Hojo keeps getting in the way of Vincent's attempts to woo Lucrecia. A gift fanfic for a friend.
But he had one distinct disadvantage. He did not speak the geek language of love.
Carrying a bouquet of red roses, Vincent strode confidently to the room in which the scientists worked, hoping that his visit and the roses would give Lucrecia a welcome reprieve from her stuffy co-workers. When he walked into the doorway, Hojo was talking to Lucrecia, who was placing a tray on her desk while she was busy looking up something. Hojo left the desk after giving her instructions on what to do with the contents of the tray.
Vincent waited until Hojo was away and distracted by his own work and only then did Vincent dare approach Lucrecia. He hid the bouquet behind his back, hoping to give her a pleasant surprise and he called to her attention. Lucrecia looked up from the files she was reading and at that moment, both of them noticed the single red rose that Hojo had placed on top of the mako samples.
Lucrecia's face brightened immensely as she made a loud exclamation of happy surprise.
"That's so sweet, Hojo!" she shouted to her co-worker and she started to look for something to put the rose in. Vincent felt embarrassed and shown up; he couldn't possibly hope to achieve the reaction that he desired now that Hojo had dared to get in his way. He had a hard time forcing himself to leave since he went through all the effort to do this in the first place and he didn't want his effort to come to nothing. But when Lucrecia finally turned back to him after finding a suitable jar, Vincent just told her that he just wanted to say hello and he rushed out of the room, leaving behind a confused Lucrecia.
A week after the rose incident, Vincent tried to woo Lucrecia again using an age old technique. This time he decided on giving her a signed book of love poems which also contained a personal note from Vincent himself. He was certain that she would love his gift because what girl could resist a signed book of poems by a famous poet?
This time he made sure that Hojo would not be around to somehow foil his plain. Prior to approaching Lucrecia that night, Vincent checked to see if Hojo was working overtime as usual. Satisfied that Hojo would not interfere this time, Vincent went into the room Lucrecia was in with his gift in hand. He found her sitting next to the fireplace, keeping herself warm by the fire. She was reading a difficult looking book on something Vincent couldn't quite understand.
"What are you reading, Lucrecia?" asked Vincent as he came up from behind her.
"Oh! Hi, Vincent!" said Lucrecia cheerfully, "I'm just reading the newest book by written by my favorite biologist and Hojo got a signed copy for me even! Hojo actually knows the author personally and maybe if I'm lucky, I might even be able to meet him!" This prospect clearly excited her and again, in the face of her joy, Vincent felt that his gift was inadequate.
Trying to salvage his pride, Vincent tried to not show his annoyance, but unfortunately Lucrecia still noticed that there was something off.
"What's wrong?" she asked, worried.
"Oh, nothing. Just...," Vincent brought up the book, intending on giving it to her, but instead he said, "I was just passing through, that's all." Again, he left with Lucrecia wondering what that was all about.
Over the next few weeks, Vincent kept on being foiled at almost every attempt he made to connect with Lucrecia. When he wrote love notes to her, he discovered that Hojo was already writing her words of love in the margins of the scientific notes he gave her. If he invited her to something, he would always find out that she had a prior engagement with Hojo, usually going to some sort of lecture or just going off on a research trip. It was enough to make Vincent paranoid enough to think that Hojo was deliberately spying on him and was foiling him at every moment he could.
Vincent eventually confronted Hojo. He railed on Hojo and also told the scientist to stop spying on him because that was playing dirty.
Hojo merely replied, "What are you talking about?"
"About Lucrecia! About how you always get in the way of me trying to get together with her!" said Vincent, irritated.
Calmly, Hojo said, "I didn't know you liked Lu."
Vincent just stared at Hojo, dumbfounded. 'How could he not know?' thought Vincent, 'Wasn't it obvious?'
Hojo just shrugged, said sorry and went back to his work.