AMJ3 and MLR2
What she will miss most of all, she realizes, is this, the way their toes are touching now under the sheets. For as long as she can remember she has had her own bed, and has shared it with no one, and has defined personal space by the arm’s length that it takes for a pillow to fall to the floor. He knows this, and when he told her he was going to try to nap, he inched back to give her room to breathe, but kept that point of contact. Because that’s how he is; he will do as you ask, but in his own way.
She regrets not doing this sooner.
His skin is warm against hers, and he fidgets in his light sleep. He shifts and he’s on his stomach, and she spends what seems like a zillion heartbeats watching where that strong shoulder curves into that strong back and drifts under the sheet into that strong leg.
No wait, this is what she’ll miss the most. She has to stop thinking in superlatives.
It takes her that long to realize that they’re no longer touching. She pushes her toe toward him. It wakes him up (he is easy to startle) and she is almost sorry she did it.
He sees her and smiles. And then, small panic. “What time is it?” he says.
“Just after midnight.”
He pushes himself onto his elbows and soon his lips are upon her, and she is overwhelmed by how soft and warm those lips are, how smooth he feels as he slides down her body. How stupid is she. This is what she’ll miss the most.
They belong to a generation of Emilios, Corazons, Andreses, Marias. Names that evoke a memory, meant to label people as extraordinary, but overuse has reduced those names to nothing.
She met him, Andres Miguel, formally, only when she turned sixteen. But it was impossible not to know of him, not to know of anyone, over at 513. Everyone makes it their business to know everyone else at 513.
Now that she’s thinking about it, it matters that she didn’t really know him earlier. She hasn’t seen any of his baby pictures, has no memory of him being a snot-nosed seven-year-old boy. He was what was considered attractive then, and became what was attractive the following year, and is what is attractive today.
On paper he is AMJ3, the third Andres Miguel in his family.
He says he loved her then, even though she was not happy to see him, especially because she was not happy to see him. She did not appreciate being put into a new Strat class, so late into the school year, when she had spent months establishing a rapport with a different set of people. When she found out the reason AMJ3 got there — kicked out of his regular class for “social problems” with classmates — she just wanted out.
On paper she is MLR2, her family’s second Maria Lourdes.
“Don’t worry about it, Lucky,” he said, creating a new name for her right then and there (because he does that, and people love it).
“What’s your TLS?”
“What’s your PSO?”
“97.” She was proud of that. It was the highest in their class.
The numbers gave him pause, and the cover of smug teenager dropped slightly. “Why what’s yours?” she said.
“97 TLS, 94 PSO. What I was going to say was that we’re not going to fail this, so you shouldn’t worry.”
“I know I’m not going to fail this. I don’t like that I probably won’t be in the top three percent.”
“Oh. Well then. Glad we cleared that up,” he said. “I like having a goal.”