At twenty-nine, Anne Montgomery is ensconced at Viatech, a new bioengineering company in Manhattan where she works as a molecular geneticist. Her field is recombinant DNA: snipping pieces, knotting them together in new places, playing with an isolated single genetic sequence, and learning its secrets. Anne likes her job and her ordered, practical existence with Kent, her solid, responsible banker boyfriend. Lately, though, her thoughts have been turning to fantasies involving an attractive laboratory technician named Jason, who fits ever so snugly into his twenty-nine-inch-waist Levi’s.

One day, on an impulse, she invites Jason out for a beer at a Mexican restaurant. After several beers and some shared burritos and refried beans, Jason clears the air with an admission: He has a girlfriend, a dancer in a well-known New York company. Anne replies that she too is involved. This being the 1980’s, the obvious solution to this temporary complication, as proposed by a light-headed Anne, is to go back to their office--to the room containing the large incubators where the plates of living cells are kept, in fact--and get to know each other better. They do.

What begins as a mild fancy soon blossoms into an affair, one that forces Anne to reevaluate her commitment to Kent, her position at a company overstocked with overachievers, and her thoughts on long-term commitments. Her journey through self-exploration is intertwined with a gallery of cleverly...

(The entire section is 433 words.)