From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: FW: Emilian Grim Placement Test Results Mili, I got your score. Were you wearing your glasses?? Or are you trying to end up like your stupid father? Love you, Mom From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: FW: Emilian Grim Placement Test Results Khiana, I warned you about insulting me in front of our son. Don't forget where the extra $ you get each month comes from... Also, when are you going to change your last name back to Nightbell? From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org cc: email@example.com Subject: FW: Emilian Grim Placement Test Results Weston, Looping in my lawyer since you want to stir things up. You insulted me years ago when you left for Earth with those two scallywags and killed one. I heard you still can't find her soul. Ha. Ha. And I'm still a Grim because our son is a Grim. From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org cc: thomakos.myersIII@myerslaw.void, email@example.com Subject: FW: Emilian Grim Placement Test Results Khiana, Incorrect. I did find her. Ha. You didn't have a problem with a threesome until Lux came along. You left us. And I can copy my lawyer too, and all the rest if you keep on. You're still a Grim because you miss my Black Mountain Grim python pumping you. Emilian, excellent work on your placement test buddy. I'll call you tomorrow. - Dad
Thanks Mom and Dad.
Now uncle Easton and Ehren and two of the biggest law firms know about my placement test results and Dad’s python…
I feel like crap today.
It’s my mother’s disappointment in me, and the possibility that Misa may live in the apartment next to mine, sharing a wall, seeing visitors come and go. It makes my stomach turn thinking about it. All I can count on now is that she scored less than 300, so she won’t be here in class.
Since Instructor Inga didn’t assign seats, I sit at a different table and move the other chair to the back of the room. I need to be alone today to focus and get the blurry image of what may have been Misa’s breasts out of my head.
That was her, I swear. I can feel it. Everything happened so fast.
The one time I didn’t have my glasses on…
Instructor Inga comes in, followed by other students who scored 300 and higher. It makes me proud, and I hold my head up a little higher. This is where I belong, within the upper echelon of prestigious minds like—
“Misa! Congratulations!” Inga says.
“It wasn’t easy. Thanks for your support, ma’am.”
Absolutely unbelievable. I watch Misa bursting with pathetic childlike glee in her short yellow dress… Just seeing her smile makes me furious. There’s no way she scored a 300.
Great, now she’s coming down the row. Just look away.
She breezes past me. Hmm.
“I know you all are excited, but don’t get too comfortable yet.” Inga pauses, waiting for the class to quiet.
“Shut up!” I growl. Everyone obeys.
“That was unnecessary, Emilian.” Inga glares at me. “Now that I have your attention, class, assigned seats are up here. Come see where you are going.”
“More of these antiquated customs.” I get up and look at the seating chart with everyone else. The name beside mine is… Misa Honey?
Damnit Inga, seriously?
I scan the room. It’s true, Misa’s already at left side table five, staring me down like some proud, independent woman. Her energy is… It irks me. I don’t like it and shouldn’t feel it at all.
This is torture.
“Hi.” Misa says.
I stare at her, my words lost. What can I say that isn’t already clear?
Class comes to its last minutes.
I’ve watched the clock during Inga’s entire lecture. My notes are scribbles, and I’m certain whatever she was talking about today will be on a test soon. I can feel it.
Misa has said nothing to me. So, I didn’t to her.
Maybe if I don’t think about Misa, she’ll just vanish. Yes, that must be it. I’m manifesting Misa into my existence by always thinking about her. If I stop thinking about her, perhaps she’ll go away. Or she could have an accident and be out all semester—no, what am I thinking? None of it matters if she really lives next door to me. I’d still see her.
I suppose I should answer her. “Speak.” I demand, looking straight ahead.
“D-did I do something to make you upset?”
She gasps. “What did I do?”
Unbelievable. “You are sitting by me.” I snap. “You’re always here, always talking, always in need. Tours, protection, damn rocks everywhere and you show up at my home naked! I would’ve scored a 350 on my test if you weren’t sitting beside me. And… you’re distracting… and boring. That’s what you did.”
“Emilian. Misa. Is there a problem?” Inga asks. The entire class is staring at us.
“Yes ma’am.” “No ma’am.”
“Do I need to separate you two?”
My chance is here, but we’re silent. How could I give up my favorite window seat?
The bell rings. Misa leaps from her chair and runs out.
It’s late. After Inga’s class I went to the library to study, then called my mom and took her verbal lashing as I walked laps around campus. She’s disappointed in the 301 I scored. I’m still in shock. I barely made it into honors.
I have to stay focused, but I can’t stop thinking about Misa. I know it was her last night at my door. She said my name. It sounded like her gentle voice.
Maybe I… shouldn’t have yelled at her.
What is it about her that makes me so frustrated and intrigued?
The entire way home, I never reach an answer.
I take slow steps to my apartment. I’m tired. The sleep I lost last night is creeping up on me and I’m ready to relax.
“Timothy… I don’t know…”
I recognize that voice.
I peek around the corner. Misa is standing in front of apartment 134 with that idiot Timothy.
So that was her last night… My neighbor, naked outside my door. Why?
“I’m sorry, Misa.” Timothy says. “When I realized why you weren’t talking to me, I had to make it up to you. This is what I owe you for dinner. Thanks for covering me when my card didn’t work. I’m an idiot for not doing it sooner. Can we start over?”
He hands Misa an envelope. She pulls out money. What is he paying her for?
I turn away. She sounds like she’s about to cry.
It gets quiet. I look again. Great. They’re kissing. I thought Misa hated this guy. She threw away the flower he gave her the other day…
Timothy’s hand trails down Misa’s yellow dress, squeezing her ass.
Why am I hiding here waiting for them to finish? I live here. I can come and go whenever I please. Enough of this stupidity.
I walk past, clearing my throat loudly and unlock my door, staring at them. Misa pulls away from Timothy.
“Wait… This guy lives next to you?” he says. “And you’re in the same class?”
Misa looks at me with those sad eyes, then looks at her sandals. Probably scared about the mistake she’ll make being with him.
“Correct. I live here. You don’t.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Timothy snaps at me.
Misa opens her door. “Um… Why don’t you come in, Timothy?”
She urges him inside with her eyes on me.
What? Is she trying to see if I’m jealous?
I get inside and slam my door.
I’m going to bed.