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Aldous

Aldous puts the book back and walks to the next shelf, then pulls down another. Darren Darya Daryl Dashiell–wrong way. Two shelves back. Three. Ban Barathrum. Closer. Aldaea. Alder. Aldi.

Aniridia.

It’s a misplaced word. Aldous is certain her name should be there: Alejandro comes right afterward. Someone’s been messing with the order of things.

She replaces the slim volume. It’s not a name at all, is it? Greek roots: an, without, and then Iris, rainbow, messenger of the gods. But she never claimed to be getting their mail in the first place.

Aniridia leaves the library, determined and bound.

Laurie

When they meet, Laurie learns that his name is Barathrum. After that she just talks, lured on by his sympathetic brown eyes: she tells him about her job, her last breakup, the time she led a protest march in the Dean’s office. By now the party’s over and they’re alone in her car, his gray eyes searching as she confesses to high school shoplifting and a kiss with her cousin. She finally realizes she knows nothing about him but his name.

“You’re such a good listener–” she falters. His black eyes are hungry and bottomless.

“Really?” he says. “Tell me more.”

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