I’m twenty-seven years old. I’ve worked all morning at the lab, and things are going so well I almost shrug off the party. I’ve been doing that a lot lately—neglecting friends and social engagements to steal just a few more hours in the cleanroom. I first notice you in the far corner of the small backyard as I stand on the deck, sipping a Corona-and-lime, my thoughts still back at the lab. I think it’s the way you’re standing that catches my attention—boxed in by a tall, lanky guy in tight black jeans who I recognize from this circle of friends. He’s an artist or something. I don’t even know his name, only that my friend Kyle has said to me recently, Oh, that guy fucks everyone. I can’t explain it, even to this day, but as I watch him chatting up this dark-haired, dark-eyed woman in a cobalt-blue dress—you—a flash of jealousy consumes me. Inexplicably, insanely, I want to hit him. Something in your body language suggests discomfort. You aren’t smiling, your arms are crossed, and it occurs to me that you’re trapped in a bad conversation, and that for some reason, I care. You hold an empty wineglass, streaked with the dregs of a red. Part of me urges, Go talk to her, save her. The other half screams, You know nothing about this woman, not even her name. You are not that guy. I find myself moving toward you through the grass, carrying a new glass of wine, and when your eyes avert to mine, it feels like some piece of machinery has just seized in my chest. Like worlds colliding. As I draw near, you take the glass out of my hand as if you had previously sent me off to get it and smile with an easy familiarity, like we’ve known each other forever. You try to introduce me to Dillon, but the skinny-jeaned artist, now effectively cockblocked, makes his excuses and bails. Then it’s just the two of us standing in the shade of the hedgerow, and my heart is going like mad. I say, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but it looked like you might need rescuing,” and you say, “Good instincts. He’s pretty, but insufferable.” I introduce myself. You tell me your name. Daniela. Daniela.