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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.

Dashiell

Dashiell doesn’t want the futon with Becky, who will lie about it and has the beer farts besides, but it beats the floor or (worst of all) another dude. She took the extra pillow; he doubles up and makes do.

Around godawful o’clock he’s awakened by her insistent rump, scooching against him. He’s appalled, if a little flattered. Surely she can’t be? In a room with eight people?

Dashiell rolls over and sees that she’s asleep, after all. Her face is almost pure with it. There’s no intent there, just that simple, clumsy mammalian bump: I’m here. You’re big. Warm me.

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