concentrating hard on the task ahead. She was halfway done when she heard Holtzmann mutter from the other end of the room "What a lovely ass-et to modern physics indeed, Erin" She turned just in time to see the blonde look up from where she had been staring intently, the point of focus being Erin's butt.
"Holtzmann!" Thankfully the latter had excellent reflexes from working in dangerous labs and expertly dodged the flying marker which was thrown in her direction.
"Nice try, Ez. Why don’t you use all that pent-up aggression in a different way than throwing things at your colleagues?" She smiled innocently and then winked "I have some suggestions".
"Holtz!" Although scandalized, Erin couldn't help but laugh a little. "You're distracting me and I'm not getting anything done!" She whined.
"Oh am I now?" Smirked the blonde, coming closer to her. "Well you distract me as well, Erin. With your cuteness"- she took a step forward towards her, and Erin respectively- a step backwards- "and your blushing"- Erin's back hit the board- "and your tiny-winy bowties". Their faces were now inches apart, which was totally unsettling for the brunette and apparently totally encouraging for the blonde, who took Erin's hand. Her touch was gentle and Erin closed her eyes because honestly it didn't feel entirely unpleasant- on the contrary-it felt nice and sent a warm sensation in her stomach and she didn't know what to do. What was Holtzmann doing?? Was she going to kiss her? It was ages since she was last kissed and although it would be horribly inappropriate since they were at work, she couldn't help but anticipate it, because well doesn't it feel just great to be kissed and, and… It was at this moment that she realized it had been far too long since she closed her eyes and being a physicist, she could calculate that if the blonde was indeed intending to kiss her, her mouth would have reached Erin's already... So she furtively opened her eyes to see Holtzmann grinning widely at her from where she was leaning on the worktable, almost a meter away from her. "Oh man, relax Erin, chill out, I was only giving you back the marker" she winked again and Erin looked down to discover that she did in fact hold the marker in her hand.
Out of embarrassment and frustration other than anything else, she got very angry. "Jillian! That was horribly rude and inappropriate! I would very much appreciate if you didn't invade my personal space like that!"
The dopey smile was erased from the engineer's face to be replaced with a frown "Erin, I was just-"
"And you know what?" Interrupted her Erin, her voice louder and higher than usual, "I'm straight. Like a hundred percent, unequivocally heterosexual. I like men and you are honestly stepping over certain boundaries so I would like you to please stop doing that thank you very much!" By the time Erin was finished she was out of breath and Holtzmann was looking at her like a sad puppy.
"Alright, Gilbert, I was just messing with you..." She turned around and went back to whatever she was tinkering with at the moment, leaving Erin staring at her back with regret and she felt miraculously even more embarrassed.
"Hey what was that about?" Abby stepped inside the lab, having heard her friend's not-so-subtle coming out as "a hundred percent, unequivocally heterosexual".
"Nothing, it was nothing" snapped Erin quickly.
"Right, okay" Abby said but knowing her all too well sent her a silent skeptical look. In response the other woman looked down at her feet. Now looking at Holtzmann's slumped shoulders Abby proclaimed loudly "anyway, lunch is here so why don't you guys come downstairs and chill a little?"
As they went downstairs (to discover Patty laughing at Kevin’s valiant attempts at opening the pizza boxes), Erin pointedly sat between the two of them.
“Hey Kevin, let me help you with that” she flashed him a smile and opened the boxes “I guess those big muscles can’t do petite tasks like that, huh? Those big, strong arms…” she drifted away, staring at said arms. Happily oblivious, Kevin took a bite out of a large slice when suddenly his face scrunched up “Ow does this have cheese? I hate cheese” A choir of “Oh, Kevin”s was heard and then Erin said “If you don’t mind I’ll take your slice… oops, thank you” She ran her fingers over the man’s hands, to which he responded with a confused frown, probably unable to process what was happening.
“Erin! No!”, “Oh man, that’s just so wrong”, “Excuse me ladies, I must go and vomit” Was the variety of reactions, the latter being followed by Holtzmann getting up and walking past them in the general direction of the door.
“Holtzy no, man, come back! She was NOT being serious” shouted Patty at the woman, but to no avail. After the door closed shut, she and Abby both turned to look at Erin sternly.
“What, it’s a perfectly fine slice of pizza” exclaimed the brunette defensively with her mouth full of semi-chewed pizza.
“Erin! What the hell is wrong with you?” scolded her Abby. “First you say those things to Holtzy, then you do… that” she shrugged her head in Kevin’s direction, who was currently trying out the other types of pizza they had ordered to see if they too had cheese in them. “My point is, she’s done nothing to offend you and the least you could do is not break-“
“Abby!” warned Patty.
“Wait what? Am I missing something here?” Erin looked from Abby to Patty who were exchanging a look.
“Look, Erin,” started Abby “just be nice to her, okay?”
“What am I supposed not to break? Abby, wait!” she got up and chased after her friend who was now hastily retracting to the kitchen with their plates.
“Aw man,” said Patty finally, knowing how stubborn both women were, “she meant the equipment, you know, all that nuclear shit on the second floor that I swear I ain’t ever getting close to”
“Yeah ok” said Erin surrendering. She grabbed another piece of pizza and because she couldn’t stand the mortification any more said “If you’ll excuse me, I have an equation to finish”.
With this she went back to the engineer’s lab, wondering as she went, why on Earth would she (or anyone for that matter) ever attempt to break Holtzmann’s equipment.